Birendra Nath Mallick earned his BSc (1977) and MSc (1979) in Physiology from Calcutta University securing the University Gold Medal. He also received a degree in homoeopathic medicine from the Calcutta Homoeopathic Medical College (1979). Thereafter, he completed PhD (1986) from the Physiology Department of AIIMS, New Delhi. He was selected as Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He chose to continue in JNU, although at various stages of his career he spent in the University of California, Los Angeles, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA; University of Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France, as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor.
Academic and Research Achievements: At AIIMS, Mallick studied the influence of brainstem sleep and wakefulness inducing areas on the neurons located in the preoptico-anterior hypothalamic region for the regulation of sleep-wakefulness. The main aim of his research has been to understand the neural mechanism of regulation as well as functions of rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). Using multiple microinjections his group showed the role of GABA-ergic interneuron and presynaptic modulation in the regulation of REM sleep. Further, he proposed that cessation of REM-off neurons in the locus coeruleus is a pre-requisite for the regulation of REM sleep. He hypothesized that one of the functions of REM sleep is to maintain the brain excitability. Studies from his lab showed that REM sleep-loss-induced increased-brain-excitability is due to activation of neuronal Na-K ATPase by increased noradrenaline; and the detailed mechanism of action for the same has been traced. He has published about seventy research papers and many reviews, monographs and book chapters. He along with S Inoue brought out the first book on REM sleep (Marcel Dekker). Mallick has mentored a number of students including more than twelve PhDs.
Awards and Honours: Dr Mallick received the BK Anand Prize by Association of Physiology & Pharmacology of India (1984), Shakuntala Devi Amir Chand Award by ICMR (1992), National Bioscience Award by DBT (1999), SS Bhatnagar Prize of CSIR (2001), Ramendra Sundar Sinha Memorial Oration Award by Physiological Society of India (2001), Chandra Kanta Dandiya Prize by PC Dandiya Trust (2001). He is a Member of the Guha Research Conference (2004) and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (2000).