Samir Brahmachari takes over as CSIR head

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) Dr Samir Brahmachari, a pioneer in functional genomics initiative in India, today took charge as the new Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), ending months of uncertainty over the post.

Before this, he was Director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi.

He is the first to discover how human miRNA can target HIV genes and control virus replication, thus opening up a new vista of antiviral therapeutics, official sources here said.

Dr Brahmachari took over from Science and Technology Secretary T Ramasami, who was looking after the additional charge of CSIR for the past several months since food technologist V Prakash, who was appointed to the post, refused to take office on health grounds.

Dr Prakash, then Director of CSIR's Mysore-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) was to replace Dr R A Mashelkar on January 1, but did not citing health reasons.

The post had been lying vacant for sometime before Dr Ramasami was made acting DG.

A Ph.D in Molecular Biophysics from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Dr Brahmachari became professor at the same institute.

He has successfully led the Indian genome Variation Consortium project and is now coordinating a national network project in 'In Silico Biology' for drug target development.

He and his co-workers have demonstrated association of two genes to Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder and identified several SNP's and other markers associated with various neurological disorders.

He has received several awards, including INSA Young Scientists Award in 1979, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (CSIR) 1990; Millennium Medal (Indian Science Congress) 2000, B R Ambedkar Centenary Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research (ICMR) 2005, and J C Bose Medal (INSA) 2007.

He has been a member, expert group on Human Rights and Biotechnology, United Nations and also been included in the Advisory Committee of the X-Prize in Genomics which consists of leading Genomics Scientists of the world.

As an advisor to Human Rights High Commission, he has addressed issues of unethical exploitation of genetic resources of the Third World and has championed the concept of rights of patients in benefit-sharing in the development of genomic medicines.

Dr Brahmachari has more than 130 publications in leading international journals and has fiv patents and tn software copyrights to his credit.

UNI

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