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Home > Our Work > Events > 2016 India Dialogue

India-US Biosecurity Dialogue II

8-9 February 2017


Professional Biographies

Rakesh BHATNAGAR, PhD | Sarah R. CARTER, PhD | David R. FRANZ, DVM, PhD | Jaishree GARHYAN, PhD | Gigi GRONVALL, PhD | Dan HANFLING, MD | William P. HOSTYN, MS | Tom INGLESBY, MD | Ravi KHETRAPAL, PhD | Subodh KUMAR, PhD | Jayati MULLICK, PhD | Indira NATH, MD | Maureen O’LEARY, PhD, MBA, CBSP | David J. RAKESTRAW, PhD | S. R. RAO, PhD | Sanjana RAVI, MPH | Balachandran RAVINDRAN, PhD | Siva REDDY, PhD | Ambassador Rakesh SOOD, PhD | Krishnaswamy VIJAYRAGHAVAN, PhD | Sudhanshu VRATI, PhD



Rakesh Bhatnagar completed his PhD from the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur. Dr. Bhatnagar’s research group has been actively working on the molecular biology and immunology of a number of infectious diseases—namely, anthrax, rabies, tuberculosis, and brucellosis, culminating in many international publications and patents. The mandate of his laboratory is understanding the mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, identifying potential vaccine and drug targets, and developing improved and safe vaccines and therapeutics for these infections diseases. His research group aims to cover a wide breadth of both fundamental and applied sciences. Fundamental research includes exploration of phenomena like programmed cell death and 2 component signal transaction in Bacillus anthracis, and deciphering novel virulence determinants in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. His vision is to investigate these processes for design of novel antibacterial strategies. 

Dr. Bhatnagar’s applied research includes development of vaccines and therapeutics. He has to his credit the development of a genetically engineered protective antigen (PA)–based vaccine against anthrax, which confers significant protection against virulent spore challenge in mice, guinea pigs, New Zealand white rabbits, and rhesus macaques. The vaccine has successfully undergone preclinical toxicity studies and phase I and II human clinical trials. Therapeutics development includes developing a bi-specific monoclonal antibody against the 2 anthrax toxins, and his group is currently working to develop a cognate single chain antibody that will also target the 2 toxins simultaneously, as well as humanizing it. In Brucella infection biology, his group is working to develop a recombinant vaccine and identify new vaccine candidates against the disease. Novel vaccine delivery methods such as liposomes and nanoparticles are also being tested for antigen delivery.

Dr. Bhatnagar is the recipient of several awards and honors, including J. C. Bose fellowships; he is a Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow at the Indian Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow at the Indian National Sciences Academy. His laboratory has been ranked 7th among the top 10 eminent researchers publishing commendable research papers on anthrax. Dr. Bhatnagar is the recipient of the President of India award for innovation.


Sarah R. CARTER, PhD

Sarah Carter is the principal at Science Policy Consulting LLC, where she focuses on societal and policy implications of emerging biotechnologies, including issues of biosafety, biosecurity, and environmental risk assessment and mitigation.

Previously, she worked in the Policy Center of the J. Craig Venter Institute, where she led influential projects on the accelerating pace of synthetic biology and the challenges it creates for policymakers. In October 2015, she concluded a project on the biosecurity implications of DNA synthesis with the release of “DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future.” Earlier, Dr. Carter led a project on the US biotechnology regulatory system and the ways that synthetic biology and its applications will lead to new regulatory challenges, which resulted in the 2014 report “Synthetic Biology and the U.S. Biotechnology Regulatory System: Challenges and Options.”

In 2009-10, Dr. Carter was a policy analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she focused on issues relating to climate change and sustainability. She is also a former AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow and a former Mirzayan Fellow of the National Academies. She earned her PhD in neuroscience from the University of California-San Francisco and her bachelor’s degree in biology from Duke University.


David R. FRANZ, DVM, PhD

David Franz served in the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for 23 of 27 years on active duty and retired as a colonel. He served as commander of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and as deputy commander of the Medical Research and Materiel Command. Prior to joining the command, he served as group veterinarian for the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). 

