Infosys Awards

Dr. Yamuna Krishnan received the 2017 Infosys Prize Jan. 10 for her work in DNA architecture. (University of Chicago photo) 

BENGALURU — An Indian American professor was among six eminent academicians to be honored with the Infosys Science Foundation Award, conferred Jan. 10 by the global software major.

The Infosys Prize 2017 was given to academicians selected Nov. 15 last year by a jury of renowned scientists in fields including engineering and computer science, humanities, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences and social sciences, and comprised a purse of Rs. 65 lakh, a 22-carat gold medallion and a citation certificate.

Nobel laureate Kip S. Thorne, professor emeritus at California Institute of Technology, handed out the prizes at an event here in the presence of the IT major's four co-founders N.R. Naryana Murthy, Executive Chairman Nandan Nilekani, former Chief Executive S. Gopalakrishnan and K. Dinesh.

The winners are Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, director, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, in Engineering and Computer Science; Upinder Singh Bhalla, professor, National Center for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, in Life Sciences; and Ritabrata Munshi, professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, in Mathematical Sciences.

In Physical Sciences, the winner is Indian American Yamuna Krishnan, professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago. Lawrence Liang, professor, School of Law, Ambedkar University, New Delhi, won the award in the Social Sciences category, and Ananya Jahanara Kabir, professor of English Literature, King's College London, won in the Humanities category.

Bandyopadhyay was selected for her record in algorithmic optimization and its impact on biological data analysis.

"Her discoveries include a genetic marker for breast cancer, determination of co-occurrence of HIV and cancers and the role of white cells in Alzheimer's disease," said the Foundation in a statement.

Bhalla was chosen for pioneering contribution to the understanding of the brain's computational machinery.

"Bhalla's investigations has revealed essential neuronal computations that underlie the ability to acquire, integrate and store complex sensory information and to utilize that information for decision and action," the statement said.

Munshi won for his outstanding contributions to analytic aspects of number theory.

"Besides ingenious contributions to the Diophantine problem, Munshi has established important estimates known as sub-convexity bounds for a large class of L-functions with methods that are powerful and original," it said.

Krishnan was awarded for her ground-breaking work in the emerging field of DNA architecture.

"By manipulating DNA, the building blocks of life, to create biocompatible nanomachines, Krishnan created novel ways of interrogating living systems, increasing our knowledge of cell function and getting one step closer to answering unresolved biomedical questions," the statement said.

Liang was selected for creative scholarship on law and society.

"His prodigious output in copyright law, digital technologies and media and popular culture raises probing questions about the nature of freedom, rights and social development. His provocative answers link historical context and ethical practice in unexpected and illuminating ways," added the statement.

Kabir won for her original explorations of the historical elements – conceptual, social and cultural – in colonial modernity and her subtle and insightful ethnography of cultural and political life in Kashmir.

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