Seyed Ehtesham Hasnain obtained his BSc (Hons) degree from Magadh University, MSc and PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. During his PhD he worked under the supervision of Professor KC Upadhyaya, FNA. He started his career as a Lecturer (1982-83) in the Department of Botany, University of Delhi. He moved to Canada as a post-doctoral Fellow at the Department of Medicine, University of Alberta and then at the Texas A&M University, USA and worked at the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi (1987) as Staff Scientist. He was appointed as the First Director (1999-2005) of the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad. Presently an Invited Professor IIT Delhi where he teaches, has a laboratory and supervises over a dozen PhD students registered at IIT, he was the Vice-Chancellor (2005-2011) of the University of Hyderabad (a Central University). An Honorary Distinguished Professor, Dr Reddy's Institute of Life Sciences, Hyderabad he was Honorary Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Hasnain's major contributions have been in gene expression, genetic analysis of polymorphism and molecular functional epidemiology/ infection biology of infectious organisms. After his return from USA, he developed a very productive group on baculovirus-mediated gene expression. Having pioneered foreign gene expression in insect cells in the country, he gradually moved to application-oriented work including the collaborative work on the candidate vaccine antigen against Plasmodium falciparum. His studies on molecular typing of tuberculosis bacteria,Mycobacterium tuberculosis resulted in an observation on rifampicin as a surrogate marker for MDR TB- an observation adopted for quick identification of MDR.
His work on molecular epidemiology/ functional biology of the TB bacterium has lead to the understanding of dissemination dynamics and identification of the predominant strains circulating in India and has resulted in the identification of several novel diagnostics markers and drug targets for TB. He has been recognized internationally for his outstanding accomplishments in biomedical sciences and has ~250 publications in peer-reviewed journals of high impact, and >dozen patents. He has mentored ~100 PhD, MD and Post Doctoral students, four of whom received the prestigious INSA Young Scientist Medal.
Other Contributions: Under Professor Hasnain's leadership, CDFD, Hyderabad grew extraordinarily on all fronts and became the benchmark for DNA typing. At the University of Hyderabad he established Schools of Medical Sciences, Engineering Sciences & Technology and several other centres. He introduced about fourty new teaching/research programmes including five-year integrated MA/MSc Programme and initiated scholarship for every student. During his tenure University of Hyderabad was declared the best University in India. Hasnain was a Member (2004-2009, 2009-2014) of Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM) and was a Member of Scientific Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet. He was Chairman of Biotech Advisory Council,Government of Andhra Pradesh for several years and a Member of Biotech Advisory Council of many other State Governments, including Gujarat. He also served as a Member of INSA (2003-05) and IASc Council. He is on the Editorial Board of the several journals such as, Infection, Genetics & Evolution, Current Science, Journal of Biosciences, Journal of Bioinformatics, Gut Pathogens, PLoS One etc. He serves on the Board of many Companies and has lectured in the top Institutions of the world.
Awards and Honours: Professor Hasnain is a recipient of SS Bhatnagar Prize (1995), Ranbaxy Research Award (1997), Golden Jubilee Biotechnology Fellowship Award (1997), GD Birla Award (2001), Goyal Award (2004), Shri Om Prakash Bhasin Award (2004), Dr Nitya Anand Endowment Lecture (2005) and Dr Yellapragada Subba Row Memorial Award (2008) of the Indian National Science Academy, JC Bose Fellowship (2006), Padma Shri (2006), Dr BR Ambedkar Award of the ICMR. Humboldt Research Award (2008) was conferred on him by the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, Germany. In recognition of his extra-ordinary contributions to TB, the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, selected him as a Robert Koch Fellow (2008), the first and the only honor so far to an Indian. The Queens University, Belfast, UK (one of the top 1% university in the World and Member of the prestigious Russell Group of Universities which include Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College etc.) conferred on Prof. Hasnain the Honorary Doctorate of Medical Sciences (2011). Hasnain is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). He is a Member of German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina - the world’s oldest Science Academy and Fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Microbiology, USA. He also received Germany’s Highest Civilian Award - The Order of Merit (Das Verdienstkreuz, 1.Klasse), the only Indian so far and one of the very few persons globally.