Veronica Rodrigues 1953-2010

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Veronica Rodrigues.

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.

Her independent contribution in the study of olfactory behaviour was appreciated enough for her to be offered a regular position at TIFR even as a PhD student. Veronica next spent three years at the Max-Planck Institute of Biologische Kybernetik in Tubingen. Here, she pioneered the study of coding of olfactory information in the brain, one of her major contributions and a landmark study. Returning to her position at the TIFR Mumbai, Veronica moved into the study of how the brain develops. Her group first charted out the rules that govern how smell and taste sensory neurons develop. Veronica and collaborators were the pioneers in this area as also in the study of the development of brain-regions where olfactory information is coded. Veronica next combined her early training in physiology and behavioral biology by asking how the brain is made to encode behaviour and how it changes in response to olfactory experience. Research in the Rodrigues group, more recently, elegantly addressed questions of how individual nerve cells, which are often robust and stay alive through an animal's life, are plastic and can change their form and function in response to environmental stimuli. In all these studies her ability to link molecular -and cell- biology to animal development and ultimately to behaviour has made her group one of the major players in the neurobiology of olfaction.

She unhesitatingly collaborated with the best anywhere. They were usually transformed to work on shared questions better than would ever have been possible alone, and each collaborator became a friend. Ever generous with sharing credit, her leading role was often implicit, but readily acknowledged by all.  In scientific gatherings, where preening is not uncommon, her low-key style with high-quality work stood out. She worked extraordinarily hard to communicate her group's science: As its head, that was not only her duty to her colleagues, but she realized the meaninglessness of good work unless it is written down well, published and communicated in seminars.

In parallel with her research successes, Veronica gently assumed many leadership roles, first at the Department of Biological Sciences (earlier the Molecular Biology Unit) at TIFR, helping to create an extraordinary intellectual environment. This was the crucible where the NCBS grew before it moved to Bangalore. Veronica's generous efficiency ensured that the fledgling NCBS had all the hospitality it needed in its early stages. Such incubations are often tense, but with Veronica's care, feathers were never ruffled and strong bonds were made to last.  Later, she became the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences in TIFR Mumbai and in this role continued to ensure that new faculty had all the resources and independence they needed to allow their science to take off well.  While very closely involved with NCBS through interactions with colleagues there, and as a member of its Management Board, Veronica resisted all invitations to move to Bangalore, fiercely loyal to her Department in Mumbai and in love with its beautiful location by the sea. Finally, she agreed to fully move to Bangalore in 2005 while still retaining strong links with Mumbai. At NCBS, Bangalore, along with her development of an excellent laboratory she revamped its meetings, workshops, student symposia and cultural programmes to make the campus thrive intellectually. Much of this was done behind the scenes and with little formal authority. Always collegial with administration and staff, she set high demands while interacting at every level of detail

Veronica was demanding of others, a tough scientific critic who placed similar standards on herself. She inspired fierce loyalty and affection from all those who interacted with her, yet never hesitated in firmly telling her closest friends and collaborators what she thought. She held back no punches and none could charm her away from telling it as it was. Yet, her friendships withstood all lapses by others and her ability to work for others and the community, were legendary. Sensitive to the failings and boorishness of a male-dominated scientific environment, she chose her company carefully and kept her distance from those who exemplified this culture. This, along with her dignified and scathing silence was usually effective in conveying her views.

Veronica became an Indian citizen, with much effort and difficulty, about 20 years after arriving here.  While truly an internationalist she was always quietly proud of how much she had done for Indian science by doing what she loved: just doing a great job as a scientist, a mentor, a colleague, a leader and a friend. To the Tata Institute in particular and to India, she was ever grateful for their generous support for basic science. She was persistent in her demands for our accountability, asking that we excel in science and in training, in reciprocation for this liberal support.

Veronica Rodrigues made a deep impression on all who interacted with her. Her departure leaves her family and friends empty, her imprint will last.

