Santosh Kumar Jha wins TAA-Zita Lobo Memorial Award for Best Thesis 2010-2011

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Santosh Kumar Jha

NCBS's alumnus Santosh Kumar Jha has won the TAA-Zita Lobo Memorial Award 2010-2011 for his Ph.D. thesis. His doctoral work titled Characterization of the nature of free energy barriers during the folding and unfolding of small proteins looked at noncooperative and polymer natures of protein folding and unfolding reactions. His work also provided the first direct experimental evidence in support of the 20-year old dry molten globule hypothesis in the field. Jayant Udgaonkar was Jha's Ph.D. Supervisor.

To study protein unfolding, Jha also collaborated with G. Krishnamoorthy at the Department of Chemical Sciences and Deepak Dhar at the Department of Theoretical Physics at TIFR. "This collaboration helped me a lot in learning how to use the tools of chemistry and physics to attack basic problems in biology. Needless to say that it would have not been possible without the free learning environment I got in NCBS and in Jayant's lab," says Jha.

Jha is currently a post-doctoral research scholar at Stanford University in Steven G. Boxer's laboratory. His current research focuses on understanding the origins of the great catalytic power of enzymes and determining the role of the electric field and its fluctuations in barrier-crossing during enzyme-catalyzed reactions.

The TIFR Alumni Association-Zita Lobo Memorial Award is given every year for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis of the year submitted through the TIFR institutes for work done in biological or chemical sciences at the institutes. The award consists of a medal and a cash prize of Rs. 10,000/-.


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