Organizational Structure & Governance
We are registered as a not-for-profit organization. The structure and governance of our organization are designed to facilitate collaboration with members, communication with scientific leaders, consultation with stakeholders, and to ensure the efficient functioning of the Section.
The AOAC-India Section Executive Committee
Our Executive Committee comprises the President, the President (Elect), the Secretary, and the Treasurer. This committee is entrusted to manage the AOAC-India Section’s mutually approved strategy and programs so as to affirm that we are efficiently governed.
Kaushik Banerjee, The President (2014 – Present)
Dr. Kaushik Banerjee is the incumbent President of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL – India Section and has held this position over the past two years. In his current role, Dr. Banerjee provides strategic support and thought leadership, fosters relationships with various key bodies, and identifies new research areas. He defines his leadership by placing genuine trust in his fellow members and his interminable belief that analytical sciences can change the world for the better. Along with the other team members, Dr. Banerjee is responsible for attracting eminent people to this organization.
Dr. Banerjee is a Principal Scientist at ICAR-National Research Center for Grapes (NRCG) in Pune and also heads the National Referral Laboratory (NRL), located at the NRCG. He obtained his PhD in Agricultural Chemicals from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi with a specialization in pesticide residue chemistry, followed by his postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Environmental Research, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. His current area of research predominantly focuses on the development of LC-MS and GC-MS based residue analysis methods for the estimation of food, and environmental contaminants. The other component of his research involves safety evaluation of Agrochemicals, and developing strategies to minimize agrochemical residues in crops at harvest.
Since more than a decade, Dr. Banerjee has been actively involved in implementing the agrochemical residue monitoring plan of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA, The Ministry of Commerce, The Government of India) for the promotion of the export of fruits, and vegetables to the European Union countries. He has also been involved in establishing a holistic food safety and traceability system for grapes, and other agricultural commodities in India. In addition, he has significantly contributed in developing the analytical competence of the food testing laboratories across India, and implementing trace level residue monitoring systems in compliance with international guidelines. The novel analytical techniques and unique methods of sampling developed by his team have been widely adopted by the testing laboratories across the country. His research findings have supported the Indian horticulture industry by minimizing non-compliance with the EU-MRLs of the export consignments, which has eventually resulted in an improvement in the quality of the produce, and a rise in global trade.
Dr. Banerjee has published over a hundred research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and co-authored book chapters. He has served as a guest editor for two special sections in the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, and also counselled as a member in an AOAC Expert Review Panel meeting, held in New Delhi. In addition, he regularly contributes to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) scientific panel on issues related to MRLs, and the analysis of pesticide residues, and other food contaminants.
For unraveling the complexity of advanced chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques to elucidate chemical residues in food, and environmental matrices, Dr. Banerjee has been invited to deliver lectures to a number of international meetings and conferences – the IUPAC’s Crop Protection Conference, American Chemical Society-IUPAC Conference, AOAC Annual Meetings, European Pesticide Residue Workshops, Fresenius Conference, and Latin American Pesticide Residue Workshop to name a few. He is also an empanelled trainer on agrochemical residue analysis in the International Atomic Energy Agency, Austria.
In recognition of his outstanding research contributions, Dr. Banerjee has received several national and international awards, including the Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (FNAAS), the ICAR-National Fellow, and the Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), London, among many others.
As Dr. Banerjee envisions, this Section would inspire several young students and researchers to understand and expand knowledge in fields related to analytical sciences. He also wishes that the discipline gets the recognition it deserves.
Ranjan Mitra, The President-Elect (2014 – Present)
Dr. Ranjan Mitra, the President-Elect of the India Section of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL, is a Manager, and Analytical Chemistry Lead at the Research and Development Centre, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited (GSKCH) India, where he has been working since 2008.
At the India Section, Dr. Mitra plays a crucial role of delivering quality programs to meet the professional advancement needs of our members through a variety of offerings, including meetings, and international exchanges. He is also responsible for conducting a collaborative study on “Vitamin B12 in Indian Infant and Pediatric Formulas and Adult Nutritionals” as the mentor, and the director.
