Scientist Profile

Avinash Sharma, Ph.D.


Research Areas

Microbial Ecology


Ph.D. Microbiology, 2013, GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Uttarakhand, India 


Professional Experience

Scientist D, 2021-Present, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, India

Visiting Scientist under the DBT Wellcome Trust Fellowship at DSMZ, Germany (June- October, 2022)

DBT/Wellcome Trust Fellow, 2019-May 2021, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, India

Visiting Scientist (INSA-DFG), Aug-Oct 2018, Beuth University of Applied Science, Germany

Scientist C, 2017-2019, NCMR, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, India

Scientist B, 2011-2017, NCMR, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, India

Visiting Fellow May-Aug 2011, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

Research  Experience

Our lab investigates how anthropogenic activities lead to the transmission of pathogens and their possible impact on the environment and human health. Additionally, our focus extends to the understanding of microbial communities from diverse ecosystems using metagenomic approaches, and subsequently utilizing high throughput sequencing as source for targeting the cultivation of previously uncultured microorganisms. Through this exploration, we aim to unravel the intrinsic metabolic potential of these microorganisms for biotechnological applications and further elucidate their crucial roles in the ecosystem, particularly concerning climate change and pollution dynamics.



Publications (Click here for complete list of publications)

Key Publications

  1. Sharma A, Rodriguez-Morales AJ, Traore T, Shafi S, El-Kafrawi SA, Azhar EI, Zumla A. Globalisation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at recurring mass gathering events. Lancet.

  2. Sharma A, Karande M, Zumla A. Advancing sewage surveillance at mass gathering events for reducing transmission of antimicrobial resistant bacterial pathogens. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2023 Jul 13;54:102619.

  3. Sharma A, McCloskey B, Hui DS, Rambia A, Zumla A, Traore T, Shafi S, El-Kafrawy SA, Azhar EI, Zumla A, Rodriguez-Morales AJ. Global mass gathering events and deaths due to crowd surge, stampedes, crush and physical injuries - Lessons from the Seoul Halloween and other disasters. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2023 Mar-Apr;52:102524

  4. Zumla A, Traore T, Amao L, Ntoumi F, Sharma A, Azhar EI, Abbara A. Reducing the threat of epidemic-prone infections at mass gathering religious events. Lancet. 2022 Jul 9;400(10346):80-82.

  5. Azhar EI, Hui DS, McCloskey B, El-Kafrawy SA, Sharma A, Maeurer M, Lee SS, Zumla A. The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 and camel pageant championships increase risk of MERS-CoV transmission and global spread. Lancet Glob Health. 2023 Feb;11(2):e189-e190.

  6. Memish ZA, Steffen R, White P, Dar O, Azhar EI, Sharma A, Zumla A. Mass gatherings medicine: public health issues arising from mass gathering religious and sporting events. Lancet. 2019 May 18;393(10185):2073-2084.

  7. Gupta A, Bhanushali S, Sanap A, Shekatkar M, Kharat A, Raut C, Bhonde R, Shouche Y, Kheur S, Sharma A. Oral dysbiosis and its linkage with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Microbiol Res. 2022 Aug;261:127055.

  8. Gupta A, Karyakarte R, Joshi S, Das R, Jani K, Shouche Y, Sharma A. Nasopharyngeal microbiome reveals the prevalence of opportunistic pathogens in SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals and their association with host types. Microbes Infect. 2022 Feb;24(1):104880

  9. Jani K, Kajale S, Shetye M, Palkar S, Sharma A. Marisediminicola senii sp. nov. isolated from Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2021 Feb;71(2).

  10. Jani, K., & Sharma, A. (2021). Targeted amplicon sequencing reveals the probiotic potentials of microbial communities associated with traditional fermented foods of northeast India. LWT, 147, 111578.

  11. Jani K, Bandal J, Shouche Y, Shafi S, Azhar EI, Zumla A, Sharma A. Extended Ecological Restoration of Bacterial Communities in the Godavari River During the COVID-19 Lockdown Period: a Spatiotemporal Meta-analysis. Microb Ecol. 2021 Aug;82(2):365-376.

  12. Jani K, Feng GD, Zhu HH, Prakash O, Bandal J, Rale V, Shouche Y, Sharma A. Chakrabartia godavariana gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel member of the family Sphingomonadaceae isolated from the Godavari River, India. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2019 Aug;69(8):2452-2458.


  1. Rawat B, Purohit S, Sharma A, Rawat JM, Begum S, Purohit A, Sharma S, Sahu P. (2023) REUSE OF BIO WASTE MS MEDIA IN THE PREPARATION OF ECO-FRIENDLY SEED-DISC. Patent Application No.202311002676 A, Indian Patent, date of filing of Application :13/01/2023; Publication Date: 27/01/2023. 

