Nagarur Gopinath obtained MS (General) (1959) and MS (Cardiothoracic) (1960) from the University of Madras. His area of specialization was cardio thoracic vascular surgery. He was the Head, Department of Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Christian Medical College, Vellore (1960-64); Professor and Head, Department of Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgery (1964-82) and Emeritus Professor All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: Gopinath performed the first successful open heart surgery in India in 1962, besides pioneering surgery for rheumatic heart disease and implantation of cardiac pacemakers. Earlier, in 1952 his work heralded the birth of thoracic surgery in India and his lifelong involvement with research. He recognized the entity of juvenile mitral stenosis, and elaborated on its clinicopathological features and management. He studied the microanatomy of the aortic valve and later helped establish a human and animal heart valve bank at AIIMS. Later on his interest shifted to preventive cardiology. Starting with an epidemiological study of coronary artery disease, he studied its pathogenesis, and the role of nutrition and antioxidants in its modulation.This remained his passionate research interest till the last days of his life. He was the recipient of a fellowship of the National Science Foundation, USA to visit and exchange views with cardiovascular surgeons there and was invited to be a Visiting Professor to Stanford University, USA.
Other contributions: Gopinath is responsible for establishing the Cardiothoracic Centre and All India Institute of Medical Sciences and after superannuation created another institution – the Sitaram Bhartiya Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi. He was a Member of INSA Council (1985-87).
Awards and Honours: Gopinath was recipient of Padma Shri (1974) and BC Roy Award (1978) and Honorary Surgeon to two Presidents of India. He was a Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) and C Walton and Richard Lillehei Surgical Society (USA).