Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020: 12 researchers receive India’s highest science award
One of the researchers who worked on developing the Feluda Covid-19 test receives young scientist award
The names of 12 scientists who received the country’s highest science award Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2020 were announced during the foundation day of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Saturday.
The prize is given to Indian scientists below the age of 45 for outstanding research in seven fields—Biology, Chemistry, Environment Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine and Physics.
A book and a short film on the contributions of CSIR laboratories and institutes in India’s fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) were also released.
“The present time is a difficult time.We have been continuously engaged in the fight against Covid-19 for nine months now. Apart from the health ministry, the whole scientific community of India has been serving the cause of mitigation of Covid-19. Now, the Feluda paper diagnostic kit is in the offing, and I am eagerly waiting for it as it will revolutionise the testing capability and capacity,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union science minister at the event.
Feluda was developed by one of the CSIR instituteswere also released—Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. One of the researchers who developed the testing method, Dr Debjyoti Chakraborty, was awarded the CSIR Young Scientist Award for 2020.
For Biological Sciences, Dr Shubhadeep Chaterjee from the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and Dr Vatsala Thirumalai at the National Centre for Biological Sciences were awarded. Dr Chaterjee’s work focuses on mechanisms that promote or suppress bacterial disease in plants. Dr Thirumalai works on neural circuits that control movement during development and adulthood in animals.
In the field of Chemical Sciences, Dr Jyotirmayee Dash from Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science and Dr Subi Jacob George from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research were named recipients. Dr Dash’s team works on new methodologies for synthesis of diverse molecules that can be used to study structure and function of therapeutic targets. Dr George is an organic chemist who works on supermolecular synthesis.
For Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Dr Abhijit Mukherjee from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and Dr Suryendu Dutta from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay were named recipients. Dr Mukherjee is a geology professor and works on the exploration of groundwater as a sustainable drinking water source. Dr Dutta works in the department of earth sciences and focusses on shale gas potential studies and higher plant biomarkers in sediments and crude oils.
For Engineering Sciences, Dr Amol Arvindrao Kulkarni from CSIR National Chemical Laboratory and Dr Kinshuk Dasgupta from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre were awarded. Dr Kulkarni’s research focusses on developing multiphase reactors and microreactors.
For Mathematical Sciences, Dr Rajat Subhra Hazra from Indian Statistical Institute and Dr U K Anandavardhanan from Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay were awarded.
For Medical Sciences, Dr Bushra Ateeq from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and Dr Ritesh Agarwal from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Chandigarh received the award. Dr Ateeq’s research focusses on cancer biomarkers and molecular events that lead to progression in prostate and breast cancer. Dr Agarwal is a professor of pulmonary medicine and his main research area is a fungal infection called Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
For physical sciences, the award went to Dr Rajesh Ganapathy from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and Dr Surajit Dhara from University of Hyderabad.