Narinder K. Mehra, PhD

Professor Narinder Mehra is the former Dean of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and currently holds the position of ‘ICMR Emeritus Scientist”.

Earlier he served as ‘National chair’ for five years. He joined the AIIMS Faculty in 1979 and got passionately involved with the development of the new specialty of Transplant Immunology and Clinical Immunogenetics culminating in establishing a world class Department in the leading Medical institution of the country. He has made original and seminal contributions to research in the area of HLA and immunogenetics while continuously improving the clinical services.

His research domain ranges from investigating the immunology of infectious and autoimmune diseases, potential role of HLA matching in organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, influence of alloantibodies on transplant injury, MICA antibodies and soluble MICA as predictors of graft outcome among others.

Prof Mehra is a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, Indian Society of Organ transplantation, Member Honoris Causa of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and ‘Fellow’ of The World Academy of Sciences (FTWAS). His book ‘The HLA System in Medicine and Biology’ received high international acclaim and he served as chief Editor of ‘Frontiers in Immunology’ special issue, ‘Clinical relevance of antibodies in solid organ transplantation’. His group has published more than 480 original research papers in leading international journals.

Prof Mehra has nearly 100 awards and academic honors to his credit.  Some of the significant ones include S.S. Bhatnagar Awardof the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1992 (considered to be the highest award for science in India), Ranbaxy Science Foundation Award in 1996, O.P. Bhasin Science Foundation Award in 2000, Chief of the Army Staff Award, 2003,and several awards from the Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other science organizations. In 2003, the French President, conferred on him the title of ‘Chevalier of the National Order of Merit’.  He also received the Khwarizmi International Award from the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology elected him for their Tata Innovation Fellowship award.He wasamember of theinternational jury for the Else Kroner Fresenius International Award in Immunology.He is recipient of theDr B.R. Ambedkar award for excellence in Medical Researchwhich is the highest medical award of ICMR.

He has been the President of Indian Immunology Society and has served the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) as ‘Councilor’ for four terms of 3-year each and as co-chair of their Gender equality committee. He has also been the founder Secretary-General of the Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania (FIMSA).


Host Immunity and COVID-19

Narinder K Mehra, ICMR Emeritus Scientist, Former Dean and National chair, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

COVID-19 has become the most rapidly spreading communicable disease of the 21st century involving practically 213 countries/areas or territories with over 25.5 million cases and over 8.5 Lakh fatalities as of Sep 1. The dynamics of this ongoing pandemic reveals great heterogeneity in clinical manifestation ranging from asymptomatic to variably symptomatic forms including mild to severe disease. Incidentally, majority of COVID-19 cases (~80% or more) represent asymptomatic and/or mild category leading to relatively lower mortality than its most closely related human analogues like SARS and MERS-CoV. Global attempts have already begun to characterize the immune protective correlates of COVID-19 outbreak. Reports published so far provide a reasonably good understanding about the immunopathogenesis of the novel SARS-CoV2 virus. In this webinar, I will discuss the innate and adaptive immune systems to COVID-19 toxicity resulting in the release of large amounts of cytokines that can rapidly progress to ARDS, single or multiple organ failure, eventually leading to death. Further, an effort will be made to understand how population specific genetic diversity could select HLA molecules with higher binding specificities to the SARS-CoV2 peptides and thus compromise viral replicative fitness. Finally, I will discuss both the immediate challenges and the expectations from Immunology towards finding solutions to the several unanswered questions related to this novel disease.