Comments

I had heard about Veronica's

I had heard about Veronica's demise sometime back from my uncle Prof Ramanan and it saddened me a great deal. I only recently gathered up enough courage to put my feelings down into words (someting that I rarely do). I had interacted briefly with her when I was a Visiting Fellow at Vijay's lab at NCBS. What struck me was her incisive questioning and insight into the project I was then working on. I was impressed with the awesome intelligence that I sensed behind her questions. and this put me in permanent awe of her. The only other person who instilled this kind of awe in me at that time was Vijay himself! I am sure it must be a real loss to Vijay who has collaborated with her on many projects. I learnt a lot of good science from both of them. It is indeed sad that she passed away when she still had more to deliver to the scientific community. May her soul rest in peace. S.Vijayalakshmi

I first met Dr. Vernonica at

I first met Dr. Vernonica at DBS, Mumbai as a summer trainee. At first I was quite intimidated by her. Coming from a conservative south Indian family, I was shocked to see that she consumed liquor. There were also some rumors that she fired a student as he said ' good night ' to her. But my fear turned into respect for her given her immense knowledge in genetics. She truly got me interested in fly genetics and now Im a PhD student in a top lab in USA . Hope you rest in peace.

I was shocked to see this

I was shocked to see this obit. I just can't believe that V is no more.

With a population of 1

With a population of 1 billion people, India has produced only a mere handful of neuroscientists who are internationally acclaimed. It is a sad day when one of them is no more. I hope this is enough impetus for other scientists in India to follow Vernonica's path.

met veronica mam at the

met veronica mam at the interviews in 2009 and was fortunate enough to be interviewed by her..she was definitely an inspiration for me....may her soul rest in peace..

How sad for us all that

How sad for us all that Veronica has died. Her warmth, enthusiasm and energy, even when not at all well, were an inspiration. I knew her only briefly while visiting the Bangalore Institute and while teaching on the development course in Trieste.

Very Sad to hear about it.

Very Sad to hear about it. Although I have never talked to Veronica but have loved to watch her taking the black coffee with Vijay on NCBS terrace, as it was very lively. For me she seems very strict at that time but was inspiring. She will be missed at many places.

I logged into NCBS website

I logged into NCBS website after a long interval... I am really shocked to see this news. That Dr Veronica had passed away... I met her in the EMBO Maggots meeting... I was inspired by Pioneering lab works in olfaction. I met her when i just completed my M.Sc., from University of Madras, She was the one who insisted me to clear the fellowship exam and made me to realise its importance. I still remember her patience in hearing to others thoughts and humble nature... Her absence is a great loss not only to NCBS but for the scientific world also.... I pray to god, let her soul rest in peace..... I express my deep grievance..... We miss you.....

I had always dreamt for

I had always dreamt for joining the institutions like NCBS,where excellence is aphorised by the presence of gaints like Veronika maam. Its a really sad demise to the world of science have lost this precious soul,who had guided many ameuters to persue for the excellence. May she rest in eternal peace.

I was very sad to hear of

I was very sad to hear of Veronica's death from cancer. I d not know her well but we met several times in Mumbai and Bangalore and I am a great admirer of her work. A loss to science, as well as to her friends and colleagues. Michael Ashburmer

I completed MSc in 2007 and i

I completed MSc in 2007 and i applied asking for research position in NCBS.Veronica ma'am was the only one who replied to my mail.She asked me to come to her lab.I read her articles .But when i went there,she did'nt recognise me.Unfortunately i did'nt even have the print out of the mail that she replied.But she was kind enough to talk to me, and advised to clear the exam for fellowships,which is when i realised that i have no future in this field without any fellowship.Iam still trying to clear it.Iam always thankful to her for making me realise,how much it is important to have a fellowship to do research.She is always special to me, as ma'am is my first interviewer. I pray to god that her soul rests in peace.

