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KAMAL RANADIVE (1917-2001)

Kamal Ranadive was a biomedical researcher who studied the link between cancers and viruses. She was born Kamal Samarth to a well educated family; her father was professor of biology at Fergusson College. She went to the famous Huzoor Page school in Pune, then studied botany at Fergusson College. She then did a postgraduate degree at the Agricultural College. She married J.T. Ranadive and moved to Bombay. At the Tata Memorial Hospital she met V.R. Khanolkar, an expert pathologist who founded the Indian Cancer Research Centre. He was to be her Ph.D. guide. She did a programme of post-doctoral study at Johns Hopkins University, then returned to India to work at the ICRC, where she began to study tissue cultures. She built up at strong team and encouraged them to work independently as well as with her. She developed a strain of mice with super-resistance to cancer for use as a model for experimental work on the cytology of various cancers. She also studied the leprosy bacillus and developed a vaccine for the dreaded disease.

She founded the Indian Women Scientist Association to further scientific awareness among women and girls. She also did outreach work in health and welfare with tribal women. She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for her work on leprosy prevention. She also received the Watumul Foundation Award.
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