Meet Dr. Neilanjan Nandi
Dr. Neilanjan Nandi is a gastroenterologist at Drexel Medicine where he specializes in Crohn's disease, Clostridium difficile colitis, and other gastrointestinal conditions. Since joining Drexel Medicine, he's expanded our patient services to include fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). Dr. Nandi is also an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine.
For those of us who simply know you as Dr. Nandi, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you attended medical school?
I grew up in Texas in a very diverse, multicultural setting. From a young age, I loved to play tennis, perform magic and even became quite an avid salsa dancer. As I matured, I really became impassioned about teaching and this has continued to drive a lot of what I am interested in today.
What ultimately led you to medical school and at what point did you realize you wanted to focus on internal medicine and specifically gastroenterology?
I really had limited experience with medicine growing up. I did know that I enjoyed service work immensely, and my trips to Mexico and Guatemala working with underprivileged children are some of the factors that encouraged me to initially pursue pediatrics.
Eventually I realized that adult gastroenterology was the best of all possible worlds: As an Internist I could don my Sherlock Holmes cap and use my cognitive skills to deduce a good differential but my gastroenterology cap allowed me step into the endoscopy unit and perform definitive diagnostic and lifesaving therapeutic interventions. I found that helping patients in this intimate way is a humbling and gratifying experience.
Like most doctors, helping others is part of who you are. Can you talk a little bit about the volunteer work you've done in the past and how it has influenced your approach to medicine?
I’ve been fortunate to work with both underprivileged children internationally and with adults domestically, primarily in Philadelphia and Miami. Working in those communities taught me that a good physician has to take the time to educate his or her patients. Communication is paramount in a healthy physician-patient relationship. These experiences have influenced my efforts as a clinical educator to promote ways to improve education at both the patient and house staff training level.
One of your specialties is fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), a procedure you're now spearheading at Drexel Medicine. In your experience, how has this procedure helped patients, and why is it so important that Drexel Medicine gets involved in this particular area of gastroenterology?
FMT is a life changing procedure presently performed for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (R-CDI) with cure rates exceeding 90%. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. As it turns out, some bacteria are ‘bad’ whereas many other bacteria can be ‘good.’ The careful balance of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria may play a role in other illnesses ranging from asthma to heart disease. Hence, the study of bacteria in your intestine and other parts of your body represents a new and important frontier. In the future, your physician may not only provide you customized medications but possibly customized bacterial capsules to help additionally treat your illness. Drexel is perfectly poised with both clinical and biotechnological advantages that will allow us to be at the forefront of that new horizon.
Is FMT available to patients now? What makes an appropriate candidate for the procedure?
Yes, FMT is presently available at Drexel. The FDA regards FMT as an investigational procedure. Patients afflicted with R-CDI not responsive to standard therapies may be eligible for FMT.
This is an exciting time in the world of gastroenterology. How does working at a place like Drexel help you stay on the cutting edge?
I couldn’t agree with you more. Increasingly, we are discovering the intestinal microbiome may play a role in illnesses beyond the GI tract. Presently, we are undertaking initiatives to expand our horizons to investigate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other non-intestinal illnesses. Drexel has the interdisciplinary power of clinicians, basic scientists and computational biologists to drive exactly this kind of necessary research.
What do you like best about working at Drexel Medicine?
There is a strong collaborative spirit here at Drexel with a lot people thinking outside of the box. It is this type of creative energy that is contagious and I hope will continue to propel us future forward.
Neilanjan Nandi, MD
Crohn's disease, Clostridium difficile colitis, and fecal microbiota transplantation
BA, Biology - Rice University (2001)
MD, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University (2005)
Drexel Gastroenterology Center City
The Arnold T. Berman, MD Building
219 N. Broad Street, 5th Floor
Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
Drexel Gastroenterology Rittenhouse
255 S. 17th Street, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.
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