I met Veronica personally

I met Veronica personally only a few times at conferences, but her personal warmth and love of science came across immediately, catalyzed in my case by the discovery that we had both been to Trinity College Dublin at different times, as well as by shared scientific interests. She had a presence even when she was not present, and I experienced this also in the many students and colleagues from TIFR and NCBS that she influenced. It is hard to believe that she is gone, and she is greatly missed.

My only interaction with her

My only interaction with her was in October,2007 in Delhi University, when she was the Chairperson of DST's PAC for screening of Research Projects. She conducted the presentations in an efficient and controlled manner and when I presented my proposal at 9AM (the first one), her words still reverbate in my ears " Dr Bharti, you have made an execellent presentation and you are doing good work"-those words are enough to stimulate, to encourage any body. May she rest in peace.

Veronica has left a void that

Veronica has left a void that is difficult to fill but has created a legacy that will endure. One of her most enduring and greatest contribution is the large number of excellent students she has mentored and sent off to successful careers in academia all over the world. I had the privilege of working with her from 2003 till her demise. She was my co-guide in my PhD studies with Vijay and more recently, over the last one year – I have been a postdoctoral scientist with her on my WT-DBT India Alliance fellowship. Here, I attempt to elaborate on some of her endearing qualities that never failed to inspire the people who have interacted with her. Firstly, there’s that sheer commitment that Veronica lived by. I’ve never seen anybody work so hard to get her students’ science published and noticed. Until she shifted to Bangalore from Mumbai, it was not uncommon for us to have teleconference or skype sessions at 11 PM or even midnight – and that’s when she’s back in the lab after dinner. After she moved to Bangalore five years back, including the last couple of years when her health gradually declined, anytime was good for a discussion – by phone or email- whether its an experiment that worked (more often, not worked) or some lab purchase or maintenance issue. And she was always professional and committed to the task at hand- that meant she could recall every control experiment you’ve done, could see through your forest of data to identify the branch you must look at or knew exactly who should be contacted to get a purchase expedited. The fact remains that Veronica never kept anybody waiting- so a manuscript you’ve send her for correction at midnight, will be back in your inbox the very next day, dispelling all plans of a movie you’ve planned for the evening. As such, it was not uncommon for her to be waiting for you to deliver something– and that was never comforting. This then leads to me to her other quality of being frank and honest. While good work would be rewarded by silent approval- shoddy work or carelessness was always greeted by very prompt and honest criticism. In this relentless pursuit of science, she was selfless and did everything possible- whether it meant hours looking at slides or confocal data – or helping out when students had difficulty outside the lab. So whether it’s lending her credit card for the purchase of air tickets (as I once had to, during a family crisis at home), or, very practical advice on a gamut of problems –from career options to personal problems, she was always approachable. We will miss her simplicity, dignity, commitment and selflessness. We thank her and celebrate her life for the many victories she has helped us achieve. It is now our solemn duty to enrich this legacy.

I was deeply saddened and

I was deeply saddened and shocked to hear of Veronica's recent passing. Veronica gave me my first undergraduate experience of research during the summer of 2004 at TIFR. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know her better, but to this day I am guided in my work by her intellectual clarity in developing research questions and her rigorous assessment of data and interpretations. I have seen few mentors as dedicated and self-sacrificing as Veronica. She was an inspirational figure and will be missed in many places.

I just logged on to NCBS

I just logged on to NCBS website after a very long time just to check what's happening. I am utterly surprised to read this news. We all know that we have to quit this mortal body one day or other. Despite knowing this, it always comes as a surprise when someone we know passes away! Dr.V! She is indeed a memorable person. I can vouch that the comments posted here are not merely eulogies. They are very true without a trace of exaggeration. I remember her as a patient and keen listener, genuine in her encouragement, and an absolutely non-nonsense person. I am sure everyone of us will remember her for a long long time.

I am very, very sad to know

I am very, very sad to know that Prof Veronica passed away. I met Veronica at an ICTP course, wich was held in Trieste, in the Spring of 2005. Although this was a brief contact, it was enought to make me always remember her with great affection.

