Pidaparty Seshadri Sastry obtained his BSc and MSc (Chemistry) from Andhra University and PhD (1960) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore for his work on `Vitamin A metabolism’. In 1961, he proceeded to Ottawa as Fellow of the National Research Council, Canada to work with Professor Morris Kates. In 1963, he went to the University of Wisconsin Medial School, USA to work with Professor Lowell Hokin. In 1965, he joined Faculty of the University of Toronto, Canada as Assistant Director of Neurochemistry Laboratory, and worked on the `Biochemistry of Mental Diseases and on the Pineal Glands’ until 1968. Thereafter, he joined the Department of Biochemistry, IISc (1968) as Assistant Professor and retired from there as ASTRA Professor and Chairman in 1995.
Academic and Research Achievements: Sastry made notable contributions to lipid biochemistry, neurochemistry, and plant lipids. While at Ottawa, he established the biosynthetic pathways for complex lipids in plants, isolated and determined the structures of the major galactolipids of the chloroplast membrane, also discovered the galactolipases and an entirely new class of lipids in Halophilic bacteria (Archea). While at Wisconsin Medial School, he did pioneering work in signal transduction and showed that the mechanism of action of Na+K+ATPase involves the formation of an acyl phosphate on an aspartic residue. During his career, he made extensive studies on undernutrition and brain development, biosynthesis of myelin lipids, the process of myelination; synaptogenesis, receptor ontogeny in the developing human brain and signal transduction mechanisms in brain. In plants, his group did pioneering work on the biosynthesis of triglycerides in the developing oil seeds and on the plant sulfolipid. He guided 16 PhD students and published over 100 original papers and several major reviews.
Other Contributions: Professor Sastry established a Lipid Biochemistry Laboratory at IISc. He also served as Member of the Programme Advisory Committee on Neurobiology and Biomembranes for DST and DBT; and was Secretary and later Vice President of the Society of Biological Chemists, India. He was also the Chairman of the Programme Review Committee in Allergy, Immunology and Allied Areas of ICMR.
Awards and Honours: Professor Sastry received the GIRI Medal from IISc, PB Rama Rao Award from the Society of Biological Chemists (India), BC Guha Memorial Award from INSA, Sir Shriram Memorial Award from National Academy of Medical Sciences and Ranbaxy Award for outstanding contributions in basic Medical Sciences. He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (1987); and Andhra Pradesh Academy (1998).