Prof. Amarnath Bhaduri, D.SC, F.A.SC, F.N.A, INSA scientist and former Director of the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology passed away in Calcutta on June 5, 2003, after a brief illness. He was 67. He belonged to a family of academics and was a fourth generation student of Chemistry in Presidency College of Calcutta. Prof Bhaduri completed his D.Sc. from the University of Michigan after which he pursued post doctoral research at Harvard Medical School. Upon returning to India, he joined Jadavpur University in the Department of Pharmacy, and served for nearly 20 years.
Later, he was attached to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and became a fellow of Indian National Science Academy in1986 and Indian Academy of Sciences in 1988.
He was the recipient of many national awards and honors including the:
Bhatnagar Award in Biological Science (1979), the most prestigious civilian science award in India &
J.C.Bose Gold Medal (1995), INSA.
He served as expert member in the steering committee on the Immunology and Biochemistry of Leishmania in 1989 and in the Expert Advisory Panel for Parasitic Diseases, 1994-97, 1998-2000, 2001-2003, for World Health Organization, Geneva.
His research experience was extensive in aspects of enzymology, metabolic biochemistry, Parasite Biochemistry, Parasitology, Drug development. His biochemical and cell biological analysis of metabolic networks of Leishmania donovani, the protozoal pathogen for Kala-azar, have provided new leads for drug development and for establishing the role of Ca2+ as a crucial bio-modulator in pathogenic transformation of the parasite. The pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway and the respiratory chain of the parasite have been shown to have unique enzymological features that can be exploited for rational drug designing. Discovery and characterization of a high affinity, calmodulin-regulated plasma-membrane Ca2+-ATPase acting as an extrusion pump for Ca2+; rapid release of Ca2+ from internal pool on upward temperature shift and discovery of Ca2+-CaM protein phosphatase have firmly established the role of Ca2+ as a signal molecule in morphogenetic transformation. In parallel, he has shown the Leishmania plasma membrane Mg2+-ATPase to be H+-K+ anti-porter that is directly involved in K+ accumulation and generation of H+ gradient. As National Coordinator of the UNDP project $1.35 million entitled, “Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Leishmania Parasite” (1998-95), he gave direction and shape to this coordinated scientific program. His institute (IICB) is now internationally known as a major center of Leishmania research.