Samir K. Brahmachari
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|Samir K. Brahmachari|
January 1, 1952|
|Fields||Functional Genomics;Structural & Computational Biology|
|Institutions||CSIR India; CSIR-IGIB|
|Alma mater||University of Calcutta|
|Known for||Open Source Drug Discovery for Affordable Healthcare|
|Notable awards||See Recognition and Awards section|
Samir Kumar Brahmachari (born 1 January 1952) is an Indian biophysicist and Former Director General of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Former Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India. He is the Founder Director of Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi and the Chief Mentor of Open Source for Drug Discovery (OSDD) Project. He is the recipient of J.C Bose Fellowship Award, DST (2012).
Education and Academic Career
Prof.Brahmachari gained a B.Sc degree in chemistry from the University of Calcutta in 1972, followed by an M.Sc (pure chemistry) in 1974. In 1978 he earned a PhD in Molecular Biophysics from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. He followed this with post-doctoral research at Paris Diderot University and a position as a visiting scientist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
He started his academic career as a Research Associate at the Molecular Biophysics Unit in Indian Institute of Science, and in 1981 became a Lecturer. In 1986 he became an Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in 1992. In 1997 he became a Professor and simultaneously served as a Visiting Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. On 11 August 1997 he was appointed as the Director of CSIR-Center for Biochemical Technology (CBT). As the Director of CBT he was instrumental in re-establishing it as the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology- an institute where genomics and informatics have been seamlessly integrated. Setting up a true example of path breaking discoveries in research-limiting settings.He assumed responsibility as the Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India on 12 November 2006.
As a member of the Expert Group on Human Rights and Biotechnology Commission of United Nations, he has addressed issues of unethical exploitation of genetic resources of the Third World and has championed the concept of Rights of patients in benefit. He has held the membership of the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Council (2004-2011). He is currently on the Advisory Board of the X Prize in Genomics and the Scientific Advisory Board of National Center of Biomedical Ontology (NCBO), Stanford University. He has also been serving as the Adjunct Professor, Bioinformatics Centre, University of Pune, since 2003 and holds the Joseph Austin McCartney & Ruth McCartney Hauck named Visiting Professorship, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA, since 2012. He also holds Honorary Lifetime Professorship to the University of Delhi.He is also the academy professor of AcSIR (Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research ).
Prof. Brahmachari's core expertise is in structural and computational biology. Prof. Brahmachari’s primary research involves elucidating the role of repetitive DNA in genome function in health and disease using a trans-disciplinary approach, integrating structural biology with genomics, molecular biology and information science. He has demonstrated the structural flexibility of DNA and the role of repetitive sequences in DNA transactions much before the discovery of repeats association with genetic basis of several neurological disorders. Using a combination of structural biology, computational genomics and population based polymorphism scanning; he and his associates have developed novel tools for genome annotation and identification of functional signature for hypothetical proteins in the genome, besides developing tools for System Biology Platform. Prof. Brahmachari is one of the pioneers in proposing a role for microRNAs in host-pathogen interactions. He and his coworkers identified human microRNAs targeting HIV-1 and predicted its implications.
He has more than 12 patents, 23 copyrights and over 150 research publications to his credit.
His current focus is on leveraging the angle of personalised medicine towards pharmacogenomics with focus on affordable healthcare. He conceptualized and led the Indian Genome Variation Consortium Project to provide the first comprehensive genetic map of the extremely diverse Indian population and identify predictive markers for complex diseases and pharmacogenomics studies. He has also conceptualized the Ayurgenomics project that aims to integrate the principles of personalized medicine from Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system with modern genomics to bridge the gap from genotype to phentoype. Prof. Brahmachari is the Chief Mentor of CSIR-Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) project, a CSIR-led Team India Consortium with global partnership. Emerging as India’s first crowd sourcing initiative, OSDD is today a global translational research platform with more than 7500 participants from 130 countries.
He has championed Private-Public Partnership conceptualizing ‘Genomed’, the first-of-its-kind knowledge alliance in India between a government Institute and a private pharmaceutical company. He has also established The Centre for Genomic Application (TCGA). He initiated the creation of the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) that is geared to provide inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research that is ordinarily not offered in regular universities.
Recognition and Awards
Prof Brahmachari has been the member of the HUGO Council (2004-2011). He also co-chaired the 13th Human Genome Organization meet with Prof. Edison Liu, HUGO president. The meet was held at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad, India.
He holds the Joseph Austin McCartney & Ruth McCartney Hauck Named Visiting Professorship, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA since 2012. He also holds the Honorary Lifetime Professorship to the University of Delhi.
He is the recipient of several National and International awards and honours, notable among them are: INSA Medal for Young Scientists (1979); Kani Medal (1981); SS Bhatnagar Award (1990); FICCI Award (1999); Millennium Medal (2000); Ranbaxy Research Award (2002); Goyal Prize 2001(2003); Professor PK Bose Memorial Award (2004); ICMR's Dr BR Ambedkar Centenary Award (2005); HK Firodia Award (2007); Dr. R.A. Mashelkar Medal (2007); Dhirubhai Ambani Oration Award (2007); Vasvik Award (2008); 6th Biospectrum Person of the Year (2008); IISc Distinguished Alumnus Award (2008); SS Bhatnagar Memorial Award and Gold Medal (2009);Jagadis Chandra Bose Medal of INSA (2009); 2008 Om Prakash Bhasin Award (2009); J.C Bose Fellowship Award, DST (2012).He is also fellow of all four National Academies of Science and Technology (FNASc, FNA, FASc), and Engineering in India (FNAE). He has received D.Sc (Honaris Causa) from five universities of India (Vidyasagar University, Kalyani University; National Institute of Technology, Silchar, Amity University, Jaipur and Bastar University, Jagdalpur). He was conferred the Banga Bibhushan Title, the highest state civilian award by the Government of West Bengal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Life Sciences in 2013.
In 2009, the Week magazine chose him as one of the twenty-five most valuable Indians and recognized him as “The ideas man”. He was chosen as one of the six leaders of the New Knowledge Society Movement in India by STAND magazine in its special issue (2010). He has been selected as one of the Fierce's Top 10 Biotech Techies for his outstanding contribution to the field of genomics and open source drug discovery. Science has hailed him as “Open-source guru” (2012) considering his exceptional contribution in conceptualizing and mentoring India’s first crowd sourcing initiative – Open Source Drug Discovery.
Samir K. Brahmachari has been involved in at least two publicly known controversies. The first involved allegations of behind the scenes lobbying to ensure an extension of his position as the CSIR Director. The second controversy involved allegations of that he fostered cronyism at the expense of meritocracy at CSIR. Shiva Ayyadurai, an expatriate scientist reported that "Our interaction with CSIR scientists revealed that they work in a medieval, feudal environment."
- HICC website
- HUGO website