I am deeply sad about

I am deeply sad about Veronica´s death. I met Veronica for the first time at the Yale University. Since than we met several times in India. My family and I could learn Veronica as an open-minded person with an enormous intellectual capability and the “feeling” of science. She was an interdisciplinary thinking person and had interest in politics and other disciplines apart from neuroscience, which is a very seldom constellation for a scientist. The neuroscience community has lost one of the most talented neuroscientists. She was one of the leading persons in the field of olfaction and contributed essentially in the field of neuroscience. Her wonderful personality and her scientific ability impressed me much. I will miss her.

I am sad to learn about the

I am sad to learn about the demise of Veronica who was my first mentor. My association with Veronica was short- I was a JNCASR Summer Fellow in her lab way back in 1996. She gave me my first introduction to a modern molecular biology lab and how it functions including lab meetings and journal clubs.! For someone (like me) who was from remote Sambalpur this was an incredible experience. That experience built my confidence to venture beyond Sambalpur and explore the world. I left a 'lab bench-based science career' to go into 'science/technology and policy' career and throughout my career I have been influenced by her scientific temperament, leadership qualities and wonderful personal warmth. My condolences and sympathies to her friends and family. She will be missed.

It is people like Veronica

It is people like Veronica that make the Institute, and NCBS, a unique place - no demands on personal comforts or benefits, but everything must be done to world standards. To her everybody was a friend, and she wished every one well; when it came to doing science or things for the Institute, she demanded the highest standards. Looking back, we in NCBS are fortunate that she spent the last 5 years here. Her attitude to life and work must persist; the legacy she left must continue.

This is really sad news that

This is really sad news that Veronica is no longer with us. I am reminded of the first time I met her in 1978 at a meeting in TIFR. Her talk on olfactory mutants was very inspiring. It gave me my first insight into her personality. Years later, recently, we worked together on olfaction in some of the behavioural mutants we had in my lab in Delhi. This gave me a chance to be with her more often and we spent some wonderful time together. I have admired her courage and conviction to pursue what she thought was right. I am going to miss her badly. And Vijay, I want to thank you and the NCBS community to have looked after her during painful and difficult times. Shanti Chandrashekaran

My deepest condolences for

My deepest condolences for Prof. Veronica Rodrigues. She was very supportive and caring when I used to visit her Molecular Biology Unit to learn about the chemosensory system in a parasitic insect. I remember her smiling face and inspiration. i am very much indebted to her for her guidance. Prof. Veronica, YOU will be always in my heart.

My deepest condolences for

My deepest condolences for Prof Veronica's death. She was more than just a PI; she was an amazing person. She was so kind and considerate to me and my friend coming from singapore all the way to india for summer training at NCBS that she always welcomed us at every opportunity, accomodating us and making us feel comfortable. Her passing will not only leave a void in science, but in the hearts of everyone who knew her. Prof Veronica's memory will always remain deep within our heart.

I wrote my first letter to

I wrote my first letter to her when i was doing B.Sc. from a far western town college in India. Since then she motivated me with her words. I always appreciate her for her suggestions and guidance she gave to me to direct my scientific career. She will be always alive for me as I never met to her in my entire academic career. Of-course I will miss her words now.

I have never seen her, but

I have never seen her, but quite inspiring to learn about her from the comments in here. Her achievements, life, empathy towards fellow researchers, and her beloved community at NCBS and world over..

In 1999, I came from a

In 1999, I came from a village just after my master’s degree to attend the PhD interview at NCBS. After the final interview, she took my address in a piece of paper. I didn’t have any email address at that point of my time. I still remember the letter that she sent to my village to hire me as JRF. My one year tenure at her lab changed my life. I am really thankful to her for my entire life for the opportunity, advice and training that she offered to me.