Dr. Franz served as a committee member for the National Academy of Sciences study Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism (the Fink Report) and as a charter member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). He co-chaired the NAS study Global Security Engagement (CTR 2.0) in 2009 and continues to chair the bio subgroup of the NAS Committee for International Security and Arms Control (CISAC). He holds an adjunct professorship, Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University. The current focus of his interest relates to the role of international engagement in public health and the life sciences as a component of global biosecurity policy. Domestically, he continues to encourage thoughtfulness when regulating research in the name of security, thereby minimizing negative impacts on progress in the life sciences. Dr. Franz holds a DVM from Kansas State University and a PhD in physiology from Baylor College of Medicine.


Jaishree GARHYAN, PhD

Jaishree Garhyan has a broad background in the field of infectious diseases, with specific training and expertise in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). She has worked extensively with H. pylori and the bioterror weapon Bacillus anthracis. Her research work includes the mechanism of latent tuberculosis with a special emphasis on bone marrow stem cell niche and interaction of Mtb with other pathogens. Over the years, she has acquired extensive experience in providing training in BSL-3 laboratories in India and has worked in BSL-3s in the United States as well. Dr. Garhyan has played a crucial role in enhancing awareness of biosecurity and biosafety in the university setting in India. She has led the training for biosafety in independent symposiums and workshops in association with the American Society for Microbiology. She is a member of a nonprofit science organization and contributes to boosting science in the challenging regions of India.

Dr. Garhyan has a growing interest in global biosecurity, biosafety, and global health and emergency preparedness. She has played a crucial role in Indo-US biosecurity and biosafety workshops since 2014, conducted in INSA, New Delhi, and Seychelles. Dr. Garhyan is an active member of the biosafety association of India and has actively participated in and presented at Asia-Pacific biosafety association meetings in the past.



Gigi Gronvall is a senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and visiting faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an immunologist by training.

Dr. Gronvall’s work at the Center addresses the role of scientists in health security: how they can contribute to an effective technical response against a biological weapon or a natural epidemic. She is particularly interested in developing policies that will boost the safety and security of biological science activities while allowing beneficial research to flourish. 

Dr. Gronvall is the author of the book Synthetic Biology: Safety, Security, and Promise, published in fall 2016 (Health Security Press). While the synthetic biology discipline is poised to revolutionize important sectors for national security, there are technical and social risks. Dr. Gronvall describes what can be done to minimize risks and maximize the benefits of synthetic biology, focusing on biosecurity, biosafety, ethics, and US national competitiveness. Dr. Gronvall is also the author of the book Preparing for Bioterrorism: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Leadership in Biosecurity. By describing the major grants that represented Sloan’s investments in civilian preparedness, public health law, law enforcement, air filtering in buildings, influenza preparedness, and business preparedness, Dr. Gronvall constructed, for a nontechnical audience, a chronicle of early gains in US efforts to confront the threat of bioterrorism. 

Dr. Gronvall is a member of the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC), which provides the Secretary of Defense with independent advice and recommendations on reducing the risk to the United States, its military forces, and its allies and partners posed by nuclear, biological, chemical, and conventional threats. In 2014-15, she led a preparatory group that examined the US government response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as a case study for DoD’s strategic role in health security and that made recommendations for future DoD actions in response to disease outbreaks. 

She served as the Science Advisor for the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism from April 2009 until the Commission ended in February 2010. She has testified before Congress about the safety and security of high-containment biological laboratories in the United States and served on several task forces related to laboratory and pathogen security, most recently the National Institutes of Health Blue Ribbon Panel to Review the 2014 Variola Virus Incident on the NIH Campus (2016) and the Committee for Comprehensive Review of DoD Laboratory Procedures, Processes, and Protocols Associated with Inactivating Bacillus anthracis Spores, formed in response to the Dugway anthrax shipments (2015). Dr. Gronvall has investigated and presented policy recommendations on the governance of science to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Gronvall is an alumnus of the European Union Visitors Program, a competitive program designed to increase mutual understanding between professionals and future leaders from non-EU countries and their EU counterparts, and the Council on Foreign Relations Term Member Program.

