Alok Bhattacharya earned the BSc degree in Chemistry from Hansraj College, Delhi University and subsequently completed the MSc program in Chemistry from IIT, Kanpur in 1972. He obtained his PhD in Biology under the supervision of Professor Asis Datta in the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he worked on N-acetyl glucosamine utilization in yeast Candida albicans. From 1977 to 1981 he worked in the USA, at the National Cancer Institute, on hormone receptors in breast tissues and at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, on MHC antigens. For a short period, he was at the Department of Biochemistry, AIIMS, New Delhi, then with Tata Consultancy Services, Pune in their R&D laboratory for three years, before joining the faculty of JNU where he is currently Professor in the Schools of Life Sciences and Information Technology.
Academic and Research Achievements: In JNU, Bhattacharya started a laboratory to study the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amoebiasis. Some of the first molecular and genomic studies on this parasite were carried out here. These studies involved identification of novel genes, antigens and genomic molecules and their characterization. He has continued to work on some of the novel pathways of this parasite, trying to completely decipher them. He has concurrently started a research program in computation biology and bioinformatics, developing new tools in genomics that can be useful in genome annotation, and has developed new teaching programs in this area.
Other Contributions: Alok Bhattacharya is credited with the setting up the School of Information Technology in JNU. He is one of the first people to initiate teaching and research programs in Computation Biology and Bioinformatics in India. He also served INSA Council during the years 2005-07.