Dr. Lena Robra
The Silent Pandemic of AMR
AMR has dangerous implications for human life, including the possibility of death triggered by bacterial infections. The last time a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics was developed was about five decades ago. Lack of awareness around AMR is prompting people to misuse antibiotics for infections that are not bacterial—particularly viral and fungal. The disease-causing bacteria in our bodies are developing resistance to the antibiotics and very soon we’ll run out of the strongest antibiotics available. This has serious consequences—when we genuinely need antibiotics to deal with medical issues like C-section deliveries, basic surgeries, pneumonia and tuberculosis among others, the antibiotics will be rendered useless and will not work on killing the disease-causing bacteria.
Pharmaceutical companies have largely stayed away from antimicrobial work because the science is hard and the regulatory environment is complex. It also takes years of research and trials to develop new antibiotics, whereas bacteria mutate every 20 minutes. So when a new class of antibiotics is developed, it would The motivation for pharmaceutical companies to invest resources to develop a new class of antibiotics is low because it would have to be used only as a last-resort drug—when all else fails—and wouldn’t be available as a mass product. Therefore, the opportunity to make money is far less compared to drugs for cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other such illnesses.
On October 30, during the AMR Dialogue we will launch the Indo-Swiss Innovation Platform, through which Swissnex in India, in collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in India and the Swiss Business Hub will facilitate strategic partnerships between India and Switzerland in areas of health, sustainability and digital transformation. The idea of the Platform is to consider matters beyond initial conversations in a planned and thorough manner that lead to tangible, measurable outcomes. AMR is just the beginning—we have several initiatives planned as part of the Platform through which we hope to deepen collaboration in areas that are relevant to both India and Switzerland.
Prof. Adrian Egli
Director, Institute of Medical Microbiology, University of Zurich
Adrian Egli studied medicine at the University of Basel (MD in 2004) and completed his PhD in Immunology and Virology in 2008. He is a board-approved specialist in Medical Microbiology. He has led the diagnostic laboratory for bacteriology and mycology at the University Hospital Basel from 2015 until 2022. In 2022, Adrian Egli joined the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Zurich as Director. His research focusses on the host-pathogen interaction and how pathogens adapt in terms of antimicrobial resistance and virulence.
In the context of AMR, Adrian Egli is researching and developing rapid diagnostics for AMR and molecular epidemiology. Adrian Egli sees AMR as a tremendously important medical problem for which it is necessary to find solutions addressing diagnostic challenges and also a better understanding of the epidemiology.
Prof. Amit Singh
Associate Professor Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Amit Singh conducted his PhD on the pathogenesis and gene regulation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb). His postdoc at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA with Dr. Adrie Steyn was on mechanisms of redox homeostasis in M. tb. In 2010, he started his lab at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, where he developed a redox biosensor of M. tb and revealed redox heterogeneity and how redox regulates drug tolerance in this human pathogen. Since 2014, he has worked at IISc Bengaluru, where his group exploited interdisciplinary strategies to dissect the redox basis of persistence in human pathogens M. tb and HIV. By taking advantage of redox biosensors, XF-flux analyses, omics-based strategies and animal studies, his work has helped find new mechanisms of how a macrophage’s acidic pH mobilises drug tolerance in M. tb and how the antimalarial drug chloroquine can be used to potentiate the action of anti-TB drugs during infection.
Dr. Anand Anandkumar, MD
CEO, Bugworks Research India
Anand Anandkumar is the founding CEO of Bugworks, a US- and India-based company solving the global antibiotic crisis using novel techniques to design next-generation antibiotics. Prior to Bugworks, Anand Anandkumar was co-founder of Cellworks, a company that pioneered the use of computational biology for personalised cancer care.
His specialties cover the semiconductor and biopharma industries, with emphasis in setting up and managing international operations particularly out of India and China. His experience covers managing operations, R&D groups, worldwide business development and sales channels.
Prof. Annelies Zinkernagel
Director, Department of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Annelies Zinkernagel, MD, PhD, is trained in infectious diseases, internal medicine, and experimental microbiology. She is Clinic Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene at the University Hospital, Zurich and Chair of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene at the University of Zurich.
Her research focusses on Staphylococci, Streptococci and bacterial pathogen-host interactions. Her group aims to understand resistance and virulence mechanisms for the identification of novel targets for anti-infective therapy and the pathogenesis of chronic infections associated with biofilms and persisters, as well as studying the potential of boosting the host’s innate immune system by increasing the microbicidal capacity of phagocytes aiming to prevent bacterial relapse. She is President of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and a member of the Swiss Federal Commission for Vaccinations.
Dr. Anuj Sharma, MD
National Professional Officer and Technical Focal Point for AMR, Labs and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) at the World Health Organization Country Office for India
Anuj Sharma is a medical doctor with an MD in Medical Microbiology with over 30 years of clinical and public health experience. He has worked with over 15 WHO country offices, including WHO regional offices for Southeast Asia and Western Pacific and WHO Headquarters. His work focussed on the development of national policies, strategies, action plans and technical guidance on AMR, laboratory strengthening, infection prevention and control (IPC) and eHealth. He coordinated the establishment of the Indian Network for Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (INSAR) – India’s first AMR surveillance network.