Dr. Gronvall is an associate editor of the journal Health Security (formerly Biosecurity and Bioterrorism). She is a founding member of the Center, and, prior to joining the faculty, she worked at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies. She was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Dr. Gronvall received a BS in biology from Indiana University, Bloomington. She subsequently worked as a protein chemist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and received a PhD from Johns Hopkins University for work on T-cell receptor/MHC I interactions.



Dan Hanfling is a consultant on emergency preparedness, response, and crisis management. He is a contributing scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, clinical professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, and adjunct faculty at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Institute of Medicine (National Academies) Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events and is a special advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary (HHS) for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), focused chiefly on the National Hospital Preparedness Program.

Dr. Hanfling spent 18 years as principal consultant to the Inova Health System (Falls Church, VA) on matters related to emergency preparedness and response. He continues to practice emergency medicine at Inova Fairfax Regional Trauma Center and is an operational medical director for a regional helicopter EMS service. He was instrumental in founding one of the nation’s first healthcare coalitions, the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance, created in October 2002.

His areas of expertise include biodefense and mass casualty management, catastrophic disaster response planning with particular emphasis on scarce resource allocation, and the nexus between healthcare system planning and emergency management. In addition to his hospital and EMS clinical responsibilities, he serves as a medical team manager for the Fairfax County–based FEMA and USAID-sanctioned international urban search and rescue team (VATF-1, USA-1) and has responded to catastrophic disaster events across the globe.

Dr. Hanfling received his undergraduate degree in political science from Duke University, including a general course at the London School of Economics, and completed his medical degree at Brown University. He completed his internship in internal medicine at Brown University and his emergency medicine training at the combined George Washington and Georgetown University residency program. He has been board certified in emergency medicine since 1997.


William P. HOSTYN, MS

William Hostyn is the director, Advisory Committees and Programs Office, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). In this capacity, he is the senior Department of Defense (DoD) Designated Federal Officer responsible for the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC), a federal advisory committee to the DoD. TRAC provides the Secretary of Defense with independent advice and recommendations on reducing the risk to the United States, its military forces, and its allies and partners posed by nuclear, biological, chemical, and conventional threats. Additionally, Mr. Hostyn is the DoD program manager for the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC).

Mr. Hostyn maintains international and interagency interface on programs, policy, and doctrinal issues and continues to be a principal liaison with think-tanks in the Washington, DC, area; the National Defense University, Center for the Study of WMD; the United States Air Force Academy, Institute for National Security Studies; and the Naval Post Graduate School, Center on Contemporary Conflict (PASCC program).

Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Hostyn was the chief, Systems and Engineering Division, in DTRA’s Advanced Systems and Concepts Office (ASCO). While assigned to ASCO, he oversaw the development and execution of technical projects and strategic international dialogues that cut across federal agencies for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat reduction in nuclear, chemical, biological, and emerging requirements. 

Mr. Hostyn retired from the United States Air Force in 2003 after more than 20 years of distinguished service. Having served on 3 major command staffs (Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Pacific Air Forces, and Air Force Space Command), he was primarily engaged in manpower and personnel force structure planning and execution of programs stemming from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission for installation-wide and unit-level activation, inactivation, and conversions in missile, satellite, and fixed and rotary wing weapon systems. A graduate of the Air University Contingency Warfare Planning Course, he further worked with Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) contingency warfare planning while serving on the Air Component Staff, Headquarters Seventh Air Force, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Mr. Hostyn has a BS in organizational management from Colorado Christian University, an MS in public administration from Troy State University, and an MS in national resources atrategy with a minor as a national security professional from the National Defense University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces.



Tom Inglesby is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Center is dedicated to protecting people’s health from the consequences of epidemics and disasters and to making communities more resilient to those challenges. 

Dr. Inglesby’s work is internationally recognized in the fields of public health preparedness, pandemic and emerging infectious disease, and prevention of and response to biological threats. He is chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is also chair of the National Advisory Council of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Health Security Preparedness Index. He was a member of the External Laboratory Safety Workgroup appointed by the CDC Director that examined biosafety practices of the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He was on the 2016 Working Group assessing US biosecurity on behalf of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). He has served on committees of the Defense Science Board, the National Academies of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine and in an advisory capacity to NIH, BARDA, DHS, and DARPA. 

