Asima Chatterjee obtained her DSc (1944) from the University of Calcutta; and DSc (hc) from the University of Burdwan and Banaras Hindu University. Her specialization was in Natural Products Chemistry and Reaction Mechanism. She was Honorary Lecturer, Department of Pure Chemistry (1944-53); Professor and Head, Department of Chemistry, Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata (1940-54); Reader in Chemistry, University College of Science, University of Calcutta (1954-61); King Guru Prosad Singh Khaira Professor of Chemistry (1962-82); Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Calcutta (1969-77); Head (Office-in-Charge) Chemical Research and Extraction Supply Unit (Central Council of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha) and Project Coordinator, Centre of Advanced Study on Natural Products (UGC Progamme).
Academic and Research Achievements: Chatterjee's significant researches were in the areas of indole, isoquinoline and steroid alkaloids, terpenoids, polyphenolics and reaction mechanism. The hydramine fission reaction, which Chatterjee studied in detail, has entered standard textbooks in chemistry. She isolated a number of physiologically active compounds from Indian plants e.g. Rauvolfia sp., Alstonia scholaris, Catharanthus roseus (Vinca rosea) and Aegle marmelos, which find extensive clinical applications. The isolation of a novel antiepileptic drug, marsilin from Marsilea quadrifolia (Marsilea minuta), is one of her major contributions. The antimalarial drug, Ayush-64, produced by her is presently being marketed.
Other Contributions: Chatterjee was nominated Member of Rajya Sabha (1982-84, 1984-90); Union Public Service Commission (1979); Member of Drug Enquiry Commission, Government of West Bengal. She served Calcutta, Jadavpur and Visva Bharati Universities, and also UGC and CSIR in various capacities. She was also Member of National Committee for Research in Human Reproduction, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. She edited Bharater Bonousadhi (in Bengali, six Vols; University of Calcutta, 1973) and Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants (six Vols, CSIR). She served as Editor of Indian Chemical Society and was member of Editorial Board of Indian J Chem. She was Member, Sigma Xi (USA), Indian Chemical Society, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, and Chemical Society (London).
Awards and Honours: Asima Chatterjee received a number of awards and honours that include: Nagarjuna Gold Medal (1940); Premchand Raychand Studentship (1942); Mouat Medal (1944); Bhuban Mohini Dasi Gold Medal (1981) (all of University of Calcutta); Watumull Fellowship, USA (1948-49); SS Bhatnagar Prize (1961); Elected Woman of the Year (Bengal Chambers of Commerce), Silver Medal (1975); President, Indian Science Congress (1975); Sir CV Raman Award of UGC (1982); Sisir Kumar Mitra Memorial Award of INSA (1984); Sir Asutosh Mukherjee Gold Medal of Indian Science Congress (1989); Goyal Foundation Gold Medal (1992); Padma Bhushan (1995). She was also honoured with a number of lectureships such as: Khudiram Basu Memorial Lecture (1962); Hiran Kumar Basu Memorial Lecture (1973); Foundation Day Lecture of University College of Science, Kolkata (1974); Asoke Bikash Bhattacharya Memorial Lecture (1976); Manmatha Basu Memorial Lectures of University of Calcutta (1976); Sir PC Ray Memorial Lecture (1974); Professor PK Bose Memorial Lecture of Indian Chemical Society (1988); First Professor Harinaryan Khastgir Memorial Lecture of University of North Bengal, Darjeeling, West Bengal (1979); Acharya Jagadis Bose Memorial Lecture of the University of North Bengal, Darjeeling, West Bengal (1979); Acharya Jagadis Bose Memorial Lecture of Bose Institute (1980); Subodh Mitra Memorial Lecture of Chittaranjan Cancer Research Institute (1980); Professor TR Seshadri Memorial Lecture of University of Delhi (1983); Shri Santanu Ghosh Memorial Lecture of Indian Science News Association (1987); Platinum Jubilee Lecture of Indian Science Congress Association (1988); Professor SK Mukherjee 65th Birthday Commemoration Lecture of Agricultural Society of India (1993). She was a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.