Hi, Vijay, I feel very

Hi, Vijay, I feel very inadequate to express my sadness over this news. She was a very wonderful person, inspiring and instrumental to me. I cherish the memories of the times I spent in her lab at NCBS. I was totaly naive in science and she was very kind and supportive to me. I always felt short of words to thank her enough. My thoughts and prayers will be always with her. May she rest in peace. Abrar

I feel deeply sad to learn

I feel deeply sad to learn that Veronica Rodrigues has passed away on November 10, 2010. The Drosophila neurogenetics community owes her so much for her contributions to fly chemosensation. Together with her Ph.D. supervisor Obaid Siddiqi she pioneered in olfactory neurogenetics in flies and fly larvae. Already in the late seventies, as a student with Obaid, she investigated olfactory-driven behavior in Drosophila and she isolated olfactory and gustatory mutants. Later on, during a postdoc in Tübingen she pioneered in olfactory imaging by adapting the deoxyglucose method to the fly antennal lobe. Early in the nineties she began to analyze the genetic substrate and the molecular mechanisms of smell and taste. She then started a long-term project for which she became particularly famous, a project that she followed until her death: the development of the olfactory system and its genetic basis. She first focused on sensillar development and its underlying genes, such as atonal, lozenge, prospero, Numb, Notch and seven-up, and established a new model of the cellular determination and cellular interactions during the development of antennal sensilla. Then she became more and more fascinated by the establishment of the connectivity between the antenna and the antennal lobe during metamorphosis. In all of her studies, and especially in those from the last years, she elegantly combined molecular, cellular and developmental processes with the organismic level. Based on the excellence and the broad spectrum of her research, Veronica became one of the major players in olfactory neurogenetics. Consequently, her papers appeared in top journals like Nature, Development, J. Neuroscience, Mech. Development, Dev. Biology, or J. Neurobiol. She established numerous collaborations with leading neurobiologists in India as well as abroad. We will not forget Veronica and her contributions to Drosophila neuroscience and genetics. Her legacy continues in the many brilliant students she brought up, scientists who created new research groups all over the world.

I was a research assistant in

I was a research assistant in Veronica's lab where I was first introduced to flies. Although, she was a demanding mentor, I also found her to be a patient teacher with great enthusiasm for basic research. She was an inspirational scientist who genuinely cared for her younger colleagues and students. Thanks for everything Veronica, you will be missed alot.

Thanks Dr.Rodrigues for

Thanks Dr.Rodrigues for introducing me to fruit fly research as a VSRP student in your lab in the summer of 99.

It is indeed very sad to not

It is indeed very sad to not have Veronica amongst us. I will always remember the major role she played in training me as a scientist as she was my co-advisor for my masters thesis. May her soul rest in peace.

Veronica was a great mentor.

Veronica was a great mentor. As her graduate student, I learnt a great deal from her guidance, knowledge, and passion for science. She was inspirational in many ways, working hard and setting examples for others. I am deeply saddened by the news of her passing. It is a huge loss for all of us.

Its indeed shocking to know

Its indeed shocking to know of Veronica's demise. I joined Veronica's lab at NCBS in the April of 2004, as a graduate trainee, fresh out of my masters degree to gain some practical research experience. During the one year, that I spent in her lab, I gained significantly in disciplining my scientific thought in a structured manner.One of her best qualities,was to look at people and problems in an impartial manner and infuse a sense of discipline and dedication towards work,through her sheer presence, which I must say was nothing short of intimidating,but necessary, considering the diverse backgrounds that we all held as students of her lab.One of the things, that I constantly recall , were the frequent lab meetings and journal clubs that kindled in me the spirit of scientific analyses and the art of reviewing a scientific paper, not to forget, the cheeky banter of sarcasm,sprinkled with good intentions. All said, Veronica was a mentor and guide,whose absence has left an irreplaceable vaccuum among her students and colleagues spread across the world.

You not died. You always in

You not died. You always in our all research and heart.

I started my masters under

I started my masters under Veronica in TIFR. Her demise is a great loss to TIFR/NCBS and the whole field of biology. We will all miss her. She helped me take important decisions and she is the one I shall think about all my life. I truly wish that her soul shall rest in peace. I wish strength to her near and dear ones.

I have known V for 20 years.

