About Fellow

Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India

Asian Institute of Oncology, Mumbai, India
Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, India
Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
Hematologics Inc, Seattle, USA
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, USA

Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, India

I completed my MD in Pathology from AFMC, Pune as a raw recruit drawn into the world of surgical pathology. I had no interest in hematopathology or hematology, let alone research in the same. I had the opportunity to work as a fellow with Dr Anita Borges and learnt intricacies of lymphoma reporting. To gain further experience in hematopathology I worked as a senior resident in the hematopathology laboratory in Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. There, I worked with Dr Sumeet Gujral & Dr PG Subramanian and learnt bone marrow morphology and flow cytometry. In spite of the high clinical workload, the atmosphere and working environment in Hematopathology lab was very non-hierarchical, fun and exciting. I had decided that this is the place where I would work as a faculty.

Even today, Dr Sumeet continues to encourage, guide and mentor me. Both Sumeet and PG Subramanian are wonderful encouraging senior colleagues to have.

Following this, I joined Christian Medical College, Vellore as a postdoctoral fellow in the molecular laboratory at the department of Haematology. Here, I met some very inspiring and impressive clinician scientists like Dr Mammen Chandy, Dr Alok Srivastava and Dr Vikram Mathews. It was in this department that I was drawn to research and learnt the tools of molecular biology through lots of bench work. Here, I came across a clinical conundrum… patients with acute leukemia were treated uniformly but minimal residual disease (MRD) was not assessed. Although there was a lot of interest in MRD in India at that time, not many people were doing MRD testing. I had the opportunity to observe MRD in precursor B lineage ALL with Dr Julie Irving in University of New Castle, UK with the kind help of Dr Girish Chinnaswamy. I came back to CMC and worked on standardization of MRD in ALL under the guidance of Dr Vikram Mathews. This project was successfully completed but to further my interest in MRD in acute myeloid leukemia, I joined as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Michael Loken, in Hematologics, Seattle, USA. This laboratory was the referral laboratory for the Childrens Oncology Group for AML in North America.

After working in Seattle for a year, I got appointed as a Clinician Scientist & Assistant Professor in Hematopathology Laboratory, Tata Memorial Centre. I was happy to learn that AML MRD was being carried out by Dr Navin Khattry, in the form of a translational project with the adult hematolymphoid disease management group and faculty of the hematopathology laboratory (Dr PG Subramanian, Dr Prashant Tembhare and Dr Gujral). But the project was in its final year of funding. It was at this time I applied to the Wellcome-DBT India Alliance so that this research could be carried forward and new questions could be asked. The funding was very generous but more importantly was the prestige of being awarded the fellowship.

It was my dream to utilize next generation sequencing and multiparametric flow cytometry towards improving diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of blood cancers. I am truly grateful to the India Alliance for making this dream come true. I hope to utilize this opportunity to the best of my abilities.