Dr Saranya Sridhar
Saranya Sridhar has a D.Phil from Oxford University, a Masters in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBBS from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, India. He is elected as a Diplomate member of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
Saranya completed his MBBS and internship at MGIMS in 2003. “It was a unique experience that shaped much of future career choices and outlook to medicine. The most valuable gift I received at MGIMS was mentorship, teachers whom I still turn to for advice, “ says Saranya. “My summers at MGIMS were spent on research projects in the laboratory learning ELISAs and growing mycobacteria to try and develop better diagnostic tests for tuberculosis and filariasis, two infectious diseases that were endemic to the region. This stoked my interest in infectious diseases and immunology and desire to develop a research career, Saranya recalls his association with MGIMS. At the end of his MBBS- he was ranked number one in all university examinations- he won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to read for a D.Phil at the University of Oxford.
The Rhodes Scholarship ( http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/ ) allowed Saranya to spend 4 wonderful years in Oxford where he worked on developing vaccines against malaria and tuberculosis. He demonstrated for the first time single-dose T-cell mediated protection against murine malaria using an adenoviral vectored vaccine. This formed part of the basis for the ongoing clinical development of this vaccination strategy against multiple infectious diseases. Oxford and the Rhodes Scholarship was a wonderful opportunity to study at a world class university while rubbing shoulders with some of the giants in medicine, technology and science. He then pursued a Masters in Epidemiology at University of California, Berkeley with Professor Arthur Reingold as a Fogarty International Training Fellow. He returned to MGIMS during this time to do field studies assessing point-of-care diagnostics for leptospirosis and malaria.
He returned to the UK to start his postdoctoral work at Imperial College London working on immune-epidemiology of respiratory infections. His work focused on understanding the basis of protective immunity against respiratory infections with the aim of developing new vaccines against two of the biggest pandemics - influenza and tuberculosis. His prospective cohort study identified the first T-cell correlate of protection against influenza. This recent work demonstrated that having a certain type of white blood cell recognising internal parts of the influenza virus makes individuals less likely to develop a severe bout of flu. He was also involved in the multi-centric cohort study (PREDICT) to develop new diagnostic tests for latent tuberculosis and work on understanding how to make a better tuberculosis vaccine. Saranya now is spending his time trying to develop new vaccines against influenza and ebola as a Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.