MK Bhan obtained his MBBS (1969) from AFMC, Poona University and MD (1974) from Delhi University, Delhi. His areas of specialization are pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric infectious diseases and nutrition. He held the positions of Registrar, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi (1974-76); Senior Consultant, Institute of Child Health, Kabul (1976-78); Lecturer, Post-graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh (1978-79); Assistant Professor (1979-81); Associate Professor (1981-87) and Additional Professor (1987- ), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Currently he is Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology.
Academic and Research Achievements: Bhan developed rotavirus vaccine based on neonatal strain. Rotavirus is the major cause of diarrheal death in Indian children. The vaccine is under clinical evaluation in India. He identified G9 as an important serotype in childhood diarrhea, which led to its incorporation in the candidate rotavirus vaccines. Bhan developed low osmolarity oral rehydration solution, which has been introduced in the Diarrheal Disease Control Programme by WHO and by the Government of India. He identified zinc deficiency in children as a major public health problem and developed zinc as a new treatment for childhood diarrhea, which was introduced by WHO as a global recommendation. He identified, for the first time, a new pathogen enteroaggregative E coli to be a cause of persistent diarrhea and developed treatment for this disorder. He demonstrated safety and efficacy of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months for the first time in a developing country, which led to its global recommendation. Dr Bhan has published about 200 papers in national and international journals, written chapters for seven books and prepared four guidelines for national programmes related to public health.
Other Contributions: Bhan played a leadership role in promoting primary health care for children in rural India including promotion of oral rehydration therapy, micronutrient supplementation, introduction of new vaccines and greater coverage with existing ones. He has trained thousands of primary health worker and doctors in oral rehydration. He has played a major role in policy formulation of different organizations such as WHO, ICMR, CSIR, UNICEF, EU, etc. He has been Chairman, WHO Task Force on Child Health Research; Member, Board of Directors, International Vaccine Institute, Korea; Chairman, National Task Force on Micronutrient Policy; Member, Technical Advisory Group, WHO; Chairman, Maternal and Child Health Research, ICMR; Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad; Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, ICMR; Advisor to the Drug Regulatory Authority of India; Chairman, Committee for Preparation of Strategy for Promotion of neonatal health in South East Asia, SEARO; and many more.
Awards and Honours: Dr Bhan received ST Achar Gold Medal of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (1984), SS Mishra Award of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) (1986); National Ranbaxy Award (1990); SS Bhatnagar Award (1990); Biotech Product and Process Development and Commercialization Award (2003); Pollins Foundation Research Award (2003); TS Tirumurti Memorial Lecture (2001) and Sisir Kumar Mitra Memorial Lecture (2004) of INSA. He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and National Academy of Medical Sciences (India).