“Dr. Ashwani Kumar Wins Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award 2022 for Advancing Tuberculosis Research”
Dr. Ashwani Kumar Wins Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award 2022 for Advancing Tuberculosis Research, In New Delhi, Dr. Ashwani Kumar, serving as a Senior Principal Scientist at the CSIR – Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Chandigarh, has received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for the year 2022 in the field of Biological Sciences. This accolade recognizes his exceptional contributions to comprehending the pathophysiology of tuberculosis (TB), with a specific focus on the involvement of biofilm-induced infections. The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) awards for 2022 were officially unveiled by Dr. N Kalaiselvi, who serves as the Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The announcement took place during a ceremony in New Delhi, with Dr. Jitendra Singh, Vice President of CSIR, presiding over the event. Established in 1958, the SSB Prize for Science and Technology stands as a highly esteemed scientific distinction in India, celebrating outstanding research across various fields, encompassing biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and physics.
The award pays tribute to the pioneering work of Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, the founding Director of CSIR. Dr. Ashwani Kumar’s research focuseson the molecular pathogenesis of tuberculosis, a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). His laboratory made a groundbreaking discovery: Mtb can create biofilms, which are complex microbial communities where bacteria can evade both drugs and the immune system during biofilm-related infections.
Importantly, his work demonstrated that the bacteria residing within these biofilms are resistant to conventional TB drugs. He also uncovered that cellulose is a key component of Mtb biofilms and that an enzyme called Cellulase can disrupt these biofilms. Recent experiments in animals have shown that breaking down Mtb biofilms using Cellulase can enhance the effectiveness of TB treatment. These discoveries pave the way for the exploration of more rapid tuberculosis treatment approaches.
Notably, Dr. Ashwani Kumar is the third scientist from CSIR-IMTECH to receive the prestigious SSB award. Founded in 1984 with the support of CSIR, CSIR-IMTECH stands as a nationally recognized center of excellence specializing in microbial sciences. Its core mission is to foster a translational ecosystem by building on fundamental discoveries and addressing unmet healthcare and industrial needs through cutting-edge processes and platforms. Dr. Ashwani Kumar’s remarkable achievements are a testament to the institute’s commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and improving healthcare outcomes.