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Interactive Research School For Health Affairs (IRSHA), Pune

Mother and Child Health

Dr. Sadhana Joshi

The theme of my research is mother and child health which addresses the importance of maternal nutrition, with special reference to micronutrients and risk of developing metabolic/neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood and later life. My main focus is on maternal omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and vitamin B12 since these micronutrients are the key constituents of one carbon metabolism which influence DNA and chromatin methylation patterns. A disturbed one carbon metabolism due to maternal micronutrient imbalance may lead to altered epigenetic programming in the fetus with implications for non-communicable diseases in later life.

At IRSHA I initiated the work on mother and child health in collaboration with the clinicians from Bharati Hospital on pregnancy related disorders (preeclampsia, preterm labor). The incidence of these pregnancy complications are alarmingly increasing in developing countries like India making it an important health issue. However, the mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis of these complications have not been completely understood. Animal models are also used to validate the mechanisms of interactions of micronutrients during pregnancy and their role in fetal programming for adult diseases.

Funded Projects:

  1. Funded by Medical Research Council, United Kingdom (project has been sanctioned but yet to be initiated)

This proposal is a collaborative project between 5 countries (India, UK, Canada, South Africa and China)

Title: OPTIMISE: Optimal preconception nutrition to offset inflammation and non-communicable disease risk in pregnant women and their children

Yet to be initiated

  1. Funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Influence of Maternal One-carbon (1C) Metabolism in Placental Function, Fetal Growth and Programming

Total Amount Awarded: 16198362

IRSHA SHARE: Rs. 685880 /-

Role in the Project: Co-PI.

Start Date: March 2018; End Date: February 2021

  1. Funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Early Interventions to Support Trajectories for Healthy Life in India (EINSTEIN). Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI)

Total Amount Awarded: Rs. 74344024

IRSHA SHARE: 1350000

Role in the Project: Investigator

Start Date: Dec 2017; End Date: Jan 2020

  1. Funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Investigating Mechanisms Leading to Preeclampsia

Amount Awarded: Rs. 6,81,53,126/-

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: March 2017; End Dat-e: February 2022

  1. Funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Epigenetic regulation of placental peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) in women delivering low birth weight babies

Amount Awarded: Rs. 3550683

Role in the Project: Co-PI

Start Date: April 2019; End Date: April 2022 

  1. Funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Pro-neurotrophins /p75NTR signalling contributes to increased apoptosis in preterm placentae

Amount Awarded: Rs. 14,04,685

Role in the Project: Co-PI

Start Date: May 2017; End Date: June 2020

  1. Funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Disturbed maternal one carbon cycle in preeclampsia increases risk for cardio-metabolic variables in children

Amount Awarded: Rs 49,82,000

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: May 2015; End Date: June 2018

  1. Funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Regional differences in neurotrophin regulation of vascularization in preeclamptic placentae

Amount Awarded: Rs. 30,24,496

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: March 2015; End Date: February 2017

  1. Funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Exploring the efficacy of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation to a maternal high fat diet deficient in vitamin b12 in ameliorating the risk for impaired brain development and metabolic syndrome in the offspring.

Amount Awarded: Rs 20,78,952

Role in the Project: Co- Investigator

Start Date: June 2013; End Date: May 2016

  1. Funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Regulation of fatty acid desaturases and transport protein in pregnancy

Amount Awarded: Rs 16,90,790

Role in the Project: Co- Investigator

Start Date: April 2013; End Date: March 2014

  1. Funded by Department Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Maternal micronutrient status, inflammatory markers and Risk for non-communicable diseases in the offspring in a preeclamptic rat model

Amount Awarded: Rs 37,62,600/-

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: Feb 2013; End Date: Jan 2016

  1. Funded by Wellcome trust UK

Title of the Project: Understanding the Risk of Metabolic and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Infants Born to Mothers with Pregnancy Complications

Amount Awarded: Rs 30,55,266

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: Aug 2012; End Date: Oct 2013

  1. Funded by Department of Science and Technology, India (sanctioned)

Title of the Project: Multigenerational effects of vitamin B12 deficiency /supplementation on brain development and metabolic syndrome variables in a rat model.

