Soumya Swaminathan is an Indian paediatrician and clinical scientist known for her research on tuberculosis and HIV. Since March 2019, Swaminathan has served as the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization. Let us wish her a very happy birthday.
Soumya Swaminathan was born on 2 May 1959 in Chennai, India. Soumya is the daughter of “Father of Green Revolution of India ”, M. S. Swaminathan and Indian educationalist Mina Swaminathan. Swaminathan received an M.B.B.S. from the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune. She has an M.D. in paediatrics from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. She is a Diplomate of the National Board from the National Board of Examinations. As part of her training, from 1987 to 1989 Swaminathan completed a postdoctoral medical fellowship in neonatology and pediatric pulmonology at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
From 1989 to 1990, Swaminathan was a Research Fellow (Registrar) in the Department of Pediatric Respiratory Diseases at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. She then worked as a Senior Research Officer (Supernumerary Research Cadre), Cardiopulmonary Medicine Unit, as well as an Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor at the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in New Jersey.
In 1992, Swaminathan joined the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis a.k.a. Tuberculosis Research Center, where she was the Coordinator of Neglected Tropical Diseases. She later became the director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis. From 2009 to 2011, Soumya Swaminathan was the Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva. Until 2013, she was the Director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai.
From August 2015 to November 2017, Swaminathan was the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Secretary of the Department of Health Research (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) for the Government of India.
From October 2017 to March 2019, Swaminathan was Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organization. In March 2019, Swaminathan became Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization. In 2021, Soumya Swaminathan was also appointed to the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP), an expert group.
Swaminathan’s areas of interest are pediatric and adult tuberculosis (TB), epidemiology and pathogenesis, and the role of nutrition in HIV-associated TB.