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About

Research Team

Orchids Breast Health Center conducts research in a variety of new and interdisciplinary areas, ranging from translational research to research on the outcomes of breast oncoplastic surgery. The main focus is on translational breast cancer research. Being in the field of cancer, laboratory research is simply not enough. What good would mere laboratory research be, if its clinical applications were unexplored? Translational research is an area that focuses on a clinical problem, and tries to solve it in a laboratory, thus assuring that solutions in the laboratory have an impact clinically. At Orchids, the main clinical issue that the research team is focusing on is the Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). TNBC is a very aggressive breast cancer, and is the most prevalent in Indian women, as compared to others. Indian women have about 30% rate of TNBC detection, as opposed to 10-15% in other ethnicities. The reasons behind these facts and statistics about TNBC (especially in Indian population) are still unknown, and this enigma is being researched at Orchids.

Breast cancer is being considered as the top cancer in India right now, given the large number of deaths caused by it. Because of its impact and the high mortality rate, breast cancer is the most active field of research in cancer.

DR. SANTOSH DIXIT

Ph.D., Clinical Research Scientist

Dr. Dixit leads the Research Wing. He is a Senior Clinical Research Scientist at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission leading the design and conduct of multiple interdisciplinary projects in Breast Cancer with a translational focus. His area of focus is translational research activities. He has over 10 years of experience in translational biomedical research with special emphasis on preclinical and clinical drug development. He has been involved in setting up the Genetic Clinic at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission, which works towards assessing as well as reducing breast cancer risk. Aside from this, his research interests include clinical pharmacology, pharmacogenomics and regulatory aspects pertaining to the development of drugs and biomedical devices. He is also actively involved in medical education and training, social outreach programmes and regulatory affairs. He has received a Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT), Mumbai and a Ph.D.(Pharmaceutical Sciences) from University of Cincinnati, USA. He has also completed post-doctoral training at Vanderbilt University, USA and University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Dixit’s vision:

“The first vision is to grow. We want to establish ourselves as a credible, reputable institute. We want to be the leading force in oncoplasty. At the moment, we have a lot of programs in oncoplastic training and education. But now, oncoplastic research has become very important as well, because by doing research, we would be able to identify where we are lacking and what could be the new way of doing things. We want to focus on breast cancers in India. For this reason, we have chosen triple negative breast cancer, since it is specific to India. We would also like to work on a few more Indian specific characteristics of breast cancer, through the multiple infrastructure facilities that we have at our end.

The second vision is to get recognition as an official training institute. Right now, we are recognized by the Government of India as a research institute, but not yet as a training institute. In the next few years, we would like to become an independent, accredited training institute, where not only surgeons and oncologists, but also PhDs could be trained. With our collaboration with IISER, we are already on a path of developing a research institute. And it is in a direction where PhDs and scientists will interact together. These are the two visions.”

DR. MADHURA KULKARNI

Ph.D., Senior Scientist DBT-Ramalingaswami Fellow

Dr. Kulkarni contributes to translational research projects at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. A Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics (University of Maryland, College Park, USA) and an extensive experience in translational breast cancer research (MGH-Harvard Medical School, USA and later at Cancer Science Institute, Singapore), enables Dr. Madhura to bring expertise and vast knowledge to this research. Having previously worked with breast cancer patients samples from Singapore, she aims to find novel markers to classify TNBC cancer patients based on molecular subtypes. Her research will develop a novel prognostic tool for TNBC patients stratification and novel treatment avenues.

SHAHIN SHAIKH

B.Pharm, Research Coordinator

Shahin is a Clinical Research Coordinator at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. Her work includes clinical data management for Cancer Registry, Pune and databases maintained at the center. She is also involved in the Biobank project and management of Pharmacy. With a bright smile and a helpful attitude, Shahin assists her co-workers with their responsibilities. She believes that her experience at Orchids has exposed her to areas and aspects she was previously unaware of. She has completed B.Pharm from Allana College of Pharmacy, Pune.

DR. NUTAN GANGURDE

Clinical Research Scientist

Nutan is working as a Clinical Research Scientist at Orchids. She has done B.H.M.S., PGDCR and SAS Programming.

Dr. Devaki A. Kelkar

PhD

Dr. Kelkar is a senior scientist at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. She received her MSc from the University of Pune where she won the Silver Jubilee Prize and obtained her Ph.D in membrane biophysics from CCMB, Hyderabad. She completed post doctoral training at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA. Her research work has been published in many prestigious international journals.b. Rituja Banale: Rituja recieved her BSc in Microbiology from Modern College Of Arts, Science & Commerce, Pune. She further trained and completed courses in Clinical Data Management , Basic Bioinformatics in Life Science and Biological Techniques

Rohini Unde

B.Sc. Zoology from Pune University

Rohini recieved her B.Sc. Zoology from Pune University, and Post graduate Diploma in Clinical Research Management, Institute of Clinical Research India, Mumbai and M.Sc. in Cinical Research from Cranfield University UK. She has also won a silver medal in Rowing at the National Championships

Dr. Nutan Gangurde

Dr. Gangurde completed her graduation in Homoeopathy, from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (March 2004), after which she worked with a multispeciality hospital as a Medical Officer to earn clinical skills.

Ashwini Bapat

Research Associate

Ashwini is a Research Associate in Clinical Research Genetics at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. She has completed her M.Sc in Biomedical sciences from Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland. She has previously worked as an Editorial Associate and later as a Research Scientist in the field of Molecular Diagnostics and Genetics. She is currently working on Breast Cancer Genetics and a co-ordinator and writer for various scientific articles.