Manayath Damodaran, who specialized in biochemistry, earned his DSc (1932) at the University of London. He held the position of Reader and Professor of Biochemistry, University of Madras between 1932 and 1948. He then moved to the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune where he was Head, Biochemistry Division and Deputy Director from 1948 to 1956.
Academic and Research Achievements: Damodaran established the first direct proof of the ‘amide hypothesis’ in proteins by isolating asparagine and glutamine from enzymatic digests of edestin and gliadin respectively – a seminal research which gained him the doctorate of the University of London. He isolated proteins from cashewnut and water-melon seeds, canavanine from Canavalia obtusifolia, and 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine from Mucuna pruriens seeds. He demonstrated for the first time the presence of glutamic dehydrogenase in germinated seedlings. He also isolated an active strain of Aspergillus niger for producing citric acid from sugar.