Real Heroes

Meet Tooba Momin: A Young Microbiologist at National AIDS Research Institute

SN Ansari for BeyondHeadlines

It will not be wrong to say that the women of India are growing so well that they have become the promoters of its development and prestige. In the community which has the highest rate of dropouts among girls, there are also young girls like Tooba Momin who are doing so well in their fields that it can amaze anyone. 

Tooba Momin won the first prize for research work at National level for her MSc project on ‘Analytical determination of major constituents of Nigella sativa (Scientific name of Kalonji) and its antibacterial antifungal Anti-Mycetoma activities’.

Currently, she is working on a research project funded by the Department of Health Research, Government of India at National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) under Indian Council of Medical Research in Pune.

In a conversation with, Tooba explained about the research work she is involved with, “our research is to find a mutation in Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR) and Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR) and I am research assistant under Dr Vijay Nema (Scientist D)”.

Momin Tooba Shafeeque Ahmed, a young microbiologist was born in Malegaon and currently lives in Pune. Her father, Shafeeque Ahmed Zahoor Ahmed is a retired school teacher and mother, Rasheeda Rafat is a house maker. Tooba Momin is planning to do a PhD from Canada in tuberculosis.

How did you develop an interest in Microbiology?  To this question, she replied, “During my Masters, my uncle became seriously ill from a bacterial infection, and it forced me to realise the importance of studying bacteria to find new antibiotics to treat infections.” Tooba’s favourite subjects are Molecular biology, genetics and infectious diseases.

“I strongly believe that Microbiology is the most interesting subject, blended with many interesting funny small creatures which are invisible to naked eyes of humans. The world of these tiny organisms is very big, dynamic, most interesting and sometimes invincible.”, she added.

Do you have any research work experience? To this question, her reply was, “I used to work part-time at Microbiology lab in Sanjeevan hospital, Pune along with my graduation. I have an experience of working in BSL-3 (Biological Safety Levels (BSL), a series of protections relegated to autoclave-related activities that take place in particular biological labs. They are individual safeguards designed to protect laboratory personnel, as well as the surrounding environment and community”.

NARI was established in 1992 in Pune and devoted to research on HIV and AIDS. The institute has contributed clinical research to fight against HIV and AIDS. The vision of NARI is to build a research capability of distinction to face the challenge of growing HIV and AIDS in India. The main aim is to control HIV spread and to provide care, treatment and vaccine to infected population.

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