Anil Saran earned his BSc and MSc from Patna University, after which he joined Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata. He worked under the guidance of Professor BN Srivastava on the 'transport properties of gases' and earned DPhil (1967) from Calcutta University. He then went to Ottawa, Canada on NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. He returned to India in 1969 and joined Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Bombay as CSIR Pool Officer and along with Professor G Govil started work on 'conformation of bio-molecules by quantum mechanical methods'. On Invitation from Professor Bernard Pullman (1971), he joined the Institute de Biologie Physico Chimique, Paris, France as a CNRS Postdoctoral Fellow. On returning to India (1975), he joined TIFR, Bombay as a Fellow and worked there till 2000, when he retired as Professor 'H'. He worked as CSIR Emeritus Scientist (2000-05), and continued as INSA Senior Scientist at the Bombay College of Pharmacy. He was Visiting Scientist at the German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg (1994, 1996); and University of Frankfurt, Germany (2000) under INSA-DFG Exchange Program.
Academic and Research Achievements: While at TIFR, he along with Professor G Govil initiated the molecular biophysics programme and contributed significantly to set up the National Facility for High Field NMR. His work on the conformation of nucleic acids exhibited the importance of backbone on the helical structure of DNA, the base-pairing hydrogen bonds being additional factor in stabilizing the helical structure. He worked on several other bio-molecules by theoretical and experimental NMR techniques and his results on nucleoside antibiotics, anticancer drugs, hypertensive and AIDS drugs underline the basic feature of their drug action. His review article with Professor Pullman on the conformation of nucleic acids was published in Progress in Nucleic Acid Research and Molecular Biology in 1976 and considered a classic. He also authored more than 110 research articles in journals of national and international repute.
Other Contributions: Professor Saran served as Scientific Secretary of International Conference on Theoretical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Goa in 1980 and IUPAB XIII International Biophysics Congress at New Delhi in 1999. He served the Indian Biophysics Society (IBS) as the Secretary (1991-95), Vice President (1996-99) and President (1999-2001). He served as Symposium Leader and Chairman, Sanibel International Symposium on Quantum Biology and Quantum Pharmacology, Palm Coast, Florida, USA (1982). He was on the Editorial Board of Indian Journal of Chemistry, Section B ; Member of the CSIR Chemical Science and Technology Research Committee (1992-95) and IUPAB Commission of Biophysical Physics (1996-2002). He co-edited the Annual reports of National NMR Facility and also Magnetic Resonance in Biology and Medicine (Tata-McGraw-Hill, 1985).
Awards and Honours: Professor Saran was conferred UDCT Golden Jubilee Fellowship (1991) and Professor MN Saha Memorial Lectureship (1997). He was President, Section of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 87th Session of Indian Science Congress (1999-2000). He was also elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1984).