Mitali Chatterjee, a medical scientist is Professor of Pharmacology at Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata, India. She obtained her MBBS from Calcutta Medical College, Kolkata, India in 1984, MSc in Medical Sciences from Cancer Research Unit in 1989 from University of Newcastle upon Tyne Medical School, UK. In 1992, she did her MD in Pharmacology from University College of Medicine, Kolkata, India and in 2000 obtained her PhD in Immunology from Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. She joined the University of Calcutta in 2000 and established an Immunopharmacology unit which has focussed on development of improved diagnostic and chemotherapeutic approaches against Leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical disease.
In South Asia, Leishmaniasis includes a visceral form called kala-azar and has a dermal sequel called Post kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL), the latter being unique to the Indian subcontinent. Importantly, in the absence of an experimental model, the responsibility of understanding the immunopathogenesis of PKDL lies squarely on the shoulders of clinical researchers. The group undertook this pertinent challenge and established that in PKDL, there is generation of a pro- parasitic, immunosuppressive milieu, which impairs the host’s capacity to respond to microbial ligands. Mitali Chatterjees group has developed a DNA based assays for diagnosis and monitoring of PKDL, and as part of the ongoing Leishmaniasis ‘active surveillance’ programme in West Bengal, her laboratory serves as the nodal centre that provides information regarding parasite load, a key marker for measuring chemotherapeutic effectiveness. In 2015, she was elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India and in 2017 as a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences.