NK Notani obtained his PhD (1957) from Purdue University, USA specializing in genetics, radiation biology and environmental mutagenesis. He served as the Visiting Professor, University of Tennessee, USA; Senior Foreign Scientist Fellow; National Science Foundation (USA); FAO/IAEA Fellow, University of Cornell and University of Wisconsin; Director, Biomedical Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay and INSA Senior Scientist (1990-93).
Academic and Research Achievements:Notani had shown the mechanism of transformation in bacterium Haemophilus influenzae to be through integration of single-stranded segments of input DNA into the homologous regions of resident chromosome; cloned two DNA repair genes; isolated and characterized a large, linear plasmid from Streptomyces rhimosus; analyzed a genetically unstable region in Streptomyces lividans; proposed an excision mechanism for maize transposable elements; transferred three DNA sequences including bar gene (resistance to herbicide Bialaphos) to tobacco and obtained true-breeding transgenic (harbicide-resistant) plants. Notani studied the mechanism of low dose radiation effects at molecular level, and attempted to identify commonalities between the mechanisms involved in progressive of induced lesions in DNA, and their repair or conversion to observed mutations. He initiated studies for identification of genetic disorders, and characterization of mutants of such genetic defects found among the Indian population.
Others Contributions:Notani was the Member, Council of International Cell Research Organization (UNESCO), Paris; Member, INSA Council (1987-89); Vice-President, International Association of Environmental Mutagen Societies; India’s Representative on UN Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation and Member, International Commission for Protection against Environmental Mutagens and Carcinogens. He also edited Mutation Research.
Awards and Honours:Notani was the recipient of BC Guha Memorial Lecture Award (INSA) (1990), Manjrekar Memorial Lecture, Dr SR Vyas Memorial Lecture (AMI, Annamalai) (1990), Professor GK Kane Lecture (University of Bombay) (1991) and TK Gajjar Lectures (Gujarat University, Ahmedabad) (1991). He was the Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Maharashtra Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (India). He was an Elected Member, Human Genome Organization.