Gagandeep Kang

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Gagandeep Kang
Born (1962-11-03) November 3, 1962 (age 58)
Simla
NationalityIndian
Alma materChristian Medical College, Vellore (MBBS, MD, PhD)
AwardsInfosys Prize (2016)
Scientific career
FieldsInfectious disease
Vaccines
Enteric infections
Water
Sanitation[1]
InstitutionsChristian Medical College, Vellore
Baylor College of Medicine
Translational Health Science and Technology Institute
Websitecmcwtrl.in

Gagandeep Kang FRS[2] (born 3 November 1962) is an Indian Microbiologist and virologist who is the Professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India[1] and from August 2016 to July 2020 was 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.[3][4][5] 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.[3][6][7] In 2019, she became the first Indian woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.[8] She was on the Life Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2020.[9]

Kang is co-author of book Till We Win: India's Fight Against The COVID-19 pandemic, with Chandrakant Lahariya, a leading Indian medical doctor and Public policy and health system expert and Randeep Guleria , the director of AIIMS, New Delhi . The book has been published by India's leading publisher Penguin Random House India and has become an instant bestseller.

Early life and education[edit]

Gagandeep Kang was born in Shimla on 3 November 1962.[10] Her mother taught English and history and her father was a mechanical engineer in the Indian Railways.[10] Kang grew up moving around north and east India, changing schools 10 times. She practiced science frequently at home during her childhood, building a lab with her father at home when she was 12 and experimenting in biology, physics and chemistry.[11]

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.[3] She obtained her membership of the Royal College of Pathologists[when?] and carried out postdoctoral research with Mary K. Estes at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston before returning to the Christian Medical College.

Career and research[edit]

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. Her work has led to her being described as India's "vaccine godmother".[11]

She has published over 300 scientific papers and is or was 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). She has received honorary appointments as an associate faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland and adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.[12]

Kang played a significant role in the efforts that culminated in the development of Rotavac, a vaccine from Bharat Biotech International that targets diarrhea. She was one of three principal investigators in the Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine.[13] Her initial interest was in identifying the correlates of protection against the rotavirus. She and others began by recreating a study conducted in Mexico to identify children protected from rotaviral infection, research the immune responses and isolate the correlate of protection. The recreated study itself did not succeed, but it did develop high quality laboratory methods for the detection of rotaviruses. Kang and one of her students subsequently established vaccine assays for rotavirus infections, used in testing Rotavac.[14]

Since 2020, Kang has been an ex-officio member of a working group on COVID-19 vaccines established by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts at the WHO.[15]

Other activities[edit]

Recognition[edit]

Kang is the first Indian woman scientist to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 359 years of history of this scientific academy.[18] She was the ninth woman to be awarded the Infosys Prize. She is the first Indian and the first woman to edit Manson's Textbook of Tropical Medicine.[3] Other awards and honours include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gagandeep Kang publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b "Gagandeep Kang - Royal Society". Royalsociety.org. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Infosys Prize - Laureates 2016 - Prof. Gagandeep Kang". Infosys-science-foundation.com. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  4. ^ "Professor Gagandeep Kang : Hic Vac". www.hic-vac.org. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  5. ^ Raghavan, Prabha (7 July 2020). "Gagandeep Kang, vaccine scientist, quits top research institute". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  6. ^ Barath, Harini (7 March 2017). "10 women, 10 questions: Gagandeep Kang". IndiaBioscience.org. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  7. ^ "An E-mail Interview with Prof. Gagandeep Kang". Tropical Parasitology. 7 (2): 128. 1 July 2017. doi:10.4103/tp.TP_30_17. PMC 5652053. PMID 29114495. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Gagandeep Kang becomes first Indian woman to be elected Royal Society Fellow". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 2019-04-19. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2019-10-02.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ "Infosys Prize - Jury 2020". www.infosys-science-foundation.com. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  10. ^ a b Ramesh, Sandhya (24 April 2019). "Meet Gagandeep Kang, Shimla scientist who's helping save lives of thousands of Indian kids". ThePrint. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b Mohan, Shriya. "'Stick it out and make good friends'". @businessline. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  12. ^ "Gagandeep Kang". Rota Council. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  13. ^ "Rotavirus Vaccine Developed in India Demonstrates Strong Efficacy" (PDF). BharatBiotech.com. 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  14. ^ "My best collaborators are women, says Gagandeep Kang". TheHindu.com. 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  15. ^ SAGE Working Group on Covid-19 vaccines World Health Organization (WHO).
  16. ^ Global Health Centre International Advisory Board Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, press release of April 20, 2020.
  17. ^ Global Health Scientific Advisory Committee Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  18. ^ a b "Gagandeep Kang enters Royal Society of London as first Indian woman scientist fellow - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  19. ^ a b c "Translational Health Science and Technology Institute". thsti.res.in. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  20. ^ "Winners of Infosys Prize 2016 announced". Livemint.com/. 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2017-04-03.