Dr Nishigandha Naik (PhD)

Director at the Haffkine Institute for Training, Research & Testing (HITRT)

Nishigandha Naik is working as a Director (additional charge) at the Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing (HITRT), Mumbai and is the Head of the Dept. of Biochemistry and Dept. of Toxicology. She has more than twenty eight years of research work experience that includes academia as well as industry. Her work is in the field of cancer cell biology, imaging and pre-clinical drug discovery. Her basic research is focused on cell motility related signal transduction events and development of therapeutic approaches for cancer, especially chronic myeloid leukemia, breast cancer, glioblastoma and neural stem cells. Studies of her group have identified rhoGTPases as therapeutic targets. Dr. Naik did her Ph.D. at the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) of the Tata Memorial Centre which is a pioneering and leading comprehensive cancer centre of India. She did her post-doctoral research at the Centre d’Etudes Nucleaires de Grenoble, France. She worked as an independent scientist at the CRI (now known as Advanced Centre for Training, Research and Education in Cancer – ACTREC). Focus of her group was to understand pathogenesis of chronic myeloid leukemia and breast cancer. In her tenure of almost two decades at the CRI, she developed expertise in the field of imaging. She was instrumental in establishing Laser Confocal Facility for the institute which was second in the Country. She also contributed to Flow Cytometry and Live Cell Imaging Facilities of the Institute and served as a member of the Academic Committee, Institutional Scientific Committee, etc. The NCE research division of the Piramal Enterprises Limited was focusing on discovery and development of new drugs to treat unmet medical needs in the areas of cancer, diabetes and inflammation. The Centre had comprehensive capabilities spanning target identification, lead discovery & optimization to pre-clinical development and clinical R&D. As a Sr. Group Leader, Dr. Naik initiated her work from establishment of her group and the laboratory too. She undertook tasks from target identification, discovery and development of lead compound to the preclinical stage. One of the compounds is in phase I clinical trials. As a Head of Imaging and Cancer Biology, she had set up complete preclinical imaging facility required for the drug discovery industry.  Dr. Naik is inventor in international patents and is a recipient of several national and international awards including Indian National Science Academy's Medal for Young Scientist, award for Young Scientist from International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB) and European Cell Biology Organization (ECBO), Marie Curie Fellowship from the Commission of European Communities and DST, Long Term Overseas Associateship award from DBT, STA Fellowship from Government of Japan and DST, etc. Dr. Naik has several times served as elected office-bearer of the Indian Association for Cancer Research and Indian Society of Cell Biology. She is the founder president of the ACTREC Alumni Association and is also associated with the Moving Academy of Medicine and Biomedicine.