An Indian-American professor has been honoured with the 2009 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award by The Academy of Medicine,Engineering and Science of Texas for his research that could lead to the creation of artificial proteins in the human body.
Dr Rama Ranganathan,Director of the Systems Biology Division of the Cecil H and Ida Green Comprehensive Centre for Molecular,Computational and Systems Biology at University of Texas Southwestern,with two others have been announced winners by the academy at its annual conference in Dallas.
Each year,the O’Donnell Awards honour outstanding achievements by young investigators in science,medicine and engineering. Each award consists of a USD 25,000 honorarium,a citation and an inscribed statue.
President of UT Southwestern congratulated Dr Ranganathan and praised him for his excellent work.
“Dr Ranganathan embodies the best qualities of Texas science and the achievement this award seeks to recognise,rigorously pursuing important questions of cell science with innovative strategies,” said Dr Daniel K Podolsky,President of UT Southwestern.
“We are grateful to Edith and Peter O’Donn ell for this recognition of excellence,and we are proud to have Dr Ranganathan as our colleague at UT Southwestern,” Podolsky said.
Elated by his achievement,Dr Ranganathan thanked the University for its support in his work.
“It is truly a great Honor to be selected for an award that bears the name of Edith and Peter O’Donnell,” Dr Ranganathan said.
“They have worked with dedication toward promoting scientific excellence in the state of Texas for many years and,consequently,share in the achievements of our university. Their efforts have helped progress our research program in many ways,” he said.
Research,that could lead to the creation of artificial proteins in the human body,aims to link basic research on molecules and cells with analysis of how biological systems function,both in health and in sickness.
The ultimate goal of this field of research is to understand how networks of interactions on various levels – from proteins and cells to tissues and organs produce well-honed biological systems that are more than the sum of their parts.
Such design work could lead to tailor-made proteins that perform specific tasks in the body or replace malfunctioning natural proteins.
“This work could contribute to understanding how complex biological systems can arise through the iterative process of random variation and selection that we call evolution,” Dr Ranganathan said.