University Of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
St. Johns Research Institute
I completed my graduate medical education at St. Johns Medical College in Bangalore, India where I received excellent clinical training. However, medical education in India offers a somewhat superficial exposure to research. Since research questions intrigued me, I elected to pursue further training in the United States and obtain a more profound research experience.
The prototype physician scientist who successfully combines clinical work with high quality research inspires and motivates me. A combination of serendipity and good fortune gave me the opportunity to work with two tremendously inspiring teachers and mentors who profoundly influenced my career. During fellowship training at the University of Minnesota, mentoring by Robert Hebbel, M.D. was critical to my early development as a physician scientist. As a Clinical Scholar at the Rockefeller University, I worked in the laboratory of vascular biology headed by Barry Coller, M.D., an inspirational mentor and guide. In this nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment, I was persuaded with the idea that science could be applied towards the benefit of humanity.
Sensing tremendous opportunities for translational and patient oriented research in India, I accepted a faculty position at St. Johns Medical College, relocated to India and started a haematology research laboratory. Over the next five years my students and I began asking basic and clinical research questions about anemia, a condition that affects close to 1.6 billion persons worldwide. Anaemia is highly prevalent in India and unfortunately 3 out of 4 preschool aged Indian children are anaemic. Our findings on the research bench have led us to investigate two interesting and important questions. Can we identify simple diagnostic biomarker tests that detect anaemia at the bedside and in the community? Can a lay health worker led intervention lead to better control of anaemia in young community dwelling children attending village day-care centres? An important goal of our research is to translate findings at the research bench to the patient's bedside and to individuals in the community.
Generous support from the Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance Senior Fellowship program will allow us to provide important answers to these questions. If, at the end of our studies we can reduce the prevalence of anaemia in children, then our science would benefit humanity.