Sarwal received her M.D. from Calcutta Medical College in India, completed her residency in the UK, and a fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology at Guy's Hospital, London, UK. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Cambridge University (Christ's College) where she worked with Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner on the synthetic mapping of human and puffer fish G proteins. Sarwal also holds a Diploma in Child Health from London, UK, and membership in the Royal College of Physicians, UK (MRCP). In 2009, she was formally elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, UK in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of medicine.
Sarwal is a member of numerous national and international societies including the ASN, IPTA, AST, TTS, and IPNA. She has served as Associate Editor of American Journal of Transplantation and as a reviewer for Lancet, Nature Medicine, NEJM, Transplantation, Nature Genetics, PNAS, Kidney International and other prestigious peer-reviewed journals. Sarwal has also been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the Order of Excellence in Scientific Research (Cambridge, UK, 2002), the Dean's Teaching Award (2005), the Junior Faculty Award from the CCIS (2003-6), a Key Opinion Leader in Organ Transplantation by the Transplantation Society (2007-2009), an elected Senator at Large for the Stanford Faculty Senate (2005-10), the TTS-Roche Award for Outstanding Achievement Transplantation Science (Clinical; 2010), and the Cunio Richardson NKF Award for Scientific Excellence (2012).