Research Opportunities

Student Advisors


Dr. Tannaz Birdi is currently Deputy Director at the Foundation for Medical Research (FMR). Her basic degree is in microbiology after which she specialized in immunology. One of her major research interests is host-pathogen interaction which she dissected extensively using leprosy as a model. She was awarded the Major General Sahib Singh Sokhey Award by Indian Council of Medial Research (ICMR) for this work.

She has applied this approach more recently in developing bio-assays for the pre-clinical screening of medicinal plants. Through this an innovative holistic approach to the use of medicinal plants in primary health care is being developed. She was involved in the preparation of a detail project Report for Ministry of Health, Government of India for the establishment of a North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine and is a member of the Task Force for its implementation. She is currently involved in the evaluation of anti-diarrhoeal and anti tuberculosis medicinal plants.

She has undergone training in participation action research at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Philippines which she is currently applying to field based project in which she is involved.

She has over 58 peer reviewed publications and is recognized by the University of Mumbai as a guide for training of student for post-graduate and doctoral degrees in Applied Biology


Dr. Nerges Mistry

Dr. Mistry is a Director and Trustee of The Foundation for Medical Research, Mumbai and The Foundation for Research in Community Health, Pune. A microbiologist and immunologist by training from the University of Mumbai and The University of Birmingham, U.K, Dr. Mistry’s work encompasses infectious diseases with a recent focus on the molecular epidemiology of multidrug resistance tuberculosis and the mechanisms of acquisition of rapid drug resistance in tuberculosis and its public health implications. Her recent work in Mumbai based on her basic findings impinge on establishment of infection control measures and the examination of linkages between TB diabetes and air pollution in Mumbai’s slums. Dr. Mistry is also currently engaged in a Gates Foundation sponsored study on Pathways to Care of TB patients in Mumbai and Patna which will serve as a pointer for intervention approaches with private providers. She is a member of the Mumbai Alliance against tuberculosis and has participated in a number of advocacy measures in the recent past.

In the field of community medicine, Dr. Mistry has had experience in the development of a community based health care system and intervention research in the management of drinking water in rural communities. A recent undertaking is the correlation of water quality and climate change in rural communities from drought prone areas. She has had considerable experience in development and evaluation of community based health care systems in rural areas particularly in the field of diabetes and NCDs and is a strong votary for a career path for primary care workers and the induction of quality care in public health system in rural areas. The FRCH along with NICE International UK is currently examining guidelines for safe maternity management and perspectives of their use in 5 Indian states.

Dr. Mistry has over 81 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been a principal investigator of over 28 major projects. Her recent projects reflect a combination of biosocial approach to problems. Dr. Mistry was awarded the Heiser Fellowship from the USA for her postdoctoral research work which she undertook at the University of Oslo in 1984-1986. Dr. Mistry has held advisory positions in the University of Mumbai and academic institutes in Mumbai like Cancer Research Institute (CRI) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). She is a guide for post-graduate degrees in Applied Biology from the University of Mumbai and has guided 11 post-graduate and doctoral research students. She is also a member of the ASHA Mentoring Group of the National Rural Health Mission ever since its inception and has been on the Advisory Group for Community Processes and Traditional Medicine for the 11th and  12th Five Year Plan, Govt. of India.


Kayzad Soli Nilgiriwala

Dr. Kayzad Soli Nilgiriwala has diverse research experience in the fields of microbiology, molecular biology, protein biochemistry& crystallization, and bioremediation.During his doctoral research at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, he cloned and over-expressed a novel alkaline phosphatase gene from aSphingomonas sp. and applied it for bioremediation of heavy metals like uranium from alkaline solutions. The alkaline phosphatase protein was also studied by him for its biochemistry and structural characteristics after crystallization. His postdoctoral research experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA helped him to broaden his research horizon in the fields of synthetic & systems biology during which he was involved in construction and standardization of complex biomolecular circuits and understanding the effects of retroactivity in transcription modules. In order to attenuate effects of retroactivity, he constructed a biological insulator circuit in a phosphorylation-based system during this research project at MIT.He is currently researching in the field of molecular medical microbiology and genomics of multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis(M.tb) at the Foundation for Medical Research (FMR), Mumbai. MDR strains of M.tbare envisioned as a major global threat if not looked into; hence, in one of the projects, he is studying the transcriptional profile of multiple signature genes in drug-sensitive and -resistant strains to understand the accelerated rate of phenotypic resistance development in M.tb. This study has the potential for developing new diagnostic technologies and to predict novel targets for better therapeutics. Besides doing science, he is also interested in extracurricular activities such astronomy, badminton, table-tennis, and chess.

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