Prof. Giridhara R Babu

Principal Investigator, MAASTHI Birth Cohort Public Health Foundation of India
Indian Institute of Public Health- Bengaluru

Giridhara R Babu is the recipient of the Wellcome Trust strategic award to PHFI and UK universities for setting up a birth cohort in Bengaluru for studying the effect of hyperglycemia in pregnancy on the adiposity in infants. Subsequently, he has been awarded the Wellcome Trust / DBT India Alliance Intermediate Fellowship for the extension of the birth cohort. In addition to the research skills, his strength is in working with Governments for policy formulation and implementation, intersectoral coordination, and industry partnerships.

He was the lead editor in developing the guidelines for health professionals for the prevention and management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in primary health care settings. He was a member of the committee on framing the guidelines and path for initiation of public health care in the state of Karnataka. He is also involved in developing the action plan for the implementation of the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the state of Karnataka. 

He worked with the World Health Organization for six years, during which he led efforts in stopping polio transmission in the state of Karnataka. He initiated advocacy for Measles surveillance in Karnataka leading to the constitution of the Multi-Year Plan (MYP) for Measles elimination in India. Subsequently, he worked as a research associate for Multi Centre AIDS Cohort (MACS) with Dr.Roger Detels. He completed an MPH and Ph.D. degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) with doctoral research exploring the association of Job stress and Hypertension.  

Dr. Sanjay Kinra,

Mentor and collaborator Professor in Clinical Epidemiology
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Sanjay Kinra is a clinician-scientist dedicated to finding better ways to help people with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. He is particularly interested in developing low-cost solutions for behavior change and health education, in emerging economies such as India, leveraging the power of information technology. He works mainly in India (Public Health Foundation of India) and the UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is also clinically active (Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Obesity) at the University College London Hospital, where he works with a team of colleagues to help very overweight children and adolescents to manage their weight and live healthier lives.

DR GVS Murthy

Director, IIPH Hyderabad
Public Health Foundation of India
Indian Institute of Public Health Hyderabad

Dr. G.V.S. Murthy is a public health specialist and a community physician. Till recently he was the Head of the Department of Community Ophthalmology at the Dr. R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He is also a faculty at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.  He graduated from Guntur Medical College, Andhra Pradesh, and later did his MD (Community Medicine) from AIIMS and MSc (Community Eye Health) from the University College of London, UK. 

Dr. Murthy has been involved in many national and internationally funded epidemiologic and operational research projects that have contributed to generating the evidence base for policy formulation and programme implementation of blindness control activities. In addition to his extensive work in eye care in India, he has also been closely associated with the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey, which is the largest ever blindness survey in Africa. He is also the principal investigator of a major study on childhood disability in Bangladesh and Pakistan – The validation of the Key Informant method for identification of children with disabilities. 


Dr. Sarah Benjamin Neelon

Associate Professor
Bloomberg School of Public Health

Sara Benjamin Neelon, Ph.D., MPH, RD is a child nutritionist and Associate  Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, she worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Global Health Institute.  She completed a Ph.D. and MPH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She is an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Benjamin Neelon’s research focuses on policy and environmental approaches to obesity prevention in vulnerable populations.  Her studies target young children and women during pregnancy, with several focusing on child care and school environments.  Members of the research team include public health professionals, those with extensive experience in developing and testing interventions, and others with backgrounds in early childhood development.

Dr. Anura Krupad

Professor and Former Head, Physiology & Nutrition,
St. John’s Research Institute,

He has been awarded the Margadarshi Fellowship to study new methods of estimating the bioavailability of nutrients in humans through intrinsic stable isotope labeling of plants will be developed, along with novel and sensitive human physiological studies of their efficacy through dynamic proteomics and other methods.

MAASTHI cohort has collaborated with St John’s Research Institute for storing the samples at the St John’s Research Institute, Biorepository. We also have plans to collaborate with St John’s to analyze the nutritional data, dietary assessments in collaboration with the Department of Nutrition at SJRI. The mechanisms underlying how poor maternal health imparts risk for future metabolic disease in the offspring are beginning to emerge in deeply phenotyped human and nonhuman primate models. Maternal diet and obesity impact fuels, hormones, and inflammation with powerful effects on fetal metabolic systems. These are accompanied by persistent changes in the infant microbiome and epigenome and in offspring behavior. These results suggest that gestational and lactational dietary exposures are driving health risks in the next generation. Whether maternal diet can prevent changes in the womb to alter infant life-course disease risk is still unknown. Controlled, mechanistic studies will be conducted in collaboration with SJRI.

