Professor Raghavan Varadrajan of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has been selected for the G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research for 2008.
He has been chosen for his significant contributions in the area of molecular biophysics.
Varadrajan’s research includes design of proteins that can eventually be used as components of an AIDS vaccine. His laboratory was recently nominated to be a part of the neutralising antibody consortium, which comprises of 20 labs from across the world that work to create immunogens for an HIV vaccine.
Varadrajan’s major work is on understanding the relation between protein sequence, their shape and stability. He has developed diverse experimental and computational tools to probe these shapes and measure the strengths of various molecular interactions that help maintain the shape.
The award, instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation in 1991, carries a cash prize of Rs 1.50 lakh. It is given to Indian scientists, preferably below 50 years of age, who live and work in India. A board, headed by the president of the Indian National Science Academy, selects the awardees.
Previous awardees include Professor Asis Datta, Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Professor Goverdhan Mehta and Dr P.P. Majumdar.