Jayant B Udgaonkar obtained BSc (Chemistry) from University of Mumbai and MSc (Chemistry) from IIT Madras. Thereafter, he obtained PhD (Biochemistry) (1986) from Cornell University under the supervision of GP Hess for studies on the acetylcholine receptor and developed methods for carrying out rapid chemical kinetic studies at the cell surface. He was postdoctoral Fellow (1986-89) with RL Baldwin in the Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University. In 1990, he joined Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, worked there for three years and then moved to the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) campus in Bangalore. He was promoted as Associate Professor (1995), Professor (1998) and Senior Professor (2007). He has served as the first Dean of NCBS (1997-2008), where he contributed to set up both academic and research programs.
Academic and Research Achievements: During his stay at Stanford, Udgaonkar developed hydrogen exchange methods in conjunction with NMR to obtain structural information on intermediates populating protein folding pathways. At NCBS Bangalore, Udgaonkar set up his research program in protein folding and unfolding, carrying out both thermodynamic and kinetic studies. His early work established that protein folding and unfolding can proceed on multiple pathways, and also that hydrophobic collapse is the initial event in folding. His work showed that partially unfolded intermediates were populated during unfolding reactions. Work with the folding chaperone, GroEL, showed that it could do channel folding along one route when many routes were available. Osmolytes were also shown to modulate folding in a similar manner. His more recent work has shown that folding reactions may not be slowed down by a single dominant barrier, but by many distributed small barriers. Udgaonkar's laboratory also investigates the initial events in protein aggregation leading to amyloid fibril formation. So far, he has guided eleven students for their PhD degrees.
Awards and Honours: Professor Udgaonkar was conferred the Golden Jubilee Fellowship by DBT (1997), Swarnajayanti Fellowship by DST (1998), and SS Bhatnagar Prize (2000). Other awards received by him include Birla Award in Biology (1996), Senior Research Fellowship by Wellcome Trust (1999-2004), and JC Bose National Fellowship (2007). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore in 1997.