Dr.Subarna Roy returns to Belagavi as Director of ICMR-NITM

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Dr.Subarna Roy, who served ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, (now ICMR-National Institute of Traditional Medicine) as a Senior Scientist from its formative years since 2009 until his transfer last year to ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, is back in Belagavi, this time as Director.

Today, Dr.Roy took over the charge of the ICMR National Institute of Traditional Medicine from Dr.Manoj Murhekar, Director of ICMR-NIE, Chennai, who was given interim charge of ICMR-NITM Belagavi on 1st October 2021. On the occasion of the transfer of charge, Dr.Murhekar said that Dr.Subarna Roy, now 48, is one of the youngest Directors of ICMR and has 14 years of service and is the right person to lead the institute to its envisaged goals.

Dr.Subarna Roy is a very popular scientist among faculty and students of most medical and academic institutions in the region. Dr. Subarna Roy is a microbiologist by training, working in interfaces of multidisciplinary health sciences connecting ‘Basic Research’ with ‘Applied Sciences’; ‘Laboratory’ with ‘Field Epidemiology’; ‘Traditional Knowledge’ with ‘Informatics and Big—Data Biology’; ‘AYUSH systems’ with ‘Modern Medicine’; ‘Implementation Research’ with ‘Health Systems’.

Dr.Subarna Roy Belagavi Director of ICMR-NITM
Dr.Subarna Roy on the Right

Dr.Subarna Roy played a key role in the formative years of the ICMR-RMRC in Belagavi and its upgradation into ICMR- National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Belagavi. In absence of dedicated research infrastructure, he established several laboratories in vacant staff quarters thereby expanding research disciplines. He had been instrumental in preparing the blueprint of the research buildings and infrastructure which is now under construction on its campus opposite the KLE Hospital.

Dr. Roy has played a major role in expanding the research and academic activities in North Karnataka. He made several collaborative research initiatives with research and academic institutions in the region. He started the PhD program of ICMR Belagavi with KAHER (KLE University) and other Universities in the region. He also started PG training and internship programs that benefitted a large number of students of North Karnataka. Dr. Subarna Roy had started providing research services to the State Govt that included outbreak investigations on diseases like cholera, diphtheria, H1N1, etc.

Dr.Subarna Roy brought many National level research studies of ICMR to Belagavi (eg on childhood diarrhea, dengue, zika, bioinformatics, etc.).

Dr.Subarna Roy almost single-handedly established the Model Rural Health Research Unit (MRHRU) at Raichur. Dr.Roy’s scientific contributions include Identification of a potential Traditional Medicinal lead for treatment of SARS-CoV-2; identification of an elite clone of Gymnema Sylvestre (with exceptionally higher content of bioactive compounds), one of the most highly traded traditional medicinal plants used in the treatment of diabetes and demonstration of the effectiveness of cocoa extract for prevention of adverse effects of doxorubicin, a widely used anti-cancer drug thereby having implication on the improvement of quality of life of patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy with anthracycline antibiotics. Dr.Roy played a major role in estimating the burden of Rotavirus diarrhea in children in parts of North Karnataka and South Western Maharashtra and identified the circulating strains through the ICMR-National Rotavirus Surveillance Network project, which led to the introduction of Rotavirus vaccination in the Universal Immunization Programme. Dr.Subarna Roy was the first to establish Human Parechovirus as a causal agent of childhood diarrhoea. He has also been one of the first to establish the role of Salivirus in causing childhood diarrhoea in India. Dr. Roy had been working on diphtheria in Karnataka State, highlighting the re-emergence of the disease in affected areas to reduce deaths.

Dr.Subarna Roy has provided identification and characterization services with respect to infectious agents to most districts of Karnataka since 2009 and helped in the investigation of outbreaks and reducing morbidity and mortality. He has also served medical and academic institutions to develop research infrastructure and trained human resources in North Karnataka through various activities including mentorship, training, etc.

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