Making people realize that genetic problems are treatable is a big challenge – Dr.I.C.Verma
Dr I C Verma is currently the head of genetic medicine department at Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. He was earlier professor of paediatrics and genetics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He received genetics training in UK, US and Switzerland. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), London, the American Academy of Paediatrics (FAAP), and the National Academy of Medical Sciences (FAMS), New Delhi.
Dr Verma has received a number of national awards – Ranbaxy Science Award, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) award, the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) award and Dr B C Roy (Medical Council of India) National Award. He is a member and vice chairman of the ethics committee of the International Human Genome Organization (HUGO) and serves as an adviser in genetics to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, and to Roche Genetics in Basel, Switzerland.
He has been mentioned in the Limca Book of Records 2003 as a pioneer in genetics in India. He has vast experience in genetic counselling, serving about 2,000 cases with genetic problems every year, and bringing the benefits of genetics and genomics to large number of patients.
His clinical and research interests are in the management of foetal medicine and reproductive genetics, dysmorphology, genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis using molecular, cytogenetic and biochemical techniques. He has also worked on the health problems of tribal communities in India, including those of Andaman Islands.
In an exclusive interview with India Medical Times, Dr I C Verma spoke about his current efforts and the path on which the human genetic research needs to go.
How did you develop an interest in Genetic Medicine?
I did MBBS from Amritsar then I went to England for postgraduate training in Liverpool. Liverpool was the home of genetics. In the early, Dr Clark (Dr Cyril Clarke) was a very famous geneticist and he discovered the Rh factor. There used to be many meetings on genetics. My interest sort of got started developing in genetics. When I came back to India in 1966, I joined AIIMS. Although I wanted to do neonatology but I was told there is no opening in that particular specialty and at that time AIIMS was starting genetics with the help of Swiss government and there was no one interested from the existing staff. I thought this is a new field and I already had some interest in it, that’s why I went into genetics. This was a part of paediatrics at that time and since that time I have been working in genetics.