A passionate clinician scientist with infectious enthusiasm, dedicated perseverance and resilience to connect the bench to the bedside to the community and vice-verse in alleviating the inequity in Global Health, especially in resource-constrained settings. Special focus on Tuberculosis immunotherapy, vaccine R & D, Biomarkers discovery, large-scale multi-centric clinical studies to understand disease pathogenesis and TB diagnostics development. Application of science for society through translational medicine and precision medicine has been the passion and the driving force to contribute individually and collectively for the ultimate goal of eliminating TB & other infectious diseases.
Lead Coordinator, Clincal Development of Adjunctive Autologous MSC Therapy in MDR/XDR-TB
Since August 2013
Responsible for Clinical Development of Adjunctive Autologous Mesenchymal Stomal Cell Therapy in patients with Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR) & Extensively Drug-Resistance (XDR) Tuberculosis.
Global Health, Translational Medicine and Tuberculosis Clinician Scientist
Since October 2010
CEO, Vaccine Grand Challenge Program
May 2011 --- June 2013
Lead and nurture multidisciplinary vaccine R & D in the country fostering collaboration across national/international institutions, enterprises and agencies Creating the ecosystem for Vaccine R & D pipeline setting up systems, processes and benchmarks though consultative consensus approach around thematic matrices with platforms and diseases Establish and direct translational medicine training program in the country through different twining program as well as short course training programs to create cohesive critical mass in the country connecting clinical communities to basic science communities through interactive cross-talk Harmonizing harmonizers to build cohesive collective team efforts across all stakeholders with long-term objectives with clear time-bound mandates and milestones Advises Dept of Biotechnology on scientific strategies for Research Programs and industrial developments of Vaccines and Diagnostics
January 2010 --- January 2011
February 2006 --- September 2010
Senior Scientist and Program Coordinator at MPIIB, responsible for the Grand Challenges in Global Health Consortium on "Biomarkers of Protective Immunity against TB in the context of HIV/AIDS in Africa" supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), an ambitious project involving 15 institutions including 7 from Africa, 5 from Europe and 3 from US under the stewardship of Prof. Stefan Kaufmann. I lead the coordination of the consortium, overseeing the scientific, administrative and financial operations across all sites focusing on biomarkers discovery and understanding correlates of immune protection in TB. Six different prospective study cohorts in different age groups and contexts have been established in seven field sites in Africa as well as in UK and are being followed up using state of the art techniques using global bio-omics approaches which include immunological readouts, genome wide gene expression profiling and other platforms such as metabolomics and proteomics. The project was originally funded for 5 years till July 2010 and is further extended by BMGF till end 2012. An overview of the consortium can be found on the public web site at www.biomarkers-for-tb.net/. Also was responsible and successful in grant writing for big consortia-based grants from NIH such as Systems Biology contract for TB, several EDCTP grants as well as EU-funded grants.
International Senior Scientist
August 2003 --- January 2006
Boosting T cell immune responses by a post-exposure vaccine for Non-replicating Persistent (NRP) TB; Principal Investigator, supported by WHO/TDR/IVR in collaboration with IIDMM, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Preclinical TB vaccine development for post-exposure vaccine using Bacterial delivery system for mucosal immunization and optimizing vaccine efficacy with heterologous prime-boost regimen and various bacterial toxins Longitudinal Cohort Studies for human immune responses to study markers of reactivation and latency Dendritic cell interaction with Mycobacterium tuberculosis Animal models of latent (NRP) TB Key investigator and Focal point for AHRI for Multipartner consortium “GCGH grant on Biomarkers of protective immunity against TB in the context of HIV/AIDS in Africa” (PI: Prof. Stefan H E Kaufmann) Was Co-PI in grants “EDCTP Capacity building grant for the conduct of ICH-GCP level TB vaccine trials in high risk populations in Ethiopia and East Africa (PI: Howard Engers in partnership with GSK, SSI & others) and EU-INCO grant on Cellular Immunology training course in the Horn of Africa Member of AHRI-ALERT Institutional Ethics Review Board Honorary member of the faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University (teaching responsibilities of 25% time for postgraduates, master students - Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Vaccinology and practical immunology) and active member in the Capacity building activities for AHRI and AAU Supervised Masters and PhD students Successfully directed and organised International Training Workshop on Cellular Immunology from Bench to Clinics co-sponsored by EU-BIOMALPAR in October 2005 at AHRI for 20 international students including African students with five other faculty members from Europe, Africa Organizer of the Kick-Off meeting for the GCGH Biomarker Consortium in October 2005 at AHRI
Principal Investigator and Clinical Lecturer
July 1999 --- July 2003
