Maharani Chakravorty obtained her BSc from Presidency College, Kolkata and MSc from the University of Calcutta. She did her PhD from Bose Institute, Kolkata on microbial protein synthesis under the guidance of Dr Burma and post-doctoral training in enzyme chemistry in the laboratory of Professor BL Horecker, at the New York University School of Medicine, USA. She took specialized training in 'Bacterial Genetics and Virology' at the famous Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory at Long Island, USA. Chakravorty worked in the laboratory of Professor Myron Levine in the Department of Human Genetics, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA (1968-69). In collaboration with Mike, she established that the membrane complex of S typhimurium having a sedimentation constant of 1000S, is the site of not only DNA synthesis but also of RNA synthesis. After her superannuation she is now an INSA Honorary Scientist at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata, an ICMR organization.
Academic and Research Achievements: On returning to India Chakravorty joined Bose Institute as CSIR pool officer and initiated work on the regulations of metabolism in unicellular organism. She joined the Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi as Senior Research Officer (1969) and was appointed as Reader in 1972. Her major contribution was the understanding of biochemical difference between the host undergoing lysogeny and the one undergoing lysis. Her work suggested that following viral infection protein synthesis is controlled at the level of translation. She isolated an RNase I deficient mutant of S typhimurium which helped tremendously the research in the field of ribosomes and protein synthesis in S typhimurium. Maharani made significant contribution in the understanding of the role of the product of early viral genes of P22 causes transient depression of RNA and protein synthesis.On physiological role of gene m3 of bacteriophage P22, she showed that the phage infection causes change in cellular transport system, which then regulates the transcription process of the cell. She has isolated a large number of important bacterial mutants apart from a new virus of S typhimurium that has been investigated at the molecular and genomic level.
Other Contributions: Chakravorty organized the very first laboratory course on Recombinant DNA Techniques commonly known as 'Genetic Engineering' (an International one) in Asia and Far East in 1981. Thereafter, she conducted a number of National Laboratory Courses to train young scientists of our country in the field. Dr Chakravorty acted as a member of the National Programme Committee of the XV International Congress of Genetics, Research Advisory Council of the Regional Research Laboratory at Hyderabad, National Committee of the International Union of Biochemistry, Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Virology, Pune, etc. She has edited the book Molecular Biology of Host-Virus Interaction (Science Press, USA) and the volume on History of Development of Biochemistry from Chemistry and Physiology to be published by the Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Delhi.
Awards and Honours: Dr Chakravorty was awarded Certificate of Merit of the Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU (1975-76), Best Research Award of the Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU (1979), Kshanika Oration Award (1979), YS Narayan Rao Award (1981) both by the ICMR, Hari Om Ashram Alembic Research Award (1981) of the Medical Council of India, JC Sengupta Memorial Award and Professor Darshan Ranganathan Memorial Award (2007) of INSA. She is the Fellow, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, National Academy of Medical Sciences (India), New Delhi and Indian Virology Society.