Sekhar Chakrabarti obtained his B.Sc (Hons in chemistry) in 1971 and M Sc (Biochemistry) in 1973 from University of Calcutta and joined as a research fellow at the Department of Biochemistry, Bose Institute under supervision of Prof B B Biswas. He was awarded Ph D degree in Biochemistry from University of Calcutta in 1980.
Dr Chakrabarti joined National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA as a Visiting Fellow in 1981 and subsequently became Visiting associate and Visiting Scientist. Dr Chakrabarti has been working on molecular virology and gene expression for more than two decades. The construction of recombinant vaccinia virus containing E Coli Lac Z gene is now used worldwide as the control virus for ELISPOT assay and the expression vector thus made is extensively used in the field of gene expression. Dr Chakrabarti for the first time demonstrated the expression of HTLV-III in vaccinia virus (Nature 320:535-537, (1986) ) and subsequently demonstrated the role of envelope gene in syncytia formation and inducing the CTL responses ( Nature 323: 725-728,(1986); Nature 328 : 345-348,(1987) ) providing answers to the questions which were eluding the investigators for quite some time.
He joined National Institute of Cholera & Enteric Diseases (NICED), Calcutta, one of the premier institutes of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India in 1990 as Deputy Director. At present he is holding the position of Director-in-Charge(Scientist G). Dr Chakrabarti is also the Officer-in-Charge of ICMR Virus Unit, Kolkata.
Dr Chakrabarti for the first time reported the prevalence of HIV-1 subtype C among the Injecting Drug Users in Manipur, a northeastern state of India. That Indian HIV-1 is phylogenitically different from other HIV-1 strains were also documented by him and this prompted him to construct a vaccine candidate by cloning all the Indian HIV-1 strain into Modified Vaccinia Ankara(MVA) virus genome. The Phase I clinical trial with this was completed at Chennai. The result obtained was very encouraging as far as the safety and immunogenicity is concerned.
Dr Chakrabarti is the recipient of several awards from national and international bodies. These include Special Appreciation award from NIAID, NIH, USA; Invention award from NIH, USA; Prof SR Moitra Memorial award from Physiological Society of India and Prof J B Chatterjee memorial Gold Medal from School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta. He was also awarded one patent on “Recombinant Vaccinia Viruses containing Human retroviral genes” with Dr Bernard Moss at USA. Dr Chakrabarti is the Fellow of National Academy of Science,India(FNASc) and Fellow of West Bengal Academy of Science & Technology(FASc&T).