Prof Ashis K Mukherjee from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of TU received the highest academic degree Doctor of Science (DSc) in the field of Biotechnology from the University of Calcutta for his remarkable contribution in snake venom research and snakebite therapy. The award was conferred to him by the Governor of West Bengal and Chancellor of the University Shri Keshri Nath Tripahty at the annual convocation of the University held recently.
Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease affecting the rural population of Indian subcontinent, more than 100,000 deaths are recorded every year. In Assam, naja kouthia and bungarus faciatus are two predominant neurotoxic snakes against which anti-venom is not available.
Mukherjee is among the few notable scientists who have been pursuing research in the specialized but neglected area of snake venom for the past 24 years. He had received PhD in 1998 from Burdwan University for his work on biochemical characterization of cobra and Russell’s viper venom.
The research contribution of Prof Mukherjee is expected to significantly improve the current status of people’s knowledge on the pathophysiology and the mechanism of action of several novel/previously uncharacterized toxins of snake venoms. He has also pinned down the problems associated with commercial anti-venom and suggested measures for improving the quality and efficacy of the same for better treatment. Further, his group has also discovered novel/superior peptide-based therapeutic molecules, better than the commercial drugs, from the underexplored snake venom. He also visited University of Connecticut Health Center, USA, University of Northern Colorado, USA, and National University of Science and Technology, Moscow, Russia for exploring novel drugs and diagnostic molecules from snake venom.