An Interview with Dr C Durga Rao

An Interview with Dr C Durga Rao


  • Post By : Microbioz India
  • Source:
  • Date: 09 September, 2015


Microbioz India team performed an interview with an eminent scientist from Indian Institute of Science, (IISc)-Bangalore, India named C.Durga Rao, Ph.D. working as Professor in Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology.Here are few interesting lines of interview with him.

Microbioz team : Why you chose MICROBIOLOGY as a career?

Dr. Rao : Fate and nature’s decision.

Microbioz team : What is the favorite part of your current job and why is it your favourate part?

Dr. Rao : Doing experiments at the bench.

Microbioz team : How would your background and experiences strengthen this academic department?

Dr. Rao : With enormous experience, made significant discoveries, which are of public health importance.

Microbioz team : Which skills have you acquired in your present or previous positions that make you competitive for this position?

Dr. Rao : Developing a new and unexplored area of research from scratch—epidemiology to translational research to fundamental biology of viruses.

Microbioz team : What do you consider is the most important contribution your academic experiences have made to this organization? What was your role?

Dr. Rao : Our research on rotavirus and enterovirus contributed to the understanding of 2 important viral diseases in India and brought recognition to the Institute and the country.We started work on rotavirus not by choice, but was chosen because of the the poor funding situation for research in India during late 1980s and early 1990s, as I could not continue with the with the area of my choice- Molecular and cellular biology, due to lack of funds. The obvious choice was to work on areas of public health importance on which there was very little information in the country. I chose Rotavirus as it is the major cause of infantile diarrhea and death in India and other developing countries. In the course of our research, we discovered novel naturally evolved attenuated rotaviruses in newborn children, which are a combination of human and bovine rotaviruses. We are the first to show that these viruses evolved as a result of our traditions and extensive use of cattle waste and socioeconomic conditions, and the dominance of the specific bovine rotavirus serotype in Indian cattle. A major finding was that these viruses were totally attenuated in children and were tested as potential vaccine candidates. We played an important role in the development of the indigenous rotavirus vaccine in India. We have also contributed significantly to fundamental research on rotavirus.

Another important area of research is on Enteroviruses. Though India was declared polio-free for the last 3 years, more than 60,000 paralysis cases are being reported each year in India. But there is no knowledge on the possible causative agents of the cute flaccid paralysis in children in India. Furhter, as enteroviruses replicate in the intestine, it is not known whether they cause diarrhea in humans, especially in children. Since there is no knowledge on non-polio enteroviruses in India, we again embarked on research on these viruses from the scratch, from epidemiology . In collaboration with Polio surveillance centre, we showed that non-polio enteroviruses were associated with 35-40% of the acute paralysis cases in India and identified 66 serotypes in these children. In a span of just 6 years, we have developed all the reagents and methodologies to study these viruses and showed that besides their role in paralysis, non-polio enteroviruses are major causative agents of acute diarrhea, persistent diarrhea and a new clinical symptom, which we termed as Non-diarrheal Increased Frequency of Bowel Movements (IFoBM-ND). Further we demonstrated the diarrhea inducing potential of these viruses in a newborn mouse model, thus fulfilling Koch’s postulates. These new findings are attracting international attention.

Microbioz team : Mention few points for Microbioz India magazines and suggest me few points which help to write success history for this magazines.

Dr.Rao : I was not aware of Microbioz magazines until you have contacted me. Upon going through some of them, I realize the magazine is doing a good job in bringing some issues related to microbes and diseases to the notice of youngsters and other readers. I am not sure about the reader base for this magazine. I hope it will become a very popular magazine.

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