Anuj Sharma also coordinated the work of two cross-cutting working groups on AMR and laboratories while working at the WHO regional office for the Western Pacific in Manila. He is co-author of the WHO Global Report on AMR Surveillance, 2014 and started working in his current position as National Professional Officer and Technical Focal Point for AMR, Labs and infection prevention and control in 2016.
Dr. Aravind R.
Head of Department, Infectious Diseases and Convener of AMR Action Plan, Kerala State, Government Medical College, Trivandrum
Aravind R. is Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, and the convener of the working committee of Kerala Antimicrobial Resistance Strategic Action Plan (KARSAP). He is also the focal point for KARSAP, which is the most successful AMR action plan in the country.
Additionally he is a member of the National Technical Committee for Formulation of the National Antimicrobial and Stewardship Guidelines, the Technical Committee Lead for the Kerala State One Health Committee, a member of the Kerala State Medical Board and Convener of the Kerala State Vaccine Policy Committee.
Prof. Balaji Veeraraghavan, MD
Scientist, Christian Medical College, Vellore
Balaji Veeraraghavan is a medical doctor with an MD in Medical Microbiology. He obtained his PhD from the Christian Medical College & Hospital in 2006 and pursued a postdoc in infectious disease from the Tufts Medical School, Boston, USA. He was a member of the Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA) 2008-2009 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2018.
He has over 380 published papers and is currently part of 13 national and seven international projects related to research and surveillance in the area of AMR. His areas of particular interest are infectious disease diagnostics stewardship, AMR characterisation and surveillance, and vaccine-preventable invasive bacterial disease surveillance.
Dr. Bhavesh Choudhary
Head of Department, Recombinant Vaccines and Biotherapeutics, Serum Institute of India
Bhavesh Choudhary is a scientific strategist with over 20 years of experience in pharma and biotech R&D across various esteemed organisations in Asia and Europe.
He is a biotechnologist (cell biology, molecular biology and immunology) by training with a PhD and a postdoc in oncology and immunology. He is highly skilled in developing and managing biologics [New Biologic Entity(NBE)/ Biosimilars] and New Chemical Entity (NCE) drug development programmes across various disease areas. He has rich experience driving a translational research team and lead candidate profiling for regulatory submission. He also has extensive experience in setting up novel biologics/ biosimilar R&D Pipeline and commercialisation.
He is dedicated to creating an innovative, goal-oriented business culture in a team, and is responsible for setting up new departments, quality analysis, quality control and regulatory landscape for drug approval.
Prof. Carl Rudolf Blankart
President, Swiss Round Table on Antibiotics, University of Bern
Carl Rudolf Blankart is a researcher at the KPM Center for Public Management at the University of Bern and the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine. He chairs the economics cluster at the University of Bern’s Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Diseases.
Carl Rudolf Blankart’s research is situated at the intersection of medicine, management and law, and aims to improve the pathway from idea to patient. He focusses on regulatory and reimbursement frameworks for medicinal products and medical devices, exploring how these frameworks can improve health provision. Carl Rudolf Blankart is particularly passionate about translating research results into practice. To this end, he is involved with the Swiss Round Table on Antibiotics and the Swiss Association for the Promotion of Self-Management. He is also a member of the board of directors of Decomplix AG, a company that simplifies market access for medical devices. In addition, he provides advisory services to private and public organisations on health policy and regulatory issues.
Dr. Chitra Pattabhiraman
Chitra Pattabiraman is a virologist and molecular biologist who uses genomic tools to identify pathogens, particularly in brain infections. She works at the interface of emerging infections and public health in India – particularly in pathogen genomics.
She obtained her integrated MSc-PhD in biological sciences from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru and was awarded a postdoc fellowship to work with the Brain Infections Group at the University of Liverpool. She was then awarded the India Alliance Early Career Fellowship to work at the Department of Neurovirology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS), Bengaluru following which she was the Practice Head for Infectious Diseases at Strand Life Sciences. She was the Chief Scientific Officer at the Infectious Diseases Research Foundation and works now as an independent research consultant.
For the last two years, she has been tracking the introduction, spread and emergence of variants of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka. She develops tools to visualise and analyse this data and is looking forward to understanding what sort of genomics solutions are needed and to what extent this tool can be used in different contexts for the surveillance of AMR.
Prof. Christoph Dehio
Research Group Leader and Director NCCR AntiResist, Biozentrum, University of Basel
Christoph Dehio received his PhD in genetics from University of Cologne in 1992 for a thesis work with Professor Jeff Schell at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne, Germany. For his postdoctoral research, he joined Professor Philippe Sansonetti at Institut Pasteur in Paris.
