Google Doodle honours India cell biologist Kamal Ranadive on her Birth Anniversary

Google on Monday dedicated a doodle to Indian cell biologist Dr. Kamal Ranadive to mark her 104th birth anniversary. Ranadive is best known for her groundbreaking cancer research and devotion to creating a more equitable society through science and education.

The doodle, illustrated by India-based artist Ibrahim Rayintakath, shows Dr. Ranadive looking at a microscope.

Born on 8 November 1917, in Pune, Kamal was a very bright student from childhood. Her father being a biologist wanted her to study medicine, but she decided otherwise. She attended Fergusson College with Botany and Zoology as her subjects and earned her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree with distinction in 1934. After completing her master's degree (M.Sc.) in 1943 with Cytogenetics of Annonaceae as the special subject; Ranadive, in 1949 received a doctorate in cytology, the study of cells, while working as a researcher in the Indian Cancer Research Center (ICRC).

After a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, to work on tissue culture techniques and work with George Gey - she returned to Mumbai (then Bombay) and the ICRC, where she established the country’s first tissue culture laboratory.

She was instrumental in establishing the Experimental Biology Laboratory and Tissue Culture Laboratory in Bombay. From 1966 to 1970 she had assumed the mantle of the Director of the Indian Cancer Research Centre in an acting capacity.

She was also responsible for establishing new research units in Carcinogenesis, Cell Biology, and Immunology. Her career achievements include research on the pathophysiology of cancer through the medium of animals which led to a further appreciation of causes of diseases such as leukemia, breast cancer, and Oesophageal Cancer. Another notable achievement was in establishing a link to the susceptibility of cancer and hormones and tumor virus relationship.

Ranadive 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.

“Ranadive also encouraged students and Indian scholars abroad to return to India and put their knowledge to work for their communities. After retiring in 1989, Dr. Ranadive 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,” Google wrote in a statement.

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