A true moment of pride for CHRF – our Director & Senior Scientist, Dr. Senjuti Saha, was recently awarded the Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Padak 2023 by the Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. The momentous occasion took place during the the 93rd birth anniversary of Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib. This is the highest civilian award for women, recognizing excellence and meaningful societal impact in various fields, and Dr. Saha made history as the youngest individual recipient for her contributions in research.
Dr. Saha is a molecular biologist working at the intersection of clinical microbiology, pathogen genomics and global health at CHRF. Her research focus is on pediatric infectious diseases such as typhoid, paratyphoid, meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis. To understand the pathogens circulating in Bangladesh, she established a state-of-the-art next-generation sequencing facility at CHRF. Under her leadership, CHRF was the first in the world to show that the chikungunya virus can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause meningitis in children, the first to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Bangladesh and discover the molecular mechanism behind azithromycin resistance in Salmonella Typhi. Being a trailblazer in the field of genomics, Dr. Saha led the design of an open-access genotyping tool for Salmonella Paratyphi A called Paratype, a tool developed in Bangladesh, which is being used globally.
Dr. Saha’s work is grounded in advancing the cause of health and research equity - she believes that everyone across the world should have equal access to the practice and benefits of science. To this end, she launched a nationwide program in 2022 called, ‘Building Scientists for Bangladesh’. Through this program, CHRF aims to popularize science among school students and develop skills in laboratory techniques, bioinformatics, and science communication for aspiring scientists.
With her commitment to excellence, unyielding passion for research, and dedication to improving public health, Dr. Saha serves as an inspiring mentor for all of us at CHRF. We could not be prouder of her achievement as the youngest individual recipient of the highest civilian award for women in Bangladesh, The Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Padak 2023!