Prof Santanu Bhattacharya wins 17th G D Birla award for Sc Research

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (UNI) Prof Santanu Bhattacharya was today named recipient of the prestigious 17th G D Birla award for Scientific Research for 2007 for his contribution in the fields of chemical biology and molecular design.

Prof Bhattacharya, 49, who is associated with the Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, is working in the frontier field of gene therapy.

His investigations on DNA trafficking inside eukaryotic cells in the lipid mediated gene delivery have been cited extensively by experts. Besides proposing the DNA transfer mechanism, he has also developed a new formulation for gene transfection in mammalian cells in the presence of serum. Prof Bhattacharya's investigations into DNA-lipid interactions using a number of chemical and biophysical methods and studies have key implications in developing carriers for gene therapy, says the citation.

"Although trained as a chemist, his research work cuts across boundaries of individual discipline and employs principles of chemisty and its interface with biology and material science, that is Nanotechnology. His research activities characterise him certainly as one of the most innovative and productive scientist of the country today," according to the release.

The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh, has been instituted by the K K Birla Foundation with the aim of according recognition to high calibre scienfific research by Indian scientists preferably below the age of 50 years.

Prof Bhattacharya was born on April 23, 1958. After obtaining his Ph D in Bio organic Chemistry from the University of Rutgers, USA in 1988, he joined as a CSIR Fellow at the University of Calcutta. From 1991 he has been working in the Department of Organic Chemistry, IIS, Bangalore and is currently ranked as Professor. He is an honorary faculty member, Chemical Biology Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Stuides Research,, Bangalore and has held visiting positions in various universities abroad.

Selection for the award is made by a Board headed by the President of the Indian National Science Academy here and includes eminent scientists such as Prof M M Sharma, former Director, Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Bombay, Mumbai, Prof M K Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Prof Asis Datta, Director, National Centre for Plant Genome Research Centre, New Delhi, Prof T V Ramakrishnan, Department of Physics, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and Dr Anupam Varma, National Professor, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.

Previous recipients of the prize were Prof Asis Datta (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology), Prof Goverdhan Mehta (Organic Chemistry), Bangalore, Dr R A Mashelkar (Polymer Science and Engineering), New Delhi, Prof Padmanabhan Balaram (Molecular Biophysics) Bangalore, , Prof Girish S Agarwal (Quantum Optics, non-Linear Optics), Allahabad, Prof Biman Bagchi (Pysical Chemistry and Condensed Biophysics), Bangalore among others.

Three of the awardees -- Dr R A Mashelkar, Prof Ashoke Sen and Dr Goverdhan Mehta -- were elected Fellows of the Royal Society, London reflecting the quality of the selection made for the award.

UNI SD VD HT1845

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