Dr Srivari Chandrasekhar — the director of the Hyderabad-based Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)–Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) — is the new Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet the appointment on 4 December.
Chandrasekhar is a renowned synthetic organic chemist with 290 publications in peer-reviewed journals, carrying over 8,000 , and to his name.
He takes over the post of DST secretary from Dr M Ravichandran, who is the Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences and held additional charge of DST secretary until Chandrasekhar’s appointment.
Chandrasekhar will serve in this capacity at DST for two years.
DST is one of the three main wings under the Ministry of Science and Technology. It is the for organising, coordinating, and promoting science and technology activities in the country, including promoting new areas in the field.
The new DST secretary was born and raised in Hyderabad. After completing his undergraduate (BSc) and graduate studies (MSc) at Osmania University, he enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme at CSIR-IICT. The director of the institute at the time, Dr A V Rama Rao, supervised his PhD work.
After receiving his PhD degree (awarded by Osmania University), Chandrasekhar worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow for three years at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States of America (USA).
He to CSIR-IICT in 1994, and, over the next 21 years, rose up the ranks through many scientist category roles to take the top job at the Hyderabad-based institute and serve as its director in 2015.
After completing six years in his role, he received an extension of tenure in June this year.
Chandrasekhar in the chemical sciences, and, in particular, organic chemistry. He has supervised the research work of 70 PhD scholars while 20 students are currently pursuing their doctoral work under his guidance.
Over the years, he has received numerous , such as the INSA Medal for Young Scientists (1996), CSIR Young Scientist Award (1997), C N R Rao National Prize for Chemical Research (2012), CSIR Technology Award (2014), Infosys Prize in Physical Sciences (2014), C V Raman Centenary Medal (2017), and Eminent Scientist Award (2017) by the Telangana state government.
A team led by Chandrasekhar received the CSIR Technology Award 2021 (the IICT director’s second such award) in the life sciences category for contributing to the development of the Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin.
According to CSIR, the team “a cost-effective and scalable process for the synthesis of TLR 7/8 agonist molecule (IMDG), used as an adjuvant” in Covaxin.
Chandrasekhar is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences, and Indian National Science Academy. He is also the honorary secretary of the Telangana Academy of Sciences, a member of Indian National Science Congress, and the Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow.
He has previously as the director (additional charge) of CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur; CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune; CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad; and CSIR-Central Salt & Marine chemical Research Institute, Bhavnagar.
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