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Obituary: Indira Nath 1938-2021

The ISN was saddened to learn of the death of Professor Indira Nath on October 24, 2021.

Prof. Nath was an award-winning immunologist. She graduated with an M.B.B.S from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where she later founded and headed the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Early in her career, Prof. Nath worked and trained in the UK, specializing in immunology and infectious diseases, especially leprosy. She then returned to India, keen to play a role in building up research initiatives there. Her work considerably advanced knowledge of cellular immune responses and nerve damage in human leprosy and leprosy bacillus markers, leading, more widely, to diagnostic, immunotherapy, and antigen tools for clinical investigations.

Prof. Nath mentored many students during her career and made significant contributions to education, medical and science policies, and addressing challenges encountered by women in science. Her achievements were recognized with several awards, notably the Padma Shri for distinguished service – one of the highest civilian orders in India, and the Chevalier Ordre National du Merite in France.

Prof. Nath continued to work at AIIMS as a research and visiting professor after her retirement in 1998. Until recently, she worked on various committees and gracefully accepted ISN’s invitation to deliver a plenary lecture during WCN’22.

The ISN mourns her loss and offers its deepest sympathies to her family, colleagues, and friends.

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