Careers

Nilendra Krishna Nair, Proud Fijian Scientist Pursuing PhD Studies At Harvard University

Mr Nair’s expertise in genetics and micro biome research will lend a news lens on the proliferation of Non-Communicable Diseases in the South Pacific region.
18 Jul 2019 12:41
Nilendra Krishna Nair, Proud Fijian Scientist Pursuing PhD Studies At Harvard University
From left, Nilendra Krishna Nair, Sabita Nair and Itendra Nair.

He is a proud Fijian pursuing a PhD with just a Bachelor’s degree and a full scholarship at Harvard University in the United States of America.

At 27 years of age, Nilendra Krishna Nair is a clinical genetic scientist currently working in New York City’s largest hospital, the Mount Sinai Health Systems.

Mr Nair attended Nehru Primary School and the MGM High School in Suva, spending his childhood at the Nasova Police barrack.

He did not complete his then Form 7 education and left for Canada in 2009 after getting a PSC scholarship.

After staying in Canada for two years, he moved to USA for further studies.

Mr Nair’s expertise in genetics and micro biome research will lend a news lens on the proliferation of Non-Communicable Diseases in the South Pacific region.

 

Genetical basis

He is trying to understand the genetical basis of disease in the diverse Fijian population.

“This is something which no one has focused on before and I switched from biological to clinical research to help fill key gaps in our understanding of Diabetes and related NCDs,” he said.

He will be working with the Government of Kiribati as part of his PhD thesis to understand the conditions accelerating the nutrition transition in the region.

The son of Assistant Commissioner of Police Itendra Nair and Sabita Nair, the youngster is currently in Suva on vacation and also trying to explore the Fijian population.

He will return to USA on August 5 and start his PhD at Harvard University.

“I’m planning to start my research in Fiji by next year and by the third year I hope to get some meaningful analysis done,” he said.

Nair meets with Dr Waqainabete

Mr Nair met with the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and key players from the Fiji National University yesterday to discuss things.

“I’m trying to work closely with the Health Ministry and the FNU and everyone has been enthusiastic and receptive about my research on NCDs in the region,” he said.

“As part of my research, I’ll be going beyond the current norm to answer the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of NCD pathogenesis, and what genes are responsible for disease in people.

“Sometimes the disease is not in the genes and it may also skip a generation, however there are other environmental factors that can cause or contribute risk factors towards it.

“My research will focus on preventing disease in the next generation and to help elucidate the best treatments.

“I plan to help establish and mentor a new generation of local scientists that can sustainably engage at an international level of research, allowing Fijians to look for our own solutions to our health concerns,” said Mr Nair.

Dr Waqainabete said he met Mr Nair yesterday and gave him directions on how best to do his research.

“I haven’t seen anybody who has done it. It’s a very complex research and I asked him to check with FNU,” he said.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

Feedbackavinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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