Head of Genomics Research Platform
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
Dr Alka Saxena studied medicine at Shivaji University in India and after 7 years of clinical practice, completed her PhD at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Alka then went on to work on monogenic disorders, first on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute in Perth, Australia as a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Research Fellow and later on Rett Syndrome as an NH& MRC postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, where she received the Barry Marshall Award for her work, before becoming an Assistant Professor.
Alka continued her work on Rett Syndrome through Advanced Genomics Technologies at the RIKEN Omics Science Centre in Japan as an international JSPS research Fellow, where she also participated in the FANTOM 5 project, learned new methods for next generation sequencing of RNAs and studied promoters, non-coding RNAs, small RNAs, piRNAs and iPS cells in the context of human disease. At RIKEN, Alka developed special skills for generating and sequencing RNA libraries from miniscule amounts of input RNA.
Alka relocated to the UK in 2013, where she is the Head of the Genomics Research Platform at the BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London. In this role, Alka and her team are not only providing more than 15 different types of library preparation and sequencing services but are also pushing the boundaries of science through technology development for Single Cell Genomics.
Alka is also co-founder of the Sam Saxena Foundation, a UK charitable Trust established in her son’s memory. Through their foundation, Alka and her husband Manjul have funded projects related to education, shelter and food poverty in the UK, Australia and India.