Prior to his joining at GSKCH, Dr. Mitra received an MS in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi, followed by a PhD in Bio-inorganic/Organic Chemistry from the University of Florida, USA. Much of his doctoral research was on the synthesis, and characterization of large organic molecules to engender metal centers with the same characteristics as found in biological systems. He also worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida, where he investigated preparation, characterization, and modification of polymer and polymer supported complexes for use as catalysts in various organic, and inorganic transformations, with the special interest in decontamination of chemical warfare agents, and water purification. His research interests span a broad range of topics, including analytical method development, method validations, method transfers and stability studies, in-depth knowledge in food characterization, nutritional labeling, and food regulation.
For the past eight years, Dr. Mitra has held multiple technical and managerial roles. In his current capacity at GSKCH, he is involved in various analytical research and development programs in nutrition category (including nutritional health food drinks, biscuits, and breakfast cereals).
Dr. Mitra has published research papers in international journals and has given several invited talks at international conferences and symposia, including the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting, Florida Inorganic Chemistry, and Materials Symposium, among many others.
For his research excellence and proficiencies, Dr. Mitra has received a number of awards, such as GSK Business Innovation Awards, GSK Spirit Award, Harry H. Sisler Graduate Fellowship, and Certificate for Excellence in Teaching (University of Florida).
Vishal Arora, The Secretary (2014 – Present)
Mr. Vishal Arora is the technical director of the AES Laboratories Private Limited, Delhi since 1995, and also serves as the Secretary on the executive Board of the AOAC – India Section. In this Section’s role, he is committed to understanding the needs of industry managers, entrepreneurs, and learners, supporting the interface between analytical science education and enterprising. Attributing to his wide experience as an entrepreneur, he is responsible for communications, reputation management, member services, and management of the overall administration of the Section’s annual conference for the past couple of years.
An engineering graduate from the Arizona State University, USA, Mr. Arora has extensive experience in conducting PT programs, and method development activities, especially in the field of residue analysis in foodstuff, and food chemistry. Additionally, he has expertise in method validations as per international protocols, including SANTE, and 22002/657/EC guidelines. He has attended several national and international training courses on method validations, sampling and analysis. Mr. Arora has also played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for his organization.
Mr. Arora is empanelled with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) as a technical as well as a lead auditor. In his career, he has carried out numerous of ISO/IEC 17025 audits, both as a technical and a lead assessor. Mr. Arora has also served as a member of the NABL’s core committee on laboratory accreditation.
Saurabh Arora, The Treasurer (2015 – Present)
Dr. Saurabh Arora is the newly appointed Treasurer of the AOAC-India Section. At Arbro Pharmaceuticals Limited, and Auriga Research Limited, Dr. Arora currently heads the testing laboratory and research business. He has an experience in leading a team of over 350 scientists, and other professionals in 6 laboratories which serve more than 10,000 customers every year from the food, retail, hospitality, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, agri and medical devices, research, academics, and real estate industries.
At the AOAC-India Section, Dr. Arora brings more than a decade of his business development, and general management experience. In the past few years, he has led all aspects of marketing (including events and annual conference), reputation management, stakeholder engagement, digital communications (including the web and social media), and website designing and publishing.
Previous to joining his business, Dr. Arora earned a PhD in Pharmaceutics from Jamia Hamdard University in New Delhi. His research and business interests include formulation development, analytical development, chromatography, mass spectroscopy, laboratory designing, residue analysis, project management, international business, among many others. He has a number of national and international research publications, and patents to his credit. Much acclaimed is his patent using nanotechnology-based delivery system for curcumin, which is the active constituent of turmeric. Besides, he has completed a training on “Lean Labs: Lab Performance Optimisation” and has been implementing the principles of Lean Six Sigma for labs, which has helped the business grow at over 30% each year.