Amount Awarded: Rs 40,05,000

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: April 2012; End Date: March 2015

  1. Funded by Department of Science and Technology, India 

Title of the Project: Epigenetic regulation of matrix metalloproteinases in preterm placenta

Amount Awarded: Rs 52,74,400 lakhs

Role in the Project: Co Investigator

Start Date: Feb 2012; End Date: Jan 2015

  1. Funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, India

Title of the Project: Gene Specific Methylation Patterns of Angiogenic Factors in Preeclampsia

Amount Awarded: Rs 23, 37,688

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: July 2011; End Date: Dec 2012

  1. Funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, India

Title of the Project: Role of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, neurotrophins and vascular endothelial growth factor in mothers with pre-eclampsia and their association with infant growth

Amount Awarded: Rs 19,72,674

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: Dec 2010; End Date: Nov 2012

  1. Funded by Department Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Comparison of plasma & placental proteomic patterns in pregnancy complications

Amount Awarded: Rs 45.21,400

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: May 2010; End Date: April 2013

  1. Funded by Department Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Role of maternal micronutrients on brain neurotrophic factors and cognitive development in Wistar rat offspring

Amount Awarded: Rs 34,26,000

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: March 2010; End Date: Feb 2013

  1. Funded by National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Department of AYUSH, Government of India

Title of the Project: Medhya activity of jatamansi (nardostachys jatamansi) with respect to its Adulterants and substitutes as evaluated by ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) model

Amount Awarded: Rs 20 lakhs

Role in the Project: Co Investigator

Start Date: Jan 2010; End Date: Dec 2012

  1. Funded by Department Biotechnology, Government of India 

Title of the Project: Investigations on long term effects of maternal folic acid supplementation for reducing risks associated with non-communicable diseases in adult offspring using rat model

Amount Awarded: Rs 19,54,000

Role in the Project: Principal Investigator

Start Date: Jan 2006; End Date: Dec 2008

 

Publications: (International: 133; National: 6)

PhDs awarded: 20

Current Team

  • Dr. Nisha Wadhwani, Scientist B
  • Dr. Amrita Khaire-Ghadge, ICMR Research Associate
  • Dr. Akriti Sahay, ICMR Research Associate

Technical Asstt.

  • Kamini Dangat: Research Assistant
  • Hemlata Pisal: Research Assistant
  • Vrushali Kadam: Technical Assistant (Nutrition)
  • Shruti Koparkar: Technical Assistant (Psychology)
  • Karuna Randhir: Technical Assistant (Statistics)
  • Surabhi Dalvi: Technical Assistant
  • Rahat khan: Technical Assistant
  • Sakshi Shelukar: Nutritionist
  • Rutuja Tope: Nutritionist
  • Shweta Madiwale: Research Assistant
  • Prachi Joshi : Social Worker
  • Madhura Sarda: Psychologist
  • Nikita Joshi: Lab Assistant
  • Juilee Deshpande : Lab Assistant
  • Aditi Godhamgaonkar : Lab Assistant
  • Aditi Mane: Lab Assistant
  • Aishwarya Yadav : Lab Assistant
  • Divya Shukla : Lab Assistant
  • Mahesh Funde: Data Entry Operator
  • Kajal Shelke: Data Entry Operator
  • Aniket Shelar: Field Attendant

Students

  • Anindita Nandi (UGC - JRF)
  • Vaishali Kasture (DST INSPIRE-JRF)
  • Juhi Nema (CSIR JRF)
  • Kinjal Dave(CSIR JRF)
  • Anjali Jadhav (ICMR SRF)
  • Aditi Godhamgaonkar

Dr. Anvita Kale

Neurodevelopmental disorders impair growth and development of the brain in the womb (Reynolds et al., 1999). These disorders affect approximately 12% of the global burden of disease (Reddy et al., 2013) and associated with cognitive impairment (Anjos et al., 2013). The neurodevelopmental disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism (ASD), schizophrenia and dyslexia. Nutrition is one of the factors influencing the neurodevelopmental outcome. Our group will focus on the role of omega-3 fatty acids and explore the possible mechanisms through which omega 3 fatty acids may influence brain growth and development in these neurodevelopmental disorders.

The emerging role of gestational factors especially micronutrients like folic acid, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids in shaping the brain and on the influence of these intrauterine experiences on later development of neurodevelopmental disorders is my focus area of research. The nine months of intrauterine development and the first three years of postnatal life are critical for periods of development. Further, the importance of these nutrients arises from the fact that an Indian population has a low consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and is known to be deficient in Vitamin B12. Currently due to Westernisation there is also an increased consumption of a high fat diet. Further, there is a rise in burden of mental disorders in developing coutries and a need to explore the underlying mechanisms.

Research projects:

Intramural:

Title: Evaluating the effects of varying ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids at differing fat percent during pregnancy on neuroinflammatory markers and cognitive performance in the Wistar rat offspring

Current Research projects as Co-Investigator:

Centre for Advanced Research in “Investigating Mechanisms leading to Preeclampsia” funded by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), India.(March 2017-March 2022).

Research projects Completed as PI:

Exploring the efficacy of Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation to a maternal high fat diet deficient in Vitamin B12 in Ameliorating the risk for impaired brain development and metabolic syndrome in the offspring funded by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), India.(Dec 2013-Nov-2016).

