Indian researcher, Dr, Gagandeep Kang, made history on Friday by entering the league of scientists of the order of Issac Newton. An acclaimed biologist, Dr. Kang was formally inducted as Fellow of the Royal Societies (FRS) at a ceremony in London on July 12 presided over Nobel Laureate, Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society. Her inauguration as the Fellow meant she signed the same prestigious Book of Fellows Issac Newton signed in his time.
Dr. Kang is the first woman working in India to be elected to the Society in the 400-plus years of its history. She has been awarded the fellowship for her contribution to vaccine development in India and establishment of training programmes in clinical translational medicine.
Executive Director at the Faridabad-based Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Dr. Kang, who hails from Samrala in Punjab, has been the foremost leader in the development of the indigenous rotavirus vaccine, now being used in select states on a pilot basis.
The vaccine will prevent child deaths from diarrhoeal diseases every year. Government data shows India loses 1.5 lakh children under five to diarrhoea annually. Of these, 50% deaths are due to rotavirus.
'This is a huge feat. The election of Gagandeep Kang as the Fellow of the Royal Society will inspire a whole generation of scientists in India. This is especially significant because entering FRS has always been a challenge for women scientists,' said Dr. Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, former CSIR Director General,
Dr. Kang was one of the 51 eminent scientists from across the world to become Fellow of the Royal Society this year. Previously Professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore, she is known for her interdisciplinary research on transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections.