2016 Padma Shree Awardee, Prof. Dipankar Chatterji
Prof. Dipankar Chatterji is the professor at Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Prof. Chatterji works on bacterial gene regulation under stringent conditions. Before Joining IISc, Prof. Chatterji worked for 15 years at CCMB, Hyderabad.
Prof. Chatterji got his PhD form IISc Bangalore followed by Post-doc at Albert Einstein Medical College, New York and State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York.
He spoke with us about his passion for research, Nobel Prize, awards, and research scenario across the country. Edited Excerpts:
Please tell us about your research work. What do you want to achieve with your research?
Prof. Chatterji: I work on bacterial gene expression since several decades now. I worked with CCMB before joining IISc, where I was working on E.coli under stress and after coming to Bangalore in 1999, I shifted to Mycobacterium smegmatis because it is a very good model system.
My whole emphasis is how the regulation of gene expression takes place, how many proteins are expressed, how the protein functions within a system and interact with enzyme like RNA polymerase and how they influence the expression pattern. In the process, we identified few small molecules which are known as second messengers, these help in signal transduction for bacterial communication, stress response and these are cyclic AMP, Cyclic di-GMP etc.
AMPs and ppGpp bind RNA polymerase and modulate its activities. In fact we were the first to show that ppGpp binds RNA polymerase in 1995, nobody believed it then but now everybody accepts it.