During the past 18 years, Dr. Inglesby has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications, including peer-reviewed research, original reports, and commentaries on issues related to health security and preparedness for epidemics, biological threats, and disasters. He is editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security, which he helped establish in 2003. He was a principal editor of the JAMA book Bioterrorism: Guidelines for Medical and Public Health Management. He has been invited to brief White House officials from the past 3 presidential administrations on national biosecurity challenges and priorities, and he has delivered Congressional testimony on a number of issues related to public health preparedness and biosecurity. He is regularly consulted by major news outlets for his expertise. He is a member of the Board of Directors of PurThread, a company dedicated to developing antimicrobial textiles. 

Dr. Inglesby completed his internal medicine and infectious diseases training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also served as assistant chief of service in 1996-97. Dr. Inglesby received his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and his BA from Georgetown University. He continues to see patients in a weekly infectious disease clinic.



Ravi Khetrapal is regional director, CABI South Asia. Dr. Khetrapal joined CABI in March 2010 and is engaged in enhancing CABI’s profile in India. He is involved in the ongoing project of Plantwise Initiative among other projects. 

Prior to joining CABI, he served the National Agricultural Research System in India for 3 decades, including as head, Plant Quarantine Division, National Bureau of Plant Genetics Resources, ICAR, New Delhi. Dr. Khetrapal led a number of research projects in seed-transmitted viruses, plant quarantine detection, and disinfestation procedures and GMO detection. He has contributed to technical and policy issues and capacity-building in areas of phytosanitation, biosecurity, biosafety, and seed certification for viruses. He has a PhD in plant pathology and plant virology.


Subodh KUMAR, PhD

Subodh Kumar is a scientist at the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Defence Research & Development Organisation, Ministry of Defence, Government of India. He has a PhD in microbiology and immunology.



Jayati Mullick is a scientist E, Group Leader, Avian Influenza Group, in charge of biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) labs, National Institute of Virology, Microbial Containment Complex, Pashan, Pune.

Dr. Mullick received her BSc in biology and her MSc in biochemistry from the University of Nagpur, Nagpur, India. She received her PhD in biochemistry from Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.


Indira NATH, MD

Indira Nath is former senior professor and founder and head, Department of Biotechnology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences; former Raja Ramanna fellow and emeritus professor, National Institute of Pathology (ICMR), New Delhi, India; director of Lepra Research Centre, Hyderabad, India; and dean, Medical School, AIMST, Sungai Petani, Malaysia. She received an MBBS and MD (pathology) from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and later served on the faculty of AIIMS, making pioneering contributions to immunology research with her seminal work on cellular immune responses in human leprosy and a search for markers for viability of the leprosy bacillus, which is not cultivable. She has also mentored many MBiotech, MD, and PhD students and made contributions to education, medical and science policies, science integrity, and women scientists’ issues at national and international levels. She continues to serve on committees of science and medical agencies/acadmies. She was co-chair for the InterAcademyPanel of Responsible research conduct and chair for the ICSU programme on health and wellbeing in the changing environment. 

Dr. Nath was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to Cabinet, Foreign Secretary INSA (1995-1997), council member (1992-1994 and 1998-2006), and vice president (2001-2003) of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, and chairperson, Women Scientists Programme, DST (2003). She was conferred civil awards, notably: Padmashri, India (1999); Chevalier Ordre National du Merite, France (2003); and Silver Banner, Tuscany, Italy (2003).

Scientific recognition brought her both national and international awards, some notable ones being Raja Ramanna Fellowship (2010-14), SS Bhatnagar Medal of INSA 2013, SN Bose Professorship of the Indian National Science Academy (1998-2002), L’Oreal UNESCO Award for Women in Science (Asia Pacific) (2002), SS Bhatnagar Award (1983), and the Basanti Devi Amir Chand Award by ICMR (1994). She was elected a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, Delhi; the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1988); the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1990); the National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) (1992); the Royal College of Pathology (1992); and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) (1995). She was conferred a DSc (hc) in 2002 by the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France.



