Chetan Eknath Chitnis

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Chetan Eknath Chitnis
Born 3 April 1961 (1961-04-03) (age 56)
Occupation Scientist (Malaria research)
Awards Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award
Infosys Prize
IAS Fellow
INSA Fellow
BioSpectrum Person of the Year

Chetan Eknath Chitnis is an Indian scientist in the field of malaria research. He is the head of the Malaria Parasite Biology and Vaccines Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and an elected fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (2009) as well as Indian National Science Academy (2014).[1][2][3] He received the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award in 2004 and the Infosys Prize in Life Sciences 2010.[4][5] Chitnis is the former Principal Investigator of the malaria research group at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi.[6]

Education and Career[edit]

Chitnis completed his Master of Science in Physics at Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai in 1983. Subsequently, he obtained a Master of Arts in Physics from the Rice University in Houston, in 1985 and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) from the University of California-Berkeley in 1991[6] after which he worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland as a Fogarty International Fellow from 1991 to 1995. Returning to India, he joined the malaria research group in ICGEB in 1996 as the principal investigator and worked there until 2014 when he was appointed as the head of the Malaria Parasite Biology and Vaccines Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.[1]

He has published over 100 international papers and has three patents pertaining to malaria vaccines.[7]

Research interest[edit]

Chitnis's work is predominantly in the areas of molecular parasitology and vaccine development for malaria by understanding the molecular and cellular biology aspects of host-parasite interactions. His work has assisted in the development of antibodies against Plasmodium spp. and widened the understanding of the parasite-binding proteins and their interactions with the Duffy blood group antigen of the host red blood cells. Furthermore, his research group is involved in the studies of molecular signaling during the blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum, especially the process of invasion and egress from erythrocytes.

At ICGEB, he has also established a protein production facility for the production of malaria vaccines based on novel concepts.

Awards and honors[edit]

Chitnis, who received the University of California Regents' Fellowship, Henry Kaiser Fellowship and Abraham Rosenberg Research Fellowship during his doctoral research years, was a Fogarty International Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda during 1991–96. The American Society of Microbiology awarded him the ICAAC Young Investigator Award in 1995[8] and he delivered the Dr. B.N. Singh Memorial Award Oration of the Indian Society for Parasitology in 1997.[9] In the same year, he also won the MOT Iyengar Award for Research on Malaria.[10]

He was International Research Scholar at Howard Hughes Medical Institute[11] and an International Senior Research Fellow at the Wellcome Trust[12] during the period 2000–05. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research awarded him the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Medical Sciences, one of the highest Indian science awards, in 2004.[13] He was a Tata Innovation Fellow from 2007 to 2009 and the Indian Academy of Sciences elected him as a fellow in 2009;[2] the same year as he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.[14] He became an elected fellow of the Indian National Science Academy in 2014[3] and in between, he received the Infosys Prize in Life Sciences in 2010[5] and the BioSpectrum Person of the Year award in 2011.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Malaria Parasite Biology and Vaccines Unit". Institut Pasteur. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Indian Academy of Sciences - Fellowship entry for Dr. Chitnis". Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Indian National Science Academy - Academy News December 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  4. ^ "Recipients of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize For Science And Technology-2004" (PDF). Awards. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Infosys Prize laureate in life sciences in 2010 - Dr. Chetan E. Chitnis". Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Profile of Chetan Chitnis on the ICGEB homepage". International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Index of scientific articles by Chetan E. Chitnis on Pubmed". PubMed. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "ICAAC Young Investigator Awards Past Laureates". American Society for Microbiology. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Recipients of Dr. B.N. Singh Memorial Oration Award". The Indian Society of Parasitology. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "M.O.T.Iyengar Award (1997)". List of recipients of ICMR awards and prizes for 1997. Indian Council of Medical Research. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Profile of Chetan E. Chitnis". HHMI Alumni International Scholars. Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Past Fellows". Indian Senior Research Fellows. Wellcome Trust. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Brief Profile of the Awardee". Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. 2017. 
  14. ^ "IIT Bombay Celebrates Foundation Day". 2009 IIT-B News Archives. Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "BioSpectrum Annual Awards 2011". European Vaccine Initiative. Retrieved 31 March 2017.