Hindu Matters In Britain - For British Hindus

Knighthood for Balasubramanian

The 2016 New Year Honours includes some notable success stories from the Indian community.

Internationally recognised authority in the field of nucleic acids, Professor Shankar Balasubramanian from Cambridge University has received a knighthood. His work is considered revolutionary in the field of DNA sequencing which holds the key to finding cures for the world’s deadliest diseases such as cancer. 

Reported in Cambridge News,  Prof Balasubramanian, now Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry but then a postgraduate researcher, teamed up with colleagues to develop technology that would help scientists sequence DNA. They met in a Cambridge pub, the Panton Arms, and sketched out ideas on an A4 sheet of paper. The result was the creation of a new company called Solexa, and the systems it developed have helped to speed up the sequencing of the human genome.

“Solexa sequencing, as it is now known, allows an individual genome to be sequenced in a day or two at a cost of less than £1,000; previously, sequencing the human genome took years of work and cost billions. His work has spawned an entirely new discipline of Bioinformatics,” his citation reads.

“More recently, he has made major contributions to understanding the role of DNA-quadruplexes in cancer and invented a method for the sequencing of epigenetic modifications,” his citation reads.

A host of other Indian-origin professionals also included in the honours list. Reported in The Hindu Anita Thapar from the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University for services to child and adolescent psychiatry and OBE for Poonam Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of PG Paper Company Ltd, for services to Business and charity, amongst others.

For fuller stories please see Cambridge News and The Hindu.

In the following weeks we will be featuring more success stories. 

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