Administrative guidance and support

Dr. Suresh S Shapeti

Special Officer & Director (I/c)
Public Health Foundation of India
Indian Institute of Public Health Bengaluru

Dr. Suresh S Shapeti is a medical doctor; he has completed MBBS and MS (ENT). He has served for 33 years in the Department of Health Family Welfare-Karnataka at various capacities. Currently, he is working as Special Officer & Director (I/c) at PHFI-IIPH Bengaluru.  He has Chaired several departmental committees such as Public Health Cadre Creation Review Committee, Karnataka. Chairman of State Need Assessment Committee, department nodal officer for Public Private Partnership Projects-DHFW and BBMP COVID-19 Technical Committee. Dr Shapeti is the Co-investigator on the study “Redesigning primary care to reduce cardiovascular mortality: population preferences for hypertension care in India”, funded by Harvard TN Chan School of Public Health. He is the PI of Operationalizing Technical Innovation Learning Centre (TILC) funded by Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Karnataka and Supporting National Health Mission by establishing Center of Excellence at PHFI funded by Asian Development Bank. He has worked on Developing Operational Framework for Synergistic IT platform as a move towards Universal Health Coverage and designing digital system for Systematic Data Recording as a Co-PI which was funded by National Health Mission, Govt. of Karnataka. He is also part of the Independent Monitoring to assess Effectiveness of Service Delivery from Health and Wellness Centers in Karnataka.

Mr. Ramesh T.S.

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Mr. Ramesh T.S. is the Research Administrator at IIPH Bengaluru since Oct. 2012.  Prior to the association with PHFI, he worked with the World Health Organization as Senior Data Analyst.   At IIPH, he handles administrative requirements of all the projects.  He is involved in documentation for proposal submission, hiring of human resources, procurement and maintenance of equipment, facilitating ethics application, annual report to the funding agency and budget management. He also supervises the preparation of financial statements on regular intervals for submission to the funders.  He also manages the research staff claims / reimbursement and other statutory benefits.  He overseas the book keeping of day-to-day transactions including imprest cash management and updating accounting records in ERP-Oracle, PFMS.  Also, he manages the annual project audit.  Mr. Ramesh has worked with several granting agencies including World Health Organization, Wellcome Trust, DBT, India Alliance, Asian Development Bank, Harvard School of Public Health, ICMR, Dept. of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, Govt. of Karnataka, Institute of Public Health, etc. 

Research Team

Deepa R

image-1Deepa is a graduate in life science from Bangalore University and has completed Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Clinical Research from Institute of Clinical Research, India.  She joined Public Health Foundation of India in 2014 and has been working in the MAASTHI birth cohort to study the association of hyperglycaemia in pregnant women and its effect on their newborns and has coauthored seven research publications and was part of five successful grant applications at IIPH Bangalore. 
She is an external PhD candidate at Maastricht University and is studying the adverse effects of maternal malnutrition. She is currently working on dietary assessment of pregnant women and its impact of child birth weight and anthropometry. She is keen on studying how malnutrition can be tackled in women by introducing supplementation programs in women and children and if the current public health supplementation programs are actually beneficial to the population.   


image-2Ms. Yamuna A, Public health and development professional with advanced degree in public health (Masters in Public Health) and currently external Ph.D. student at Maastricht university, Netherlands. Currently, she works as Research Associate at the Public Health Foundation of India, Indian Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru.  She had received Merit Certificate for the highest cumulative grade point average in the MPH course.
She has work experience in clinical care of patients too with her basic degree is  Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Nursing.
She has well experience in coordinating health-related research, scientific writing and publication, use of statistical software for data analysis, field work for evidence gathering, supervision of the field data collection.
She has co-authored 13 research publications and also three peer reviewed book chapter publications.  Her area of interests is in epidemiological investigation of non-communicable diseases, maternal and Child Health focused research.


Master of Public Health graduate and currently working as a Research Assistant at the Public Health Foundation of India in Bangalore alongside pursuing my Ph.D. The domain of my interest is “Psychosocial health”. I have been working here at PHFI in the last five years and engaging with writing a manuscript, review of the research article, preparation of field guide manual, and co-mentoring the PGDPHM student at PHFI.
I am a peer reviewer for the BMC Public Health journal and Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition journals. I am happy to say that I am proficient in using SPSS for analysis, have field experience of carrying out research activities.
The domain of my interest is “Psychosocial health”. I am interested in looking at how the psychosocial environment during pregnancy and postnatal impact the birth outcomes such as birth weight and ensuing effects in children.

Areas of expertise:

  • Maternal Health/Women’s Health
  • Mental Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Climate Change
  • Bio Statistics

Ms. Nolita Dolcy Saldanha

image-4Nolita Dolcy Saldanha has completed master’s degree in public health (2015), from NITTE university with the 2nd highest cumulative grade point merit certificate.  After which she joined PHFI as research assistant and successfully completed the NCD project titled ‘mWELLCARE’ at the Karnataka site. The research was carried out in two Indian states: Haryana and Karnataka. Further, she worked as a project investigator to evaluate the community outreach project on Cancer Awareness, funded by TATA Trust, in Udupi district of Karnataka.         

