Dr. Hemalatha is a renowned researcher and expert in the field of maternal and child health and nutrition. Her research interests encompass a wide range of topics related to nutrition, inflammation, reproductive health, and the impact of gut bacteria on various health outcomes. She has made significant contributions to the scientific community through her extensive publication record, including over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters, and regulatory reports.
One of Dr. Hemalatha's notable research contributions is her work on the impact of inflammation and lower reproductive tract infections on fetal growth. She has also demonstrated the potential benefits of probiotics in reducing local and systemic inflammation in community settings. Through both clinical and basic studies, she has provided valuable insights into the role of nutrition and gut bacteria in endotoxemia, inflammation, insulin resistance, and lipid profile.
She has also played a pivotal role in establishing nutrient requirements for Indians. For the first time, these recommendations include Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) and Tolerable Upper Limits (TUL) alongside Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). These guidelines have formed the basis for fortification strategies, food labeling, and supplementation programs in India.
Dr. Hemalatha's commitment to improving preconception health led her to develop a "Preconception education kit" that educates newly married couples and their family members on ensuring good nutrition and health of women in preparation for pregnancy. This kit addresses various risks such as undernutrition, anemia, malnutrition, physical activity, appropriate age, and emphasizes the importance of the first 1000 days in improving birth outcomes and the baby's health. Her dedication to knowledge dissemination is evident through her development of 14 e-learning modules as part of the Poshan Abhiyan initiative. Additionally, she has authored the report "What India Eats," which provides information on the regional dietary patterns of the Indian population and energy and protein sources from different food groups.
Dr. Hemalatha's contributions extend beyond research. She has been actively involved in various national and international organizations and committees. She currently serves as the President of the Nutrition Society of India and an Executive Council Member of the Federation of Asian Nutrition Societies (FANS). She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (FNAMS), International Union of Nutrition Sciences (FIUNS) and Telangana Academy of Sciences (FTAS). She is an expert member of several task force committees and advisory boards for ministries such as Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, and others.
Dr. Hemalatha graduated (MBBS) and obtained an MD from Gandhi Medical College. her expertise and contributions have been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Dr. Srikantiah Memorial Oration award, Ponduri Venkata Ramana Rao Gold Medal, Dr. Rajammal P. Devadas Memorial Oration Award, Dr. KamlaPuri Sabharwal Memorial Award, Change Maker Award, Prof. M. Viswanathan Gold Medal Oration Award, and the Dr. Anandi Goyal Best Nutritionist Award. Under her leadership, the institute has received awards for Excellence in Nutrition Science & Technology from POSHAN Outlook and the Poshak Anaaj Award from ICAR-IIMR.