Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty: Pioneering the Genetic Frontier

Ananda Chakrabarty: A Trailblazer in Genetic Engineering and Microbiology

In the realm of microbiology and genetic engineering, the name Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty stands tall as a visionary scientist who reshaped the landscape of scientific possibilities. Born on 4 April 1938, in Sainthia, India, Ananda Chakrabarty’s journey from Sainthia High School to the University of Calcutta marked the inception of an extraordinary scientific odyssey.

Scientific Work of Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty: Revolutionizing the Microbial World

In 1971, while working at the Research & Development Center at General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, Prof. Chakrabarty achieved a scientific milestone that reverberated globally.

He genetically engineered a new species of Pseudomonas bacteria, commonly known as “the oil-eating bacteria.” This groundbreaking work aimed to address the limitations of existing oil-metabolizing bacteria by creating a stable, highly efficient strain—Pseudomonas putida.

The methodology involved irradiating the transformed organism with UV light post-plasmid transfer, resulting in a genetically cross-linked, novel bacterial species capable of consuming crude oil at an unprecedented rate. Prof. Chakrabarty’s ingenuity coined the term “multiplasmid hydrocarbon-degrading Pseudomonas,” a microbial marvel that could digest two-thirds of hydrocarbons in a typical oil spill.

Legal Battle and Triumph

The pinnacle of Prof. Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty’s career was marked by a legal battle that changed the landscape of patent law. When he applied for a patent for the genetically modified organism, he faced initial denial by the Patent Office due to the perception that living organisms couldn’t be patented.

The case reached the United States Supreme Court in 1980 (Diamond v. Chakrabarty), which, in a landmark 5–4 decision, declared that a human-made micro-organism is indeed patentable subject matter.

This victory not only recognized the significance of genetic engineering but also paved the way for numerous patents on genetically modified micro-organisms and other life forms, solidifying Ananda Chakrabarty’s status as a trailblazer in the scientific community.

Lasting Legacy: Beyond Genetic Engineering

Beyond his groundbreaking work in genetic engineering, Prof. Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty continued to contribute to scientific advancements. His later research focused on elucidating the role of bacterial cupredoxins and cytochromes in cancer regression and arresting cell cycle progression.

The discovery of the bacterial protein azurin, with potential antineoplastic properties, showcased his commitment to exploring new frontiers in microbiology.

In 2001, Ananda Mohan Chakrabartyfounded CDG Therapeutics, a company holding proprietary information related to five patents generated during his tenure at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This entrepreneurial spirit continued with the co-founding of Amrita Therapeutics Ltd. in 2008, dedicated to developing therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics against major public health threats.

Academic Stature and Global Impact

Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty’s academic career was illustrious, marked by his role as a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. His influence extended beyond academia, as he served as an advisor to judges, governments, and the UN.

As a founding member of a United Nations Industrial Development Organization committee, he played a pivotal role in proposing the establishment of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

Prof. Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty’s impact further extended to his service in various scientific advisory boards and governmental committees, showcasing his commitment to advancing global scientific understanding.

Recognition and Honors

In acknowledgment of his groundbreaking work in genetic engineering technology, Ananda Chakrabarty was awarded the civilian Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2007. This prestigious honor highlighted not only his contributions to science but also his dedication to pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Also Read: Jhumpa Lahiri: Navigating Cultural Frontiers and Linguistic Mastery

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.