Babashaheb (Bob) Sonawane – “My Journey from A Dusty Village in India to Washington, D.C.”
Bob was born in a small village, Nandgaon (pop. 868), Northwest of Bombay in Maharashtra State in India. He grew up into a large family of a poor farmer. He has 3 brothers and 4 sisters, and while helping with the goats and livestock, studied in a one-room elementary school in Nandgaon and attended high school in Ahmednagar.
Throughout his high school he was a recipient of merit scholarships and continued to work on the farm. Bob received a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences and M.S. in Entomology from the University of Pune, India. He came to the United States in 1967. He received his PhD in Entomology from the University of Missouri (Columbia) and did post-doctoral training was at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C.). He served on the faculty of the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (1975- 1983) and conducted research in Pediatric Pharmacology.
Bob served as a toxicologist at the Food & Drug Administration, Rockville, MD (1983-1985). He worked at the U.S. EPA from 1985-2016 conducting and managing researching health-risk assessment of chemicals. Bob has authored/co-authored over 150 scientific papers, in toxicology and health risk assessment of environmental agents, He has been recipient of several awards from the U.S. EPA for his outstanding contributions.
Bob retired from EPA in January 2016. He and his wife Meena have two children and five grandchildren. He is very passionate about children’s education especially in poor countries and currently supports college education of girls in India.