From 1995-2000, he was a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen, Germany. In 2000, he obtained a tenure-track assistant professorship at Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland. Four years later, he was promoted to tenured associate professor, and in 2011 to full professor. Since this year, he is Director of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) AntiResist, with a focus on research and development of new approaches to combating antibiotic-resistant (2020-2032). During his career, Christoph Dehio has received numerous awards, including the Robert Koch Postdoctoral Award, Pfizer Research Award and the Research Award of the German Society of Hygiene and Microbiology.
Dr. Dhanasekaran Shanmugam
Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratories, Pune
Dhanasekaran Shanmugam runs the molecular parasitology lab at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune. He is a biochemist with a PhD from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, where he studied porphyrin biosynthesis in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. His postdoctoral training was in Professor David Roos’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
In his laboratory at CSIR-NCL, they use the apicomplexan parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii as models to study the drug mechanism of action and resistance, particularly focussing on drug and inhibitors acting on metabolic functions associated with the mitochondria and plastid organelles of these parasites. His lab has developed Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT)-based sequencing protocols for genotyping human malaria drug resistance from clinical samples. Further, they use the ONT protocol to detect dairy animal pathogens and associated AMR and drug resistance.
Dr. Dhanya Dharmapalan, MD
Consultant in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai
Dhanya Dharmapalan is the National Coordinator of the Apollo Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme (for over 70 Apollo Hospitals). She earned her MD degree from University of Pune, India and then pursued a Postgraduate Diploma in Paediatric Infectious Diseases from the University of Oxford. She is currently serving as the Chair of the AMR working group of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) (2023-2025). She is also a co-lead of the Global Health Subcommittee of Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (PIDS), USA since 2018.
She has served as an Editor of over eighteen paediatric textbooks including as Editor-in-Chief of the textbook ‘Evidence Based Practices in Management of Paediatric Infectious Diseases‘. She has numerous research publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has been part of several writing committees of rational antibiotic practice modules of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. She has received several awards and has been honoured as a Fellow by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (2019) and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, USA (2023).
Manager, INCATE and MIRAHI, INCATE Accelerator, University of Basel
Douglas Häggström joined the INCATE management team in June 2021, where he focusses on community building and partnerships. INCATE is the leading early-stage pipeline coordinator in Europe for antibiotic therapies.
In addition to INCATE, Douglas has a role at the University of Basel Innovation Office developing innovation programmes including the Swiss Leading House Africa. The Innovation Office of the University of Basel is active in AMR with programmes in stewardship (Spearhead) and functioning as host to the National Competence Centre for Research – AntiResist.
Douglas Häggström has worked to build startup communities in healthcare since 2015 including co-founding the DayOne initiative. He has worked in the consulting, teaching, media, pharma and fintech industries.
Dr. Jan Fehr, MD
Head of Department and Professor for Global Health and Mobility, University of Zurich
Jan Fehr specialises in internal medicine and infectious diseases with long-term experience in addressing global health challenges. He is currently the Head of Department of Public and Global Health at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI) at the University of Zurich, and a member of the directorate management body of EBPI at University of Zurich. He is also the head of the Travel Medicine Clinic of University of Zurich. Since 2020, he has played a leading role in Switzerland’s coronavirus response. He is a Co-Founder and Executive Board Member of the national ‘Corona Immunitas’ study platform.
His research focusses on HIV, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, mobility medicine and Covid-19. Currently, he is responsible for the SwissPrEPared platform, which aims to end HIV/ AIDS in Switzerland. Internationally, he is co-leading the academic partnership between the University of Zurich and Makerere University of Kampala, Uganda, and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda. He is one of the founders of Researchers for Global Health, which addresses global health challenges through the above-mentioned global partnership accompanied by the south-north conferences called ‘Dialogue Days’. Additionally, he has paved the way for another partnership between University of Zurich, KPC Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru.
He is a member of the Swiss Federal Commission for issues relating to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Co-Chair of the working group ‘clinic & treatment’. He is also a member of an expert opinion group, which formulates diagnostic and treatment recommendations for chronic Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis in Switzerland. In 2022, he received a mandate to become the University of Zurich One Health representative in the Una Europa University Alliance.
Prof. Jörg Jores
Director, Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Bern
Jörg Jores graduated from vet school in Berlin in 1996. Subsequently, he did his doctorate conducting research on Vibrio that had been isolated from the Baltic Sea at the German Federal Research Institute for Disease Control and Prevention (Robert Koch Institute). He then joined the Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics at the Free University Berlin and worked as a scientific staff member doing research on intestinal pathogens such as Escherichia coli, lecturing and providing diagnostic services. From 2005 to 2016, he lived in East Africa and worked at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. At ILRI, he built a Mycoplasma research team and contributed towards the development of diagnostics and vaccines. His focus of research activities were contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia. Apart from this, he worked on bacterial and viral diseases that affect the dromedary camel. In 2016, he took up the position of Director of the Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology at the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Switzerland. His fields of expertise and research activities are host-pathogen interactions of mycoplasmas, synthetic genomics and diseases of the hoof.