Boosting T cell immune responses by a post-exposure vaccine for Non-Replicating Persistent Tuberculosis; Principal Investigator, supported by Sequella TB Foundation Second Vaccine Innovation Program Grant and WHO/TDR/IVR A major gene product of M. tuberculosis expressed during the persistent phase focused as target antigen encoded by Attenuated Salmonella to be given mucosally alone or in combination with non-replicating recombinant viral vectors Identification of Novel Mycobacterial epitopes by eluting peptides bound to HLA molecules of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected human tissue; Co-Principal Investigator with Prof. Adrian Hill, supported by Sequella TB Foundation, First Vaccine Innovation Programme Grant (2001-2), Post-doctoral Scientist in the same project supported by BBSRC (1999-2001) Successful in getting international competitive grants in 2001-2003 - $62.5K/annum; two from Sequella Global TB foundation; Third from WHO/TDR/Vaccine Discovery Research collaborative grant - $37.2K for one year, fourth recommended & but not funded by British Lung foundation - £120 K for 3 years Invited speaker internationally on TB vaccine development using bacterial delivery system and post-exposure vaccine for NRP-TB Diploma in Advanced Vaccinology from ADVAC-4 organised by Foundation Merieux, France, 2003. Coordinated the multidisciplinary collaborative peptide elution project and run the projects independently in addition to contributing to the management of the Bio-safety Level 3 lab (three groups), computers in the group (8 PCs & 1 Mac) and radioisotope use in the department (total registered users 59 from 12 research groups) – Senior Radiation Protection Supervisor of NDM Participated in the WHO working group on preclinical research activities for the development of new TB vaccines Organized symposium on Learning from Pathogens to design interventions under auspices of British Society of Immunology and Oxford Immunology Group
October 1995 --- July 1999
New vaccine development for TB through mucosal route using Novel bacterial delivery system; Initiator and Co-Principal Investigator with Prof. Trinad Chakraborty, supported by WHO/TDR/VRD, EMBO short-term fellowship to test the approach in animal challenge model at Institute Pasteur of Brussels in the lab of Kris Huygen (1998-99) Recombinant constructs for TB cloned and constructed using Salmonella and first to test the technology in infectious disease model Microbial Pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes across endothelial barrier; Internalin B, the gene product of inlB shown unequivocally as an adhesin and required for the entry of Listeria monocytogenes into human endothelial cells -published in Molecular Microbiology in April 98 with the cover print of EM microphotograph Paved the way for isolation of the receptor for this cell type besides having their potential use in the development of therapeutic approaches targeting to endothelial cells in diverse areas such as infectious diseases or even in metastasis. Domains of internalins responsible for invasion in endothelial as well as epithelial cells worked out. Signal transduction cascades in the interaction of endothelial cells with Listeria, published in J. Immunol. Training in Confocal microscopy Participated in Routine Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory of the University Clinic at Inst. Med. Microbiology.
Post Doctoral Research Fellow
August 1992 --- August 1995
Role of cytokines in immunopathology of leprosy neuropathy; Initiator and Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Georges E. Grau, funded by WHO/TDR/IMMYC (93-95), Fellow of the HEISER foundation for leprosy research, USA (92-94) Member of the WHO Task Force committee for the Immunotherapy of Mycobacterial Diseases, 1994 Invited speaker in the Pre-Congress Workshop on "Lepra reaction and nerve damage" 1993 at Orlando, USA. Cross-sectional study in patients across the leprosy spectrum in India, TNFa found as the prognostic marker for lepra reaction and shown elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines (TNFa, IL-1b and IL-6) in patients with severe forms of leprosy. Subsequent double blind longitudinal study in Dakar, Senegal confirmed the predictive value of TNF for leprosy neuropathy with specificity of 97.2% and sensitivity of 85.3%. Advocated anti-TNF therapy for prevention of neuropathy Training in cytokine biology and immunopathology (Immunohistochemistry & In situ hybridization, immunofluorescence microscopy) Visiting Clinical Research Fellow at Institute of Leprosy, Dakar, Senegal & Institute Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal in TDR/WHO/IMMYC research project
January 1987 --- August 1992
Role of cytokines in immunopathology of Leprosy – PhD thesis (1992) – awarded in 1993 Staff Scientist II and Project-in-charge of the Field Trial of Leprosy vaccine trial at the field station – leader, managing team of 10 staff with 3 senior scientists, research and support staff, responsible for finance management of the field station and the project Designed and established this double blind study involving 40,000 subjects in a population of 400,000 – results published in Leprosy Review, June 2005. The vaccine based on heat-killed whole cell atypical Mycobacterium w (M. w; recently nomenclature as M. indicus pranii) has shown 70% protection as an immunoprophylactic agent at the end of 5 years period which drops down to 36% at the end of 10 year follow-up period. Clinician-in-charge of the Phase II & III Clinical trial with Mycobacterium w vaccine in leprosy patients in Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospitals in Delhi (20 h of Clinical work every week in Tropical Medicine & Infectious Diseases Leader in organizing seminars and discussion forum bridging the gap between clinicians and basic scientists Medical Officer of NII – responsible for health care of all the employee of the Institute and Resident doctor of NII.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from National Institute of Immunology in 1992
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in Medicine from SCB Medical College, Cuttack, India in 1986