Believing that sharing knowledge and experience is the only way to move the society further, Dr. Arora has established an online forum (www.lab-training.com) in June 2011 to share his team’s expertise in the field of testing with scientists and students around the world. Today, this site has over 10,000 subscribers. In January 2013, he founded another online food safety helpline (www.foodsafetyhelpline.com) with the principal objective of helping food business community to comply with the requirements of the rapidly evolving food law (e.g., the requirements of the Food Safety and Standards Act), and providing safe and hygienic food to all the citizens of India as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines. Besides, Dr. Arora has designed and setup 4 state-of-the-art testing laboratories in New Delhi, Baddi and Bangalore.
Given his broad and varied expertise, he has been invited to deliver talks at numerous industry meets, conferences, workshops, and webinars on a variety of topics related to the testing and quality of products. He has received a number of awards, including “10 best training and development practices in private sector” on behalf of Arbro Pharmaceuticals Ltd and the “Excellence in Training and Development Awards in 2013”.
Deepa Bhajekar, The Past President (2011-2014)
Dr. Deepa Bhajekar, currently the Director of d technology, and the former managing director of the MicroChem Silliker, India, was the founder-President of the AOAC – India Section. While setting up the new stage, Dr. Bhajekar’s principal motivation was to develop a commonground for various tiers of people for discussing analytical issues which are new, interesting, diverse, and potentially valuable. Also, she played a crucial role in planning and executing the Section’s first annual conference in Mumbai in 2012, where she publicized about the general role of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL, and also informed the audiences on how this newly-founded India Section could serve as a bridge between academia, and industry.
Dr. Bhajekar pursued her doctoral degree in Food Microbiology from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai with a focus on spoilage issues related to microbiological failures, chemical puffing, pathogens, and breakdown of products. With a unique blend of technical expertise and a keen sense of business, she has assisted in solving problems related to build-up of microorganisms in production lines in automated plants. Particularly, she has expertise on quality problems in packaged drinking water, residue issues (including chemical, physical and pesticides), process modification, the improvement for the increased shelf life, and recipe development.
For having technical competence, Dr. Bhajekar has been invited to deliver lectures in several conferences and symposia. She is also a member of the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on the panel for ‘Methods of Sampling and Analysis’.
Dr. Bhajekar hopes to see that the India Section of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL blooms for many years into the future.
Sumit Sen, The Mentor (2011 – 2015)
Dr. Sumit Sen, the Mentor for the India Section of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL, aspired to establish a new section for ensuring a better appreciation of the analytical sciences in India. At the Section’s inceptive phase, Dr. Sen recommended actions for the implementation of new programs and services that would best serve the needs of the analytical community, and support the AOAC’S overall mission to improve and advance the field of analytical sciences in the nation.
Dr. Sen has been working at the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for more than two decades. At the FDA’s facility in Irvine, California, his current job title is Chemistry Branch Instrument Specialist. Also, he is a Foreign Inspection Cadre Member (Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices). His expertise includes US FDA cGMP Regulations, US FDA inspections, analytical instrumentation, chromatography, spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, analytical instrument qualification, validation, and verification, quality assurance/quality control, quality system management, quality system auditing, laboratory accreditation, and ISO 17025 requirements.
Prior to joining US FDA, Dr. Sen received his bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, followed by his MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering and Polymer Chemistry, respectively from the University of Akron, Ohio, USA.
In 2002, Dr. Sen became the first President of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL’s Southern California Section. He is also the President of United States Pharmacopeia (USP)’s Western Compendial Discussion Group. Lately, he is one of the recipients of 2015 Association of Official Analytical Communities (AOAC) INTERNATIONAL’s Official Methods Board (OMB) Award for his achievement in technical and scientific excellence.
Dr. Sen’s time-honored connection with the AOAC INTERNATIONAL and his professional experience, in turn, have influenced his priorities for his mentorship. In the last five years, he has guided the executive committee members, who equally share his ardour and keenness for analytical chemistry, on so many different aspects of the organisation.
In the coming days, Dr. Sen wishes that the India Section continues to celebrate analytical sciences and reflect our nation’s rich diversity within this organization itself.