Dr. Jaideep Mahendra, Professor and Director of Post Graduate Studies and Research, Department of Periodontology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College Chennai, hails from a defence background. Born to Lt. Col Mahendra Pratap Singh, a retired Army Officer and Dr. Rita Batra who was the Chief Medical Officer in the Border Security Force, she had the good fortune of living in almost all parts of the country as her father was posted in different places. She schooled at Kendriya Vidyalaya and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery from the Government Dental College, Punjabi University at Patiala, Punjab. She went on to do her Masters degree in Periodontology at Rajah Muttiah Dental College, Annamalai University at Chidambaram. She also did her PG Diploma in Hospital Management and Doctoral Degree in Periodontal medicine in the same college. She pursued her post doctoral research at Michigan State University in the US on Stem Cells Periodontology.
Jaideep considers her childhood to be like a fairytale adventure as she travelled to many parts of the country, studied in different states, learnt various languages and adapted to diverse cultures. Being an Army Officer’s daughter, she had a disciplined upbringing and values were dinned into her at an early age.
Jaideep has two younger sisters- Preeti Singh and Little Mahendra. While Preeti is employed with Google as a Senior Consultant In San Jose, California, Little Mahendra is also in the field of dentistry and is the Dean of Maktoum Bin Hamdan Dental University and College in Dubai.
She has fond memories of her childhood where all festivals were celebrated together without any religious differences and of there being a Temple, Mosque, Church and Gurudwara in the same building complex.
She is married to Gagandeep Singh Bedi who is a senior IAS officer and is currently posted as the Corporation Commissioner of Chennai. The couple has two charming daughters – Gurbani Bedi and Muskan Bedi. While Gurbani pursues BE from Anna University, Muskan is a class 12 student of DAV School.
Dr Jaideep began her career as an Assistant Professor in Rajas Dental College at Tirunelveli in 2001 and served till 2009. She later joined Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai where she is involved in dental education, academics and research. She is a member of the Dental Council of India and conducts periodic inspections to check if dental colleges all over the country are functioning as they should.
She has been appointed as a PhD guide for MAHER University and Dr. MGR University, Chennai. She has also authored 20 books on Periodontology and has more than 152 national and international publications to her credit. Besides this, she has also published many systematic reviews pertaining to various dental diseases and is a peer reviewer for many international journals. Jaideep has been honoured by the patent grant for her work on a novel pharmaceutical local drug delivery formulation to treat periodontal infection.
Her research work on micro- RNAs made her globally acclaimed in the area of periodontal medicine. She has the credit of being the first researcher from India to identify the oral bacteria in the atheroscierotic plaque samples of periodontitis patients in Indians undergoing bypass surgery in 2005. This research has been published in a reputed Indian journal at a later date.
Jaideep has made use of her knowledge to benefit society at large and has organized many dental camps and held community education programs too. She believes in functional medicine and holistic healing methods and has done research on herbs and plant extracts like spirulina, mangosteen, pericarp, gingko biloba and curcumin for the treatment of periodontal diseases. She has also published research papers on them. Her current research focuses on effects of yoga practice on dental health, periodontal medicine and stem cells.
She has won many accolades for her research activities and some notable ones are 1. The best RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP AWARD in the field of Periodontology which she received from the Hon’ble Union Health Minister 2. The YOUNG ACHIEVER’S AWARD at the World Dental Conference for PhD research in the field of Periodontal Medicine. 3. The BEST TEACHER AWARD for dental education on the occasion of Dentist Day organized by Dr. M.G.R. University of Government of Tamil Nadu. 4. The BEST SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATION AWARD at International Association for Dental Research. 5. She has been recently selected for Tamil Nadu Scientist Award (TANSA AWARD) under the discipline of medical sciences based on her credentials.
She has attained fellowship of Indian Association of Biomedical Scientists and of the Indian Society of Dental Research and holds life membership of Indian Society of Periodontology, the International Association of Dental Research and the Indian Dental Association.
Jaideep is adept at singing and dancing and is trained in Hindustani singing and Kathak dance form. She has performed on stage many a time while in college and for some cultural events too.
Her taste in food is simple and when it comes to south Indian cuisine, she prefers the humble Idli with Podi and the mouth watering Masala Dosa, while Rajma Chawal is her favourite North Indian dish.
The charming and elegant Jaideep prefers the desi, traditional look in clothes and opts for sarees and salwar kameez. Her favourite colours are light shades especially sky blue and baby pink. She unwinds by listening to soothing music, does yoga and a bit of meditation too. To stay fit, she either swims or plays a bit of badminton.
She enjoys doing social service and when the Tsunami hit Tamil Nadu in 2004, she was the President of the Women Association in Cuddalore. She recalls how she and her team worked tirelessly to provide the victims with food and shelter. Being the President of the Ladies Organisation, operations to plant trees as well as cleaning operations were initiated and trash bins were installed in the city.
Jaideep is also a coordinator of the Oral Hygiene day programme and she has conducted several campaigns in metro trains, metro train depots, slum zones, Koyambedu vegetable and fruit market and the Koyambedu bus terminus and around 8000 people including students were educated on the importance of oral hygiene.
When asked about her future plans, she discloses that she wishes to undertake research in dentistry in areas where no one has tread so far, to sharpen the research talents of her students and to upgrade skills and infrastructure to make the atmosphere more conducive for further research.
Juliana Sridhar is a lawyer and columnist