FPID ASTER FELLOWSHIP IN
PEDIATRIC IMMUNOLOGY AND BMT

The fellowship in Pediatric Immunology and BMT at Aster CMI, Bangalore offers sub-specialty training to prepare Pediatrics trained physicians for a career in Immunology, Rheumatology and bone marrow transplantation (BMT). This is a 2-year fellowship program designed to train pediatricians to be Pediatric Immunologists and transplant physicians. Led by experienced faculty and supported by an international organization FPID(Foundation for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases, US), this program offers advanced training in the field of Immunology and BMT.

Faculty

Dr. Sagar Bhattad

MBBS, MD, DM (Pediatric Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology) Program Director, Consultant – Pediatric Immunologist and Rheumatologist

Dr. Stalin Ramprakash

MBBS, MD, MRCPCH, CCT, FRCPCH Consultant, Pediatric Hemat-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant physician

Dr. Raghuram CP

MBBS, MD, DNB, MRCPCH, CCT, FRCPCH Consultant, Pediatric Hemat-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant physician

AIM

The aim of the program is to provide a structured and formatted advanced training in Pediatric Clinical Immunology encompassing both clinical and laboratory aspects of Immunology. The fellows would get hands on experience in the treatment of these patients including bone marrow transplants. These trained specialists would provide comprehensive specialist care of the highest order and serve as future teachers, trainers and researchers in the field of Pediatric Clinical Immunology. The goal is to train physicians to identify children with immunological diseases (immunodeficiencies, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases), perform relevant screening and diagnostic evaluation, use genetic testing rationally and provide genetic counseling. The fellows would be trained in the treatment of such patients including treatment of infections, autoimmunity and the usage of immunoglobulins and biologic medications. The program also intends to train physicians to be competent in the use of hematopoietic cell transplantation and cellular therapy for the treatment of immune deficiencies. We shall train the fellows in indications for transplant; pre-transplant patient evaluation; identification and selection of stem cell sources; use ofdonor registries; methodologies of HLA typing; marrow cryopreservation; management of ABO incompatible cell products; administration of high-dose chemotherapy; management of neutropenic fever; management of bacterial/viral/fungal diseases in immunocompromised patients, diagnosis and management of acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease, late complications of marrow transplantation; as well as training in documentation of all the relevant clinical details. Trainees shall gain experience in bone marrow harvest, stem cell apheresis, stem cell product infusions, and advanced cell processing techniques. Fellows would also complete a research project in Clinical Immunology by the completion of their training program.

Pediatric Immunology and BMT division work in close collaboration with the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the hospital. The hospital is equipped with an advanced 12-bed PICU department that has the necessary wherewithal to manage bone marrow and solid organ transplant patients in case of need. The Pediatric Department has a robust teaching program for training pediatric fellows (DNB in Pediatrics, 3-year course), fellowships in Pediatric and Neonatal ICUs. Fellows in the training program would also be actively involved in teaching DNB students.

Division of Pediatric Immunology and
BMT at Aster CMI, Bangalore

The Pediatric Immunology and BMT Unit was established at Aster CMI Hospital in Feb 2017. The program director Dr. Sagar Bhattad is the first formally trained DM super-specialist in this field in India. He received his training at the prestigious PGIMER institute at Chandigarh, India. The Pediatric Immunology Unit at Aster CMI is the first, and remains till date, the only specialized Pediatric Immunology unit of its kind in the southern state of Karnataka in India. It was established to cater to the needs of children with primary immune deficiency disorders, and children afflicted with various autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders. Foundation for Primary Immune Deficiency (FPID), an international organization based in the US has recognized the “Pediatric Immunology and Bone marrow transplant” department at Aster CMI as the Centre of Excellence for the diagnosis and management of Primary Immune Deficiencies. This is a unique affiliation conferred to a handful of centers across India. The Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Aster CMI has performed one of the largest numbers of transplants in Immune deficiencies in the country and the team at Aster envisages to build the largest Immunology Centre in South India providing low-cost diagnostic and transplant services to every child with Immune deficiency. Aster CMI Hospital is equipped with state of the art 4-bedded BMT Unit. The unit has all the necessary equipment and infrastructure for performing bone marrow transplants. Dr. Stalin Ramprakash and Dr. Raghuram CP are trained transplant physicians with immense experience in the field.

About the faculty

Dr Sagar Bhattad is the first DM super-specialist in the field of Pediatric Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology in India. He received his training under the mentorship of Prof. Surjit Singh at the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. He has been awarded a Silver medal for MD Pediatrics and Major Gen Amir Chand Gold medal for his research on complement deficiency in Pediatric lupus.

