After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Madras, India, Selva moved to the University of Sussex in the UK to complete a Masters in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology. In 2009, he joined the first cohort of the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology’s taught MSc in Radiation Biology. Following a successful research project in the laboratory of Professor Ester Hammond, Selva stayed with the group and embarked on a DPhil programme, funded by the Oxford Institute and a scholarship from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. His work focused on the radiosensitisation of tumour cell lines.
Throughout his research career in Oxford, Selva published 10 papers in a range of journals, including Nature Communications, British Journal of Cancer and Radiation Research. He also presented his work at the Association for Radiation Research (ARR) conference and volunteered for various science festivals, where he developed his public engagement skills explaining the department’s research to the general public.
After leaving Oxford, Selva went on to work as a Higher Scientific Officer in the Department of Radiotherapy and Imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research under the direction of Dr Navita Somaiah and Professor Kevin Harrington.