Dinakar Mashnu Salunke obtained BSc (1976) and MSc (1978) from Karnatak University, Dharwad, and PhD (1983) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He worked as Postdoctoral Fellow (1985-88) with Professor DLD Caspar at the Brandeis University, Waltham and delineated self-regulated assembly mechanisms of large viruses. Since 1988, he has been leading the Structural Biology Group at the National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: The main theme of Salunke's research is understanding the physiological processes of self-nonself discrimination in terms of physico-chemical principles of molecular interactions. He proposed a novel way of enhancing antibody repertoire and contributed to the evolving paradigm shift in immune recognition. He provided molecular insights into the functional mimicry in the context of immune response. While his analyses, involving carbohydrate-porphyrin mimicry, provided possible mechanistic understanding of the molecular pathology of porphyria, the work addressing carbohydrate-peptide mimicry resulted in important conceptual leads towards design and development of new generation of vaccines. He also mentored more than 35 doctoral and postdoctoral students.
Awards and Honours: Dr Salunke was conferred the National Bioscience Award (1999), SS Bhatnagar Prize (2000), Ranbaxy Research Award (2002), JC Bose National Fellowship (2007), Professor GN Ramachandran 60th Birthday Commemoration Medal (2009) and SK Mitra Birth Centenary Gold Medal (2009). He delivered several distinguished lectures including the Mansi Ram Memorial Lecture (2008), Dr AT Varute Memorial Oration (2005), Dr CR Krishnamurti Oration (2004) and Professor RC Shah Memorial Lecture (2000). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.