Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty
|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (September 2009)|
|Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty|
Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty at Science City, Kolkata on 8 Nov. 2009
4 April 1938 |
|Alma mater||University of Calcutta|
|Known for||Genetically engineering a Pseudomonas bacteria|
Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty (Bengali: আনন্দমোহন চক্রবর্তী Ānandamōhan Cakrabartī), Ph.D. is an Indian American microbiologist, scientist, and researcher, most notable for his work in directed evolution and his role in developing a genetically engineered organism using plasmid transfer while working at GE, the patent for which led to landmark Supreme Court case, Diamond v. Chakrabarty.
Ananda (generally called "Al" by scientific colleagues) Chakrabarty was born in India on 4 April 1938. He attended Sainthia High School, Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira and St. Xavier's College, Calcutta --in that order-- during the course of his undergraduate education. Prof. Chakrabarty received his Ph.D. from the University of Calcutta in Kolkata, West Bengal in 1965.
Prof. Chakrabarty genetically engineered a new species of Pseudomonas bacteria ("the oil-eating bacteria") in 1971 while working for the Research & Development Center at General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York.
At the time, four known species of oil-metabolizing bacteria were known to exist, but when introduced into an oil spill, competed with each other, limiting the amount of crude oil that they degraded. The genes necessary to degrade oil were carried on plasmids, which could be transferred among species. By irradiating the transformed organism with UV light after plasmid transfer, Prof. Chakrabarty discovered a method for genetic cross-linking that fixed all four plasmid genes in place and produced a new, stable, bacteria species (now called pseudomonas putida) capable of consuming oil one or two orders of magnitude faster than the previous four strains of oil-eating microbes. The new microbe, which Chakrabarty called "multi-plasmid hydrocarbon-degrading Pseudomonas," could digest about two-thirds of the hydrocarbons that would be found in a typical oil spill.
The bacteria drew international attention when he applied for a patent—the first U.S. patent for a genetically modified organism. (U.S. utility patents had been granted to living organisms before, including two pure bacterial cultures, patented by Louis Pasteur. Chakrabarty's modified bacterium was granted a patent in the U.K. before the U.S. patent came through.) He was initially denied the patent by the Patent Office because it was thought that the patent code precluded patents on living organisms. The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals overturned the decision in Chakrabarty's favor, writing:
...the fact that micro-organisms are alive is without legal significance for purposes of patent law.
Sidney A. Diamond, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court case was argued on 17 March 1980 and decided on 16 June 1980. This patent was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court (Diamond v. Chakrabarty), in a 5-4 decision, when it determined that
A live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter under [Title 35 U.S.C.] 101. Respondent's micro-organism constitutes a "manufacture" or "composition of matter" within that statute.
Currently, his lab is working on elucidating the role of bacterial cupredoxins and cytochromes in cancer regression and arresting cell cycle progression. These proteins have been formerly known for their involvement in bacterial electron transport. He has isolated a bacterial protein, azurin, with potential antineoplastic properties. He has expanded his lab's work to include multiple microbiological species, including Neisseria, Plasmodia, and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. In 2001, Prof. Chakrabarty founded a company, CDG Therapeutics, (incorporated in Delaware) which holds proprietary information related to five patents generated by his work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The University of Illinois owns the rights to the patents but has issued exclusive licences to CDG Therapeutics.
In 2008, Prof. Chakrabarty co-founded a second bio-pharmaceutical discovery company, Amrita Therapeutics Ltd., registered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to develop therapies, vaccines and diagnostics effective against cancers and/or other major public health threats derived from bacterial products found in the human body. Amrita Therapeutics Ltd. received initial funding in late 2008 from GVFL, and more recently received a grant for a 2-year research program in 2010 from the Indian Department of Biotechnology under the Biotechnology Industry Promotion Program (BIPP).
Chakrabarty is currently a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Apart from being an eminent scientist, Ananda Chakrabarty has been an advisor to judges, governments, and the UN. As one of the founding members of a UNIDO Committee that proposed the establishment of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB), he has been a member of its Council of Scientific Advisors ever since. He has served the U.S. Government
- as a member of NIH Study Sections,
- as a member of the Board on Biology of the National Academy of Science,
- on the Committee on Biotechnology of the National Research Council
He has also served the Stockholm Environment Institute of Sweden. He has been on the Scientific Advisory Board of many academic institutions such as the Michigan Biotechnology Institute, the Montana State University Center for Biofilm Engineering, the Center for Microbial Ecology at the Michigan State University, and the Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network based in Calgary, Canada. Dr. Chakrabarty has also served as a member of NIAG, the NATO Industrial Advisory Group based in Brussels, Belgium. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts, where he participates in judicial education. More recently, he has been involved in international judicial work, serving as a Scientific Advisor for meetings in Hawaii and Ottawa, Canada, organized by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Legacy and awards
Dr. Chakrabarty has received many awards, including
- the 'Scientist of the Year' award in 1975 by Industrial Research Organization of the United States,
- the Distinguished Scientist Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency,
- the MERIT Award from NIH,
- the Distinguished Service Award given by the U.S. Army
- the Public Affairs Award awarded by the American Chemical Society, and
- the Procter & Gamble Environmental Biotechnology Award given by the American Society for Microbiology.
- the Golden Eurydice Award for contributions in Biophilosophy in 2007.
- US Patent 4,259,444
- Chakrabarty, AM; Mylroie, JR; Friello, DA; Vacca, JG (1975). "Transformation of Pseudomonas putida and Escherichia coli with plasmid-linked drug-resistance factor DNA". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 72 (9): 3647–51. doi:10.1073/pnas.72.9.3647. PMC 433053. PMID 1103151.
- Chakrabarty, AM; Friello, DA (1974). "Dissociation and interaction of individual components of a degradative plasmid aggregate in Pseudomonas". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 71 (9): 3410–4. doi:10.1073/pnas.71.9.3410. PMC 433782. PMID 4530312.
- Chakrabarty, AM (1974). "Dissociation of a degradative plasmid aggregate in Pseudomonas". Journal of bacteriology 118 (3): 815–20. PMC 246827. PMID 4829926.
- Chakrabarty, AM (1974). "Transcriptional control of the expression of a degradative plasmid in Pseudomonas". Basic life sciences 3: 157–65. doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-4529-9_13. PMID 4823075.
- Shaham, M; Chakrabarty, AM; Gunsalus, IC (1973). "Camphor plasmid-mediated chromosomal transfer in Pseudomonas putida". Journal of bacteriology 116 (2): 944–9. PMC 285467. PMID 4745436.
- Rheinwald, JG; Chakrabarty, AM; Gunsalus, IC (1973). "A transmissible plasmid controlling camphor oxidation in Pseudomonas putida". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 70 (3): 885–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.70.3.885. PMC 433381. PMID 4351810.
- "Environment: Oil-Eating Bug". Time. 22 September 1975. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- "'Innovation gives you confidence and a respectable position across the globe'". The Financial Express. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- "Ananda Chakrabarty". 2006. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.[self-published source?]
- Plas, Joe Vanden (9 September 2006). "Father of life patents downplays historic role". Wisconsin Technology Network 28 September 2009.
- "Ananda M. Chakrabarty, Ph.D". Retrieved 28 September 2009.[self-published source?]