Research Projects Completed as Co-Investigator:

  1. Maternal micronutrient status, inflammatory markers and Risk for non-communicable diseases in the offspring in a preeclamptic rat model funded by department of biotechnology (DBT), India. (March 2013-April 2016).
  2. Multigenerational effects of vitamin B12 deficiency/supplementation on brain development and metabolic syndrome variables in a rat model funded by department of science and technology (DST), India. (Aug 2011-Nov 2014).
  3. Regulation of Fatty acid desaturases and transport proteins by maternal micronutrients in human placenta funded by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), India (Aug 2012- June 2013)
  4. Role of maternal micronutrients on brain neurotrophic factors and cognitive development in Wistar rat offspring, funded by department of biotechnology (DBT), India. (March 2010-Feb 2013).

Publications

  • 37 Research Articles + 1 book chapter

Papers Presented In International Conferences (Total 25)

Papers Presented In National Conferences (Total: 22)

Resource Person for the CME on Basic Techniques in Research Methodology for Ayurveda “Analysis of biological fluids” held from 27th Feb to 4th March 2017 at the Interactive Research School for Health Affairs, Bharati Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), Pune

Current Team

  • Ms. Surabhi Dalvi (Technical Assistant)

Fellowships

  • Recipient of CSIR (Council for Industrial and Scientific Research fellowship) 1994 December.

    This is a national fellowship awarded for training in methods of research under the expert guidance of faculty members /scientists working in University Departments/ National Laboratories and Institutes in various fields of Science & Technology and Medical Sciences in India.

  • Recipient of NCL fellowship for the period of 1993-1995 for Masters in Biochemistry from Pune University.

    This is a national merit fellowship is awarded to 10 candidates annually based on a national examination conducted for over 5000 students.

Awards

  • Recipient of the best poster award (for experimental nutrition) for the paper titled “Short and long term effects of maternal butter consumption on adult wistar rat offspring cardiometabolic and neurodevelopmental health” and authors Shruti Jawale, Sadhana Joshi, Anvita Kale *at the 50th National Conference by the Nutrition Society of India is being organized at Hyderabad from the 15th to 17th of November 2018.
  • Recipient of the Seva Gaurav Puraskar ”Best Researcher Award”, Bharati Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), 26th April 2016.
  • Recipient of the best poster award (for experimental nutrition) for the paper titled “Association Of One-Carbon Metabolism (Reduced Folic Acid, Vitamin B12), Docosahexaenoic Acid And Homocysteine Concentrations In Patients With Schizophrenia” at the 41st Annual meet of the Nutrition Society of India. 20th and 21st Nov 2009 at Hyderabad.
  • Recipient of RAMANATHAN AWARD for the best oral presentation for the paper titled “Essential Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Nerve Growth Factor Levels In First Episode Schizophrenia” in the Free Communication Session of the 39th National Conference of the Nutrition Society of India held at National Institute of Nutrition, Nov 15th-16th 2007 at Hyderabad.
  • The best poster award (for experimental nutrition) was awarded to the paper titled “Sensitivity Of Fetus To Of Alpha Linolenic Acid – An Essential Omega Three Fatty Acid” at the XXXVI Annual meet of the Nutrition Society of India This award was instituted by the organizers CFTRI, DFRL and University of Mysore., 5th - 6th Nov 2004 at Mysore.

Memberships

  • Life member of Nutrition Society of India, India
  • Life member of Society for the natal effects on health in adults (SNEHA), India

NAAC, NIRF, UGC Coordinator for the institute for the year 2015-16.

Dr. Deepali Sundrani

Maternal nutrition plays a critical role in fetal development and determines the health of the offspring in early and later life. Human epidemiological studies have shown that alterations in key developmental processes in utero can predispose the offspring to many late-onset diseases. The placenta responds to perturbations in the maternal compartment, such as altered nutrition and reduced utero-placental blood flow thereby, playing a key role in programming the fetus to diseases. These programmed changes are likely to be a result of stable changes in the gene expression patterns which are influenced by epigenetic modifications. Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression without any alterations in the underlying nucleotide sequence. Understanding the influence of epigenetic mechanisms in adverse pregnancy outcomes like preterm birth, preeclampsia and low birth weight is my focus area of research. Further my research also focuses on studying the role of maternal nutrients particularly folate, vitamin B12 and polyunsaturated fatty acids in influencing the placental epigenetic patterns during pregnancy.

Research projects:

Intramural:

Title: Placental expression profile of mRNAs and miRNAs regulating angiogenesis and their association with placental fatty acids in preeclampsia

Publications:

25 + 3 book chapters

Current Team

Ms. Rahat Khan (Technical Assistant)

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