Passing out from the University of Delhi with four degrees i.e. Graduation, Post-graduation, M. Phil & Ph.D in Zoology in hand, I had a good fortune of initiating my career path with the National Planning Commisiion, working on planning and policy for Science & Technology sector. Being first class first from DU gave tremendous confidence and zeal to enter untravelled niches. Worked on many national & International projects alongwith teaching in DU for four years before joining the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science &Technology, Governemnt of India in 1992.Have stayed in DBT for 23 years starting with a Scientist C position till becoming one of the Advisers. DBT taught intericacies of project planning, bio-medical issues, public health problems and core-management forays of the Governement of India funding mechanism.
Have been deeply involved into strategy, planning (Scientific & Financial); appraisal & implementation; and assessment of deliverables of R&D projects in the Medical Biotechnology area covering communicable and non-communicable diseases. Areas have been vast and decisions need-based; in late nineties, national health priorities revolved around controlling infections; hence the system was geared mostly towards infections; in early two thousand, as the longevity increased, life-style diseases took a major toll! Initially there was a vacuum & exhaustion in terms of good science & manpower to work on Cancers; Metabolic Disorders; Renal Biology, Neuroscience etc. but as DBT teams supported more on biomarker discovery; diagnostics; vaccine development and clinical trials of modern & traditional drugs in diseases of national relevance, infrastructure developed and critical human resource emerged. Though it was a collective DBT effort, we all bathed in the glory of success!
Being the Programme Manager responsible for development & technology transfer of prototype technologies emerging from R&D to the industry after in-house/multi-centre evaluation has been an experience in itself. Handling clinical trials of “Curcumin in Cancer”; "Immunomodulation in Tuberculosis" & Live Oral Cholera vaccine under the watchful eye of Prof. M.K Bhan was training of its own kind.
Development of infrastructure in the Bio-medical Institutions & Medical Colleges of the North-East Region for research, Training & patient’s services and starting major programmes on Cancer Immunology and Biomarker Discovery in the state of J&K have been satisfying as one watches science growing in farflung areas of the country.
I have perpetually updated myself by registering in cources on IPR; GCP clinical trials; Large Data Management and Analysis; Administrative reforms etc. On- Job Diploma in Medical Ethics from NLCUI & Diploma in Clinical Research & Courses on NCDs from London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene - Research to Policy have been rewarding; these academic pursuits led to more than 50 publications with job-experience in science management.
To gratify my personal ambition, I have been working on alternate pathways in health-related “Easy-technology solutions" that led me to conceptualisation of a research-based NGO “Chandrabimb Foundation” - cbf wherein our Vision is: "From Therapeutics to Prevention"; the focus of cbf is on Tuberculosis & Cancer. Under this, we have established a cancer tissue Biobank titled “BioCollections” at Cancer Research Institute, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust at Dehradun; herein we are working on cancer biomarkers. Our group is also working on a "Chimaeric HPV vaccine for prophylactic & therapeutic efficacy" & "A booster to BCG vaccine for tuberculosis" in collaboration with academic institutions.
I am self-motivated. While on job, I have always created work and space for myself. I learnt from different players and applied those experiences in real-life situations. I learnt that “At a senior position, one can create ample opportunities for going deeper into the research domain, ensuring that projects are taken to the logical conclusion that may create enormous commercial opportunities.