Tangirala Ramasarma received BSc (Chemistry) (1951) from Andhra University, Postgraduation (Chemical Engineering) (1953) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and PhD (Biochemistry) (1956) from Bombay University. He did postdoctoral research at National Research Council, Canada (1956-57) and at University of Wisconsin, USA (1957-58). As Faculty Member, he developed an active research programme on biological oxidations at IISc; worked as Professor (1972-1992), Dean of Science Faculty (1982-84), Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry (1986-89), CSIR Emeritus Scientist (1992-97), INSA Senior Scientist (1997-2002), all at IISc; and INSA Honorary Scientist at Centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad. He was Visiting Scientist/Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA (1965-66, 1970), St Louis University School of Medicine, USA (1966-67), University of Liverpool, UK (1971), University of Wisconsin, Madison (1980), University of Southern California, USA (1983); University of Hyderabad as Jawaharlal Nehru Professor (1995); and CDFD as Distinguished Chair (2004-2007).
Academic & Research Achievements: Ramasarma made numerous contributions, notably: (i) new functions of mitochondrial electron transport lipid-quinone, coenzyme Q which promoted relaxation of contracted arterial smooth muscle, an alternative function much like nitric oxide; (ii) cellular thermogenesis, cellular heat-producing mechanism, involving activation of alpha-adrenergic receptor, generation of H2O2, release of Fe2+ and activation of NADPH-consuming lipid peroxidation without disturbing the energy function of mitochondria; (iii) oxidative modifications of enzymes by H2O2 to regulate cellular metabolism; H2O2, occurring in small concentrations, seems to act in presence of abundant cellular peroxicidal enzymes such as catalase, by forming a catalase-stable diperoxo vanadium-complex that substitutes efficiently in peroxidations. A cycle of peroxovanadium compounds, including a newly discovered peroxovanadium radical, is shown to operate in oxidation of a variety of compounds such a NADH, bromide and benzoate; (iv) polypeptide backbone in enzyme action; the peptide bond between XG in the Walker loop in F1-ATPase, GXXXXGKT, flips on nucleotide binding thus appearing to produce strain on the ?-phosphate bond leading to its hydrolysis, (v) profile of transmembrane domains, and (VI) identified metal-oxyl radicals, rather than hydroxyl radicals as selective oxidants . He has guided 30 PhD students and published over 250 papers.
Awards and Honours: Professor Ramasarma was conferred the Sarma Memorial Award by Society of Biological Chemists (India) (1977), Silver Jubilee Award for Scientific Research by Mysore University (1980), Life Sciences Award by FICCI (1988), Distinguished Career Award by South Asian Society on Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, Mumbai (2000), Professor SS Koppalikar Memorial Endowment Lecture, Kumta, Karnataka (1994), Yellapragada Subba Row Memorial Oration by SV Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati (1995), Motlag Endowment lectures, University of Madras (1997), Jupiter Biosciences Felicitation Lecture, Secunderabad, (2006) and Professor DP Burma Memorial Lecture, Society of Free Radical Research, India, Kolkata (2006), A.G. Datta Memorial lecture, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata (2010).