Dr. Varun Aggarwala - Jio Institute Skip to main content
Dr. Varun Aggarwala

Dr. Varun Aggarwala

Assistant Professor, Jio Institute

Dr Varun Aggarwala is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Life Sciences and Principal Investigator of the Microbiome Therapeutics laboratory at the Jio Institute. 

Varun performed his doctoral research at the Perelman School of Medicine of University of Pennsylvania, and modeled the variation in human germline mutation rate to identify disease causing genes, personalized variants and underlying mutagenesis biology. He furthered his training in precision therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai Hospital, and modeled the transmission of commensal gut microbes in the context of Fecal Transplants for infectious and inflammatory bowel diseases. His research resulted in identification of a cocktail of microbes as a defined live biotherapeutics product in lieu of whole stool transplants, which is now being evaluated in clinical trials. Varun did his Masters in Computer Science from University of Pennsylvania and has a BTech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Guwahati.

Dr. Aggarwala’s laboratory at the Jio Institute is addressing open problems at the interface of microbiome, public health and biotherapeutics. His research group will leverage the unique Indian genetics, microbes, diet, rapid urbanization, endogamic caste diversity alongwith digital health revolution and Reliance parivar’s ecosystem to address unique public and precision health challenges at scale, and contribute to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission in this Amrit Kal.


  • PhD in Genomics and Computational Biology: University of Pennsylvania, Summer 2011 - 2016
  • Masters in Computer and Information Science: University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2010
  • B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India Spring 2008


  • PI for Research fellowship award (175,500 USD, 2020-22) from Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to study microbial strain dynamics in an FMT clinical trial for active Ulcerative Colitis
  • Co-PI on Pilot grant (50,000 USD, 2019-20) from Genetics and Genomics institute of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, to study and design live biotherapeutic product for C. difficile infection
  • Awarded the 2nd prize for research talk at the Mount Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease retreat 2022
  • Awarded the best talk prize at Microbiome Virtual International Forum (MVIF) meeting in 2021
  • Selected as semifinalist for ASHG/Charles J Epstein Trainee award for excellence in human genetics research for year 2015
  • Awarded the Penn Center for Teaching and Learning certificate for excellence in teaching
  • Departmental Rank 1 and Institutional Rank 2, IIT Guwahati
  • Institute Silver Medal for being the topper of the Computer Science Department of IIT Guwahati
  • Recipient of Institute Merit Scholarship (full tuition waiver) for being the topper for years 2004-05 and 2006-07 in the entire institute
  • Recipient of N.T.S.E Scholarship (2002-2008) awarded by MHRD, Government of India


  • Department of  Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital       May’18-Feb’23                          
  • Department of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine of University of Pennsylvania              Oct’16-Apr’18                           
  • Genetics and Genomics graduate group at the Perelman School of Medicine of University of Pennsylvania      Jun’12-Sep’16


  • Chen-Liaw A, Aggarwala V, …, Faith JJ “Gut microbiota bacterial strain richness is species specific and limits therapeutic engraftment” bioRxiv 2022
  • Aggarwala V, Mogno I, Li Z, …, Faith JJ “Precise quantification of bacterial strains after fecal microbiota transplantation delineates long-term engraftment and explains outcomes.” Nature Microbiology, 2021
  • Britton GJ, Contijoch EJ, Spindler MP, Aggarwala V, …, Faith JJ. “Defined microbiota transplant restores Th17/RORγt + regulatory T cell balance in mice colonized with inflammatory bowel disease microbiotas.” PNAS, 2020
  • Yang C, Mogno I, Contijoch EJ, Borgerding JN, Aggarwala V, …, Faith JJ. “Strain-level differences in gut microbiome composition determine fecal IgA levels and are modifiable by gut microbiota manipulation.” Cell Host and Microbe, 2020
  • Faith JJ, Chen-Liaw A, Aggarwala V, …, Mogno I. “Strain population structure varies widely across bacterial species and predicts strain colonization in unrelated individuals.” bioRxiv 2020
  • Aggarwala V, Liang G, Bushman FD. “Viral communities of the human gut: metagenomic analysis of composition and dynamics.” Mobile DNA, 2017
  • Aggarwala V, Ganguly A, Voight BF. “De novo mutational profile in RB1 clarified using a mutation rate modeling algorithm.” BMC Genomics, 2017
  • Aggarwala V, Voight BF. “An expanded sequence context model broadly explains variability in polymorphism levels across the human genome.” Nature Genetics, 2016
  • Shah PP, Donahue G, Otte GL, Capell BC, Nelson DM, Cao K, Aggarwala V, …, Berger SL. “Lamin B1 depletion in senescent cells triggers large-scale changes in gene expression and the chromatin landscape.” Genes and Development, 2013
  • Aggarwala V, Faith JJ. “Compositions and Methods for Treating Infections of the Gastrointestinal Tract.” Provisional patent granted, 2021