Dr. Kenneth Bradley
Vice President and Global Head, Infectious Disease Discovery, F. Hoffman-La Roche
Kenneth Bradley is an executive and scientist with a passion to bring novel therapeutics and cures to patients suffering from viral and bacterial diseases. Currently he is Vice President and Global Head, Infectious Disease Discovery at Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED). Previously, he served as Head of Antibiotics Research at Roche pRED (2015-2019). From 2002 to 2015, he was professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. His academic research focussed on bacterial and viral host-pathogen interactions. He also served as Director of the Molecular Screening Shared Resource, a high-throughput screening facility supporting academia, biotech and pharma.
Dr. Laasya Samhita
Assistant Professor of Biology, Ashoka University
Laasya Samhita is a molecular biologist by training and explores problems at the intersection of molecular biology (how questions) and evolutionary biology (why questions). While DNA-based or genetic change is fairly well understood, the mechanisms by which non-genetic cellular changes contribute to adaptation and evolution remain poorly known. Her lab will investigate how non-genetic variation can contribute to shaping phenotypes and evolution using in vivo and in vitro molecular biology techniques combined with genetics and experimental evolution. Specifically, the lab will focus on the themes of mistranslation and antibiotic resistance, combining basic and applied research.
Laasya Samhita received a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru majoring in Chemistry, Microbiology and Zoology. She then joined the Integrated PhD programme at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. After her PhD, she worked as an independent science writer and communicator for a year, writing for newspapers and magazines such as New Scientist and The Scientist. She then returned to research with a Wellcome/DBT early-career fellowship at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, where she developed her ideas on how errors in protein synthesis could aid in adaptation. She was also a visiting researcher at Uppsala University, Sweden.
Dr. Madhav Joshi
CEO, India Health Fund
Madhav Joshi is Chief Executive Officer of India Health Fund – an initiative of Tata Trusts and the Global Fund, which aims to help accelerate the control and elimination of communicable diseases by de-risking the development of technology-led solutions that can help improve outcomes in diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and strengthen primary care. India Health Fund has led the development of several collaborative initiatives to further this goal. Madhav Joshi has previously worked with Pfizer and Nestlé in India, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Dr. Maneesh Paul
Co-inventor of anti-infective Enmetazobactam at Orchid Pharma, Maneesh Paul is a clinical microbiologist who pursued basic and applied research discovering novel anti-infectives and characterising several microbial genes and proteins. He has translated scientific accomplishments through patents and publications.
He did his postdoc in Infectious Diseases, specifically in molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of neonatal microbial meningitis at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USA and the role of A. actinomycetemcomitans in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis at Umeå University, Sweden. He was an ORISE Fellow at the Centre for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), US Food and Drug Administration researching on reverse vaccinology of N. meningitidis, and as an industrial fellow in new anti-infectives discovery at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, India.
He founded Microvioma, a research-based organisation built on verified science to participate in the fight against AMR and WHO’s One Health mission.
He is an AMR stewardship champion and has served as a member of the AMR Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, USA, and is also a member of its research committee.
He received his Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), India, and his PhD from Gulbarga University.
Dr. Man-Wah Tan
Vice President and Senior Fellow, Department of Infectious Diseases, Genentech, Roche Group
Man-Wah Tan is Vice President and Senior Fellow at Genentech Research and Early Development, South San Francisco, C.A. In his role, he heads the infectious diseases therapeutic area and host-microbe interactions research. He heads the teams responsible for the discovery and development of transformative therapeutics against hard-to-treat diseases and infectious agents of medical importance, with special emphasis on viral and bacterial pathogens. He also leads discovery efforts in unravelling the molecular basis of host-microbe interactions and investigations into the roles of the microbiota in health and disease, with focus on gastro-intestinal diseases and immunooncology.
After his PhD at the University of Harvard, Man-Wah Tan served on the faculty at the genetics department at the Stanford University School of Medicine for over 10 years where his lab focussed on elucidating the role of innate immunity in host-pathogen interactions. He joined Genentech in 2010.
The impact of Man-Wah Tan’s scientific work at Genentech has made him an important figure internationally in host-microbe interactions. He has published over 80 research articles in top-tier journals, and is the recipient of multiple awards. At Genentech, he has contributed to the discovery of one FDA-approved medicine and six other clinical assets spanning diverse therapeutic modalities: monoclonal antibody, antibody-drug conjugate and small molecules.
Dr. Martin Heidecker
Chief Investment Officer, AMR Action Fund
Martin Heidecker, PhD, MBA, Chief Investment Officer at AMR Action Fund joined the fund in 2021 coming from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, where he worked as Managing Director USA in Cambridge, M.A. He served as a board director of ArmaGen Technologies (acquired by JCR Pharma), Tilos Therapeutics (acquired by Merck), Sentien Biotechnologies, Abexxa Biologics (acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim), Libra Therapeutics and Rgenta Therapeutics. Martin Heidecker also serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the premier global life sciences and healthcare hub.
