How they made science’s elite XI

MEDICAL SCIENCES

Dr Sandip Basu

Radiation Medicine, BARC, Mumbai

His work in the area of therapeutic nuclear medicine and molecular imaging based on PET (positron emission tomography) won him the prize. Basu, 40, is a doctor currently working in the Radiation Medicine Centre of BARC. Basu, who joined in 2000, says RMC focuses primarily on the treatment of diseases like thyroid cancer and neuro-endocrine tumour. "This is not just a big honour for me, but also a recognition for the entire nuclear medicine fraternity because the work we do here has direct societal benefits... Diagnosis as well as monitoring of diseases is faster with PET imaging," he says.

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Dr Shantanu Chowdhury

CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi

Chowdhury, 44, speaks of his love for science and his reluctance to take medical and engineering entrance exams. "I lied to my family about sitting in those exams and went on to pursue a masters in chemistry from Jadavpur University and a Ph D from CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad." He adds, "The transition from chemistry to biology was made simple through discussions with many brilliant Indian researchers." His award is for research on certain elements in the structure of DNA that could influence how lock-and-key mechanisms control genes. His work deals with how certain cells might become cancerous under the influence of these elements.

Dr Suman Kumar Dhar

Molecular Medicine, JNU, New Delhi

After his Ph D at JNU where he is an associate professor, he became a post-doctoral fellow in Harvard Medical School's pathology department. He wins the award for his work on the characteristics of DNA replication and cell cycle regulation in the pathogens responsible for malaria and gastric cancer. "We are trying to understand how the DNA multiplies along with the organism as both pathogens have become drug-resistant, which poses the main challenge," he says. The aim of their research is to find the key regulators in DNA replication so that potential targets for therapy can be identified.

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