In 2016, many Indian-origin scientists made it big and got international acclaim for their work. From genetics to nanoelectronics, these scientists have kept the spirit of discovery alive.
Shubha Tole is part of the Asian Scientist 100 list for 2016. This list is compiled by combing through scientific awards and breakthroughs across the region. Her lab is interested in the genetic mechanisms that control the formation of perception, language, learning and memory.
Her current research focuses on genetic ‘knockout’ mice, RNAi, embryonic stem cells, tissue culture, and molecular biology approaches to address questions of the development and evolution of the brain. In her work on mammalian nervous system, Tole discovered a master regulator gene that controls how the brain’s cortex hippocampus and amygdala develop.
Her work throws light on what exactly happens when things go wrong during the intricate process of building the brain. These disturbances can cause neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and epilepsy.
At present, she teaches at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. Tole is committed to education, public outreach and mentorship and wishes to groom young scientists.
Ovarian cancer research
A doctorate from the University of Calicut, Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan was given the 2016 Liz Tilberis Early Career Award for his commitment to ovarian cancer research. He teaches at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Chaluvally-Raghavan’s current research focus is on the role of non-coding genetic aberrations in ovarian cancer. “Since the cancer cells grow faster than the body’s own healthy cells, it is important to understand the precise mechanism that tumour cells employ to proliferate and metastasise to distant sites. My research will help develop agents that would target the tumour cells without affecting the normal cells in the body,” he told Down To Earth. We hope our studies will help improve the quality of life of patients suffering from breast, ovarian and other gynaecological malignancies, he adds.
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