My research focuses on assessing the risk of inhalable toxicants and understanding the molecular mechanisms of chronic lung diseases.
PhD, ERT, Associate Professor (Docent)
I have received my bachelors and master’s degrees from the University of Calcutta, India followed by post graduate diploma in management of information technology (PGDMIT) from the Asia Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. I completed my PhD degree in the field of developmental genetics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany.
My postdoctoral research (2005-2010) was at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Institute of Lung Biology and Disease, Comprehensive Pneumology Center, Germany. Between 2010-2012, I worked at the department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh, PA. I continued my research at the SRM Institute of Engineering and Technology, Chennai, India between 2012-2016.
Since 2016, I am working at the Unit of Integrative Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet.
Our research focuses on the non-tobacco causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the 3rd leading cause of death world-wide. This includes hindered lung development, air pollution, exposure to nano-particles, biomass smoke exposure etc. Another wing of our research address the risks involved with new and emerging tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products.
Our research objectives are attained through in vivo, in vitro, and in silico models as well as human cohort-based studies.
Current research projects:
- Biomass smoke induced adverse lung health outcome among women and children:
Biomass smoke exposure is considered as a global risk factor for COPD in the same order of magnitude as tobacco smoking. The use of biomass fuel is closely linked to gender inequality. Women and young girls, are exposed for the longest duration because they spend more time in proximity to the biomass smoke while cooking (4-6h/day). Children get also exposed since birth as they stay with their mothers while cooking. In this project, we aim to investigate the adverse respiratory health outcome among children and women due to biomass smoke exposure in collaboration with the Mysuru study on Determinants of Health in Rural Adults (MUDHRA) in Karnataka, India.
To understand the molecular toxicity of biomass smoke, we perform in vitro exposure studies using normal and chronic bronchitis-like bronchial mucosa models as well as alveolar model developed at air-liquid interface. Chemical composition of biomass smoke is also characterized.
- Toxicological risk assessment of electronic cigarette (ECIG) and heated tobacco products (HTP) use:
Exponential increase in the popularity of electronic cigarette (ECIG) and heated tobacco products (HTP) particularly among adolescents and youth is a cause for concern with limited knowledge about their effect due to long term use. We aim to develop a basis for pulmonary risk assessment of ECIG and HTP by assessing molecular toxicological analysis of different flavors of ECIG-liquid (with and without nicotine) and HTP following in vitro exposure experiments. This is achieved by using our established physiologically relevant multicellular bronchial- and alveolar mucosa models developed at air-liquid-interface along with chemical characterization of the corressponding emissions. We further aim to assess the pulmonary and systemic effect of ECIG use in young Swedish population through a clinical study comparing ECIG users and non-users.
- Genomics of lung function development to identify susceptibility factors for chronic lung diseases:
Only 15-20% of smokers develop COPD thereby strongly indicating the genetic predisposition of this disease. Moreover, more than 40% of the causes of COPD is attributed to causes other than smoking. Failure to attain peak lung function (eg. total lung capacity) by early adulthood is considered as a risk for later onset of COPD. This is plausibly related to the fact that lung developmental events are recollected in genetic sub-routines during repair and remodeling processes. In this project we aim to study the genomics of lung function development using mouse models, and elucidate the mechanism through in vitro studies and associate the findings in human cohorts.
- Computational modeling of diseased lung:
In silico models are widely used to understand the deposition, distribution, and clearance of inhaled particles and aerosols in the human lung. Epidemiological evidence associated exacerbations of COPD to increased particulate matter related air pollution episodes. Most of the freely available computational modeling tools however were developed for the healthy adult lung. Diseased lung, such as those in case of COPD undergo profound functional, anatomical and structural changes. Therefore, the particle deposition, distribution and clearance in case of COPD lung will be different than that of the healthy lung. In this project we aim to incorporate the various structural and functional alterations of a COPD lung for modeling particle deposition that may explain the increased susceptibility.
- Swedish Heart Lung Foundation
- Swedish Research Council (VR)
- Forska Utan DjurFörsök/ Do Research without animal
- VINNOVA, Sweden’s Innovation Agency
- IMM Strategic Grant
Tutor and module manager for the “Target organ Toxicology: Lung” in the Master’s programme in Toxicology at KI.
Tutor: Problem Based Learning (PBL) for lung as target organ
Activity based teaching interest: Respiratory health impact of climate change
Master thesis supervision (6)
PhD advisor (primary: 2)
Post doctoral fellow mentor (2)
Home institute mentor of international fellows.
MSc (2000): University of Calcutta, India
PhD (2005): Technical University of Munich, Germany.
Academic honours, awards and prizes
2020: Docent in Environmental Medicine
2019: European Registered Toxicologist (ERT)