Scientists must come from every section of society: Dr K VijayRaghavan

After being appointed as the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, the former Secretary to the Department of Biotechnology, Dr K VijayRaghavan took to Twitter to thank the scientific community and other well-wishers

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New Delhi: In his first reaction after being appointed as the Principal Scientific Adviser by the Government of India on 27th March, Prof K VijayRaghavan thanked his well-wishers on Twitter.

“Many thanks for the overwhelming messages. It is a great responsibility, working together we can overcome any barrier. We have our task cut out. Connect science to society and society to science. Science and technology can be the fulcrum for change: Agriculture, health, environment, development,” Prof Raghavan said.

The former Secretary of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) mentioned that the speedy and sustainable development is possible when the scientists are organically connected with society and society sees value in scientific approaches. “For this, scientists must come from every section of society,” he said in a series of tweets.

Prof Raghavan said further: “Democratise access to science, so citizens from any background can access S&T opportunities, and lead. For this, one’s language should not be a hurdle, but an advantage. The best of science should be accessible in any of our languages.”

Prof K VijayRaghavan, who joined as Secretary of the DBT in January 2013, has been widely appreciated for effective administration and spearheading of new initiatives. He got an extension on the post during 2016 and continued on it till February 02, 2018.

“Strengthen foundations of quality-science, expand to all parts of the country. Fundamental research is a basic human quest, which yields knowledge and discoveries, prepare us for the unknown as nothing else can. Apply available and new tech for national transformation,” he said.

“Partner and lead globally so India plays her responsible role in stewardship of the planet’s health, from the oceans, land, and skies. Climate change, global- warming, one-health, the environment; all require continued and increasing Indian engagement,” Prof Raghavan concluded.

Prof Raghavan has been one of the founding pillar of National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore. Before he left to join the DBT where he is the current Secretary, he set up inSTEM, an institute that is devoted to understanding the unfolding of developmental programmes in stem cells.

Elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2014, Prof Raghavan is among a select group of Indians to achieve the feat at international level. Besides that, he was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) earlier.

Prof VijayRaghavan’s initial training was in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur. He then decided to pursue a career in Life Sciences research and carried out his graduate studies on a genetic analysis of flight muscle at the Tata Institute of Fundamental research in Mumbai. As a postdoctoral fellow and Senior Research Fellow of the California Institute of Technology, he studied the genetics of hormone-regulated genes in Drosophila. He then returned to India to set up a laboratory for Drosophila developmental genetics and with Late Dr Obaid Siddiqi and colleagues, worked to establish and develop NCBS, which is now one of the leading laboratories for research in biology in India.

Prof Raghavan has made an international mark in developmental biology of flies, institutions, and science in general. In each of these contexts, his work has been on the brain-muscle interface and how cells and individuals make decisions that lead to them merging their identities to achieve effective system function.