Meet the Editors
Dr Anoop Misra
What is your current position and what are your current work commitments? [i.e. engaged in teaching/research/ clinical practise]
Currently, I am Chairman of tertiary care diabetes center, the only standalone speciality center in Delhi and north India. My engagements are many, but first and foremost, I am an active clinician. About 10% of my time daily is taken up by administrative duties. My research team is separate from my clinical team and dedicated to nutrition and metabolic research. We have major programs for prevention and management of diabetes in underprivileged communities in Delhi. Recently, a good amount of my time goes in evaluating papers for journals I am associated with. All these pose huge challenges, but at present, I am doing fine while working all seven days a week. I have also written two books on diabetes (for patients) and writing a third one on diets in India, that has a lot of science in it.
What are your favoured areas of research? And what made you choose these areas?
My favoured area for research has been obesity and body composition, and lately non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In addition, we have looked at all these conditions from nutrition point of view.
My interest in these areas was kindled while I was a WHO Fellow to University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, global hub of diabetes, nutrition, and body composition analysis. I researched and wrote key papers on an unusual disorder of fat, “Lipodystrophies”. It was fascinating to observe complete absence of fat at all under the skin, and a huge liver full of fat, and all metabolic problems as see in obesity in such patients. I learned how to assess these disorders with use of several techniques. Armed with this knowledge, I did many studies in India, including those which lead to revised definition of body mass index and waist circumference in Indian population. The latter research has been high point of my career.
Is there a research paper from EJCN (2018-2019) that you are particularly pleased with? What were the major conclusions? How do you think it will progress our thinking in nutrition/ public health/ medical practice?
A small study on muscle wasting interested me (CKD autophagy activation and skeletal muscle atrophy—a preliminary study of mitophagy and inflammation https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-018-0381-x). It showed a basic pathway to muscle wasting in chronic kidney disease. Although authors did not investigate myostatin, a gene and protein linked to muscle development, it would have added a great value to the study. In fact, we did publish the relationship of myostatin, body fat and muscle mass a couple of years back. Similar in depth studies would be of value to investigate widespread sarcopenia in Asian Indians with diabetes.
Has research funding become easier or more difficult over the last decade? Any reasons you can offer, or ways for young researchers to become more successful?
The funds for research have dwindled progressively in India. In addition, there is more competition. Some funds are also wasted in small studies which are not useful and never cited. With COVID19 raging everywhere, most funds in India have been diverted towards it. It would lead to further crunch in funding. We are looking at bleak future in non-COVID19 research here.