Rediscover STEAM
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Rediscover STEAM

Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Director of Indian Statistical Institute

Dr. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay was born in 1968. Her passion for biology came from her desire to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie cancer and she was fortunate enough to always have her parents’ support in all her endeavors. She began shattering expectations and stereotypes when obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics at Presidency College, Kolkata. She went on to obtain another Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from Rajabazar Science College at the age of 24. Next, she received her Master’s degree from the highly prestigious and selective Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, and finally a PhD at the very institute that she would become the first woman director of in the future: the Indian Statistical Institute. After she received her PhD, she began working at the Indian Statistical Institute as a member of the Machine Intelligence Unit.

Dr. Bandyopadhyay has studied a number of fields, which include soft and evolutionary computation, computational biology and bioinformatics, pattern recognition and data mining. She has made numerous contributions to each of the aforementioned fields, publishing over 300 research articles in internationally-renowned scientific journals. In addition to this, Dr. Bandyopadhyay has authored, edited and published six books in collaboration with respected publishers such as Springer, World Scientific, and Wiley. Her work has shaped the research of thousands and has been cited over 16,000 times with nearly half of these citations occurring within the last five years.

Her most influential and consequential work is the innovative design of new computer algorithms that allow researchers to rapidly determine patterns in enormous data sets. In today’s context, this is especially important as instruments, sequencers, and information networks come up with massive amounts of data that require quick and thorough analysis in order to aid health and social services and make scientific breakthroughs. The algorithm is used for selecting genes, determining protein modules, and even clustering of microarray data. Researchers using these algorithms have detected water contamination, identified a new genetic marker for breast cancer and predicted the regulation of microRNAs, specifically for the analysed tissue. It was this work that won her the Infosys Prize in Engineering and Computer Science in 2017.

She is also one of the very few women that have won the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Engineering Sciences, and Bandyopadhyay received the Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal, the Young Scientist Awards of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), the Young Engineer Award of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), the Swarnajayanti fellowship, the J. C. Bose Fellowship from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship from Germany.

As the director of the Indian Statical Institute, she currently oversees the running of its five centers and other statistical quality control and operation research units throughout India. She holds one of the highest honors a scientist can hold: a position on the Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council of the Prime Minister of India (PM-STIAC). Despite her numerous achievements, Dr. Bandyopadhyay said, “What makes me happiest is that my ten year old son is so proud of my achievement.” She wants to ensure that more scholars will pursue research and continues to pave the way for women in STEM in India.

by Raina Talwar Bhatia

References

2020 Infosys Limited. (2017). Laureates 2017. Infosys Prize. https://www.infosys-science-foundation.com/prize/laureates/2017/sanghamitra-bandyopadhyay.asp

Google Scholar. (2020). ‪Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay‬ — ‪Google Scholar‬. https://scholar.google.co.in/citations?user=mHrEBuUAAAAJ&hl=en

Indian Statistical Institute. (2014). Home page of Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay. https://www.isical.ac.in/~sanghami/

Technology For You. (2019, September 16). Dr. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, inducted as member of the board of governors of NIE University. Technology For You | TECH | Careers | WEB & PRINT. https://www.technologyforyou.org/dr-sanghamitra-bandyopadhyay-inducted-as-member-of-the-board-of-governors-of-nie-university/

Institute of Mathematical Statistics. (2016, March 31). Profile: Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay. Institute of Mathematical Statistics | Fostering the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability. https://imstat.org/2016/03/31/profile-sanghamitra-bandyopadhyay/

The Times of India. (2010, September 29). I’m happiest because my son is proud of my achievement’. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Im-happiest-because-my-son-is-proud-of-my-achievement/articleshow/6647659.cms

Menon, Ajitha. “India’s Brave New Women Scientists.” The Better India. Last modified February 4, 2011. https://www.thebetterindia.com/2408/indias-brave-new-women-scientists/

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