Hello Ujjwal - new research group leader!
We are happy to introduce: Ujjwal Neogi, new research group leader at the division of Clinical Microbiology.
What research area are you involved in?
My research deals with the understanding the natural control mechanisms in HIV-1 infected individuals, known as elite controllers as a model, who can control HIV-1 replication naturally. We use hypothesis-free big-data and technology driven multi-omics strategies such as transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics in our research. Using patient material from well controlled Swedish InfCare HIV cohort in bedside-to-bench and back approach coupled with high-throughput multi-omics technologies, we are seeking the answers to the question how elite controllers control viral replication without any therapy. Furthermore, using the same trans-omics approaches, we are trying to understand the role of antiretroviral therapy in premature ageing and neurocognitive defects in a successfully treated group of individuals who are on long-term successful therapy.
What is the purpose and goal with your research?
The purpose and the long-term goals of our multidisciplinary research are to identify the biomarker(s) or key agents that modulate (i) the pathogenesis of the HIV, and (ii) potentially are the key component of developing a safe, affordable and scalable functional cure strategies or therapeutic vaccine for HIV and AIDS. While there is currently no cure or vaccine against HIV, combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has increased the life expectancy of HIV-infected patients from years to decades. However, long-term ART does affect the quality of life (due to side effects). The cART also has massive economic burden on the public health care system, both in high-income as well as in low- and middle-income countries. I hope to contribute through my research to identify the biomarker(s) and key agents that impact HIV pathogenesis aiming towards the functional cure, and thereby reduce socio-economic burden.
Why did you decide to become a researcher?
The major reason I chose to be researcher was that being researcher gives me an intellectual freedom and creativity to fulfill my curiosity. Whilst I have my work responsibilities, I can take time to explore novel ideas and learn about new concepts and technologies. Another important reason for me to become a researcher is that I didn’t believe that someone will actually pay me to spend the rest of my life being curious and expanding my horizon by learning new things. Science for me is fun, joy and rewarding despite day-by-day challenges now, and in future.
In a perfect world, what is your dream to accomplish with your research?
My dream is be to see the cure of HIV and have therapeutic vaccine to help millions of HIV-infected patients in both the high-income and low- and middle-income countries in hopefully near future, with potential contribution from my own research.
What do you like to do when you are not working at KI?
During my spare time, I enjoy listening music or reading newspapers, Bengali novels and spending time with my two-and-half year son and my lovely wife. Just to mention, Bengali literature and music are extremely rich. It is also the 7th most spoken language in the world, and the only Indian language for which an Indian has ever won a Nobel prize.