About the Speakers

Prof. Manju Bansal

Professor Manju Bansal did her B.Sc and M.Sc at Osmania University, Hyderabad and received a PhD degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1977, under the mentorship of renowned scientist G.N. Ramachandran. She joined the faculty of IISc in 1982 and superannuated in 2016. She is currently an INSA Senior Scientist. She has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at EMBL Heidelberg and Frei Univ Berlin and Senior Fulbright Fellow at UCSF, San Francisco. She is a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy and a J.C. Bose National Fellow. She was the founder-Director of the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore and is on the Advisory Board of the Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics and the wwPDB. She has published more than 140 papers in peer reviewed journals and mentored about 50 doctoral and masters students and post-doctoral researchers. Her research interests are primarily focused on relating protein and DNA sequences to their structures and function, by developing new concepts, computational algorithms and in silico tools, particularly in the area of modelling non-canonical DNA structures, promoter architecture in genomic DNA and structural determinants of transcription factor recognition of DNA.

Prof Tom Blundell

Professor Sir Tom Blundell, FRS, FMedSci, is a Biochemistry Director of Research in Cambridge. He worked with Dorothy Hodgkin in Oxford in the 1960s on structure of insulin and then in Sussex on glucagon in the 1970s Recently he focusses on DNA repair, defining structures of multicomponent the 4100 amino acid DNA-PKcs complexes using cryo-EM. Over the past 30 years he has produced software for homology modelling, called Modeller cited 13,000 times, and for predicting impacts of mutations in cancer and drug resistance using AI/ML methods, contributing to ~700 research papers. In 1970s Tom developed structure-guided drug discovery, and in 1999 pioneered fragment-based drug discovery, co-founding Astex, with two oncology drugs on the market. In academia he develops antibiotics targeting mycobacteria in leprosy and cystic fibrosis. In 1970 as Chair of Oxford City Planning, he stopped a motorway planned to go through the city centre and instead pedestrianized the area. He chaired UK Royal Commission on Environment, 1998 to 2005.

Prof. Anil Kumar

Prof. Anil Kumar, Born 1941, M.Sc. (Physics), Meerut College (1961). Ph.D. IIT Kanpur (1964-69) Supervisor, Prof. B.D.N. Rao. Area of work NMR and its practice. Post-Doctoral: Ga. Tech (!969-70); UNC Chapel Hill (1970-72); E.T.H. Zurich (1973-76) with Prof. R.R. Ernst (Chemistry Nobel 1991) (Fourier NMR Imaging, Development of Two-Dimensional NMR). Faculty; (Department of Physics and NMR Research Centre) Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 1977 onwards till retirement in 2002. Chairman: Department of Physics (1984-87); NMR Research Centre (1998-2002). Honorary Prof., Senior Scientist and Emeritus Scientist INSA. after retirement. Sabbaticals: (i) (1979-80) jointly with Prof. Ernst and Prof. Kurt Wuthrich (Chemistry Nobel 2002); Developed the 2D- “NOESY” experiment for Protein structure determination. (ii) Ecole Normal Superior (ENS) Paris, (iii) Univ. Michigan; and (iv) IUPUI at Indianapolis. Fellow of all three Indian National Science Academies, International Society for Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Several National Awards. Trained nearly 20 Ph.D. in NMR at IISc and published 150 research papers. Pioneered Experimental work on “Quantum Computing by NMR” in India, starting in year 2000, trained 8 Ph.D.’s and published nearly 40 papers in this field.

Prof. M R N Murthy

M R N Murthy received a B.Sc. Honours degree in Physics from Bangalore University in 1970, a master's degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1972 and a PhD from the Indian Institute of Science in 1977. During his PhD training, Murthy worked extensively in X-ray crystallography under the guidance of Prof. K. Venkatesan in the department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science. As a postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Michael G. Rossmann in Purdue University, Murthy gained expertise in the structure determination of proteins using X-ray crystallography. He joined the faculty of the Molecular Biophysics Unit in 1983. Prof. Murthy's research interests are ​centred on deciphering virus structure and assembly and protein structure, function, and evolution. He has determined the structures of several virus-like particles and studied the structure, function, and reaction mechanism of several PLP-dependent enzymes. He and his group have also developed a marathon molecular replacement procedure useful for determining crystal structures of unknown or unidentified proteins. Prof. Murthy is the recipient of several awards including the Shantiswaroop Bhatnagar Prize in 1993, the G.N. Ramachandran Commemoration award in 2003, the Jagdish Chandra Bose Award for Life Sciences in 2005 and the G.N. Ramachandran gold medal for excellence in biological sciences in 2009. He is actively engaged in educational outreach programs aimed at teaching science to school children in rural Karnataka.

Prof. Jane S Richardson

Jane Richardson and her husband David have worked together for over 50 years on research to understand the 3D structure of protein and RNA molecules. They were early pioneers in protein crystallography, protein de novo design, and molecular graphics. They developed a method that calculates hydrogen-atom contacts to quantify the details of modeled packing interactions, widely used on their MolProbity website and elsewhere to improve the accuracy of macromolecular structures by crystallography, cryoEM, and machine learning. Richardson developed the ribbon representation of protein structures, described many common features of overall protein folds and local motifs (Greek key beta barrels, helix caps, etc.), and works to spread molecular 3D literacy at Duke and around the world. From a Swarthmore B.A. in philosophy she has become a biophysicist, a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the National Academies of Sciences & of Medicine, and has three honorary degrees. For details, see Ann. Rev. Biophysics 4:1-28 or J. Biol. Chem. (2021) 296:100742.