Life Sciences, 2009

Prof. K VijayRaghavan

Distinguished Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, and Secretary, Department Of Biotechnology, Govt. of India

The Infosys Prize in Life Sciences goes to Professor K. VijayRaghavan in recognition of his many contributions as a developmental geneticist and neurobiologist.

Infographic: Unlocking the secrets of Hox genes

Bio

Professor K. VijayRaghavan completed both his Bachelor of Technology degree in Chemical Engineering and his Master of Technology degree in Bio-Medical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. Between 1984 and 1988, he was a Research Fellow and then a Senior Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.

He has been a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Science, Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and J. C. Bose Fellow of the Government of India. He is an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. He has received the Procter and Gamble Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Lucille P Markey Senior Research Fellowship.

He is currently Senior Professor in the area of Developmental Genetics and Director of the National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bangalore.

View Prof. K. VijayRaghavan's web page

Scope and impact of work

For the past two decades, Professor VijayRaghavan’s work has focused on the link between the developmental assembly of the nervous system and the behaviors encoded by specific neural circuits. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, VijayRaghavan has systematically explored and clarified the way in which specific motor neurons form connections with their target muscles and how defined motor behaviors emerge from these connections

At the molecular level, VijayRaghavan has helped define how Hox genes direct neuromuscular connectivity and simple motor behaviors, by patterning the segmental organization of the fly body plan.

His work has also revealed how target muscles acquire their specific biomechanical connections through processes of cell division and differentiation. What has set VijayRaghavan's work apart from the rest in his field is the creative use of the tools and concepts of genetics, microscopy, molecular biology, developmental biology and behavioral biology.

He appears fearless in the incorporation of new methods when needed to tackle new biological questions.

Citation by the Infosys Prize Life Sciences Jury

Professor VijayRaghavan is being recognized for his many contributions as an outstanding developmental geneticist and neurobiologist. His elegant work with Drosophila has revealed important principles and mechanisms that control the assembly and wiring of nerves and muscles during development, and he has recently begun to define how these neuromuscular circuits direct specific locomotor behaviors.

VijayRaghavan has also been an inspirational leader, tirelessly promoting the importance of excellence in biological sciences in India.

He has been an outstanding mentor to young scientists, building national and international alliances to strengthen biomedical research in the country. In VijayRaghavan, we have a unique individual who is not only brilliant in science but is also inspired to promote science by establishing institutions and encouraging young scientists to excel. The award of the inaugural Infosys Prize in Life Sciences to VijayRaghavan is a fitting tribute to this outstanding scientist.