Tej Pal Singh obtained BSc and MSc degrees from University of Allahabad, and PhD (1976) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore under the supervision of Professor M Vijayan. He then joined University of Indore as Lecturer. Thereafter, he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship with Professor Robert Huber at the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany and worked there on the structure determinations of serine proteases including trypsin and trypsinogen at sub zero temperatures. Upon returning to India in 1980, he joined as Reader at the Sardar Patel University and set up a centre of X-ray crystallographic research. In 1982, he joined the Institute for Crystallography, Berlin to work on the structure determinations of Proteinase K and Rubisco enzymes. In 1983, he joined the Department of Biophysics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi where he continues to work as DBT-Distinguished Research Professor.
Academic and Research Achievements: Singh's earlier research dealt with studies on the structure and function relationship of antibacterial sulfonamides. Thereafter, he initiated the work on peptide design with ????dehydro amino acids and proposed design rules for peptides with a,b-dehydro-residues. His group produced a large number of designed peptides prepared using structure-based rational design for protein targets such as endothelin receptor, phospholipase A2, cyclo-oxygenase-2 and breast cancer factor, SPX-40. His group carried out large scale structure determinations of proteins from several systems, such as secretory proteins from mammary gland during its various functional phases, proteins of the inflammatory pathway, proteins from parasites including mycobacterium, plant antigen proteins and proteins from the human body fluids, etc. His group has so far contributed more than 300 sets of protein structure coordinates to the protein data bank (PDB) and authored over 300 research articles. He has also mentored about 35 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Professor Singh has set up a Structural Biology and Drug Design Laboratory at All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He has been serving as Chairman of a committee for implementing a major DST initiative to improve the infrastructural support in the north-eastern region of the country, and as Member of the Board of Governors of IIT Kharagpur. He served INSA as Vice President (2007-09).
Awards and Honours: Singh received the Professor GN Ramachandran 60th Birthday Commemoration INSA Medal (2006), JC Bose Memorial Award, Indian Science Congress (2006) and Professor GN Ramachandran CSIR Gold Medal for Excellence in Biological Sciences and Technology (2006). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.