He started his career as an investor focussing on seed investments in biotechnology companies in Germany. Later, he held several international marketing positions at Solvay Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer Ingelheim in CNS and Oncology and was involved in the launch of various drugs in the CNS space. Martin Heidecker holds a PhD in Biology from University of Würzburg and an MBA from FernUniversität Hagen.
Dr. Michael Kowarik
Chief Scientific Officer, LimmaTech Biologics
As Chief Scientific Officer, Michael Kowarik is responsible for LimmaTech’s scientific development, focussing on pipeline development and operational R&D performance. Michael has a PhD in Biochemistry from the ETH Zurich and developed a broad experience in the biotech industry. After university, he joined GlycoVaxyn to develop its bioconjugation vaccine platform through its early stages. As Vice President of Research and IP, he was responsible for the innovation of platform science and the collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline that culminated in GlycoVaxyn’s acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline in February 2015. After that, Michael joined LimmaTech as a co-founder, and soon took the role of Vice President of Business Strategy and IP to drive LimmaTech’s proprietary business, marking his journey into therapeutics. With the successful spin-out of the therapeutics assets into the newly-formed company GlycoEra in January 2021, he moved back to his true scientific passion – vaccines.
Dr. Michael Gasser
Epidemiologist and Deputy Head, Swiss Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance (ANRESIS), University of Bern
Michael Gasser holds a PhD in biomedical science from the University of Bern. After training in applied statistics at the ETH Zurich, he joined the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. He is an epidemiologist at the ANRESIS at the University of Bern.
As an epidemiologist, he is responsible for the surveillance of human AMR in Switzerland, using various statistical approaches. Examples are the creation of personalised statistics for different stakeholders, modelling/estimating the AMR burden of Switzerland or implementing automated outbreak detection algorithms.
Dr. Minal Dakhave
General Manager, R&D Mylab Discovery Solutions
Minal Dakhave is a visionary leader with nearly 14 years of extensive experience in diagnostic product development and commercialisation. She was involved in delivering the first COVID-19 RT-PCR test kit in India and the first Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) kit for blood donors in Asia. Minal Dakhave delivered more than 75 products in diagnostics with features of sample-to-result, automation, point-of-care and innovation.
She has several honours and recognitions, including the Best Researcher Award of 2023 and the Rising Star of the Year Award at the Biopharma Conclave. She was nominated for the prestigious Padma Award for her contribution to society with RT-PCR diagnostic solution during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. She was felicitated on Women’s Day 2021 for Women in STEM by Resilient Cosmeceuticals, India. Additionally, she was honoured for exemplary public service during the COVID-19 pandemic by the National Commission for Minorities and the Rotary Club of Pune.
Prof. Nishad Matange
Assistant Professor, Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune
Nishad Matange received his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, working on Signalling pathways in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb). From 2015 to 2020, he was an INSPIRE Fellow, IISER (Pune), working on the evolutionary genetics of AMR. From 2021 onwards, as an assistant professor at IISER Pune, his lab has investigated the evolutionary genetics and mechanisms of AMR.
His lab is interested in the mechanisms of AMR and how mutations evolve at different antibiotic concentrations. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the DBT/Wellcome India Alliance Intermediate Fellowship (2021), Ben Barres Spotlight Award, eLife (2021), SERB-Research Scientist, SERB, Govt. of India (2020) and the INSPIRE Faculty Fellowship, DST, Govt. of India (2015).
Prof. Pascale Vonäsch
Professor, Department of Fundamental Microbiology, University of Lausanne
Pascale Vonäsch, MSc, MPH, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of Lausanne and a principal investigator within the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Microbiomes. She was trained as a Microbiologist at the ETH Zurich and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Subsequently, she completed her PhD thesis on host-pathogen interactions at the Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, and a postdoctoral research stay at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, where she initiated and led the Afribiota project, a translational research project aimed at elucidating the pathophysiology underlying stunted child growth.
She then joined the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute for two years as a senior postdoc/ junior group leader to continue her work on undernutrition before moving with her group to the University of Lausanne. Her lab focusses on fundamental and translational/clinical research on the human intestinal ecosystem and the contribution of the microbiota to health and disease. In her research, she is especially interested in the role of the intestinal microbiome in childhood malnutrition and in the development of microbiota-targeted interventions, as well as the role of the microbiome as a reservoir of AMR genes/strains.
Prof. Pilar Junier
Professor of Microbiology, University of Neuchâtel
Pilar Junier is Director at the Laboratory of Microbiology, Institute of Biology at the University of Neuchâtel. In the context of AMR, her work focusses on developing alternative treatments for fungal pathogens. In addition to her extensive and award-winning body of research focussing on microbe environment interactions, Pilar Junier is also deeply involved in science communication, outreach and teaching microbiology. She has won numerous awards for the same. For Pilar Junier, AMR is an international problem, and solutions should be discussed in international forums. She looks forward to an open exchange on problems, solutions and opportunities at the Indo-Swiss AMR Innovation Dialogue.
