Nitai Chandra Mandal earned his BSc (1958) and MSc (1962) degrees from Calcutta University. He joined Bose Institute, Kolkata (1965) and worked on inositol phosphate metabolism in germinating mung bean seeds under Professor BB Biswas. He got his PhD degree (1969) in Biochemistry from the Calcutta University and did post-doctoral research in USA (1970-73), first in the Department of Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Professor JT August on RNA bacteriophage replication and then in the Department of Microbiology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles with Professor Margaret Lieb on bacteriophage lambda. After coming back to India (1973), he joined as a Lecturer in the newly created Department of Biochemistry, Bose Institute. He attended AMBO training workshop on DNA sequencing in 1984 held at the Institute of Virus Research, Kyoto, Japan. He worked with Dr Sankar Adhya at NIH, USA (1987-89) on galactose operon of E Coli as a Visiting Scientist. Mandal retired as Professor (2000) and continued as an Emeritus Scientist of CSIR at the Bose Institute till 2003.
Academic and Research Achievements: Mandal's research activities centred on the study of the structure and function relationship of bacteriophage 'lambda' repressor and genetic control of its polylysogeny and host-virus interaction. He made significant contributions in each of these areas and discovered that the lambda-coded DNA replication protein P inactivates the DNA replication initiator protein DnaA of the host, which is essential for the successful replication of 'lambda' DNA. His study on the galactose operon in Mycobacterium smegmatis showed that the gal operon in this bacterium is inducible by an unrelated inducer glutamate. He also identified the genes controlling lysogeny and those involved in the temporal control of expression genes in temperate mycobacteriophage L1 by isolation of mutations. He has published about 40 research articles and wrote a chapter on the History of Genetics Research in India for the book, From Physiology and Chemistry to Biochemistry. He has written biography of Acharya J. C. Bose in 2009 in Bengali which has been translated into English as well as into Hindi; he has also written a complete biography of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray in Bengali in 2011. Moreover he has written a book in Bengali entitled "Bardhakeyer Anginay" (In the Premises of Aging) published in 2014 dealing with the process of aging at biochemical, molecular biological and genetic levels and with various physiological, mental, social as well as family associated problems of the old age. Recently in 2014, Mandal with the coauthorship of D J Chattopadhyay has written a book (Volume VIII) in English on' History of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology' under the general Title"History of Science in India" under the collaborative venture of Ram Keishna MIssion Institute of Culture (Gol Park, Kolkata ) and Allahabad Academy of Science (India) under the Chairmanship of Prof. A. K. Sharma. Under his supervision 18 students got their PhD degree.
Other Contributions: Mandal taught bacterial and bacteriophage genetics to the postgraduate students at the Calcutta University (1974-2003), Jadavpur University, Kalyani University, Lady Brabourne College (Kolkata), Bidhannagar College (Salt Lake, Kolkata), and Vidyasagar University (Midnapore), for different lengths of time. He served Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Kolkata (2006-08) as a Guest Scientist. Professor Mandal was on the Editorial Board of INSA Reviews (Biology). He was involved in the Programme Advisory Committee of DST, Search Committee of CSIR for the selection of Directors, Selection Committees of ICMR, etc. He also served a high-powered Committee of UGC.
Awards and Honours: Professor Mandal received Gold Medal from the Calcutta University (1962), PB Rama Rao Award from the Society of Biological Chemists (1991), and Foundation Day Memorial Award from Bose Institute, Kolkata (1995). Mandal received Professor J. J. Ghosh Excellence in Teaching and Research Award from Calcutta University in 2012 and SARDAR PATEL AWARD-2013 for his Excellenec in the field of "Youth Development" displaying benevolent services towards country & countrymen from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Foundation (Award received in 2014), New Delhi. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.