Vidyanand Nanjundiah earned his BSc degree (1967) from the University of Bombay and PhD (1972) from University of Chicago. He held post-doctoral positions at the Hubrecht Laboratorium Utrecht (1973), The Netherlands; Max-Planck-Institut Tubingen (1974-75), Germany; and Biozentrum (1975-76), Basel, Switzerland. He worked as Assistant Professor (1976-80) and Associate Professor (1989-92) at the Centre for Theoretical Studies, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He has been a member of the Molecular Biology Unit, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay, Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics and Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. At present he is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Human Genetics, Bengaluru.
Academic and research achievements: Nanjundiah's scientific contributions are in the areas of developmental biology, theoretical biology and evolution. They range over cell signalling, pattern formation, population genetics and social behaviour. He was involved in demonstrating that cyclic AMP is amplified and relayed during communication in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. He has shown that self-organisation via co-operative signalling can explain cell aggregation as well as the origin of multicellularity, and that kinship is unlikely to be important for the maintenance of cooperation in this system. Together with Sharat Chandra, he suggested that imprinting may have co-evolved with sex-determination and gamete dimorphism. He has used genetic algorithms to model phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary change.
Awards and Honours: Nanjundiah is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1984).