Contributors for May 2019

Prof Anjali Karande

Professor Anjali A Karande is a superannuated professor from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore. While at the institute, in the Department of Biochemistry, she has professed many students through their PhD and also has conducted exemplary research. Immuno-endocrinology being her forte, her lab has worked on the design of immune-toxins, vaccine development to neutralize toxicity of Abrin, a plant product that is capable of inactivating protein synthesis; mechanism of understanding how a protein called glycodelin suppresses the maternal immune system when a foetus that is considered a foreign body (foetal allo-graft) is developing in the mother’s body; and finding and evaluating regions of the Hepatitis C Type 3 virus that can be targeted to make a vaccine.

Her immunological perspectives are not limited to these but extends to various fields of study, including cancer. The immunological perspectives she has provided during the interview with us has been very factual by telling us how the immune system is factored in during the occurrence and progression of cancer. She also points out that the immune system is a strong candidate for cancer therapy and that it needs to be explored more rigorously.


Dr Sridhar TS

Dr Sridhar is a professor and the head of the Division of Molecular Medicine at the St John’s Research Institute at Bangalore. He is a physician-scientist in Neurology by training in USA which he followed it up with a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology here at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. He has been working on breast cancer for the last decade. The motivation to begin his work at St John’s was to try and understand those aspects of disease biology that made a difference to patient care. Their central specimen for research for the past decade has been the human disease specimen i.e. the breast cancer tissue itself. They also conduct a longitudinal cohort study that enrols women diagnosed with breast cancer and they stayed in touch with these women for the last 10 years as they went through their disease as well as analysing their specimens in their laboratory.

During his interview with us, he discussed how longitudinal studies can make a difference in managing public health. He also elucidated how these kinds of studies can juxtapose with basic research to make it relevant to the local population. This can only happen because longitudinal studies gather demographic and epidemiological data of patients.


Aparna Dhar

Aparna Dhar is a resident Medical Geneticist and Genetic Counsellor at CORE Diagnostics, a clinical data science company with a centre-of-excellence in high end diagnostics built in. She is a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the University of Glasgow trained Medical Geneticist and Genetic Counsellor. She has over seven years of experience providing genetic counselling to patients. She also gained research experience at the Mayo Clinic, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, National Health Services (NHS) Scotland and Harvard Medical Foundation (Dubai) as a research fellow and patient counsellor. She believes that the greatest benefit of genetic counselling is the sense of control that patients can get from accurate risk information, including genetic test results, explained in a clear and understandable way. Whether she is counselling a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient who needs to make a surgical decision or members of a colon cancer family about how frequently they should pursue colonoscopy, Aparna uses a combination of education and psychosocial support to empower her patients. When she isn’t providing genetic counseling to patients, Aparna uses her clinical expertise to assist physicians’ in clinical genomic tests to guide patient care.


Dr Alben Sigamani

Dr Alben Sigamani is a clinical researcher with an MD in Clinical Pharmacology. He also holds a Master’s degree in clinical trials with a major in clinical epidemiology and public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has spent 11 years conducting research and teaching pharmacology at the St. Johns Research Institute before he became an Associate Professor. Alongside, he also managed the Division of Clinical Research and Training. At present, he is the group head of Clinical Research at Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bengaluru. He has managed and spearheaded many clinical trials and large cohort studies in a wide spectrum of diseases.


Dr. Charitha Gangadharan

Dr Charitha is a scientist trained Cell and Molecular Biology during her doctoral work at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad and post-doctoral work at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru. She is at present associated with Narayana Hrudayalaya as a research scientist focussing on developing in vitro model systems in oral cancer that may provide a bridging platform to extrapolate preclinical data to human conditions. In parallel, she is also involved in a team who are on the lookout for novel biomarkers that have the potential to classify at-risk patients into various categories to prevent type 2 diabetes.


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