He has a vast experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Immune Deficiency disorders. He is well known amongst medical fraternity for his passion for Immune deficiencies and has delivered numerous lectures and presentations in various forums. Having received extensive training in Clinical and Laboratory Immunology at PGI, Chandigarh, he has been instrumental in setting up the center of excellence in Immunology at Aster CMI hospital.

Dr Sagar Bhattad’s interest in the field of Pediatric Rheumatology led him to Gaslini Institute at Genoa, Italy. This is the largest referral center for Pediatric Rheumatology in Europe. As an observer, he had the opportunity to learn about several novel rheumatologic diseases including the auto-inflammatory diseases. This centre in Italy has the largest collection of auto-inflammatory diseases in the world. He has a special interest in the diagnosis and management of Kawasaki disease and has a large cohort of children with Kawasaki disease under follow-up.

He has written more than twenty-five articles for such peer-reviewed journals like International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, Journal of Clinical Immunology, Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Rheumatology International, Indian Journal of Paediatrics, Indian Paediatrics etc to name a few. He is also a reviewer for the International Journal of Rheumatic diseases and European Journal of Rheumatology. In addition, he has made several presentations at professional conferences and symposia at the national and international levels.

Dr. Stalin Ramprakash is an experienced and dynamic consultant who provides high quality comprehensive care for children with cancer and blood-related problems. He completed his paediatric training in Madras Medical college and pursued further training in the United Kingdom. He completed paediatric training in various London Hospitals and underwent paediatric haematology oncology training in world renowned institutions such as Royal Marsden Hospital, London and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. He worked as consultant paediatrician with interest in Paediatric Haematology and Oncology for 5 years before returning back to India. His aim is to provide safe, evidence based high quality care at affordable costs in India.

Dr. Ramprakash did his MBBS in 1996 from Madurai Medical college, Madurai, India, MD Paediatrics – 2000 - Institute of Child Health and Hospital for children Madras Medical College, Chennai, India, MRCPCH – 2002, Royal college of Paediatrics and Child Health, UK, CCT (Paediatrics) – 2009 Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board, UK and FRCPCH - 2011 Royal college of Paediatrics and Child Health, UK.

Dr. C P Raghuram has over 20 years of experience in paediatric oncology, Haematology and BMT and is a consultant Paediatric Haematology, Oncology and BMT at Aster CMI Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), Edinburgh, a Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, UK, Indian Academy of Paediatrics and a Member of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

Dr. Raghuram’s areas of interest include treating children with cancer, children with leukaemia, lymphomas, brain tumours, solid tumours like Wilms tumour, neuroblastomas, bone tumours, soft tissue sarcomas, germ cell tumours, Retinoblastomas including giving high dose treatment and bone marrow transplantation. He treats children with blood disorders like anaemia, low platelet counts and clotting problems. He is involved in bone marrow transplantation for blood and immunological problems.

Laboratory training

The fellow shall spend 4 months in the laboratory and get hands on experience in performing immunological tests including flow cytometry. Didactic lectures would be provided by the faculty in the laboratory. The fellow would also be guided to spend at least a week at one of the FPID centers recognized for work in lab immunology, eg: PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Externship

Through the guidance of FPID, the fellow will be provided an opportunity to work as an observer for a month in an institute of international repute in Immunology and BMT.

Dr. Rachna Shanbhag, MD – Dr. Rachna is the first year fellow, focused in clinical medicine. She received her MD Pediatrics at Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Pune and has been a bright student from her schooling days. Practicing Clinical Immunology has been her dream and she chose Aster for her fellowship for the clinical volume, complexity of cases, the dedicated teaching sessions and the didactic lectures by the faculty in the program.

Pediatric Immunology and BMT unit at Aster CMI Hospital has been actively involved in clinical research. More than 50 papers have been published by the faculty in several international peer reviewed journals (link). The fellows in the training program will receive the requisite training and guidance in the field of research and shall actively be involved in publishing scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. The fellows shall present papers in national and international congress, providing them the opportunity to interact with leading experts in the field.

Duration of the course

24 months

Eligibility criteria

MD (Pediatrics) or DNB (Pediatrics) or an equivalent qualification recognized by the Medical Council of India.

Degree to be awarded

Fellow in Pediatric Clinical Immunology and Bone Marrow Transplant

Number of seats

One candidate would be selected each year. Thus a total of two candidates would registered for the course at any given time.

Selection

Applications (online) invited – Month of January, every year

Interview – Month of March, every year

Course begins – 1st April, every year