Somdatta Sinha obtained MSc in Physics from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal, and MPhil and PhD from the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her thesis work involved experimental studies and mathematical modelling of the pattern-forming processes during development in the fresh water invertebrate Hydra, and the models of circadian rhythm. In 1983, soon after completing her PhD, she joined the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad as a Scientist and worked till 2011 leading a group on Mathematical and Computational Biology. Currently she is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali, Punjab.
Academic and Research Achievements: Sinha's interdisciplinary scientific interests relate to theoretical biology, nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, with a view to understand the logic and design of biological processes. To study the evolution and maintenance of spatio-temporal organization in biological systems spanning multiple scales, she has analysed mechanisms of self-organization of collective dynamics in spatially-extended systems (metapopulation, excitable tissues, etc), and the adaptive role of biochemical nonlinearities present in biochemical pathways. Her current work involves analyzing epidemiological data of infectious diseases, study host-parasite evolution using genomic data and computational modeling, and using graph theory to understand macroscopic properties of intracellular networks. Her papers are published in both biology and physics journals.
Other Contributions: Dr Sinha has keen interest in 'science education and popularization'. Along with writing scientific articles in vernacular language, she has co-authored the NCERT-published CBSE science textbooks of classes 7, 8 and 10. Her emphasis has been on interdisciplinary approach to science education. She regularly organizes refresher courses for college teachers as part of the Science Academy initiatives, conferences, instructional schools and workshops in mathematical and computational biology. She has been on the Editorial boards of Current Science and Journal of Biosciences. She serves in several committees as expert member representing interdisciplinary areas.
Awards and Honours: Dr Sinha was awarded the Raman Research Fellowship (1999) by CSIR to visit the Laboratory for Biological Modelling, NIH, USA. She was elected Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin (2000-01), and conferred the Senior International Fellowship of the Santa Fe Institute at New Mexico, USA (2008-10). She is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad. She was awarded the J C Bose National Fellowship (2012-) by the Department of Science & Technology, and is a recipient of the National Women Bioscientist (senior) Award 2013 by Department of Biotechnology.