I have known V for 20 years. When she first came to S'pore, we worked together on taste genes in Bill Chia's lab at IMCB. Thro' the years, we have become fast friends. V has a sharp intellect, a great sense of humor which never fails to endear her to all who interacted with her, and is quietly ambitious as a scientist. However, to me, her humane side shines thro' more than anything else. She's always generous with her time and genuinely concern abt. her friends' welfare. Thro' out these years, I have always shared with her my heartaches of bringing up my two boys (who know her as Aunty Veronica and together, we mourn her passing). Our friendship continues even after I left Drosophilia neurogenetics in 1996. I wished though she has spent more time taking care of herself. For as a geneticist, and knowing her own family history, she could have picked up the signs earlier... No words can describe how we feel at the loss of a true friend. But all who are born will go one day. Let us remember by celebrating V's life. May her virtues and accomplishements continue to inspire us to scale greater heights first as decent human beings in whatever we choose to excel in. Thank You Vijay and all her friends at TIFR, NCBS for taking care of V to the last moments and beyond. Peh Yean and family.

Thank-you for the eloquent

Thank-you for the eloquent tribute to our dear classmate Veronica. We were only able to reconnect in recent months after a lapse of more than four decades. Through school, V was always enthusiastic, warm, supportive and often very funny. She was quietly and elegantly ambitious and truly a source of inspiration and wisdom. I feel quite proud to read of her numerous achievements in the scientific world and beyond and with her personal qualities - a true legend! Long live her legacy. My deep sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues.

Veronica!, a person you

Veronica!, a person you cannot forget once you have met her. I had the privilege of interacting with Veronica when I was a research scholar at TIFR, Mumbai. Although intimidating at the outset she was a very good person, helpful when you need but always demanding of you in work.. Almost every year during the mango season she used used to treat us for a full day of mango eating party at her place.. Veronica will be missed for the person she was and for the quality science of her group..

We were saddened that

We were saddened that Veronica has lost her struggle with cancer. We knew her at the Human Frontier Science Program through her two research grants. She was the first scientist based in India to have received an HFSP grant, a testimony both to the quality of her work and her standing in the international scientific community. Her life and work serve as an inspiration to scientists around the world, and especially to women in developing countries. Our sympathies go out to her family, friends and colleagues.

Veronica was my Master's

Veronica was my Master's supervisor. In the first year of my course, I was terrified of her. Utterly terrified. Period. By the end of my master's course, I was still terrified of her but I also had deep-seated respect for her. Respect for her intellect, respect for the effort she had put toward making my master's a success and respect for her integrity. Years on, today, the 'terror' is a vague memory that makes me smile, and my respect for her has only deepened. Because she made the effort to try and make each of her student the best scientist she could make of them. It was not selective grooming for only the best of the crop - She pushed the best and the worst of us to all be better thinkers, better problem-solvers, better scientists, better than what we were. And whether she liked us or not, when needed she stood up for us and looked out for us. These days I am writing my PhD thesis and a little while back I was wondering who would feature on my Acknowledgements page. My current supervisors are exceptionally smart and kind people who helped me broaden my scientific knowledge and horizons and my PhD project would have been an impossibility without them (even with them it feels like an impossibility). In my acknowledgements I will thank them and I will thank Prof. Veronica Rodrigues, my Mater's Supervisor. Without her, I might have still being writing a PhD thesis and I might have had broad scientific knowledge and technical skills, but it is only because of her that I am more. I am a scientist. And if that is not a hallmark of a great mentor, I don't know what is. Thank you Veronica. I will always regret not being able to say Thank you to you in person.

Veronica: Mentor I cherish

Veronica: Mentor I cherish for my lifetime. I joined Veronica's lab in 2000 for my Master's: She really hand held my first steps in to the world of academic research! She taught me perfection: one thing that became a component in all my activities all through! Patience was the key lesson I learnt from her! 'Never give up' attitude of hers percolated within me only under her able guidance. The time I completed my Master's to further pursue my Ph.D, I realized the actual learnings from her mentoring! Indeed, the scientific community (India and abroad) has lost a great mentor.