Awards & Fellowships

  1. Member of the Indian National Young Academy of Science (INYAS), New Delhi in 2023.

  2. Member of the National Academy of Science (NASI) from year 2023 onwards.

  3. Recipient of Wellcome Trust DBT-India Alliance Early Career Research Fellowship (2018).

  4. Fellow of Society for Environment and Development, India (FSED) in 2018.

  5. Recipient of the Young Scientist Award in the “International Conference on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture’, scheduled on 13-16 December, 2018 at Jorhat, Assam, India.

  6. International Travel Grant by SERB, DST, India to attend ISME 2018, Leipzeig, Germany (August 12- August 17, 2018).

  7. Selected for the 38th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctic ( January 2019-May 2019).

  8. Visiting Expert Award by The World Academy of Science (TWAS) under TWAS Visiting Expert Programme (25 June to 11 July, 2018).

  9. Recipient of Indian National Science Academy-German Science Foundation(INSA-DFG) Fellowship under International Scientific Collaboration and Exchange of Scientists in 2016. 

  10. Recipient of the Young Scientist Award in Environmental Microbiology, by the Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI) in 2016.

  11. Selected as Young Associate of Maharashtra Academy of Science in November 2014.

  12. Visiting Scientist at University of Notre Dame, USA under the Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award- NIH (May 2011 to August 2011).


Professional Associations

         Life member of Association of Microbiologists of India

         Life member of the Biotech Research Society, India Life member Asian PGPR

         Life Member Society for Environment and Development, India

         Life Member Prof. H.S. Srivastava Foundation for Science and Society, Lucknow


Professional Trainings, Meetings and Conferences

  • Member of the recommendation committee during the 4th International Conference on Mass Gatherings Medicine, Ministry of Health, Jeddha, Saudi Arabia 10-13 dec, 2019.

  • Member of the second WIPO Meeting of Representatives of International Depositary Authorities under the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure at Tepatitlán de Morelos, Jalisco, Mexico, September 4 and 5, 2018.

  • EMBO Laboratory Management Course organised by EMBO-Wellcome Trust-DBT (19 to 22, March 2018).

  • Training course of Microbial Resources Information Management and Utilization for Developing Countries from September 9 to September 23rd 2016 funded by Chinese Academy of Science , Beijing, China.

  • Training on International Depositary Authority and database management at DSMZ, Germany (16-22nd June 2014).

  • Attended 33rd Annual Meeting of the European Culture Collections Organization, Valencia, Spain (11 - 13th June 2014).

  • Attended International Symposium on Microbial Research and Biotechnology for Biomass Utilization The 4th Satellite Seminar held at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Berlin (Germany) 4th and 5th September 2017.

  • Attended 50th anniversary of World Data Centre for Microorganisms (WDCM) from September 6-8, 2016, Beijing, China.

  • Attended ISME International conference, Leipzig, Germany (12-17 August, 2018).

Key Talks

  1. Invited Talk on “Mass gatherings and AMR” at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Potsdam, GERMANY , during the Indo-German bilateral workshop on "Agricultural Management Practice Effects on Soil- And Plant-associated bacterial communities and their resistome” funded by IGSTC 20-22 June, 2022

  2. Invited talk on Importance of microbial resource centres in conserving microbial diversity organised by National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi and Society for environment and development, New Delhi, 23rd July 2021.

  3. Invited Talk on Understanding Life in Extreme Environments; from conventional cultivation to high throughput sequencing at the three-day National Webinar on Technological Advances in Applied Microbiology, Goa University, Nov 10, 2021

  4. Invited talk on Investigating the Tiny microorganisms from Antarctica; from few colonies to million sequences during the International Conference on Mountain Ecosystems: Biodiversity and Adaptations Under Climate Change Scenario 22-24, March 2023 at Graphic Era Deemed to be University, Dehradun. Organised by GEU and ICIMOD, Nepal.

  5. Inaugural Talk on In Search of Microorganisms from Antarctica the Coldest Landmass on the Planet during the national science day celebration at Shivaji University Kohlapur, Feb 24, 2023

  6. Invited Talk on Prevalence of opportunistic pathogens in SARS-CoV-2 Infected individuals; a microbiome perspective at State University of Jakarta, Indonesia during the 3rd Science and Mathematics International Conference (SMIC) on Emerging Post Pandemic Trends of Research and Education in Mathematics and Science.

  7. Plenary Talk on Probiotic potentials of traditional fermented foods; a microbiome perspective during the National Seminar on Food Science and technology organised by the University of North Bengal (25 April 2022).

  8. Plenary Talk on Career opportunities in polar research during the National Seminar on Career opportunities in life sciences with special reference to food, pharma and agricultural microbiology (26 April 2022)

  9. Ecological Balancing, potentials of Invisible Microbes in Sustaining Climate Change at GW4 forum organised by the researchers of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter Universities (3-4, December, 2020).

