Research Team

Research Team

Orchids Breast Health Center conducts research in a variety of new and interdisciplinary areas, ranging from translational research to research on the outcomes of breast oncoplastic surgery. The main focus is on translational breast cancer research.
Being in the field of cancer, laboratory research is simply not enough. What good would mere laboratory research be, if its clinical applications were unexplored? Translational research is an area that focuses on a clinical problem, and tries to solve it in a laboratory, thus assuring that solutions in the laboratory have an impact clinically. At Orchids, the main clinical issue that the research team is focusing on is the Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). TNBC is a very aggressive breast cancer, and is the most prevalent in Indian women, as compared to others. Indian women have about 30% rate of TNBC detection, as opposed to 10-15% in other ethnicities. The reasons behind these facts and statistics about TNBC (especially in Indian population) are still unknown, and this enigma is being researched at Orchids.

Breast cancer is being considered as the top cancer in India right now, given the large number of deaths caused by it. Because of its impact and the high mortality rate, breast cancer is the most active field of research in cancer.

Our Vision

“The first vision is to grow. We want to establish ourselves as a credible, reputable institute. We want to be the leading force in oncoplasty. At the moment, we have a lot of programs in oncoplastic training and education. But now, oncoplastic research has become very important as well, because by doing research, we would be able to identify where we are lacking and what could be the new way of doing things. We want to focus on breast cancers in India. For this reason, we have chosen triple negative breast cancer, since it is specific to India. We would also like to work on a few more Indian specific characteristics of breast cancer, through the multiple infrastructure facilities that we have at our end.

The second vision is to get recognition as an official training institute. Right now, we are recognized by the Government of India as a research institute, but not yet as a training institute. In the next few years, we would like to become an independent, accredited training institute, where not only surgeons and oncologists, but also PhDs could be trained. With our collaboration with IISER, we are already on a path of developing a research institute. And it is in a direction where PhDs and scientists will interact together. These are the two visions.”

Dr. Santosh Dixit
Ph.D., Clinical Research Scientist
Dr. Dixit leads the Research Wing. He is a Senior Clinical Research Scientist at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission leading the design and conduct of multiple interdisciplinary projects in Breast Cancer with a translational focus. His area of focus is translational research activities. He has over 10 years of experience in translational biomedical research with special emphasis on preclinical and clinical drug development. He has been involved in setting up the Genetic Clinic at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission, which works towards assessing as well as reducing breast cancer risk. Aside from this, his research interests include clinical pharmacology, pharmacogenomics and regulatory aspects pertaining to the development of drugs and biomedical devices. He is also actively involved in medical education and training, social outreach programmes and regulatory affairs. He has received a Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT), Mumbai and a Ph.D.(Pharmaceutical Sciences) from University of Cincinnati, USA. He has also completed post-doctoral training at Vanderbilt University, USA and University of Western Ontario, Canada.
DR. MADHURA KULKARNI
Ph.D., Senior Scientist DBT-Ramalingaswami Fellow
Dr. Kulkarni contributes to translational research projects at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics (University of Maryland, College Park, USA) and an extensive experience in translational breast cancer research (MGH-Harvard Medical School, USA and later at Cancer Science Institute, Singapore), enables Dr. Madhura to bring expertise and vast knowledge to this research. Having previously worked with breast cancer patients samples from Singapore, she aims to find novel markers to classify TNBC cancer patients based on molecular subtypes. Her research will develop a novel prognostic tool for TNBC patients stratification and novel treatment avenues.
DR. AEIJAZ UL NOOR
Ph.D., Clinical Research Scientist
Dr. Noor’s current research interests include investigating clinical and patient-reported outcomes after various types of breast surgeries with particular emphasis on breast oncoplastic surgeries. After receiving a Ph.D. (Biochemistry) from University of Kashmir, he undertook Tutor/Demonstrator training at Dept. of Biochemistry SKIMS-MC, Bemina, Srinagar. His pre-doctoral training is from National Centre for Biological Science (NCBS), Bangalore and Université Laval, Canada.
Ruhi Reddy
B.Pharm, Research coordinator
Ruhi is a Clinical Research Coordinator at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. Her responsibilities mainly include clinical data collection, curation and analysis, and is involved in the pharmacy section. She is also a co-ordinator of the Breast Cancer Biobank project, for which she collects tissue blocks and maintains their record. Ruhi incorporates sincerity and discipline in her work, and has a keen analytical eye. She has completed B.Pharm from Allana College of Pharmacy, Pune.
Shahin Shaikh
B.Pharm, Research Coordinator
Shahin is a Clinical Research Coordinator at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. Her work includes clinical data management for Cancer Registry, Pune and databases maintained at the center. She is also involved in the Biobank project and management of Pharmacy. With a bright smile and a helpful attitude, Shahin assists her co-workers with their responsibilities. She believes that her experience at Orchids has exposed her to areas and aspects she was previously unaware of. She has completed B.Pharm from Allana College of Pharmacy, Pune.
Aishwarya Konnur
B.Tech Biotechnology, Clinical Research Assistant
Aishwarya is a Clinical Research Assistant at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. She is mainly involved in coordinating the activities and documentation of the Risk Reduction and Genetic Clinic at Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. Her main role is collecting all the data of the patients involved in this project, including clinicopathology, their family histories, pedigrees, etc. In addition, she is involved in genetic research projects aimed at investigating the risk of TNBC breast cancer in Indian women. Despite being one of the youngest members in the team, Aishwarya brings meticulousness and reasoning in her work. She can successfully co-relate her theoretical knowledge with her current work, and provides valuable inputs to her project. She is helpful and quick in her approach of thinking as well as working. She has completed B.Tech (Biotechnology) from Dr. D. Y. Patil Biotechnology & Bioinformatics Institute, Pune.
DR. RASHMI GORE
Clinical Research Scientist
Dr. Gore, a public health expert & young researcher is affiliated with Orchids Breast Health Center on different projects since March 2017. After completing her graduation in Ayurveda, from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (March 2013), she worked with multiple hospitals as a Medical Officer to earn clinical skills. But due to intense desire to contribute in health betterment of community, she pursued the field of public health and completed her Master’s in Public Health from one of the most prestigious Institutes of India, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has also worked in various parts of rural Maharashtra to understand the problem of gynecological morbidities of women from rural Maharashtra including cervical cancer and is in the process of representing the results in article. She served as a Project Coordinator for the Project Shodh, an initiative for screening of common cancers of women in the Pune city. She was responsible for the data management and follow up of the Project. She is currently involved in various surgical research paper writing and Case report writing at Orchids Breast Health and Prashanti Cancer care Mission. She also serves as a Coordinator for the Ethics Committee of Prashanti Cancer Care Mission.
DR. NUTAN GANGURDE
Clinical Research Scientist
Dr. Gangurde, a public health expert & young researcher is affiliated with Orchids Breast Health Center on different projects since March 2018. After completing her graduation in Homoeopathy, from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (March 2004), she worked with multispeciality hospital as a Medical Officer to earn clinical skills. But due to intense desire to contribute in health betterment of community, she pursued in the field of Clinical Research and worked with Clinical Research Institutes, attended 6 International Meetings. She is currently involved in various surgical research paper writing - Project SHODH; BCS cases and Case report writing at Orchids Breast Health and Prashanti Cancer care Mission. She also serves as a Coordinator for the Ethics Committee of Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. She is collecting clinical and patient-reported outcomes after various types of breast surgeries.