About Fellow

Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India

Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India

Right from my childhood, I had a fascination for the natural world and its mysteries. After obtaining my Postgraduation degree in Biochemistry, I joined the lab of Prof MM Godbole, at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS,Lucknow). Prof Godbole’s lab was focused in understanding the effects of Thyroid hormone on mammalian brain development and this proved to be a foundation of my interest in hormone action and Endocrinology. After obtaining my PhD in 2009, I continued my research in Endocrinology in my postdoctoral years and later as a faculty member in the lab of Prof Paul M. Yen at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore. At Duke-NUS my research was mainly focused on endocrine and metabolic disorders. My studies have specifically delved into further understanding a cellular degradative process called “Autophagy” and its implications in metabolic diseases. Autophagy is a normal physiological process in the body involving the destruction of cells in the body. Our group was able to show how autophagy was critical in maintaining physiological fat burning activity in liver, a process that, in the event of failure, gives rise to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance in humans. While our study showed how hormones were necessary to reduce fat deposition in liver cells via autophagy (Sinha et al., JCI, 2012)., we were more interested in exploring dietary products and drugs such as caffeine that could activate this process as a potential treatment for human fatty liver (Sinha et al., Hepatology, 2014). My discovery of caffeine as a pro-autophagic drug for reversing fatty liver diseases was reported and highlighted by national forums and several news agencies worldwide, Faculty of 1000, and commentaries published in Hepatology & Nature reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. This manuscript is the fourth highest scoring manuscript in Hepatology regardless of publication date and the highest scoring one for its length of time since publication as rated by Altmetrics which measures citations and coverage in the scientific literature and public media.

While at Duke-NUS Medical School, I heard from my colleagues about the prestigious Wellcome Trust/DBT Fellowship scheme in India and I decided to apply for it since I wished to come back to India and set up my own independent lab. My application was sponsored by a renowned diabetologist Prof Eesh Bhatia who is also the HOD of the Endocrinology department at SGPGIMS, Lucknow. My experience with the Wellcome Trust/DBT grant process has been very satisfactory and pleasant. I believe that the Wellcome Trust/DBT Intermediate Fellowship is a perfect support, which I would have needed to establish a niche in my field, and for this I am indeed indebted.