Dr. Ritu Tomar

Research Scientist

Judging from the current trend, Infectious diseases and Cancers are   major concern for public health. This Zebrafish model although very accurate and effective is not commonly used. We have a lot of scope to get to the roots of several diseases posing threats to Public Health utilizing Zebrafish as 84 per cent of genes known to be associated with human disease have a Zebrafish counterpart.


It was during her Postdoc days at the Ivy League Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA that Dr Tomar became Fascinated with the advance approach to studying human genetics using the 4 cm long Zebrafish that remarkably share 70% genetic constituency with humans. There she investigated how different genes interact to form kidney and how kidney acquired its function. She used novel calcium biosensors to understand the mechanisms. Moreover, she modelednephropathies, chordoma (spinal chord cancer) using transgenic and latest gene editing technologies in Zebrafish due its 84% disease genes similarity with humans.

She utilized the Zebrafish models of human diseases to understand the mechanisms of pathogenesis and finding pathways/proteins contributing to the disease state. These models could be utilized for small molecule drug screenings and preclinical testing.

The alarming rate of Alzheimer’s in Indian women has generated severe concerns among Bio-Medical Scientists.  Being the only women scientist from India in her team at Hubrecht Institute, The Netherlands, Dr Tomar investigated the effects of Presenilinproteins in causing Alzheimer’s prior moving to Harvard University for pursuing further postdoctoral training.

Hailing from India’s one of the oldest Universities, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Dr Tomar feels she has just scratched the surface and attests the scope of her work, replicating the Zebrafish model to study Infectious diseases and Cancer, will have more impact in India.