Dr V M Katoch has took over dual charge as Secretary, Department of Health Research (DHR) and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR). Dr Katoch, 55, has been appointed to hold the charge of both the posts for the next five years until February, 2013. A former director of National JALMA Institute for Leprosy & other Mycobacterial Diseases, an institute of ICMR at Agra, Dr Katoch is a distinguished scientist, who has won several accolades and awards for his research work on Leprosy, tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS including the prestigious JALMA Trust Fund Oration award (1999) accorded by the ICMR. He is fellow of all the national academies in India and has 30 years of experience working on microbiology and molecular biology of mycobacterial diseases.
Dr Katoch has contributed over 225 research papers on various aspects such as different taxonomy markers, in-vitro viability methods, molecular mechanisms of drug resistance. His current interests are molecular mechanisms of drug resistance, molecular epidemiology and genomics on which, until recently, he was conducting studies. Among his achievements are awards such as Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohd Abdualla Oration award, Dr C G S Iyer Oration award, Erwin Stindll Memorial Oration award and Dr S C Agarwal Oration award. He is also recipient of Ranbaxy Science Foundation Award 2003.
Addressing the scientists and other employees of ICMR, Dr Katoch reiterated the commitment of the DHR and ICMR to work for the health of Indian population. He said after the period of expansion seen in the last few years, the ICMR should strive hard to consolidate the gains and take the new initiative forward to face the new challenges. Dr Katoch urged the scientists and employees of the ICMR to use their talent and capacity to make the ICMR the fulcrum of the DHR.