Dr Desai has made a major contribution to gastroenterology in the Indian context over a period of 40 years. His considerable research commitment has resulted in over 195 publications in national and international journals.
He entered the field of gastroenterology after obtaining his medical qualifications in 1962. He first worked as a registrar under Dr. F.P. Antia, who started the first separate gastroenterology department in India in 1955. He is the Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London.
Dr Desai's major areas of research relate to the 'stomach in the tropics', involving gastric secretion studies, the gastric mucosal barrier, and immunological studies. In March 1973, he published the first chronic gastritis classification based on immunology with observations of immunological data (parietal cell and intrinsic factor antibodies) in Indian subjects.