  10. Understanding Life in Extreme Environments; from a single colony to million sequences  at the university of Jakarta in the conference Science and Mathematics International Conference, (August 8-9, 2020).

  11. Infectious diseases at Mass gathering events, a micrbiome perspective at the 4th International Conference for Mass Gatherings Medicine, Jeddah, KSA funded by ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia (December 2019).

  12. Centre for Excellence, National Centre for Microbial Resource; a microbial reservoir at NCCS, Pune at the international symposium on Biodiversity and Biobanking on at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India (27-29, January, 2018).

  13. Invited talk at Institute of Biology II, Microbiology, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany on Extremophiles; diversity and taxonomy(24th June 2014).

  14. Microbial Culture Collection, India in 33rd Annual Meeting of the European Culture Collections Organization, Valencia, Spain (11- 13th June 2014).

Current/Past Lab Members

PhD Students NCCS, (Supervisor)

Ms. Wormirin Khudai

Mr. Bhavuk Gupta

Inter-Institutional PhD students (Co-Supervision)

Ms. Namrata Jiya (Abasaheb Garware College, Pune)

Ms. Soumya Sahai Saxena (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi)

Ms. Chandra (Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore)

Ms. Ayushi Kimothi (Graphic Era University, Dehradun)

Ms. Mansi Chauhan (Graphic Era University, Dehradun)

Project Students

Ms. Namrata Jiya- Project Associate-I

Ms. Mrunal Karande- Project Assistant

Ms. Yukti Oza- Project Associate-I

Past Students

Dr. Kunal Jani – Research Associate- (Present affiliation: Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Ulm, Germany)

Dr. Swapnil Kajale- Technician C - Research Student- (Present affiliation: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Agricultural Research Organisation, Volcani Institute, Israel)

Dr. Mahendra Jamdhade – Research Associate (Present affiliation: Technical Officer-I Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad)


  1. Shounak Jana (BS-MS): Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, Kolkata (Jun 2023-Aug 2023
  2. Mansi Sahu (M.Sc): Govt. Nagarjuna PG college, Raipur (Jan 2023-Jun 2023).
  3. Vivek Shirke (M.Sc): Banaras Hindu University, Banaras (Jan 2023-May 2023).
  4. Swarangi Lende (M.Sc): Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore (Dec 2022-May 2023).
  5. Vaishnavi Tolmare (M.Sc): Rajarshi Shahu College, Latur (Oct 2022-Feb 2023).
  6. Vishwajit Rasal (M.Sc): Rajarshi Shahu College, Latur (Jul 2022-Feb 2023).
  7. Anjali Kaldate (M.Sc): Rajmata Jijau College (SPPU), Pune (Jan 2022-Jun 2022).
  8. Shraddha Patel (M.Sc): Rani Durgavati Vishvavidyalaya, Jabalpur (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  9. Juhi Sharma (M.Sc): Graphic Era, Dehradun (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  10. Aman Shrivastava (M.Sc): Graphic Era, Dehradun (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  11. Arunima Dhoundiyal (B.Tech): Symbiosis College, Pune (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  12. Vibhaw Shrivastava (B.Sc hons): Jacob Institute of Biotechnology, Prayagraj (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  13. Monica Chavan (M.Sc): D.Y. Patil University, Mumbai (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  14. Aruna Vir (B.Tech): Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra (Jan 2020-Mar 2020).
  15. Preeti Sharma (M.Sc): Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune (Dec 2019-Mar 2020).
  16. Rutuja Zambre (M.Sc): Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune (Dec 2019-Mar 2020).
  17. Meghana Shetye (M.Sc):Raman Ruia, Mumbai (Nov 2019-Feb 2020).
  18. Riddhi Vartak (M.Sc): Raman Ruia, Mumbai (Nov 2019-Feb 2020).
  19. Aayushi Rambia (M.Sc): Pondicherry University, Pondicherry (Dec 2019-Mar 2020).
  20. Aditee Ashar (M.Sc): NMIMS Sunandan Divatia School of Science, Mumbai (May 2019-Nov 2019).
  21. Shivani Palkar (M.Sc):R.P. Gogate College of Arts and Science, Ratnagiri (July 2019-Sep 2019).
  22. Snigdha Pali (M.Sc): NIIT university, Alwar (Jan 2019-Jul 2019).
  23. Chahat Markan (M.Sc): Panjab University, Chandigarh (May 2018-July 2018).
  24. Sanisha Walia (M.Sc): Panjab University, Chandigarh (May 2018-July 2018).



We encourage highly motivated individuals seeking postdoctoral positions to explore national programs like SERB-NPDF, WISE, DBT RA, and MK Bhan Fellowships. Our commitment extends to offering opportunities for PhD candidates in our research group. Master's students are also welcome to contribute to long-term projects. We are open to collaborations, inviting you to join us as we collectively strive for exploration and innovation.


Last updated On : 26 September 2023 11:35

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