Thanumalayaperumal Subramoniam earned his BSc and MSc degrees from Madras University, after which he worked on a problem related to fat body metabolism in millipedes under the guidance of Professor G Krishnan and obtained his PhD (1970) from the same University. He changed his field of research to crustacean reproductive biology and obtained DSc (1986) from Madras University. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Bodega Marine Laboratory, California University, USA and worked on sperm-egg interaction in marine shrimp. After joining Faculty in the Department of Zoology, University of Madras (1973), he established the Unit for Invertebrate Reproduction there, and also worked as Professor and Head, Zoology, also Dean of Research, and Coordinator, Biotechnology Department.
Academic and Research Achievements: Subramoniam carried out studies on various aspects of gamete biology and endocrine mechanisms regulating gamete maturation, mainly in marine crustaceans. His pioneering research on sex reversal in a sand crab and spermatophores of various crustaceans earned him ample recognition in the field. He founded a cryobiology laboratory in the Zoology Department to cryopreserve gametes and shrimp embryos using techniques involving programmable freezer, cryomicroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. He continued to work on vitellogenesis and its hormonal regulation of several aquaculture targeted decapod crustaceans. His investigations on elucidating the primary structure of vitellogenin as well as its immunological relatedness with mammalian LDL, together with his finding that crab vitellogenin receptor is immunologically related to LDLR, shed new light on the theory that vertebrate lipid transfer lipoproteins such as LDL have taken origin from invertebrate vitellogenins. His work on crustacean reproduction and endocrinology, as well as cryopreservation of spermatophores and nauplius larvae has great relevance to aquaculture of these edible invertebrates in India.
Other Contributions: Subramoniam trained 37 PhD students in invertebrate reproductive biology and is largely responsible for initiating research on invertebrate reproduction in south Indian universities and fisheries research stations such as CMFRI and CIBA.
Awards and Honours: Professor Subramoniam received NAGA award from ICLARM, Manila, Philipines (1995); JC Bose Award by UGC (1996); Best Scientist Award from Tamilnadu Science and Technology (1998); Chandrakala Hora Memorial Award by INSA (2002); and Professor Har Swarup Lecture Award by INSA (2008). He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1995) and Indian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (1996).