London:Krishnaraj Rajalingam, a molecular biologist from Tamil Nadu, has won a prestigious and highly competitive award from the German Research Foundation.
The 30-year-old scientist, working at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, has been chosen for the 1.3 million Euros award, it was officially stated on 1 October.
The German Research Foundation selects outstanding young scientists in all disciplines every year and supports them to establish their independent research teams to rapidly qualify for leading positions in science and research in Germany.
With this award, Rajalingam, born in Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu, can now establish a fully independent research team anywhere in Germany for the next five years.
The major focus of his research is on understanding Programmed Cell Death, a special form of cell death which plays a crucial role in normal development and homeostasis of almost all multi-cellular organisms. Defects in cell death can lead to dire consequences ranging from cancer to neuro-degenerative disorders.
Rajalingam and his team investigate how cell death signalling is orchestrated in normal and tumor cells and try to characterize the role of several crucial genes which play a role during programme cell death. Understanding the molecular machinery of cell death in detail will enable the scientists to develop rational drugs against various pathological conditions including cancer.
Rajalingam studied Masters in Life Sciences from Bharathidasan University in Thiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.
After his masters, he did his doctoral thesis in the well-known Max Planck Institute for Infections Biology in Berlin, Germany. Since 2006, Rajalingam is working as a junior group leader at the University of Wuerzburg.