Dr. Chitra Dutta
, Scientist & Coordinator, Bioinformatics Center, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata : Dr. Dutta is a physicist working in the area of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. She is actively engaged in 'in silico' analysis of genome/propeome architectures of host/vector/pathogen systems in quest of novel intervention strategies. Comparative genome analysis of various bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens conducted by her group have not only an insight into the selection forces driving the molecular evolution of the microbial world, but also provided a better understanding of the intricacies of pathogen–host interactions and co-evolution. She has demonstrated how the relative strengths of various selection pressures vary within and across the organisms depending on their G+C-content, life-style and taxonomic distribution. They have also delineated the role played by mutational imbalance, the hydrophobocity, gene expressivity and aromaticity in shaping microbial protein architectures. She is internationally acclaimed for her studies on ‘Chaos game representation’. She has developed novel algorithms for recognition of fractal patterns in nucleotide and amino acid sequences Through statistical analyses of genome and proteome composition of different thermophilic, symbiotic/parasitic organisms, she has revealed that thermal adaptation involves overrepresentation of purine bases in mRNAs, higher GC-content of the structural RNAs and enhanced usage of positively charged residues and aromatic residues at the cost of neutral polar residues, while the parasitic adaptation is reflected in the extreme genome reduction, presence of weak translational selection and large heterogeneity in membrane associated proteins. Impact of these studies in the area of Bioinformatics is apparent from the frequent citations of her work in literature.She did a B.Sc in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in 1976 and an M.Sc in Physics in 1977 from Visva-Bharati resulting first class first in both. She did Ph.D in Physics from IICB, University of Calcutta in 1984.
Among honours and awards conferred on her are Fellowship of National Academy of Sciences (1992), DBT Overseas Associateship (1994), The Young Physicist Award (1985), The Special Prize for Academic Achievement, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (1978), National Merit Scholarship, Govt. of India (1976) etc. She is a member of the Advisory Committee on Bioinformatics, Department of Science & Technology, WB. She has been regularly involved in the review of manuscripts for reputed International journals. She is also actively involved in teaching at the post-graduate levels in Calcutta University, Visva-Bharati and West Bengal University of Technology.