Gagandeep Kang is the first Indian woman fellow at Royal Society

Gagandeep Kang is the first Indian woman fellow at Royal Society
Dr Gagandeep Kang. Photo: Royal Society

Dr Gagandeep Kang on Tuesday became the first Indian woman to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in London.

The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge inducted, better known as the Royal Society, inducted 51 new members, ten foreign members and one Honorary Fellow into its ranks on April 12. Dr Gagandeep is the first woman working in India to be inducted into the society its over 400 years of its history.

Dr Gagandeep is Executive Director of India's Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) in Faridabad. Her election was described as THSTI as in recognition of her "contributions to vaccine development in India and establishment of training programs in clinical translational medicine."

She is renowned for her work studying the "transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections and their sequelae in children in India" according to her official bio. With a particular interest in the rotavirus, she has built India-wide rotavirus and typhoid surveillance networks, and helped set up laboratories and clinical trials that led to a World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified vaccine being developed by two Indian companies. Besides demonstrating the greater susceptibility of Indian children to the rotavirus, her work helped vaccine manufacturers in India, China and Brazil.

Earlier, she worked as a professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences at the Christian Medical College in Vellore. She won the 2016 Infosys Prize in Life Sciences, the 2006 Indian National Award for Women Bioscientists, and is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, the Indian National Science Academy, and the Royal College of Pathologists, London.

According to the Royal Society Website, she is currently investigating "the complex relationships between infection, gut function and physical and cognitive development, and seeking to build a stronger human immunology research in India."

The President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, responded to the appointment of its new members in a Tweet.

"It is our Fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realised: to use science for the benefit of humanity."

The Twitter handle of the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India also responded to the news:

"Congratulations to Gagandeep Kang (ED @THSTIFaridabad , Manjul Bhargava (Member, PM's STIAC)and all others elected as Fellows @royalsociety . Kang is the first woman Fellow from India, if I am not mistaken."