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  Dr. Uma Banerjee Uma Banerjee  
 
Professor and Chief
Department of Microbiology
Indraprastha Dental College and Hospital (IPDC & h)
Sahibabad, Gaziabad, UP, India
(Former Professor and Chief of Mycology and ICP Laboratories, Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, New Delhi, India)
Phone: 91-11-45635487 (landline), 09810165570 (cell)
Email: umabanerjee@gmail.com
US Callaborator: Drs. Arturo Casadevall, Bettina Fries, David Goldman, Josh Nosanchuk
 
 

Dr. Uma Banerjee visited Arturo Casadevall's laboratory in 2001 (and also in 2003 and 2004) to initiate research on various aspects of Cryptococcosis biology. Under this program, Dr Banerjee acquired additional practical skills in the development of monoclonal antibodies against C. neoformans, and developed a animal model for initial infection (hilar lymphadenopathy) and its use in early diagnosis of clinical infection. In collaboration with Drs. Casadevall, Fries, Goldman and Nosanchuk, three of her graduate students (Neena Jain, Piyali Mandal, Dolan Saha) carried out studies on C. neoformans. Dr Banerjee and her students learned diverse molecular techniques and microscopy methods including electron microscopy, which has helped improve diagnostics in the home institution. This work also led to the demonstration of circulatory untypable Cryptococcal strains, microevolution of infectious strains, phenotypic switching of clinical strains derived from patients with chronic infections and simultaneous dual infection etc., all of which have potential direct consequences for therapy (Dr Neena Jain and Dr Piyali Mandal). Dolan Saha, who was co-mentored by Dr. Goldman in her doctoral research made important contributions to our current understanding that many cases of Cryptococcus represent re-activation of latent infection, like tuberculosis. Her work also characterized differences in the humoral response of HIV-infected and uninfected patients to cryptococcosis. The collaborative work under AITRP support formed a major part of the doctoral thesis of these graduate students

This capacity building program has not only led to a state-of-the-art training for the students of Dr. Banerjee, but also helped to generate novel information in the area of cryptococcus research and extend research into other opportunistic yeast infections such as Candidasis. The overall success is reflected in our joint publications with the Einstein mycology researchers. Dr Banerjee continues to actively collaborate with several fungal pathogenesis research groups across India.

Awards:
  1. Dr. Banerjee received the prestigious Dr. D. C. Aggarwal Oration Award by the Delhi Chapter of Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists (IAMM-D) in March, 2010. The title of her talk was "A Voyage to Eternal Challenge: A Fascinating Field of Research in Mycology".
Dr. Banerjee's students who visited Einstein AITRP for training:
  1. Dr. Neena Jain
  2. Dr. Piyali Mandel
  3. Dr. Dolan C. Saha
Publications through AITRP-supported collaboration:
  1. Banerjee U, Datta K, Casadevall A. Serotype distribution of C. neoformans in a tertiary care center in India (2003) Med Mycol. 42:181-6.
  2. Datta K, Jain N, Sethi S, Rattan A, Casadevall A, Banerjee U (2003) Fluconazole and Itraconazole susceptibility of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans at a tertiary care center in India: A need for care. J Antimicrob Chemother. 52 (4): 683-6.
  3. N. Jain B. L. Wickes S. M. Keller, J. Fu, A. Casadevall, P. Jain, M. A. Ragan, U. Banerjee, and B. C. Fries (2005) Molecular Epidemiology of Clinical Cryptococcus neoformans Strains from India J Clin Microbiol. 43:5733-42.
  4. Mandal P, Banerjee U, Casadevall A and Nosanchuk JD (2005) Dual infections with pigmented and albino strains of Cryptococcus neoformans in patients with or without human immunodeficiency virus infection in India. J Clin Microbiol. 43:4766-72.
  5. N.Jain, Li Li, D.C. Mc Fadden, U. Banerjee, X. Wang, E. Cook, and B.C. Fries. (2006) Phenotypic Switching in a C. neoformans variety gattii strain is associated with changes in virulence and promotes dissemination to the central nervous system. Infect Immun. 74: 896 - 903.
  6. Mandal P, Banerjee U, Roy TS, Das TK, Xess I and Nosanchuk JD. (2007) Melanin lacking and melanin producing C. neoformans clinical isolates from India: An Electron microscopic study. Br. J. Microbiol. 38:662-66.
 

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