Prof. L S Shashidhara
Director, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Prof. Shashidhara is also Professor of Biology at IISER Pune, and Honorary Professor at Ashoka University.
Prof. Shashidhara did his undergraduate and post-graduate studies in Genetics and Plant Breeding at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad and studied regulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis for his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK. He initiated his life-long work on the function of Hox proteins in appendage development in Drosophila During his post-doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge.
Prof Shashidhara specializes in Genetics, Molecular Biology and Evolutionary biology. His group has identified key mechanisms that specify organ development and regulate growth control during embryonic development. They have also expanded their study to examine the status of these evolutionarily conserved mechanisms in epithelial cancers in human .
Prof Shashidhara is one of the founding academic members of IISER Pune and Ashoka University, contributing to their growth. In addition, Prof Shashidhara has contributed to establish the Indian Cancer Genome Atlas, a national consortium to promote collaborative cancer research ( https://www.icga.in/ ) and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, a consortium to promote multi-disciplinary collaborative work to address problems of health, water, environment and sustainable mobility ( https://www.pkc.org.in/ ).
Prof Shashidhara is a fellow of several Science Academies, is a SS Bhatnagar prize awardee, was a JC Bose National Fellow and an elected member of European Molecular Biology Organization ( EMBO ). Prof Shashidhara has served in the past as Vice-President of Indian National Science Academy ( INSA ) and Secretary General of the International Union of Biological Sciences ( IUBS ). He is currently the President of IUBS (first Indian to be elected in its 100 years of history).
Prof Shashidhara has also been very involved in the promotion of science and science education, and has had many experiments in this area, including working with the Ministry of Education on training of high school and undergraduate teachers in adopting inquiry-based teaching methods. Beyond conventional education and research, he has organised several career workshops for scientists in science journalism, science policy, climate education,
administration, and management. He has also served on the Board of IndiaBioscience from almost the very beginning, reflecting his commitment to the Life Science research community in India. He is also steering an international project on Climate Change
After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prof Shashidhara worked very actively on various fronts to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic in Pune city and across India, which included epidemiological data collection and analysis; serosurvey; indigenization of reagents for RT-PCR kits; genome surveillance, longitudinal studies on immune response to vaccination etc.