Madhusudan Kanungo did his BSc (Hons) (1949) and MSc (Zoology) (1951) from Utkal and Lucknow Universities, respectively, and was a Lecturer in Ravenshaw College, Cuttack (1952-60). He worked on physiology of heart of scorpion and published in Nature that earned him a Fellowship (1956-59) from University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, USA, for doing PhD under the famous Physiologist, Professor CL Prosser. He worked on Biochemical adaptation of goldfish to temperature , and studied the Krebs cycle enzymes during PhD. He became Reader in Utkal University (1961) and then joined Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1962. He was Head of Zoology Department for two terms in BHU, and Dean of Faculty of Science. He was a Visiting Professor of Biology and Biochemistry in West Virginia University, USA (1978). He superannuated in 1987. He was INSA Senior Scientist during 1995-99.
Academic and Research Achievements: Kanungo was responsible for introducing experimental courses like physiology and biochemistry that helped the Zoology Department of BHU to become the Centre of Advance Studies by UGC. A pioneer in biology of aging, he visualized the problem of rapidly increasing numbers of elderly, and took up the problem of aging for research since 1964 and made fundamental contributions to biology of aging including the Gene regulation theory of aging. He taught genetic engineering and neurobiology and did research on molecular biology of aging of the brain. He had published over 150 papers in reputed international journals, and two books on aging entitled, Biochemistry of Aging (Academic Press, 1980; translated into Russian) and Genes and Aging (Cambridge Univ Press, 1994) and supervised thirty-three students for their PhD.
Other Contributions: Kanungo founded an Association of Gerontology India (AGI) in 1982, was its President (1981-88) and then Patron. He established an Institute of Life Sciences in Bhubaneswar (1990) under Government of Orissa, and was its Founder Director. He was a member of National Council for Older Persons of Government of India under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (1999-2004). He was the Member Secretary of the high level committee of Government of India to look into the working of ICAR. He was President of India's nominee for selections in Aligarh Muslim University. Kanungo served the committee on Health of Elderly Persons of WHO (1984-89) and the Council of International Association of Gerontology (IAG) (1984-89) as a member. He served on Editorial Boards of three international journals on Aging.
Awards and Honours: Professor Kanungo was awarded SS Bhatnagar Prize (1971), National Fellowship of UGC (1976-77), Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1987-89), INSA Golden Jubilee Commemoration Medal (1992), FICCI Award (1989), Sir Sri Ram Memorial Oration Award of National Academy of Medical Sciences (1998), Rotary Centennial Honour (2005) and Padma Shri (2005). He received 3rd Age Award of IAG in Acapulco, Mexico. He was a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1975), National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1989) and National Academy of Medical Science (1996).