I learnt from Veronica, that

I learnt from Veronica, that an yes can always be an yes and a no, a no forever............... and that such a thing is possible because of the righteousness behind it and not otherwise. That's the sort of lesson which is hard to find while being and living among mediocrities......

Although Veronica and I never

Although Veronica and I never met, we had many conversations on the phone when she would ask me for updates about her brother Edwin who was gravely ill in Nairobi, Kenya at the time. Through our regular correspondence, I got to know her caring personality and I would do my best to communicate her messages to her brother. When Edwin passed away 7 years ago, Veronica's family honored me by calling me a "Rodrigues" and so I now join the rest of the family in grieving for our departed sister. Thank you Vijay for this glowing tribute to Veronica which reveals to us the achievements that she never talked about. May God rest her soul in peace.

Veronica & I were classmates

Veronica & I were classmates through secondary and high school in Nairobi. We lost touch with each other but re-connected over the years. In 1980 while visiting Mumbai, I bumped into her in Colaba. I couldn't believe it was her but after some hesitation, I persuaded my husband that it was her, we turned around and followed her into a chocolate shop! Imagine my delight when it did turn out to be Veronica and we met up a couple of times - after so many years, the same old Veronica - beautiful, warm, funny, sincere, witty, enjoying life, passionate about her work, self-effacing and we had such a blast picking up our friendship as if it was just yesterday. As I was packing up to leave Vienna this August, I came across her email and sent her an 'are you still there?' email. Immediately I got her delighted reply but also learnt about her illness. She was honest about the seriousness of it but upbeat and I kept hoping...She connected up with many Nairobi schoolmates and wanted to visit Kenya, see her old school and we even talked about playing netball together! I am so proud to read about her scientific achievements and how highly regarded she was by her peers. Her bravery in facing her illness and living life to the full right to the end is an inspiration to me. May God give her family and friends the strength to bear this unbearable loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Dear Veronica, there are no

Dear Veronica, there are no dimensions that can be set for the void that you have created by your parting. I was lucky to have you as an inspiration at research. It is not just that I miss you..... but my fly stock SG18.1 will also be truly missing you ...... Shyamala, Mysore

I completely agree with

I completely agree with Arunan Sir. She was indeed a pioneer in setting up the neurosciences and olfactory lab at Sophia College. A great scientist through and through. Her contribution to science and India will never be forgotten.

Veronica was a fantastic

Veronica was a fantastic scientist and a brilliant friend. Distance and time apart didn't matter - the friendship with V was always there, firm and solid. Veronica was witty, funny, brave and so understanding. My family and I will miss her so much. We were so happy to see V twice this year -in Bangalore and in Dublin, with Mani. Helen, Dave, Conor and Micheal, who was her godson, and absolutely adored her - we are so much richer for knowing you, V.

Indeed a great loss to the

Indeed a great loss to the scientific community and also to all her family members...even thou she is no more her legacy will live for a very long time... My sincere condolences

It is very sad to know that

It is very sad to know that Veronica is no more. As Vijay has aptly described, V has been an active and prominent figure through the all stages of development of the TIFR and the associated NCBS and was a pillar of inspiration to all of us who have been connected with these labs. Always interested in motivating young students to develop keen interest in research, V took special interest in organizing TIFR seminar at M. S. University in 2005. V's zeal and funny side will be fondly remembered. G. Naresh Kumar, MSU, Baroda

I am sorry to hear the sad

I am sorry to hear the sad news. It brings a sense of remorse for taking for granted that the good people who have touched our lives will always be there to reach out to. V was a remarkable person with extraordinary charm and warmth behind her stern outward appearance. She was more a friend than a faculty during our Ph.D. days at TIFR, and instilled in us a sense of commitment to Science and to stick to what is fair and correct, even though it might not please every one. Sincere condolences to her near and dear ones.

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