Career Path Profile: Prof. Sanhita Roy, Ph.D

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Organised by Subha N Sarcar, Ph.D NHI February 2020

Prof. Sanhita Roy, Ph.D

Scientist: Prof. Brien Holden Eye Research Center;

Member: Indian National Young Academy of Science (INSA), L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad Contact:

Dr. Roy has been a keen observer and admirer of science since her childhood. She finished her Undergraduate with Chemistry major from the University of Calcutta, India. Later she pursued her Masters in the field of Biochemistry from the University of Kalyani, India and went on to pursue her Ph.D. at the prestigious CSIR-Institute of Chemical Biology, India.

Dr. Roy had a dream to learn from the best and expand her horizon in terms of gathering experience under experienced professors from renowned Universities, which led her to pursue two post-doctoral training at the Case Western University, Cleveland, USA. She pursued her first post-doc with Prof. Tartakoff at the department of Pathology and her second post-doc with Prof. Pearlman at the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision science. In her words, “she learned a lot about doing science and think critically in her first post-doc and the second post-doc nurtured her ambition of having her own lab one day”. Dr. Roy’s area of research is “microbial keratitis”, a kind of a corneal infection caused by various pathogens and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in developing countries. Often termed “silent epidemic”, in India itself this affects about 840,000 people every year. Such infections can lead to ocular emergency and furthermore may require corneal transplantation, often aggravated by increase in antibiotic resistance among the pathogens.

Dr. Roy’s lab studies host pathogen interactions and innate immune response during bacterial and fungal keratitis. Her lab focuses on various antimicrobial peptides and inhibitors of bacterial virulence that can be developed as alternative therapeutic interventions to combat antibiotic resistance.  

The main goal of Dr. Roy’s lab is to prevent blindness by targeting the infection causing pathogens, which involves study of cell signaling pathways activated during infection and identifying novel targets and new drugs towards achieving alternative therapeutic strategies. Dr. Roy’s lab also collaborate with scientists from India (BITS- Pilani) as well as UK (University of Sheffield), to achieve her research goals.

Dr. Roy believes that the happiness one gets from a small success after repeated failures can keep one excited, especially when the hypothesis gets validated. In her words, “along with rigor, one should not forget the fun of doing science”. She believes that, a lot is happening in India in terms of scientific research and currently there are lot of opportunities, which young scientists should avail.

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