Hello there! Thanks for dropping by my blog. A few words about me: I am Pranab Chatterjee, a medical doctor by training. I am currently based in Kolkata, India. I am a Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research and affiliated with the Division of Epidemiology at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. I have previously worked in New Delhi, India, as a Senior Research Associate with the Public Health Foundation of India, working with the Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India Initiative (RCZI). My research interests lie in infectious diseases, specifically, in zoonotic diseases, emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and systems research.
I obtained my MBBS degree from Medical College, Kolkata, the oldest medical teaching institution in Asia. I went on to obtain my MD degree in Preventive/Community Medicine, from the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University. I started my MD residency with an interest in displaced and marginalized population, which led to my MD dissertation, for which I worked on identifying mental health problems in homeless youth. In course of my residency training, I started getting interested in infectious diseases, especially emerging, reemerging, and zoonotic diseases, which led me to a career in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
My work has focussed on the study of pathogen emergence at the human-animal-environment interface, and understanding the drivers of emergence of antimicrobial resistance. I have also worked on vector borne diseases like Japanese Encephalitis, Dengue and Chikungunya, especially with respect to figuring out way to augment preparedness and response measures for the latter.
I see myself as a physician scientist who is involved in the framing of robust predictive and preventive systems to combat infectious diseases, especially drug resistant infections, at the community as well as the individual level. I hope to be able to do this while retaining my love for providing quality care for patients and addressing issues which perturb the masses and the individuals alike.
About the Blog
Infectious diseases have been the scourge of human civilization since times immemorial. Though we briefly established our supremacy over them after the discovery of anti-infective agents, these wonders of the evolutionary forces have emerged victors by developing resistance against the drugs. In this timeless clash between man and microbe, we are, today, at a critical juncture. The visionary scientist Louis Pasteur commented:
“Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot.” (Gentlemen, it is the microbes that will have the last word.)
Man, in his hubris and folly, has perhaps hastened the microbes’ agenda by rampantly misusing the wonders of anti-infective agents and helped the emergence of resistant strains.
Today, we are learning newer aspects of infectious diseases as the traditional triad of agent-host-environment is attaining a more complex nature. Infectious diseases today occur in a complex setting where social, cultural, economic and ecologic factors interact in a complex, often recursive, manner. Given this, as a student of the contagions, I feel it is important to study infections and outbreaks through a holistic lens. This blog is my attempt at sharing my research in an accessible manner. Further, it represents a forum for me to air ideas and thoughts, issues which may not always be well formed enough to make its way into a policy brief or a grant proposal or a peer-reviewed publication.
The name “InfectionScapes” is an obvious combination of infections and landscapes. The idea is that it is time to study infectious diseases as a part of complex whole, operating within a complex socio-bio-geographic environment, often modulated by human behavior, sociocultural norms and political/policy directions. This is my attempt at bringing the One Health angle into the discussion of infectious diseases within a holistic framework. The blog’s name is an attempt to hint at the fact that the coming era of infectious diseases will be a tale of man and his fight with the zoonotic, emerging and drug resistant infectious diseases, much like Joshua Lederberg’s proclamation:
“The future of humanity and microbes likely will unfold as episodes of a suspense thriller that could be titled Our Wits versus Their Genes.”
There is a lot we do not know about with respect to these emerging threats, and a lot of work is being done to understand how these diseases fit into the entire framework of the human condition, especially with respect to social determinants, economic drivers, political will, policy frameworks, and a multitude of other factors not traditionally associated with the occurrence of disease. As a student of infectious diseases, this blog is an attempt at understanding these complexities, and sharing them with an interested audience.