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Dr. G. Balakrish Nair
Designation : Scientist G - Director
Division : Bacteriology

Date Of Birth: January 5, 1954
Date of Joining: 23rd August, 2007

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Dr. G. Balakrish Nair is the Director of the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata. He relocated to Kolkata in August 2007 after completing a seven year stint as the Director, Laboratory Sciences Division, at the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr. Nair graduated from Madras University in 1975, gained his Masters in Marine Biology in 1977 from Annamalai University and acquired the Degree of PhD from Annamalai University in 1982. He joined the Department of Microbiology, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Calcutta, a constituent Institute of the Indian Council of Medical Research and a WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Diarrhoeal Diseases, in 1981 and worked there till April 5, 2000 after which he took up the assignment at ICDDR,B.

Dr. Nair has been working on enteric pathogens with particular emphasis on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of the disease cholera. In 1987-88, he did postdoctoral research on the heat-stable enterotoxin of V. cholerae with Dr. Tae Takeda in the Department of Infectious Diseases Research, National Children’s Medical Research Center, Tokyo, Japan and in 1994-95 he did his sabbatical research on molecular epidemiology of V. cholerae in the Department of Microbiology, Kyoto University, Japan with Professor Yoshifumi Takeda. He was also a visiting scientist at the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, USA in 1992 for 3 months where he worked with Dr. David Sack and at the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Ottawa, Canada in 1985 where he worked with Dr. Hermy Lior.

Dr. Nair is an elected member of the Subcommittee on the Taxonomy of Vibrionaceae, International Committee on Systematic Bacteriology from 1986; in August 1996 at the Jerusalem IUMS Congress; he was elected as the Secretary of this subcommittee. He was elected to the position of Member-at-Large of the International Union of Microbiological Society (IUMS) at the Executive Board Meeting held on July 7, 1994 at Prague, Czech Republic and held this position till August, 1999; he is the first Indian Microbiologist to be on the executive board of the IUMS. He was elected as the Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India (FNASc) in 1995, as Member of Guha Research Council (GRC) in 1997 and as Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Sciences (FNA) in 2002. On April 30th, 2002, Dr. Nair was elected as a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA and on November 26th, 2004, he was elected as a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences, Trieste, Italy now renamed as the Academy of Sciences for the Developing Nations, in November 2004.

Dr. Nair was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, USA in recognition and appreciation for his outstanding contribution to Public Health Education for Vibrio cholerae and Cholera in March 1994. On January 5, 1998 he was awarded the Professor S.C. Mahalanobis Memorial Award from the Physiological Society of India and delivered the Memorial Oration at the Indian Science Congress at Hyderabad. He was awarded the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar for Medical Sciences in 1998 for his contributions, which lead to the discovery of the new cholera causing serogroup now globally known as Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal and for his contributions on describing a cell-rounding factor from strains of Vibrio cholerae.

Dr. Nair is on the Editorial Board of several national and international Microbiology Journals including the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (Publication of the American Society of Microbiology), Under the supervision of Dr. Nair, 25 students have obtained their doctoral degrees. He is the author of over 400 research papers in the area of Clinical Microbiology, Molecular Epidemiology and Molecular Pathogenesis of enteric bacteria.

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