Romesh and Kathy Wadhwani will inaugurate a new research centre on 25 January 2012 at 1:30pm, in the colonnade of NCBS's new laboratory building. Tea and snacks will be served at a brief function which will conclude before 2:15pm. All are welcome.
inStem'sShanta Wadhwani Centre, in memory of Romesh Wadhwani's late mother, will benefit from generous funds from the Wadhwani Foundation (http://wadhwani-foundation.org) with the likelihood that demonstrated excellence by the centre in the coming five years will elicit continued support. Along with supporting excellence in science, the Wadhwani Foundation has major programs in college-level entrepreneurship, skills colleges, policy initiatives to accelerate economic growth in emerging economies and programmes to support the disabled. Research at the Shanta Wadhwani Centre will be based in inStem'slaboratories at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bangalore and will focus on the mechanisms underlying stem-cell directed differentiation and cardiomyopathies. It will soon expand to include the neurosciences.
Success in cutting-edge science requires us to be nimble and flexible. The Wadhwani Foundation brings an invaluable icing to the generous cake of support from the Department of BiotechnologytoinStemand from theDepartment of Atomic Energy to NCBS-TIFR. It allows us to put in place the best teams, including fellowships for group leaders, post-docs and students of any nationality to work in our campus, and for our students and postdocs to go elsewhere for collaborations. These fellowships will linkNCBS and inStem researchers with their global collaborators working on the cell and molecular biology of cardiac and neural development, disease and regeneration.
In a chaotic world spinning towards an 'interesting' future, many are self-absorbed in deciphering ways to ensure that our personal endeavors and ambitions meet with success. Intellectual depth and scholarship can give way to Lemming-like dynamics where the herd decides the direction for our personal and institutional trajectories. Intellectual stampedes are certainly not required behaviour, yet few refuse to participate and fewer still strike new paths. There are a daring few who define new intellectual quests, and whose courage and leadership create a culture, the nurturing of which makes us all feel special. Today, we celebrate Obaid Siddiqi whose foresight, determination and quiet courage has transformed research in molecular biology in India at least twice and whose scientific successes span many fields of biology. While establishing institutional excellence and instilling an iconoclastic culture of independence and freethinking, these pioneering efforts have led to wide-appreciation, both of the beauty and value of Obaid's science and of his leadership in institution-building, as models to emulate.
Veronica Rodrigues, Senior Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) passed away on 10 November, 2010, after a five-year battle with breast cancer. Veronica was born in Kenya in 1953 where she went to school. She joined Makerere University in Uganda but left during the turmoil there on a scholarship to study in Trinity College Dublin, where she did her B. A. with Honours in Microbiology in 1976. Stimulated by the scientific papers of P. Vijay Sarathy and Obaid Siddiqi on bacterial genetics, she wrote to Sarathy asking whether she could do her PhD with him. Sarathy, himself a PhD student, passed the letter on to Siddiqi who invited her immediately to join TIFR. With a strange British passport, which barred entry into Britain, Veronica landed in India in 1977, a country very new to her and about which she had a romantic and idyllic view. Obaid had moved his interests to neurogenetics and pioneered the study of olfaction in the fruitfly. Veronica was Obaid's first student in this new area.