Prof. Ranjana Pathania
Professor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee
Ranjana Pathania’s research focusses on antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens, antibacterial drug discovery through chemical genetics approach and non-coding RNAs in Acinetobacter baumannii. Her work employs forward chemical genetics and drug repurposing strategies to combat AMR. She also works on uncovering post-transcriptional regulation of pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance in A. baumannii. In AMR, Ranjana Pathania is looking to discover novel chemical entities that can be used (novel antibacterials, efflux pump inhibitors, adjunct molecules to revive the activity of ineffective antibiotics).
Dr. Ravindra Agarwal, MD
Chief Coordinator AMR Containment, Delhi; Advisor, Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi
Ravindra Agarwal is a medical doctor with an MD in Medical Microbiology. He is the Chief Coordinator of AMR Containment, Delhi and has been instrumental in coordinating and supervising the State Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Delhi (SAP-CARD), which was released in January 2020. He was awarded the State Award for Meritorious Services by the Government of Delhi. Ravindra Agarwal had a WHO Fellowship on AMR at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
He has previously been associated with various health programmes of the Government of India, via the Central Health Service Government of India. Notable among them are the polio eradication program and the bio-medical waste management.
Dr. Reety Arora
Senior Scientist, CrisprBits
Reety Arora is a molecular biologist with expertise in tumour virology, cancer biology and CRISPR. At the University of Pittsburgh, USA, she completed her doctorate in Professor Yuan Chang and Professor Patrick Moore’s laboratory, studying how Merkel cell polyomavirus causes a rare skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma. After a brief postdoctorate at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology, Bengaluru, she moved back to studying tumour viruses and their role in cancer, although with the perspective of stemness. She was awarded the Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance Early Career Fellowship for this endeavour. She pursued this during her seven-year postdoctoral track under the mentorship of Professor Sudhir Krishna at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru. During this term, she also worked in Dr. James DeCaprio’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, Boston and at Dr. Kurt Engeland’s laboratory at the University of Leipzig, Germany. After this, she briefly consulted for the Sankalp India Foundation and Capulus Therapeutics. She currently works as a senior scientist at CrisprBits.
Dr. Sagar Khadanga
Associate Professor of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhopal
Sagar Khandaga is an associate professor at AIIMS Bhopal. His research work includes initiating AMR activities in hospitals in India, comprehensive omics studies to understand the biology of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) clinical isolates from Arunachal Pradesh, blood test for all forms of active TB for commercialisation in India and capacity building and strengthening of hospital infection control to detect and prevent antimicrobial resistance in India.
He has been instrumental in setting up the AIIMS Bhopal Regional Centre for the AMR Surveillance Network funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Additionally, he has worked on the diagnostic accuracy of the foldscope and the feasibility of its use in malaria control programmes under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and estimating incremental cost of treating resistant infections in India funded by ICMR.
Dr. Sanjay Sarin
Vice President, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)
Sanjay Sarin is responsible for providing leadership for FIND’s strategic plan development as well as implementation of current and planned operations across FIND’s country offices, expanding and strengthening FIND’s country programmes globally while ensuring continued engagement with partners and donors. Sanjay Sarin serves on the Tuberculosis Green Light Committee for WHO’s South East Asia region, the lab technical working group for the National AIDS Control Organization, India, and the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group reviewing COVID-19 proposals.
Before this, Sanjay Sarin served as country head for FIND India for six years, providing leadership towards strategic plan development and implementation, resource mobilisation and managing key relationships with policymakers, civil society, industry partners and donors. He also led policy and advocacy efforts for FIND in India, positioning FIND as a key partner in Health Systems Strengthening.
Sanjay Sarin joined FIND from Becton Dickinson (BD), where he was the Regional Director of Global Health for the Asia Pacific region and was responsible for designing, developing and implementing BD’s public health strategies.
Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh, MD
Chief Medical Superintendent, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham Kerala
Sanjeev K. Singh is a paediatrician by training, did his Master’s in Hospital Management and holds a PhD in Infection Control. He worked as a regional coordinator at WHO India, before joining as Chief Medical Superintendent at a 1350-bed university teaching super speciality hospital in Kerala.
Sanjeev K. Singh is an external consultant to WHO on regulatory, licensing policy issues and quality interventions in India. He is a technical advisor to several state government healthcare projects (e-learning, reduction of AMR, antibiotic stewardship and infection control) and on infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship for the state of Kerala, India.
Besides this, he is a member of the Drug Safety Council, Government of India and a member of the healthcare committee at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce of India (FICCI) and other healthcare and safety-related organisations.
