Dr. Lalji Singh
(Awarded Padmashri by the President)
Dr. Lalji Singh is the 25th Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. Born on 5th July, 1947 in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Singh rose to acquire the place among the premier scientists of India. He holds the position of Bhatnagar Fellow of CSIR at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, of which he has been Director for a long period of 11 years from 1998 to 2009. He spent 13 years in the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh (1974-1987) before joining CCMB.
Dr Lalji Singh obtained his M.Sc., and Ph.D (Cytogenetics) from Banaras Hindu University, which later awarded him Honorary degree of D.Sc. in the year 2004 and it's Distinguished Alumnus Award in the year 2009.
Dr. Lalji Singh has an exemplary research and professional experience of around 45 years, during which he has published more than 219 research papers in internationally reputed journals, including a full article in 'Nature' (2009) which has been also covered on the cover page of 'Nature'. His research interests include Molecular basis of Sex-determination; DNA Fingerprinting and genetic diversity; Wildlife Conservation; Human Genome Analysis and Ancient DNA Studies.
In order to explore the tremendous potential of the indigenously developed technology of DNA fingerprinting, Dr Lalji Singh has proposed, pursued and established a new centre, the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) at Hyderabad under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD), CDFD. Based on the studies of Dr Lalji Singh and his colleagues on Wildlife Conservation, Government of India has set up a "Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES)" in Hyderabad close to the Nehru Zoological Park in collaboration with the Central Zoo Authority of India, New Delhi; the Dept. of Forests, Govt. of A.P, Hyderabad; the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and the Dept. of Biotechnology (DBT), New Delhi. For regenerative medicine, Dr Singh has setup 'Clinical Research Facility (CRF)' in collaboration with NIMS in the campus of CCMB Annexe II. He is founder of 'Genome Foundation', a non-profit-making organization registered under Companies Act 25 in Hyderabad. The social impact of some of the research works carried out by Dr. Singh include development of a Universal Probe for DNA fingerprinting, conservation of wildlife, species identification for forensic applications, DNA based molecular diagnostics and work on genetic affinities of Andaman islanders.
The contribution of Dr. Lalji Singh has been profusely awarded which include, apart from "Padmashri" by President of India in 2004, B P Pal Memorial Award at the 97th Indian Science Congress, 2010; Life Time Achievement Award for the year 2008 by the Biotech Research Society (BRSI), BHU, Varanasi; CSIR Technology Award for Life Sciences 2008; 8th Dharma Vira Oration 2008 by Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi; Dr L D Sanghvi Oration Award of the Indian Society of Human Genetics (2006); Vigyan Gaurav Award of the Council of Science & Technology, Government of Uttar Pradesh (2003); Goyal Prize in Life Sciences (2000) and New Millennium Plaques of Honour Award 2001-2002 for outstanding services in the field of Biological Sciences presented by the Prime Minister of India at the 89th Session of the Indian Science Congress(2002) to name a few. He has also been awarded Honorary D.Sc. degree by six Universities including the Banaras Hindu University.
He also holds fellowships of several Indian and Foreign academies. These include Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences (elected in 1989); Fellow of National Academy of Sciences (elected in 1991); Fellow of Indian National Science Academy (elected in 1993); Fellow of Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences (elected in 2000); Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (elected in 2001) and Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences (elected in 2002). He is also Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences, Trieste, Italy (2002).
Dr. Singh is also involved in several other academic and research organisations of importance in various capacities. These include Member of Governing Board of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, Chairman of RAC of NBAGR, Karnal, Chairman of RAC of PDP, Hyderabad, Member of Advisory committee of Pharmacopeia Commission of India, Chairman of RAC of NBFGR, Lucknow, Member of Board of Management of Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai and Member of the Board of Governors of IISER Mohali.
As Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Dr. Lalji Singh has a focus on creating central facilities for translational research, biological containment for infectious diseases and regenerative medicine (stem cell research and transplant). Efforts will also be made for establishing Innovation Centre for Technology Development, a Centralised Instrumentation Facility and a Convention Centre for holding International Conferences. Attention will be paid towards creating knowledge and technologies for upliftment of tribal and rural populations and converting traditional knowledge of medicine into drug by providing scientific evidence.