Source: Dainik Bhaskar (27-April-2019)

Meet the superwomen fighting rotavirus

Gagandeep Kang FNA, FASc, FRS  is a clinician scientist, Professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India and currently the executive director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. She is a leading researcher with a major research focus on viral infections in children, and the testing of rotaviral vaccines. She also works on other enteric infections and their consequences when children are infected in early life, sanitation and water safety. She was awarded the prestigious Infosys Prize in Life Sciences in 2016 for her contributions to understanding the natural history of rotavirus and other infectious diseases. Gagandeep Kang completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1987 and her Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Microbiology in 1991 from Christian Medical College, Vellore and obtained her PhD in 1998.

She obtained her membership of the Royal College of Pathologists and carried out postdoctoral research with Mary K. Estes at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston before returning to the Christian Medical College.Kang is a medical scientist who has worked on diarrhoea diseases and public health in India since the early 1990s. She is a key contributor to rotavirus epidemiology and vaccinology in India. Focusing on vaccines, enteric infections and nutrition in young children in disadvantaged communities, she has combined field epidemiology with intensive laboratory investigations to inform both the science of infectious diseases and policy in India. Her comprehensive research on rotavirus has demonstrated the high burden of rotavirus disease across India, the genetic diversity of viruses, the lower protection from infection and vaccines and the exploration of several approaches to improve the performance of oral vaccines. She has published over 300 scientific papers and is on editorial boards for several journals, including PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine and International Health. She is on many review committees for national and international research funding agencies, and has served on several advisory committees mainly related to vaccines, including India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety and the Immunisation and Vaccine Implementation Research Advisory Committee. She chairs the WHO SEAR’s Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (2015–present).

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