Prof Rajarajan, HoD, PG and Research Department of Microbiology, Presidency College, Chennai, recently received the Dr Sir CV Raman birth centenary gold medal for this year. His research on various drugs chicken-pox and mosquito-related diseases led to this award. “This is not something that we achieved in a day or two. It was a result of more than three decades of research. I feel very privileged that I was the first person from Tamil Nadu to receive this award. Also to receive this from the president himself in the centenary year of The Indian Science Congress is something that I will always cherish,” begins the 59-year-old.
After an MSc in botany, he completed his PhD in medical microbiology from University of Madras, Chennai. He was conferred with MD in alternative medicine for his outstanding contribution in research. With more than 30 years of experience in this field, he says, “As HoD, I was able to visualise patterns and identify current trends in research. We as team heads, mould students and staff. So these research projects are done as a team. I just guided them and provided inputs.”
On his research, he says, “When adults are infected, it results in recurrent infections. Though medicines are available, mutation in the genetic components of the virus are resistant to the drug. So even if we treat the disease, the effect will not be the desired one. We identified these areas and worked on creating a suitable drug. We also conducted research on HSV1 and HSV2 viruses. All these viruses are closely related. Now the next step is to clinically test this.” Parallelly, he is also the principal coordinator for a research on mosquito-borne diseases. The research is supported by Department of Biotechnology, Union Ministry of Science and Technology. Other than this, he has won numerous awards like the Leading Scientists of the World Award in 2009, MK Nambiar Award of Indian Association of Biomedical Scientists for outstanding contribution in the field of biomedicine in 2007 and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indian Association of Applied Microbiologists in 2008. He is also the recipient of Tamil Nadu Scientist Award, which was given by the Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology in 2011.
As one of the earliest professors in the microbiology department of Presidency College, he feels students are now more open to research. He also adds, “Those students who really love science should take it up. R&D is now emerging, but takes a long time for recognition.”