Dr S Ramachandran was the Founder Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India from 1986 for seven years. He has done many pioneering works at the time and established DBT and various networks to promote biotechnology in India.
Photo: Current PSA, G.O.I Prof K Vijayraghavan with Dr Ramachandran (on chair).
Currently, it is very hard to find the information about Dr Ramachandran that has to be available for younger generation so to motivate and aspire from these early scientists and leaders who helped shape the situation of the country. Not much information was available on google too so after digging deep there comes an article from a very old magazine of biotech that is not operational today i.e. Biotech News whose Patrons were Dr M K Bhan and scientists of DBT. To Give tribute to this personality here we have compiled information from various sources to highlight his work and life as much as possible.
Dr. S. Ramachandran (Sep 9 1934-March 5, 2016) earned his bachelor degree from Tamil Nadu agriculture university in 1955 and Master from BHU in 1957. He then went to do PhD at University of Illinois in 1960 in Biochemistry. After 4 years in 1961 he returned to India and then joined Hindustan Antibiotics limited, Poona as a senior scientist and later became head of research in 1972. In 1977 he was appointed as CEO of Bengal Immunity Company Limited, GOI. In 1982 he was invited by Planning Commission whose member was Dr M S Swaminathan for the post of member secretary of newly made National Biotechnology Board. Soon he realized the need of separate department and in 1986 because of his efforts a new department of biotechnology was constituted and he was appointed as the first secretary. During his tenure, he initiated several programs in the field of immunization, tissue culture, aqua culture, academic and industrial training and information technology. Dr. S. Ramachandran, Founder Secretary of DBT, laid the foundation for BTIS in the country during the Seventh Five Year Plan.
After his tenure in DBT, he assumed several international positions like Chairman, WHO Commission of Children Vaccine Initiative; Biotech Advisory Commission, Swedish Environmental Institute; Founding Member, Children Vaccine Program, Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation; Member Strategic Advisory Council Malaria Initiative, Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation etc.
He served as the chairman research council CSIR-CLRI and member research council CSIR-CDRI, CCMB, NCL, IMTECH and NIV. He was fellow of National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medical Science, National Academy of Science, United States and World Academy of Arts and Science.
Dr. S. Ramachandran was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2011, the third highest civilian award given by the Government of India, for his contributions to Indian science. He shared the credit for the award with his colleagues in the field of biotechnology.