Google celebrates 104th birth anniversary of pioneering Indian cell biologist Kamal Ranadive with a doodle

Google celebrates 104th birth anniversary of pioneering Indian cell biologist Kamal Ranadive with a doodle

New Delhi, November 8, 2021

Internet search engine Google today celebrated the 104th birth anniversary of Indian cell biologist Kamal Ranadive, known for her pioneering work in cancer research and contribution to developing a vaccine to treat leprosy.

The doodle shows Dr Ranadive in a laboratory setting, adjusting a microscope to analyse samples. The illustrator, India-based guest artist Ibrahim Rayintakath, said he wanted to make a piece that was lively to look at, matching Kamal's personality and highlighting her field of achievements. He used lab aesthetics from the late 20th century and the microscopic world of cells related to leprosy and cancer.

Born on this day in 1917 in Pune as Kamal Samarth, Dr Ranadive excelled in academics. While her father wanted her to pursue a medical education, she found her calling in biology. In 1949, she received a doctorate in cytology, the study of cells, while working as a researcher in the Indian Cancer Research Centre (ICRC). After a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, she returned to Mumbai and the ICRC, where she established the country’s first tissue culture laboratory, Google said.

As the director of the ICRC and a pioneer in animal modelling of cancer development, she was among the first researchers in India to propose a link between breast cancer and heredity and to identify the links among cancers and certain viruses. Continuing this trailblazing work, she studied Mycobacterium leprae, the bacterium that causes leprosy, and aided in developing a vaccine. In 1973, Dr Ranadive and 11 colleagues founded the Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA) to support women in scientific fields.

She fervently encouraged students and Indian scholars abroad to return to India and put their knowledge to work for their communities. After retiring in 1989, she worked in rural communities in Maharashtra, training women as healthcare workers and providing health and nutrition education. The IWSA now has 11 chapters in India and provides scholarships and childcare options for women in science.

"Dr Ranadive’s dedication to health justice and education remains influential to her students who work as scientists today," Google said.


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