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Google Doodle Pays Tribute To Dr Kamal Ranadive, Pioneer Indian Cell Biologist On Her 104th Birthday

Dr. Kamal Ranadive was a pioneer in the field of cancer research and women's and children's healthcare in tribal areas, and the founder of Indian Women Scientists' Association (IWSA), that continues to support women in India's scientific and technology fields.

Dr. Kamal Ranadive was a pioneer in the field of cancer research and women’s and children’s healthcare in tribal areas, and the founder of Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA), that continues to support women in India’s scientific and technology fields.

Yesterday’s Google doodle honoured Dr. Kamal Ranadive, on the occasion of her 104th birthday.

The doodle has been designed by India-based illustrator and art director Ibrahim Rayintakath and depicts Dr Ranadive in a blue coat looking through a microscope.

Dr Kamal Ranadive is most recognised for her ground-breaking discovery in cancer research. She was the first recipient of the silver jubilee research award for her phenomenal contributions to the field of cancer research and in 1982, she was given the Padma Bhushan for services to medicine.

A trailblazer for women in science

Kamal was born in Pune on 8 November 1917, during the times when girls were deprived of education and were married off at a very young age, Born Kamal Samarth, she was determined to study and complete her education. She studied Botany and Zoology at Fergusson College and in 1943 she moved to the Agriculture College at Pune, where she worked on the ‘Cytogenetics of Annonaceae’ for her master’s degree.

She earned her doctorate from Bombay University and she was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship to study tissue culture techniques in 1949. Kamal returned to India after her fellowship and re-joined the ICRC (Indian Cancer Research Centre) as a Senior Research Officer. At ICRC, her crucial discovery in the Experimental Biology Laboratory paved way for India’s first Tissue Culture Laboratory.

Randive’s remarkable accomplishments have paved the way for generations of Indian women to turn their dreams in science and technology into reality. She was a trailblazer who went on to become one of the key figures in the cancer research especially in an era when few Indian girls could dream of schooling since they had little choice but to limit themselves to being housewives.

True leadership that took others along with her

And Dr Randive’s ground-breaking ascent did not stop there, Kamal and her fellow scientist acknowledged the need to establish organisations for less privileged women so the women could pursue their career in science. Kamal had a distinct feeling that they wouldn’t be able to defy the patriarchal standards unless they put together a group of like-minded female scientists. And thus in the year 1973 Dr Randive along with her 11 colleagues established Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA) where she strived to improve the health of tribal women and children.

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IWSA promoted women’s scientific achievements by understanding women’s scientific issues and acting as a voice for women in science and technology. In India, the IWSA now has 11 branches and offers scholarships and childcare to women in science. Ranadive’s dedication to women’s health and education has impacted several women to pursue their career in science.

Even during her final years, she only worked for the betterment of tribal women and children.

Groundbreaking research in cancer

She served as the ICRC’s acting Director from 1966 to 1970.She supervised a team of biologists and served as an inspiring teacher to them. As a result of this, she went on to develop new research units in carcinogenesis, cell biology, and immunology.

Her research on the pathophysiology of cancer using animal models led to a better understanding of the causes of leukaemia, breast cancer, and oesophageal cancer. Not only that, she was one of the first scientist to notice the link between cancer susceptibility and the connection of hormones. Her research on leprosy bacteria eventually led to the development of a leprosy vaccine. She has produced nearly 200 scientific research publications on cancer and leprosy during her career.

Even after her retirement, Kamal worked with Satya Niketan, a non-profit organisation to understand the nutritional status of tribal children in the Akola taluka of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra.

Dr. Kamal Ranadive, who valiantly made several ground-breaking discoveries, played a leading role in women’s and children’s healthcare in tribal areas, and founded a crucial organisation that continues to support women in India’s scientific and technology fields. Her outstanding scholarly and social accomplishments continues to inspire several women.

Image source: Indian Academy of Sciences and Google Doodle


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