Back to speakers

Amit Awasthi

Dr. Amit Awasthi is presently working as a Professor at Translational Health Science
Technology Institute (THSTI, Faridabad), an autonomous institute of the Department of
Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.
Dr. Awasthi was awarded Ph.D degree in the year of 2006 from National Center for Cell
Science Pune. After completion of Ph.D, he pursued Postdoctoral Training from Brigham and
Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. He worked as a Junior Faculty at
Harvard Medical School to understand the pathways that lead to the generation of pathogenic
Th17 cells in multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease till 2012.

Academic and Research Achievements:
In the earlier years direction of his research, strengthened by his training during Ph.D., was to
identify the signaling pathways in macrophages that lead to suppress intracellular growth of
Leishmania parasite. These studies facilitated the target identification for drug candidates of
host pathways (J. Exp. Med. 2003; Nature Medicine 2004). Subsequently, his postdoctoral
work at Harvard Medical School identify the differentiation factors of anti-inflammatory type
1 regulatory T (Tr1) cells (Nature Immunology 2007; Nature Immunology 2017; Cell Reports
2020). Tr1 cell produces IL-10 and are crucial for maintaining immune homeostasis and
tolerance in inflammatory conditions. In addition, he identified the generation and effector
functions of Th17 cells in autoimmune diseases (Nature 2007; Nature Immunology 2012;
Nature 2013).
Amit’s research contribution on T cells biology, especially Th9 cells, and its association with
cancer and inflammatory diseases is very significant. In fact, he is only researcher who is
working on Th9 cells and its transcriptional regulation in India. Amit has published his
research work on Th9 cells and their functions in high impact journals (Nature Immunology
2008; Nature Communications 2017; Nature Communication 2021. He delineated the
molecular pathways that are required for generations and functions of Th9 cells. He used
variety of techniques like transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and mutant mice strains
to unravel the role of transcription factors, Foxo1 and HIF1alpha, in the functions of Th9
cells in autoimmune diseases and cancers. He has identified that table salt triggers anti-
tumour immune response by promoting the abundance of Bifidobacterium, which activates
anti-tumour functions of NK cells (Science Advances 2021). Amit’s lab has developed
animal models for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to understand the pathophysiology of
IBD and how dietary factors affect the outcome of disease. He has identified that potassium
rich diet suppresses intestinal inflammation by promoting generation of anti-inflammatory T
cells (Foxp3 + Tregs) via modulation of Smad2/3 and Smad7 pathways. Using his expertise in
the field of IBD, he further identified that posttranscriptional modification, sumoylation,
plays key role in the pathogenesis of IBD (Cell Reps 2019, 29:3522-3538.e7).
For the past two years, his group has been at the forefront of the nation’s fight against the
COVID-19 pandemic. Amit has contributed to the Covid19 pandemic National emergency by
establishing the animal models platform to study the pathogenesis of SarsCov2 infection, and
to support academic and non-academic partners to test their vaccine candidates and antiviral
drugs. Using animal model platform, he has supported the testing of Covid19 vaccine
preclinically for Zydus Cadila DNA Vaccine (ZycovD,) BioE, Myvax subunit vaccine. This
platform is still operating and testing emerging new Covid19 vaccines candidates for
Reliance Life Sciences, Premas Biotech. In addition, Amit has contributed to cellular assays
for Sputnik-V (Reddy Lab) clinical trial. ZycovD and Sputnik-V received the clearance of
emergency authorization while BioE CORBEVAX vaccine received DCGI approval for
Phase III Clinical trials for adults and Phase II/III for paediatric trial.

Awards and Honours:
Dr. Amit’s Awasthi has received various prestigious awards like CDRI Award 2022 in Life
Science category for Drug Discovery, GN Ramchandran DBT-Bioscience Award 2021 for
career development, Dr. GP Talwar Mid-Career Scientist Award for the year of 2016 from
Indian Immunology Society, Innovative Young Biotechnologists Award (IYBA) for the year
2011 from DBT, Government of India, Ramalingaswami Fellowship for the year of 2011
from DBT, Government of India and NASI Young Scientist Platinum Jubilee Award for the
year of 2012 from the National Academy of Sciences, India. Following publications have
given the above mentioned award.

Recently Prof. Awasthi, got elected as a Member of Guha Research Conference (GRC)-2021.