Prof. Shinjini Bhatnagar is a physician scientist who worked with the Dept. of pediatrics at AIIMS for 25 years as a pediatric gastroenterologist and as a research scientist. Her group’s hypothesis driven research led to the introduction of the modified low osmolarity ORS and zinc in treatment of childhood Diarrhea and a diagnostic test for Celiac disease. She is currently the Dean for Clinical Research at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, an autonomous institute of the Dept. of Biotechnology GOI. She now leads large interdisciplinary research studies that bridge classical clinical research and modern biology to find solutions for diseases with public health importance. The two important programmes that she is coordinating are Garbh- ini (an interdisciplinary group for advanced research on birth outcome- DBT India initiative) and evaluation of Zinc as an adjunct to antimicrobial therapy for young infant sepsis. She is a fellow of three national academies i.e FAMS, NAMS and INSA.
She moved to the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), NCR Biotech Science Cluster, Faridabad in 2010 and established the Pediatric Biology Centre (PBC), an interdisciplinary research center for conducting research on maternal and child health to inform clinical practice. She initiated a novel research program to create new insights in the neonatal and infant immune systems, its maturation over infancy, and how it responds to antenatal, perinatal and early childhood stressors (PlosONE 2015). She established a unique large multidisciplinary research programs that bridge classical epidemiology with modern science to find solutions for diseases that have major public health significance in the country. The current focus is preterm birth and fetal growth restriction. The priority is to identify environmental, clinical and biological etiological factors, gain mechanistic insight into disease progression and use modern biological methods to identify measurement tools that could help in early risk stratification of pregnant women for preterm birth (and fetal growth restriction) in a large hospital-based cohort of pregnant women at a district hospital in Haryana. Such assessment tools based on a multi-disciplinary approach comprising methodologies of clinical, epidemiological, statistical, genetic, proteomic and imaging sciences will help in early identification of those “at risk” enabling early implementation of health and medical management tools to avoid mortality and adverse prognosis in later life. Her group has established a large bio bank of longitudinally collected varied bio specimens of these pregnant women with well characterized information on environmental, clinical, social and epidemiological determinants at different time points in pregnancy. This data will serve as an important national resource for answering additional research questions as new hypotheses emerge around birth, maternal health during pregnancy and questions around fetal origin of adult disease (Am J Epidemiol 2019).