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Anjan Dhar is a Consultant Gastroenterologist at Bishop Auckland General Hospital, UK.
He graduated from the University of Delhi, India, in 1985. He then trained in internal medicine (1990) and gastroenterology (1994) at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.
After working for 3 years at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Dr Dhar went to Oxford, England, on a Commonwealth Fellowship. Here he worked with Professor Derek Jewell in inflammatory bowel disease, between 1998 and 2000.
Dr Dhar has trained in gastroenterology under Professors Jang Dilawari, Rakesh Tandon, and Mahesh Sharma (all in India), and Derek Jewell (in Oxford).
His primary research interests include Helicobacter pylori-related gastroduodenal disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
He published the first report of HLA alleles in Indian patients with ulcerative colitis. In addition, he has studied various aspects of H. pylori in developing countries, radiation-induced proctosigmoiditis, and pancreas divisum, to mention a few.
Dr Dhar’s wife is a gynecologist and obstetrician in Leeds, England. They have a 4-year-old daughter.
Dr Dhar aims to pursue a career in clinical gastroenterology, combined with some research in the future.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- The thrill of looking down an endoscope in the fiberoptic era, as well as being able to do clever things using a few knobs, catheters, and guidewires, seemed to combine science with the fun of playing games. I realized that this was one field in which I would never get bored as a doctor.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- While I was training, it had to be Professor Jang Dilawari. His charisma and white hair were captivating, his zeal as a researcher was an inspiration, his skill as an endoscopist was the goal to be reached, and his good nature was the quality to be imbibed. Later, it has to be Derek Jewell in Oxford. He combines the qualities of an ideal clinician, a caring doctor for his patients, a voracious reader, a world-class researcher, and an enthusiastic violinist. All of which makes him a complete person.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- The research papers from Oxford on the HLA associations in inflammatory bowel disease prompted me to look at them in Indian patients. They also strengthened my resolve to spend some time with Derek Jewell.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- That H. pylori in Indian patients is not more virulent in duodenal ulcer, as compared with those who suffer with non-ulcer dyspepsia (Indian J Gastroenterol 1998; 17: 126-8). In addition, that cheaper triple therapy regimes work just as well as more expensive ones (Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1998; 12: 551-5).
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Not to realize well ahead of time that it would be difficult to conduct research involving molecular biology and immunology in developing countries like India. I am sure that we have the potential to carry out such work, but the money is simply not forthcoming. Thus we are losing out in the race to be leaders in our fields of interest in today’s world.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To return to my country and set up a gastroenterological facility that will combine high quality clinical care with research into tropical gastroenterology and hepatology.
- What is your greatest regret?
- Not to be with my daughter in the last two years, when she had just started interacting with this world and its people.
- How do you relax?
- Watching a movie on my DVD player – the greatest invention since the radio!
- What is your favorite sport?
- It cannot be anything but
cricket – after all, I am an Indian!
- What is your best place in the world?
- Paris - the city has a character unlike any other.
- What is your favorite film?
- "Gone with the Wind".
- What car do you drive?
- A 1.6 L Toyota Corolla.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- My digital camcorder.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- I feel that the Internet will replace conventional books as the source of knowledge. I feel that GastroHep.com appears to be a site that will hear the voices of all gastroenterologists throughout the world, not only those from the developed countries, but also people like us from developing countries. This may be the only way to bridge the increasing divide between the "have's" and the "have-nots".