Dr. Indira Nath: Famous Immunologist and Leprosy Researcher

Dr. Indira Nath – Famous Indian Immunology Expert on Leprosy

In this article, you will find professional information about Late Dr. Indira Nath. She was an Indian immunologist who excelled in immunological research on Leprosy. She recently died in Oct 2021. 

Who was Dr. Indira Nath?

Late Dr. Indira Nath was an immunologist and is considered one of the pioneers of immunology in India. Immunologists study the role of the immune system in human health and diseases. While many immunologists prefer to study cancers and autoimmune conditions, in contrast, Dr. Indira Nath chose to study the immunology of Leprosy, a neglected tropical disease that had a considerable disease burden and social stigma in India. 

Dr. Indira Nath
Image Credit: World Science Forum

Qualifications of Dr. Indira Nath

Dr. Indira Nath completed her medical education, MBBS, and MD, from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and specialized in immunology from the United Kingdom as a Nuffield fellow. She returned to India and joined her alma mater where she continued the rest of the journey till formal retirement. Meanwhile, Dr. Nath also oversaw the establishment of a new department of biotechnology at AIIMS in which she served as the founding head and further advanced her new-age research on the immunology of leprosy. However, even two decades after retirement she was still active in immunological research as several scientific organizations continued to fund her works, some of which also included international assignments.

Dr. Indira Nath's Fight Against Leprosy

Through her numerous immunological experiments on leprosy bacteria, patients, and immune cells, such as macrophages and T cells, Dr. Nath was able to explain how the improper functioning of the immune system and T cells influenced the development of severe forms of leprosy and the response to antibacterial treatment. She has also been credited with the sequencing of the LSR2 gene in leprosy-causing bacteria. Her research also guided experiments on experimental immunotherapy treatments and candidate vaccines for leprosy. Her research fetched her national as well as international recognition as an expert on the immunology of leprosy, and therefore, she was also able to advise the governments on the strategies adopted in leprosy control programs.

Other Notable Contributions of Dr. Indira Nath

Besides her contributions to leprosy, she was also recognized for excellence in research ethics and global health in her over five decades-long career and involves herself in various global health activities. For her research and contributions, she was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards by the Government of India. The Government of France also awarded her with the civilian award of Chevalier Ordre National du Merite. She was also honored with the L’Oreal UNESCO Award for Women in Science and the Cochrane Research Award for her excellence.

References and Suggested Reading

About the Author

Dr. Naval Asija is a licensed MBBS Physician from India. MBBS is the equivalent of the MD degree offered by international medical schools. He is based in Delhi, India, and works as a medical writer, editor, and consultant. He supports medical researchers as an author's editor, medical communication companies involved in medico-marketing activities, and medical technology companies in improving their products. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/navalasija/
Journey of a non clinical doctor


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