Obaid Siddiqi received MSc from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and did his PhD from University of Glasgow where he worked under the supervision of Professor G Pontecarvo. He did his postdoctoral research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania and MRC Laboratory in Cambridge before joining Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in 1962, where he set up a Molecular Biology Unit, the first of its kind in India, and continued to work there for 32 years. Thereafter, he founded TIFR National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore where he is now working as National Research Professor. He has held Visiting Professorship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and Cambridge University. He was twice Sherman Fairchild distinguished Scholar at California Institute of Technology. He received DSc (hc) from AMU, Banaras Hindu University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Hamdurd, Kalyani University, IIT Bombay and Hyderabad University.
Academic and Research Achievements: Siddiqi’s early research at AMU and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi was on plant embryology and genetics. At Glasgow, he turned to microbial genetics and molecular biology. He has made notable contributions in the areas of gene structure, genetic recombination and genetic control of protein synthesis. In the early 70’s, he began to work on neurogenetics of Drosophila melanogaster. His work using temperature sensitive mutants led to a deeper understanding of nerve conduction and synaptic transmission. He and his associates have done pioneering work on olfaction and taste in Drosophila which has improved the understanding of how olfactory information is encoded in the brain of the fruit fly.
Awards and Honours: Professor Siddiqi received the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Bhatnagar Prize, INSA Golden Jubilee Medal, Birla Samarak Kosh National Award, Goyal Foundation Prize, Arya Bhat Medal by INSA, Bhasin Foundation Prize, Science Congress Plaque of Honours, BC Roy Award for Medical Sciences, and Firodia Award for Basic Sciences. He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (President also 1986-89), Royal Society, London, US National Academy of Sciences, Washington, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, and Maharashtra Academy of Sciences. He is Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge.