Leading scientist Obaid Siddiqui dead

Bangalore, July 27: Obaid Siddiqi, Nat Research Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) died in Bangalore following a road accident on 21st July, which caused him severe brain injuries.

"He breathed his last in a city hospital," National Centre for Biological Sciences-TIFR official Avinash Chinchure said.

Siddiqi is survived by his wife Asiya, sons Imran and Kaleem, and daughters Yumna and Diba, National Centre for Biological Sciences-TIFR, said in a statement on Friday.

Siddiqi, born in 1932 in Uttar Pradesh, received his early education at Aligarh Muslim University.

He obtained his Phd from the University of Glasgow, working on microbial genetics with Guido Pontecorvo.

He carried out post-doctoral research with Alan Garen at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and University of Pennsylvania.

"This work led to the discovery of stop codons in the genetic code and the mechanism of chain termination during protein synthesis," the statement said.

In 1962, at the invitation of Homi Bhabha, he set up the Molecular Biology Unit at TIFR in Mumbai.

The formation of this unit is widely regarded as a transformational event in the landscape of modern biology research in India.

Thirty years later, he became the founding director of the TIFR National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, the statement said.

In 1980s, Siddiqi and his students at TIFR, Mumbai, carried out pioneering work on the genetic basis of taste and smell in Drosophila.

"These discoveries paved the way for the modern understanding of how senses such as taste and smell are detected and encoded in the brain," it added.

Siddiqi was an elected member of the Royal Society, London (FRS), US National Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences, Trieste, the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (President 1986-89), National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, and Maharashtra Academy of Sciences.

He has been honoured with Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Bhatnagar Prize, INSA Golden Jubilee Medal, Birla Samarak Kosh National Award, Goyal Foundation Prize, Aryabhatta Medal by INSA, Bhasin Foundation Prize, Science Congress Plaque of Honours, BC Roy Award for Biomedical Research and Firodia Award for Basic Sciences.

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