Prof. Sebastian Hiller
Professor of Structural Biology and Biophysics, Biozentrum, University of Basel
Sebastian Hiller graduated in 2002 from ETH Zurich. He did his PhD in the group of Kurt Wüthrich at ETH Zurich and postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Gerhard Wagner at Harvard Medical School, Boston. In 2010, Sebastian Hiller started his independent research group at Biozentrum, Basel and is currently a full professor. His research group employs integrative structural biology techniques, particularly advanced-solution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) methods, to unravel the molecular mechanisms of biomacromolecules at the atomic level. Key topics are molecular chaperones and their interaction with client proteins and the elucidation of the biophysical principles underlying their function; the mechanisms of protein folding into the bacterial outer membrane and its inhibition by novel antibiotics; the structural biology of the innate immune response; and dynamic mechanisms of kinases. He is a member of the Swiss National Center for Competence in Research – AntiResist.
Dr. Shawna McCallin
Group Leader, Department of Neuro-Urology, Phage Therapy and Research Group, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich
Shawna McCallin is a group leader and clinical researcher at the Department of Neuro-Urology, Phage Therapy and Research Group, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich. In the context of AMR, Shawna McCallin works on developing phage therapy as an alternative treatment for bacterial infections. She has been on the Guideline for Personalized Phage Therapy subcommittee chair since 2023, and is a member of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) since September 2019. She is an executive board member of the Antimicrobial Alternatives Study Group and Evidence Review Group (ESGNTA) and is on the executive board of the International Society for Viruses of Microbes (ISVM).
Dr. Shraddha Karve
Faculty Fellow, Trivedi School of Biology, Ashoka University
Shraddha Karve’s research positions include Independent Faculty Fellow, Ashoka University, (December 2021 to present), Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Zurich, (October 2016 to December 2020), Research Associate, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune (May 2016 to August 2016), and PhD student, IISER Pune (August 2009 to April 2016).
She has received grants and awards such as Leader of the team that won the Innovation Award of Vivli AMR Global Data Challenge, 2023; the SERB Start-up Grant for setting up Experimental Pipeline for Evolutionarily Informed Drug Design; the SMBE Award to organise regional meeting in India; Indian National Science Academy Medal for Young Scientist, 2020; the URPP Evolution in Action Grant, University of Zurich, for conducting interdisciplinary research in evolutionary topic, 2019; and the Graduate Campus Grant from the University of Zurich to organise the Indo-Swiss Primer Conference in Evolution and Ecology, 2018.
Shraddha Karve’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals like Nature Communications, Nature Ecology & Evolution and Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Dr. Sidharth Chopra
Associate Professor, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow
Sidharth Chopra is a microbiologist with special interest in drug discovery for ESKAPE – a group of opportunistic pathogen species and Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) pathogens. He completed his postdoc from the University of Stanford in 2008 and is a recipient of the Chevening Rolls-Royce Fellow, University of Oxford in 2016.
Project Lead, Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Strategy Human Sector, Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland
Simon Gottwalt is a molecular biologist by training with a special focus on infectious diseases and drug development, and a fellow of the Mercator Fellowship on international affairs. He is responsible for the implementation of the Swiss antibiotic resistance strategy in the human sector at the Federal Office of Public Health in Switzerland.
Previously, he was a programme officer at the NGO Biovision in Zurich, responsible for managing development projects in Kenya and Ethiopia in tropical diseases and sustainable agriculture. He worked for WHO in the area of access to medicines and financing of research and development.
Dr. Sindura Ganapathi
Fellow, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India
Sindura Ganapathi is currently working on building the National One Health Mission, focussed on implementing integrated disease control and pandemic preparedness that brings together human, animal and environmental sectors. He has been involved in building end-to-end digital architecture for the livestock sector in India and streamlining regulatory processes, among others.
He worked for nearly a decade in global health, specifically maternal and child health. Before that, he was a biomedical researcher focussed on ion channel physiology and inositol phosphate biology.
Sindura Ganapathi grew up in a rural farming household in Karnataka. His educational background includes a Master’s in Veterinary Pharmacology and an MBA and PhD in Pharmacology from the Pennsylvania State University, USA.
Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed
Director and CEO, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP)
Taslimarif Saiyed is the CEO and Director of C-CAMP. His initial training has been in neurosciences, where he received his PhD from the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany and followed it up with postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). At the same time, he also underwent training in Management for Biotech and Innovation from the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at the Universities of California in Santa Cruz, Berkeley and UCSF. He has also completed a biotech management programme for biotech executives at the Wharton School of Management, University of Pennsylvania. In the Bay Area, he served as a Management Consultant with QB3 New Biotech Venture Consulting, and in an individual capacity he also consulted for many biotech firms in the US.
Taslimarif Saiyed is an Adjunct Faculty at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras and also at the Amrita Institute, School of Biotechnology. He aheads the Discovery to Innovation Accelerator programme at C-CAMP. He is actively involved in promoting innovation in life science/healthcare by supporting translation of discoveries to application, entrepreneurship and technology development.
