Who was Dr Kamal Ranadive, why Google has made her doodle?

It is a proud moment for us that on 8th November 2021, Search engine giant, Google, is celebrating the 104th birth anniversary of Indian cell biologist Dr Kamal Ranadive with an artistic doodle.

Her inventiveness, Research-driven creativity and achievements are so splendid that she truly deserves this honour. This artistic Doodle of the great Indian biologist is illustrated by India-based guest artist Ibrahim Rayintakath. Dr Ranadive is known for her groundbreaking cancer research and devotion to creating a reasonable & fair society through science and education. Dr Ranadive 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, Ranadive studied Mycobacterium leprae, the bacterium that causes leprosy, and aided in developing a vaccine.

Dr Kamal was born in Pune, India on 8 November 1917. She was a proud daughter of Dinkar Dattatreya Samarth and Shantabai Dinkar Samarth.

She completed her schooling at H.H.C.P. High School, Huzurpaga, college from Fergusson College with Botany and Zoology stream. Since the beginning, she was a meritorious student. She was awarded a doctorate degree in cytology, the study of cells while working as a researcher in the Indian Cancer Research Center (ICRC). She got a Postdoctoral fellowship on tissue culture techniques at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. There She got an opportunity to work with George Gey (famous for his laboratory innovation) in his laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

She was married J. T. Ranadive, a mathematician on 13 May 1939 and moved back to Bombay. They had a son, named Anil Jaysingh.

She belongs to a well-educated family. Her father was a biologist who taught at Fergusson College, Pune. Her father wanted her to study medicine and also marry a doctor, but she has her own plans.

After returning back from Johns Hopkins University to Bombay (now known as Mumbai), she started working at the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital. While working with Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital Bombay in the department of pathology, she reported on the research studies on the “Comparative morphology of normal mammary glands of four strains of mice varying in their susceptibility to breast cancer.

She rejoined ICRC as a Senior Research Officer and actively participated 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.

In 1973, Dr Ranadive and 11 colleagues founded the Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA) to support women in scientific fields.

She had great respect for her country. She always encouraged students and Indian scholars abroad to return to India and put their knowledge to work for their communities. Dr Ranadive herself 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. Her dedication towards healthcare research, health education and community health awareness will always remain influential to the coming generations looking to contribute to the health care research sector.

Dr Ranadive was awarded the Padma Bhusan, the third-highest civilian award, for Medicine, in 1982. She was also awarded the first Silver Jubilee Research Award 1964 of the Medical Council of India, G. J. Watumull Foundation Prize and several other prestigious awards. More than 200 scientific research papers on cancer and leprosy were published by her.

The honour accorded by Google to the story of this great Indian cell biologist is commendable.

She breathed her last on April 11, 2001, at the age of 83 years.

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