Senjuti Saha is a molecular microbiologist and an activist based in Bangladesh, working at the intersection of clinical microbiology and global health. She completed her her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto in Canada, and received post-doctoral training at the Hospital for Sick Children, Canada and Stanford University, USA. Dr. Saha moved to Bangladesh in 2016 to work on the front lines of public health. At present, she is a Director and Scientist at the Child Health Research Foundation, where she is conducting fundamental studies on infectious diseases in Bangladesh, integrating clinical epidemiology with molecular laboratory-based investigations and genomic analyses. Dr. Saha focuses on pediatric preventable infectious diseases, with the goals of using modern molecular technologies including on-site metagenomics to identify etiologies that evade standard laboratory testing in resource-constrained settings. Her work was the first to show the direct presence of chikungunya virus in the cerebrospinal fluid of children, causing meningitis. She has also led the design of low-cost diagnostic tools to detect bacterial and viral pathogens and track antimicrobial resistance, making significant contributions in understanding the epidemiology of typhoid and its antibiotic resistance patterns in Bangladesh. Dr. Saha’s work also specializes on estimating the indirect impacts of vaccines on the overall health system of resource-constrained settings. Dr. Saha and her team were the first to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in Bangladesh and is currently leading a large study on tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants in Bangladesh and understanding the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19 in Bangladeshi children. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in international scientific journals. She is a member of the Polio Transition Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and sits on the editorial board of multiple international journals. Dr. Saha believes that everyone across the world should have equal access to the practice and benefits of science. Her mission is to break free of the vicious cycle of limited resources that lead to lack of data required for evidence-based policy decisions, which lead back to limited resources; and instead, commit to building virtuous cycles of data-generation, that are sustainable and cost-effective. Her team’s work is grounded in advancing health and research equity in Bangladesh, and beyond. Being a relentless advocate for equal access to scholarly literature and science education, she hopes to inspire others to join her movement with the motto, ‘science by and for the many, not the few’.
Ananya Top 10, Bangladesh
Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh
Women of Inspiration Award, Junior Chamber International, Bangladesh
Gates’ Hero, 2020, for battling health inequity, Gates Notes
Webby Award for Infectious Disease Detectives (with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative). Honoring the best of the internet. People’s choice award.
Bill and Melinda Gates Goalkeeper of Sustainable Development Goals
Sabin Vaccine Institute Travel Award, 11th International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses.
Bill and Melinda Gates Fellowship for Scientists from Low- and Middle-Income Countries, International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference
Bill and Melinda Gates Fellowship for Scientists from Low- and Middle-Income Countries, American Society of Microbiology MICROBE
Bill and Melinda Gates Fellowship, International Symposium on Pneumococci & Pneumococcal Disease
Travel Fellowship, 10th World Congress of the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Postdoctoral Travel Award, American Society of Microbiology, MICROBE
Sabin Vaccine Institute Travel Grant, International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses
First Runner up, University of Toronto Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition
Canada Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Award (CAD$ 35,000/year)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Canada (CAD$ 30,000/year)
University of Toronto Open Fellowship Research Award, University of Toronto, Canada (CAD$ 11,000/year)
Dean’s List in recognition of academic excellence (3 consecutive years), University of Toronto, Canada
Scholar Award. University of Toronto, Canada. (CAD$ 5,000)
New College Admission Scholarship. University of Toronto, Canada. (CAD$ 3,000)