Prof. Tavpritesh Sethi
Head, Center of Excellence in Healthcare and Associate Professor, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi
Tavpritesh Sethi is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computational Biology and Head of the Center of Excellence in Healthcare at IIIT, Delhi. Tavpritesh Sethi is working towards building nationwide AMR surveillance models using machine learning. He also works on machine learning-aided prediction of sepsis onset in neonatal ICUs, providing decision-making tools regarding the usage of antibiotics. His paper titled ‘Estimating the Impact of Health Systems Factors on Antimicrobial Resistance in Priority Pathogens’ was published in the Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance. He has also previously worked in genomic surveillance of COVID-19.
Prof. Utpal Tatu
Chairman and Professor, Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru
Utpal Tatu’s research on global health focusses on neglected diseases and AMR. He is an early proponent of the One Health approach and was invited to give a TED talk on One Health in 2013.
He is a recipient of awards such as the Ranbaxy Research Award and the Birla Science Prize. Utpal Tatu serves on the editorial board of the Molecular & Cellular Proteomics journal affiliated with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the Parasitology journal published by the Cambridge University Press, and the New Microbes New Infections journal published by Springer. He is an elected fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Ex-President of the Proteomic Society of India and a member of the research advisory board of the Malaria Elimination Research Alliance, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). Utpal Tatu has founded an entrepreneurial initiative out of IISc called Equine Biotech that focusses on human, animal and environmental interactions in the spread of infections. He was one of the first from academia in Karnataka to develop an RT-PCR kit for COVID-19 that was ICMR-approved.
He served as a member of the United States Pharmacopoeia Expert Panel for Biologics, advises the Government of Karnataka on investments in biotech startups, and serves on the advisory board of national and international biotech companies.
Dr. Vaishali Gupte, MD
Director, Medical Services, Cipla
Vaishali Gupte has qualified as MD in Anaesthesia from the University of Mumbai and has nine years of clinical practice as a specialist in Anaesthesia. She has industry experience of 18 years, heading the medical teams of acute care, critical care and diagnostic divisions of Cipla. She leads the anti-infective portfolio of Cipla’s India business (approx. 40 products), key ones include injectables like Colistin, Fosfomycin, Ceftazidime Avibactam, Minocycline and BL-BLI.
She works towards facilitating awareness about AMR and antibiotic stewardship among healthcare professionals and patients through scientific activities such as webinars, workshops, CMEs and video clips. She led Cipla India’s entire Covid-19 portfolio, which included drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and monoclonal antibody. She has been instrumental in portfolio ideation and expansion to combat AMR in India. One of the key leading members for AMR committee of Cipla, she has participated as speaker in many Cipla forums. She is also involved in evidence generation including survey, in vitro susceptibility study and real-world evidence (RWE). She has authored three papers and has been invited as a reviewer for two Public Library of Science (PLOS) articles. She is working on few products to facilitate diagnostic stewardship to combat AMR.
Dr. Vasan Sambandamurthy
Senior Vice President Strategy and Operations, Bugworks Research India
Vasan Sambandamurthy is Senior Vice President, Strategy and Global Operations at Bugworks Research and brings over 20 years of professional experience in vaccine discovery and drug development at major global corporations like Novartis, AstraZeneca and Biocon. At these organisations, he has held senior leadership positions, provided strategic directions and orchestrated major business operations to develop affordable medicines across multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, diabetes, infectious diseases (specifically against tuberculosis and malaria) and inflammation.
Most recently, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance, a major global funding agency (annual budget of £24 million) promoting basic, biomedical and clinical research across India. He serves as a board member of the AMR Industry Alliance – one of the largest private sector coalitions set up to provide sustainable solutions to curb AMR.
Vasan Sambandamurthy is a recipient of several awards, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship to pursue his postdoctoral research at AECOM, New York. He has over 50 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and is a co-inventor on four patents.
Director, Business Development, Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP)
Yann Ferrisse joined GARDP as Business Development and Analysis Leader in January 2018. Since October 2022, he has held the position of Director of Business Development and Partner Engagement.
Prior to joining GARDP, Yann Ferrisse was the Managing Director of Alcimed, an innovation consulting firm, focussed on exploring and developing novel opportunities for their clients. During his time at Alcimed, he set up country offices in Europe and Asia. Alongside his principle role in business development, Yann Ferrisse has been instrumental in creating SECURE, an initiative to expand access to essential antibiotics, in close collaboration with WHO and with strategic input from Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and UNICEF.
Prof. Y.K. Gupta
Principal Advisor India, Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), Delhi
Yogendra Kumar Gupta is a renowned pharmacologist. He served at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi for over 30 years, and superannuated as dean. Y.K. Gupta has been instrumental in preparing the National List of Essential Medicines.
He was instrumental in the efforts that led to the global acceptability of Indian Scientific Data. He chaired the committee for the reforming of clinical trial regulations in India. The new regulations are now known as “New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules” (NDCT 2019). He is a member of the Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products, Government of India, and of National Pharma Pricing Authority.
Y.K. Gupta continues to contribute towards medical education and patient care, serving as the president of AIIMS, Jammu.
Dr. Lena Robra