September 5, 2021 4:50:46 am
Head of Department of Medical Microbiology at PGI, Professor Arunaloke Chakrabarti has been been selected by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) to receive the 2022 ASM Moselio Schaechter Award.
The award recognises the best senior scientist of the world who has shown exemplary leadership and commitment towards the substantial furthering of the profession of microbiology in research, education or technology in the developing world.
Prof Chakrabarti has worked consistently in the field of fungal infections over three-and-a-half decades not only in India, but also in other developing countries in the world. He is now the President of the world body on fungal infections – International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM). Besides developing the Mycology Division of his department as the best center in South-East Asia, he is at present mentoring the development of mycology reference centers across India, supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research. “This year has been very challenging and testing, as we had to manage so many serious cases of mucormycosis at the Institute. We have been trying to create awareness about the fungal infection for many years, for the mortality is so high in hospitalised cases. This is an important issue that cannot be ignored and doctors need to be both aware and careful about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mucormycosis and fungal diseases. These were testing times. This area of work is about years of focus, research and relentless pursuit,” says Prof Chakrabarti, who has three species of fungus in his name.
He adds: “I would describe this award as a farewell honour, as I retire from the Institute on November 30. This is an award for which one has to be nominated, for you cannot apply for it, and three scientists ‘conspired’ to nominate me, and I had no idea about it.”
As chairman of Fungal Infections Study Forum (FISF) and Co-Chair of Asian Fungal Working Group (AFWG) under ISHAM, Prof Chakrabarti, who will be the first Asian to receive this award, conducts training programs for clinicians and doctors. Prof Chakrabarti’s center is the sole WHO Collaborating Centre with all portfolios in the field of fungal diseases in the world.
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