K. VijayRaghavan

Stories from K. VijayRaghavan

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Obaid Siddiqi
1932- 2013
Catalyst of a Culture of Creativity

Obaid Siddiqi, once a young star of molecular biology and later a pioneer in neurogenetics was an extraordinary intellectual and scientist. In building the Molecular Biology Unit (now the Department of Biological Sciences) and then the National Centre for Biological Sciences of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, he showed how catalyzing a culture of creativity is vital to long-term institutional success. With his death following a road accident the world of science has lost one of its most thoughtful and questioning leaders. However, his science and the schools he as built will stay and through their quality demonstrate the stay of his deep influence.

Obaid's college days were at the Aligarh Muslim University in a period when India had just become independent and people all over the world were agitating for a just and inclusive society and for change, in much the same manner that we see today.

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

T.M. Sahadevan, Head of Development Activities at NCBS retires from NCBS on July 6, 2012. Read on for a stream of sub-consciousness about his career.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
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's Shanta 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's laboratories 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 Biotechnology to inStem and from the Department 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 link NCBS and inStem researchers with their global collaborators working on the cell and molecular biology of cardiac and neural development, disease and regeneration.

Friday, December 30th, 2011

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.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

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.

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