Anil Kumar Lala obtained his BSc (1969) from Delhi University, Delhi and PhD (1975) degree from Bombay University, Mumbai. He was the Professor of Chemistry and Biotechnology and Head, Biotechnology Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
Academic and Research Achievements: Anil Kumar Lala had made significant contributions in the area of structural organization of membrane-bound proteins. The conventional methods of studying protein structure, notably, the x ray diffraction analysis, had been difficult to apply in case of membrane-bound proteins in view of problems associate with crystallization of these proteins. Over the years, Lala developed photochemical reagents as new tools to elucidate structural information of membrane protein interaction. These carbene-based reagents were based on the basic chromophore Diazofluorene. Membrane associated studies with this probe had involved studies with artificial membranes as well as natural membranes. Two purified reconstituted proteins from human erythrocytes, the anion transporter and the glucose transporter were labelled and the transmembrane segments identified. These studies were extended to carry out depth dependent analysis of membranes. These reagents were used to deduce structural information on gated channel formed by acetylcholine receptor and to study proteins folding involving unique methods to detect hydrophobic exposure in protein folding intermediates. His group had delineated steps involved in pH induced unfolding of diphtheria toxin and how the toxin inserts and translocates across biological membranes to deliver its lethal components.
Awards and Honours: Lala was the Alberta Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellow, Canada and Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School. He was the recipient of INSA Medal for Young Scientists (1981), Associate Fellow (1983-86) and Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.