Prof Samir K Brahmachari, Chief Mentor OSDD
Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari (born in 1952) completed his Ph.D. (1978) in Molecular Biophysics from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. After a brief Post-doctoral stint in Paris, he joined MBU as Research Associate in 1979, became Lecturer in 1981 and then, Professor in 1997, before taking up the position of Director, Centre for Biochemical Technology (CSIR), Delhi. The Centre was transformed to the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR) in 2002.
Since November 2007, he has assumed office of Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is the largest publicly funded organization involved in scientific and industrial research with 37 constitutional laboratories across India.
Prof. Samir K Brahmachari, during his early scientific career made fundamental contributions towards the basic understanding of structure-function relationship of peptides, proteins and DNA and the role of DNA structural variability in regulating various biological processes. Subsequently, he contributed towards the broader area of genome organization and function, with special focus on Repetitive DNA. He demonstrated the structural flexibility of DNA and elucidated the functional role of Repetitive DNA much before the discovery of repeats association with genetic basis of several neurological disorders. Integrating computational tools with biological experiments and biophysical studies, Prof. Brahmachari has built models and deciphered mechanisms of various triplet repeat associated disorders. During the 90’s, foreseeing the potential of using the large genetic pool of Indian population for Functional Genomics studies in the post human genome sequencing era, Prof. Brahmachari, established the first Functional Genomics Unit and successfully led the well-recognized Indian Genome Variation Project. This exploration of human genome variation in multi-ethnic, multilingual populations of India led to development of a national resource: the genetic profile of the people of India. This novel project was later extended under his leadership to the Pan-Asia SNP project involving all the East Asian countries.
Prof. Brahmachari is the pioneer of genome analysis using computational tools. Besides developing many novel Bioinformatics tools and databases, he has made major contributions in the area of miRNA mediated regulation of host- pathogen interactions and cellular regulation. His passion towards genome analysis to identify unique structural determinants of proteins, which could become potential drug targets in pathogenic organisms, led him to holistically look at the Systems Biology of pathogens, and to translate the genomic knowledge thus generated, into application.
The Open Source Drug Discovery platform, with its unprecedented scale of participation by students and professionals, under the innovative directions provided by Prof. Brahmachari, not only accelerates drug discovery, but also holds a promise of tremendous and disruptive impact on the economics of drug development for neglected tropical diseases like TB. Contributing towards translational research, he has developed molecular diagnostics for neurological disorders and markers associated with drug response.
His present interest lies in the utilization of genomics and computational technology to gain a systems level understanding of pathogenic organisms and develop low cost drugs and diagnostics to achieve the vision of affordable healthcare for all.
Prof. Brahmachari has more than 12 patents, 23 copyrights and over 155 research publications to his credit. He is the recipient of large number of National and International awards, including the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1990) and is an elected member of all four academies of science and engineering in India.
Prof. Brahmachari has been the member of the HUGO Council (2004-2011) and is currently on Advisory Board of the X Prize in Genomics & U.S National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO), Stanford University. He also holds the Honorary Lifetime Professorship to the University of Delhi and the Joseph Austin McCartney & Ruth McCartney Hauck Named Visiting Professorship to the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA. He has received honorary D.Sc. degrees (Honoris causa) from five different Indian universities.
In addition to his scientific contributions, Prof. Brahmachari has been an Institution Builder and has led the transformation of CSIR- Centre for Biochemical Technology (CBT) to an internationally recognized institute of Functional Genomics and System Biology research – the CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative biology (IGIB) at New Delhi. He has steered the strategic transformation of CSIR to champion inclusive innovation in India. He has also been instrumental in the creation of the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) to generate human resource for transdisciplinary research by leveraging the infrastructure and scientific strength of CSIR.