New Delhi: The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) felicitated the winners of the Infosys Prize 2016 categories such as engineering and computer science, humanities, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences and social sciences in Bengaluru on January 07, 2016.
Recognizing the importance of her research on rotavirus, which kills more than two lakh children worldwide annually with India being among the worst hit, Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, won the award in the Life Sciences category. Her studies have shown that natural immunity to rotavirus infections is much lower in the Indian population, and through this, helped developed far more effective vaccines for the country. She was felicitated by Nobel Laureate Prof Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who was the chief guest on the occasion. Also present was the founder of Infosys, Mr Narayan Murthy.
The Infosys Prize carries prize money of Rs 65 lakh, a gold medal and a citation.
Gagandeep Kang is a professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, India. She is Vice Principal for research and head of the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory at CMC.
Dr Kang’s research on paediatric diarrhoea focuses on rotavirus epidemiology, prevention and vaccine development. For molecular strain surveillance, she has built on her own work to develop a network of Indian enteric virology laboratories and the WHO Rotavirus Reference Laboratory for SEARO, all of which have resulted in insights into the epidemiology, burden and transmission of rotavirus in India. Complementary studies on gut function investigate the sequelae of enteric infections and effects on long term growth and development. Clinical research on rotavirus vaccines has lead to the establishment of facilities for Phase I to Phase III studies and for support of laboratories assays for vaccine evaluation.
In 2006, Dr Kang received the Indian National Award for Women Bioscientists for her significant contributions to the understanding of the molecular epidemiology of rotavirus in children. She is also a member of the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety.
Dr Kang has published over 130 papers in national and international journals. She is an Associate Editor for PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and serves on several review committees for national and international research funding agencies. She holds MBBS, MD and PhD degrees from CMC and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, London. She is an elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology.