Uma Prasanna Basu completed his DSc in 1935 from the University of Calcutta. His areas of specialization were organic chemistry and natural products. Basu was the Chief Chemist and Officer-in-Charge, Research Laboratory, Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd., Kolkata and Director, Bengal Immunity Research Institute, Kolkata.
Academic and Research Achievements: Basu synthesized some B-hexahydroisoquinolines for which he adopted the Guareschi synthesis of pyridines and its modification by Knoevenagel and Fries. His research on drugs and chemotherapy was aimed at developing potent antimalarials with the synthesis of a large number of new acridine derivatives. Basu's wok on the isolation and structural elucidation of plant principles from (i) Centella asiatica (isothankunic acid, thankunic acid, asiatic acid, thankuniside and isothankuniside) and (ii) Bacopa monniera (monnierin) and ephedrine from Sida species deserves special mention. He isolated pharmacologically active principles from Rauvolfia serpentina and active principles containing hyoscyamine and those known to contain antifertility principles. He also worked on organometallic compounds.
Other Contributions: Basu served on the INSA Council from 1956 to 1958.
Awards and Honours: Uma Prasanna Basu won the Nagarjuna Prize and earned a Gold Medal (University of Calcutta); Mouat Medal (1938), the HK Sen Memorial Medal (Institution of Chemists) and the Acharya PC Ray Memorial Medal (Indian Pharmaceutical Association). He was the President, Chemistry Section, Indian Science Congress (1952-53). He was a Member of the Indian Chemical Society, Institution of Chemists, India, the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science and the Asiatic Society.