Prof. Nirupama Mallick obtained her B.Sc. (1983), M.Sc. (1985) degrees from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, and Ph.D. (1991) from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (1991). Subsequently, she continued at Banaras Hindu University as a UGC Research Associate (1992-95) and Principal Investigator of DST Young Scientist Scheme (1995-98). She was then moved to Forschungszentrum, Juelich, Germany as an Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow in 1998. She was appointed as an Assistant Professor (2000-04), Associate Professor (2004-2010) and Professor (2010 to date) in the Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. She is now serving as Head of the Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering Department and Rural Development Centre since September, 2017.
Prof. Mallick has made significant contributions in the area of “Algal Biotechnology”. Her research career began with the development of an algal tool for biomonitoring of metal toxicity in aquatic ecosystem and demonstration of an ‘exclusion mechanism’ for Cu-tolerance in the cyanobacterium, Anabaena doliolum. She has studied the synthesis of a low molecular weight Cd-binding protein, ‘phytochelatin’, in diazotrophic cyanobacteria and also developed a ‘hypothetical mechanistic model’ to explain the tolerance of microalgae against metals and acidity. She has also studied the metal biosorption potential of various microalgae with reference to recovery of precious metals. Under the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, she has explored the ‘nitric oxide biosynthetic pathway’ in microalgae.
Prof. Mallick’s group at IIT Kharagpur has generated excellent results on the production of ‘biodegradable films (polyhydroxyalkanoates)’ from cyanobacteria. She has also developed a ‘recirculatory aquaculture system’ to treat the aqua-discharges with microalgae and simultaneously producing various value-added products. Her group is successful in developing a low-cost process for extraction of ‘C-phycocyanin’, a natural colourant having various pharmaceutical properties, from cyanobacterial biomass. Currently her group is actively engaged in ‘microalgae-biofuel’ research. Aiming for an ‘Algal Refinery’, her group has developed simultaneous extraction protocols for various co-products, viz. bioethanol, glycerol, β-carotene, chlorophyllins, PUFA, etc along with biodiesel. Her research group has been honoured with the prestigious General Electric Ecomagination Challenge Award 2010 for their unique algal bioreactor model named ‘BioPyramid. She has authored more than 100 publications and one of her publication has been listed in the Top Publication Category of DST S & T Report 2016.
Awards and Honors: Professor Mallick was awarded Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1997) and Woman Scientist Medal, Biotech Research Society of India (2005). She was elected Fellow of Indian National Science Academy in 2015 and The National Academy of Sciences, India in 2018.