She has conducted independent research on school health programmes and COTPA law compliance in Dakshina Kannada district schools and presented the finding in the international conference at Delhi. Her work on the parental awareness on school health program was selected for the oral presentation at the 12th SAE Regional Scientific Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand.  She joined IIPH- Bengaluru since 2018 and involved in various projects funded by Karnataka Government, DBT, Harvard University etc. She had successfully completed the evaluation of Mathrupoorna – nutritional scheme of Karnataka Government provided to pregnant and lactating mothers. She is working on various systematic reviews for Indian Council of medical Research (ICMR) and WHO on meal supplementation and COVID-19 sero surveys. Her research works involves both quantitative and qualitative aspects and she has authored and co-authored publications both in National and international journals.  She is currently employed in the field of cardiovascular disease management in Karnataka, as well as serving as the course coordinator for the PGDPHM programme at IIPH- Bengaluru, conducts lectures on non-communicable diseases, health promotion, epidemiology and mentors the students research work..

Maithili Karthik

Maithili Karthik has master’s degree in Anthropology from Karnataka University Dharwad. Three years served in ICHAP (India Canada HIV/AIDS project) in Bagalkot District as field investigator/ co-ordinator. Then with 9 years of gap joined this esteemed organisation public health foundation of India as researcher. Worked in MAASTHI (Maternal Antecedents of Adiposity Studying the Transgenerational role of Hyperglycemia and Insulin) with this many other research studies.  Attended many counselling, communication, implementation programs and workshops. Presented research findings in 7th PHFI symposium in Delhi. Worked in many qualitative research studies and also filed of interest is qualitative research. Published 3 papers in national and international high impact journal.

Eunice Lobo

A post graduate in Microbiology from Mumbai University, Eunice further studied Public Health at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education in 2011. Since joined IIPH-Bangalore in February 2019 as a Research Associate and has been involved in various projects supported by Wellcome-DBT India Alliance, MRC-DBT India, World Health Organisation, Asian Development Bank. These projects involve an array of topics including Hyperglycemia in pregnant women, interventions in women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, and COVID-19. She also teaches the communicable diseases module, and is involved in mentoring PGDPHM students at the institute. She has been associated with the Public Health Foundation of India since September 2017 through IIPH-Bhubaneswar, where in her capacity as a Research Fellow, she successfully conducted a large, multi-state study on community-derived disability weights across rural and urban Odisha and Telangana, supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research. Prior to joining IIPH-Bhubaneswar, she worked at the Foundation for Medical Research in Mumbai – a premier institute in Tuberculosis research as a lead public health researcher for three years, supervising projects supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and PATH in Mumbai and Patna. She was involved in the Global Fund Round-9 (GFR-9) – Project Axshya, prior to joining the foundation while working with the Catholic Health Foundation of India, and efficiently handled two districts in Maharashtra. She has won the ‘Best paper’ award at the ISHWMCON 2012 for her work on Biomedical waste management at Primary Health centres of Udupi, Karnataka. She has been trained in systematic review protocol development, along with quantitative and qualitative software. She is a PubMed indexed author with publications on Tuberculosis, Diabetes, qualitative research, and infectious diseases. Her research interests include health inequity, lifecourse epidemiology, communicable, and non-communicable diseases, and health system strengthening. Most recently she has been selected as a PhD Fellow for the Team Science Grant project with Dr. Giridhara R. Babu as the Principal Investigator.

Sindhu N D

image-5Sindhu N D has completed graduation in life science from Rajiv Gandhi University. After graduation, she joined the Public Health Foundation of India in 2017 and have been working in the MAASTHI project  (Maternal Antecedents of Adiposity Studying the Transgenerational role of Hyperglycemia and Insulin ) as a research assistant. She has four years of experience in the field of public health and participated in various conferences /workshops such as Planning for Hearing Impairment  (2020); Training on Match*Pro software  (2020); Workshop on Discrete Choice Experiment (2020); R software and Biostatistics(2019).


whatsapp-image-2022-01-11-at-11.12.19-amDaisy is working as a Research Assistant at the Public Health Foundation of India since 2019. Her academic accolades include a Bachelors’s in Nursing from JIPMER, Pondicherry, and a Master’s of Public Health from IIPH –Hyderabad. Her research interests include Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health (ANH) nexus. She has four years of experience in Public Health and ANH-related projects. She has nine peer-reviewed publications in various national and international journals. In addition to her research interests, she also has a great passion for teaching.




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