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Name Dr Umesh Varshney
(Dr Umesh Varshney)
FNA ID P08-1470
Address Chairman, Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science
City Bengaluru
Pin Code 560012
Country India
Gender Male
Specialization Molecular Biology
Service in the Council
Qualification PhD
Membership FASc, FNASc
  Year of Election 2008  
E-mail varshney@mcbl.iisc.ernet.in
Personal Website http://www.mcbl.iisc.ernet.in

Umesh Varshney obtained BSc (1975) from Jiwaji University and MSc (1979) from GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology. He received PhD (1985) from the University of Calgary, Canada under the guidance of Professor Lashitew Gedamu of the Biology Department availing Graduate Teaching Assistantship and Studentship by Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Foundation (AHFMR). Subsequently, as AHFMR Postdoctoral Fellow, he joined the research group of Professor Johan Hans van de Sande of the Medical Biochemistry department (now the Department Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). In 1988, he moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA to work with Professor ULR Bhandary. In 1991, he joined as Assistant Professor in the Centre for Genetic Engineering (now the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and was promoted as Associate Professor in 1997 and Professor in 2002.

Academic and Research Achievements: Varshney has been actively involved in teaching molecular biology courses and carrying out research in areas of protein synthesis and DNA repair in eubacteria including mycobacteria. His research has revealed that ribosome recycling factor plays a central role during all the steps of protein synthesis. His work on initiation factors and the novel ribosomal strategies addresses a fundamental issue of initiator tRNA selection on the P-site during the step of initiation. Further, it is known that pathogenic mycobacteria are exposed to reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen intermediates within host macrophages. Both of the macrophage responses lead to DNA damages and his current studies in the area of DNA repair are being carried out with an overall aim of developing newer drug targets and the attenuated strains. He has also mentored 12 PhD students.

Other Contributions: Dr Varshney's efforts were instrumental in bringing together a group of scientists in India interested in RNA research. This forum, known as 'RNA Group', meets periodically in different parts of the country. Subsequently, he organized the 21st International tRNA Workshop in Bangalore in December 2005.

Awards and Honours: Dr Varshney has been bestowed the JC Bose Fellowship by the Department of Science and Technology (2008), Life Sciences Research Award by Novo Nordisk Education Foundation, India (2002), SS Bhatnagar Prize (2001), PS Sarma Memorial Award by Society of Biological Chemists (India), Bangalore (2001) and the first National Bioscience Career Development Award by the Department of Biotechnology (1999). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (2002).

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