Indian American Professor at Cal State Northridge Chhandak Basu received the Hind Rattan Award in New Delhi from Meira Kumar, speaker of the Lok Sabha. (photo provided)

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Dr. Chhandak Basu, associate professor in the department of biology at California State University, Northridge, was conferred the Hind Rattan Award Jan. 25 by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, in New Delhi. 

The award, which is given annually to about 25 NRIs from diverse backgrounds, including educators, researchers, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc., was given to Basu for his research on the development of biofuel and biodiesel in plants and microbes, according to a press release. His lab has developed genetically engineered microbes that produce novel biofuel-like compounds. Known as ‘green energy’ and produced in living cells, biofuels are renewable unlike fossil fuels.

Basu also works on gene expression in plants. Using next-generation sequencing technology, his lab studies genes that are up or down regulated in plants under various environmental conditions. “The ultimate goal of the project is to clone some of these stress-induced genes and genetically transform agriculturally important crops to make crops stress-tolerant,” the Indian American researcher said.

The plant molecular biologist was born and brought up in Kolkata. After earning his bachelor’s in agriculture from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, West Bengal, he came to the U.S. for his master’s degree from Montana State University and then received a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island. He then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tennessee. Now at CSUN, a press statement said he has been consistently ranked by his peers and students as one of the best teachers on campus.

Basu has made presentations at numerous scientific conferences, been published in several journals, including Science Magazine. His work has also been featured across media channels like Discovery.

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