Hyderabad-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) has announced the appointment of its chief scientist and well-known figure Dr. Srivari Chandrashekar as the director, to push for a sysnthesis in the field of natural products and lab-developed chemical components in the pharmaceutical field.
Dr Chandrashekar was associated with the IICT since 1994 and became the chief scientist in 2010, leading natural products chemistry division. He has been a fellow of the three prestigious academies in sciences — National Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Science Academy.
His contribution in organic chemistry and total synthesis of biologically active natural products and pharmaceutical byproducts won him several accolades including the Infosys Prize 2014 in Physical Sciences. He has published 250 research papers with more than 5,000 citations to his credit.
His specialization in the synthesis of complex molecules from natural sources and his work in devising innovative, practical approaches to pharmaceuticals have helped the pharmaceuticals industry based in Hyderabad and elsewhere.
Shrinivas Kulkarni, jury chair that gave him the Infosys award last year, had appreciated his work saying, his “approach of concept to commercialization or ‘bench to bed’ is truly unique for academic scientists in the Indian context. Not only has your work had important ramifications in chemistry but it will affect branches of society such as drugs and pharmaceuticals; agro chemicals and materials.”
Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar received his B.Sc. (1982), M.Sc. (1985) and Ph.D. (1991) degrees from Hyderabad-based Osmania University, and pursued post-doctoral research at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA, with Prof. J. R. Falck. Later, as a Humboldt Fellow at the University of Göttingen, he worked on the synthesis of hybrid natural products with Prof. L. F. Tietze.
Chandrasekhar was instrumental in setting up the Molbank facility at the IICT for the storage and retrieval of chemical samples for HT screening and has mentored a large number of doctoral and post-doctoral students and won several other awards, including the INSA medal for Young Scientists, CSIR Young Scientist Award, AVRA Young Scientist Award, and the FAPCCI award.
He and his team won the CSIR Technology Award, 2014 for commercializing the process for misoprostol (a hormone-like biologically important synthetic prostaglandin), used to prevent gastric ulcer, induce labor and / or safely terminate unwanted pregnancies.
More than mere molecules, Chandrasekhar has focused on topical health-related problems for pro-poor and affordable access to important drugs, including synthesis of bedaquiline, the first drug approved by FDA in over 40 years for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB.
Chandrasekhar and his team has synthesized over 30 complex natural products and developed several processes to provide better and affordable access to important drugs such as bedaquiline, the first drug approved by FDA in over 40 years for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB, which he has synthesized through simpler transformations and higher yields to make it affordable and accessible.