Maureen O’Leary is the director of environmental health and safety at Dartmouth College. She received her undergraduate degree from WPI and obtained her MBA and PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Before Dartmouth, she was a senior science advisor at MRIGlobal and served as the director of science integration in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for 15 months. While in Kazakhstan, she collaborated with US government and Kazakhstan ministry officials to provide advice on biosafety and biosecurity issues, policy, and laboratory design/training for the development of the Central Reference Laboratory there. Prior to working at MRIGlobal, she was the assistant director of academic safety and environmental health at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. O’Leary has been an active member of ABSA since 2004, was the president of the New England Biosafety Association (NEBSA) from 2010 to 2014, and is a current board member on the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) and the president of ABSA International.



David Rakestraw is currently the S Program manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the Global Security Principal Directorate with responsibilities for chemical, biological, and explosive countermeasures programs. He received a BS degree in chemistry from Ohio Northern University (1983) and a PhD in chemistry from Stanford University (1988). 

From 1988 to 2000, Dr. Rakestraw worked at Sandia National Laboratories, where he was engaged in a wide range of research and development activities. Early research activities included developing nonlinear spectroscopic methods for trace species detection. During the 1998-99 academic year, Dr. Rakestraw took a sabbatical from Sandia to become a consulting associate professor of chemistry at Stanford University. 

In 2000, Dr. Rakestraw left his position as a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia to co-found Eksigent Technologies. At Eksigent Technologies, Dr. Rakestraw developed microscale chemical HPLC systems, which are now sold worldwide for application in drug discovery and development. Dr. Rakestraw joined LLNL in July 2006 as the chief technologist in the Chemistry, Materials, Earth and Life Sciences Directorate before transitioning to his current role in 2008. Dr. Rakestraw holds 18 US patents and has authored more than 65 peer-reviewed scientific publications.


S. R. RAO, PhD

S. R. Rao is advisor, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. He has served in various positions in the department since 1989 and was associated with implementation of several national-level programs on R&D, technology development, and commercialization of biotechnology. Currently, his main responsibility is regulation of genetically engineered products including biosafety and biosecurity as a scientific member secretary of statutory body, namely Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation, mandated with scientific risk assessment and management under rules 1989 of Environmental Protection Act, 1986 of India. 

Dr. Rao also serves as chairman of the Scientific Panel on GM Foods of the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), dealing with risk assessment of GM foods, and is also responsible for establishment of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India through enactment of legislation that replaces the existing regulatory framework. 

Dr. Rao specializes in core and cross-sectoral policy issues of biotechnology policy, development, regulation, safety, public private partnership, international relations, biotech R&D innovation and development, and public concerns and consensus building. He has published more than 40 scientific papers and is chief editor of the Journal of Biosafety Research, launched in 2016.


Sanjana RAVI, MPH

Sanjana Ravi is a senior analyst at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and visiting faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an associate editor of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security (formerly Biosecurity and Bioterrorism) and editor of Preparedness Pulsepoints, a weekly news brief covering federal action in health security. Her primary research interests include global health systems, infectious disease emergencies, responses to humanitarian crises, and the intersections between health, security, and human rights.

Ms. Ravi’s work focuses on understanding and improving public health and healthcare responses to a range of threats. She is involved with Center projects examining state and local preparedness, including an effort studying the roles of healthcare coalitions in enhancing emergency preparedness and another exploring risk communication challenges around emergency medical countermeasure distribution. Ms. Ravi has also written on public health preparedness in nuclear emergency planning zones in the United States, legal mechanisms for compensating victims of nuclear disasters, and the response and recovery challenges associated with catastrophes resulting in mass population displacement.

Ms. Ravi’s work has also addressed the health security implications of emerging technologies. She has led research on the roles of mobile technology in emergency healthcare delivery, as well as potential applications of telemedicine in pandemic response. Additionally, she helped lead an evaluation of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s efforts to address the societal impacts of synthetic biology practice. Ms. Ravi is a Fellow in the 2015 class of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program.

Ms. Ravi has also contributed to a number of the Center’s globally focused efforts. Between 2014 and 2016, she helped plan the first-ever strategic dialogues on biosecurity policy between the United States and partners in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. In addition, she has conducted independent research on the sociocultural dimensions of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, connections between health threats and development challenges, and the impacts of conflict and violence on global healthcare delivery.

