Ishita M Shah, Ph.D.

Ishita M Shah

Position Title
Associate Director, Microbial Programs

  1. BSc (Honors) Vocational Biotechnology/Biochemistry, St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, INDIA
  2. MSc (Honors) Microbiology, M. S. University, Baroda, INDIA
  3. PhD Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD USA


Dr. Shah received her B. S. with honors in Vocational Biotechnology and Biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, INDIA. She subsequently earned her Master’s in Microbiology at the Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, MSU, INDIA focusing on the isolation of chitinase enzyme from natural sources and studying it usefulness as a potential biocontrol agent against plant infections. She moved to the US for doctoral research and discovered a new mechanism of transcription activation in bacteria during her Ph. D. at UMBC, and received the Nat. Sternberg thesis prize for the most outstanding thesis of the year in 2005 in the field of prokaryotic molecular genetics. Her postdoctoral work at the Department of Microbiology, Columbia University led to the identification of cell wall fragments released from growing bacteria as signals for exit from dormancy, a critical step before bacteria can progress towards growth and establishment of infection. Next, she joined the Department of Infectious Diseases at Genentech, San Francisco to identify and validate critical targets in pathogenic bacteria in a drug discovery program, one of which is currently in the pipeline at the company. Currently, in her role as the Associate Director at the Foods for Health Institute, UC Davis, Dr. Shah collaborates with scientists of the Milk Bioactives Program at UC Davis towards the identification of specific peptide moieties from milk that serve as antibacterial agents and focuses on the roles of human milk oligosaccharides relevant to altering pathogenesis in preterm infants.