Pinak Chakrabarti earned his BSc degree from Gauhati University, MSc degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and PhD degree (1981) from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore working under the supervision of Professor K Venkatesan on small molecule X-ray crystallography. After a year of post-doctoral work with Professor Jack Dunitz at ETH, Zurich, he shifted to protein crystallography working in the lab of Professor Michael Rossmann (Purdue University) and Doug C Rees (UCLA, Caltech). In 1990, he joined National Chemical Laboratory, where in addition to taking care of the X-ray crystallography Facility, he started working in structural bioinformatics. In 1997, he shifted to Bose Institute, Kolkata, where he is now a Senior Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and In-charge of the Bioinformatics Centre.
Academic and Research Achievements: Chakrabarti regularly teaches courses in protein structure, conformation and bioinformatics. Using X-ray crystallography, he derived the structures of both small and macromolecules. He studied, in particular, the solid-state trans-esterification reaction in an organic molecule that mimics enzymatic reaction. The structure of CII enumerated by him is interesting as the individual subunits in the tetrameric structure have different conformations. His major contribution has been in the analysis of known protein structures and complexes to understand the underlying principles of protein stability and macromolecular recognition. Towards this end, his group has created a number of databases and web-servers on protein-protein interactions, scoring functions to detect the native fold from among a set of decoy structures. Modelling, dynamics and ion binding by proteins have also been studied by him. He has been involved in the elucidation of the structure of transcription factors from Vibrio cholerae and in understanding the effect of nano-particles on protein structure and unfolding. He has published ~ 150 research articles and guided 17 students for their PhD degrees.
Other Contributions: Professor Chakrabarti has been a major force in the development of computational biology and bioinformatics in India. He has served in various committees of DST, DBT and CSIR. He is the President of Asian Crystallographic Association (2013-16) and member of the Programme Advisory Committee of International Meetings in Crystallography. He is a nodal representative from India for the International Network of Protein Engineering Centres (INPEC).
Awards and Honours: Professor Chakrabarti is a recipient of PS Sarma Memorial Award of the Society of Biological Chemists (2004), Professor YT Thathachari Prestigious Award for Science (2005) and JC Bose National Fellow (2007). He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, and TWAS.