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Prof Suman Chakraborty from Bengal gets prestigious Science Award

16 April, 2021 14:47:30
Prof Suman Chakraborty from Bengal gets prestigious Science Award

Social reformer and freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale had once remarked, “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” This was enough to invoke Bengalis’ pride and since then, they have been swearing by it. A century ago, Bengal was in the forefront in every sphere of life including science and literature. The tradition continues still and this year, Professor Suman Chakraborty has been shortlisted for the 30th GD Birla Prize for Scientific Research for his outstanding contribution to the science of engineering and its applications in the development of technologies for affordable healthcare.

Established in 1991, the award is given annually to distinguished Indian scientists under the age of 50 for their original and exceptional contributions to any branch of science or technology. The winner is chosen by a selection jury, the current leader of which is Professor Chandrima Shaha, president of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA).

Dr Chakraborty has research interests in the area of micro-fluidics and micro/nano scale transport processes, including their theoretical, computational, and experimental modelling, encompassing the underlying fundamentals as well as bio-medical, bio-technological, chip cooling, and energy related applications.

Professor Chakraborty did his schooling from St Lawrence High School of Kolkata and then graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department of Jadavpur University in 1996, securing 2nd Rank out of a pool of more than 100 students. After a brief Industrial Experience on Engineering design at the Development Consultants Ltd., he appeared for the National level competitive examination GATE, 1997, in which he secured the first position nationally. Subsequently, he joined Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for his Master's study, where he was the faculty topper (CGPA 7.9 out of 8) and received gold medal and Senate Commendation for outstanding performance in Masters of Engineering.

Thereafter, he joined Jadavpur University and started teaching in his alma mater. In 2000, he joined the IISc for his doctoral research, on study leave from Jadavpur University. He completed his Ph.D. thesis work in about one year at the IISc and received “Best International CFD Thesis Award” in 2002. Dr Chakraborty is professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, and Institute Chair Professor. Currently, he is the Dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy at the same Institute.

Dr Chakraborty has research interests in the area of micro-fluidics and micro/nano scale transport processes, including their theoretical, computational, and experimental modelling, encompassing the underlying fundamentals as well as bio-medical, bio-technological, chip cooling, and energy related applications. He has worked extensively in these spheres and is   regarded as an authority. 

He is credited with establishing the first micro-fluidics laboratory as part of an academic institution in India to facilitate the study of how tiny volumes of fluids flow through small channels. In addition to being a renowned scholar, Chakraborty has invented technologies that were not only patented, but also licensed to industrial companies for commercialization.

He pioneered a number of affordable medical devices, including a low-cost spinning disc for assessing complete blood count, highly accurate paper strip technology for routine blood testing, and a tumor-on-a-chip device for probing blood count. cancer cell migration and a low-cost nucleic acid-based platform technology for the rapid detection of Covid-19 infection (COVIRAP). This novel testing technology for microbial infections is expected to cater to India’s increasing need for augmenting diagnostic facilities.

Professor Chakraborty has published 400+ papers in reputed international journals. More than 30 Ph.D. students have graduated working under his supervision as guide or co-guide. He has also authored several text books and edited research monographs. He has also developed video lecture courses under the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning. He has also been the editor/ editorial board member of journals in his field of expertise, including Scientific Reports. He received the prestigious Santi Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize and became the youngest Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, and Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), Indian National Academy of Science (INAS). He is also the recipient of the Indo-US Research Fellowship, Scopus Young Scientist Award given by Elsevier for high citations on his research publications, Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2005), and Young Scientist/ Young Engineer Award from various National Academies. He has been bestowed with the Fellowship of the American Physical Society, Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Fellowship of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Professor Chakraborty did his schooling from St Lawrence High School of Kolkata and then graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department of Jadavpur University in 1996, securing 2nd Rank out of a pool of more than 100 students. After a brief Industrial Experience on Engineering design at the Development Consultants Ltd., he appeared for the National level competitive examination GATE, 1997, in which he secured the first position nationally.

He was a visiting Professor at Stanford University. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious J. C. Bose National Fellowship, which is the highest Fellowship awarded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. 

Dr Chakraborty has received research funding from various government and private bodies, including international funding agencies such as the British Council, Royal Academy of Engineering UK, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, JSPS, Japan etc.  He has spearheaded the healthcare domain of IMPRINT India initiative as the national coordinator. He has also been a consultant to reputed  industrial houses such as General Motors, Delphi, INTEL, SHELL, Tata Steel, ITC, to name a few. He has also led his own start-up company to effectively translate his research into the design of medical products. The objective of his company is to bring out novel devices for low-cost medical diagnostics.

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