In 2013, Ms. Ravi received a master of public health degree in infectious disease management, intervention, and community practice from the University of Pittsburgh, where her thesis explored the dynamics of blood product management during public health emergencies. She also contributed to research on nosocomial infections and public health education initiatives in Pittsburgh and served as a Global Impact Fellow with Unite for Sight in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, delivering basic eye care to underserved regions. Ms. Ravi earned a BA in biology from Saint Louis University in 2011.


Balachandran RAVINDRAN, PhD

Balachandran Ravindran is a microbiologist trained in JIPMER Pondicherry and Delhi University and later in Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK, and the University of Connecticut Health Centre, USA. He has worked as a scientist with the Indian Council of Medical Research for more than 2 decades and since 2006 has been heading the Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar, an autonomous research institution under Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. His scientific interests include the immunobiology of infectious diseases such as malaria, filariasis, and sepsis; regulation of inflammation; macrophage biology; and evolution of immune system in mammals. His laboratory uses in vitro cell culture and experimental animals as well as humans exposed to pathogens as model systems. 

Dr. Ravindran has been an active member of a large global consortium of investigators from universities and research institutions in the UK, the US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Indonesia for nearly a decade, working on immunobiology of metazoan pathogens. He has been a visiting scientist at University of Edinburgh, the University of Bonn, and the Pasteur Institute at Lille during the past 10 years. His group has published about 95 scientific papers in international journals. Over the past 3 decades, 19 PhD and 16 MD students have worked in his laboratory, completed their degrees, and have been placed in major universities and research institutions in India and abroad. Currently, the strength of his laboratory is 3 PhD students, 3 postdoctoral fellows, and 1 scientist. In recent years, he has spent much of his time serving as a member of the board of governors and in scientific advisory committees of research institutions and universities. He has also spent time mentoring young investigators and functioning as a peer reviewer for several scientific journals and funding agencies in India and abroad.



Siva Reddy is chief scientific officer, Biosafety Support Unit.


Ambassador Rakesh SOOD, PhD

Ambassador Rakesh Sood is a Distinguished Fellow at ORF. He has over 38 years of experience in the field of foreign affairs, economic diplomacy, and international security issues. He has a postgraduate degree in physics and in economics and defence studies. 

Ambassador Sood has served in the Indian missions in Brussels, Dakar, Geneva, and Islamabad in different capacities and as deputy chief of mission in Washington, DC. He set up the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division in the foreign ministry, which he led for 8 years until the end of 2000. During this period, Ambassador Sood was in charge of multilateral disarmament negotiations, bilateral dialogues with Pakistan, and strategic dialogues with other countries, including the US, the UK, France, and Israel.

Ambassador Sood then served as India’s first Ambassador–Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. He also chaired a number of international working groups, including those relating to negotiations on landmines and cluster munitions, and was a member of the UN Secretary General’s Disarmament Advisory Board from 2002 to 2003. Ambassador Sood has served as special envoy of the Prime Minister for Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues, Indian Ambassador to France, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, and Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Since his retirement, he has been writing and commenting regularly in both print and audiovisual media on India’s foreign policy, its economic dimensions, and regional and international security issues. He is a frequent speaker and contributor at various policy planning groups and think tanks in India and overseas.



Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan is secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, and is distinguished professor and former director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences. Dr. VijayRaghavan has a PhD in molecular biology from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. During his postdoctoral work, he was a senior research fellow at the California Institute of Technology.


Sudhanshu VRATI, PhD

Sudhanshu Vrati trained as a virologist at the Australian National University, Canberra, as a doctoral student and subsequently at the CSIRO, Sydney, as a postdoctoral research scientist. He worked at the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, from 1987 to 2013, where his group primarily focused on the biology of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) with research aimed at understanding virus replication, and designing antivirals and vaccine candidates. Dr. Vrati has been the first dean of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (2010-2016), where he headed the Vaccine and 

Infectious Disease Research Center. Since October 2016, Dr. Vrati has been working at the Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB) as its executive director. Dr. Vrati’s research has focused on understanding RNA virus replication and designing antivirals and vaccine candidates against Japanese encephalitis (JE) and rotaviral diarrhea.



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To protect people’s health from epidemics and disasters and ensure that communities are resilient to major challenges.