Veerappan Muthukaruppan earned his BSc (Hons) with first rank and MSc in Zoology from Annamalai University, after which he served the same University as a Lecturer. Subsequently he worked as Research Assistant (1961-65) in the Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, from where he obtained his PhD degree (1965). On returning to India, he first joined Annamalai University and then moved over to Madurai Kamaraj University (1970) and started the Department of Immunology, offering teaching and research programme in Immunology, the first of its kind in Indian Universities. Muthukkaruppan served as Vice-Chancellor (1994-97) of Bharathidasan University, Tamil Nadu.
Academic and Research Achievements: Muthukkaruppan's Ph.D thesis on the phenomenon of lens induction and differentiation in vitro has appeared as cover picture in Investigative Ophthalmogy and Visual Sciences. This classical finding has also been included in Text Books on Development Biology and is still very much significant to his present research in eye diseases. He has started a major research progamme in Annamalai University with a grant from National Institutes of Health, USA to study the development and function of immune system in the Lizard. This pioneering work was also published as a chapter in Treatise on Reticuloendothelial System. Subsequently his major research activities were in the area of Immunology of Leprosy and Typhoid. On the basis of his studies using well-defined leprosy patient samples, he demonstrated the impairment of alternate pathway (CD2) of T-Cell activation and the mechanism of T-cell anargy using recombinant M.laprae proteins in the polar form (lepromatous leprosy) of leprosy. He has established the importance of porin (an outer membrane) as candidate vaccine and in diagnosis of typhoid fever in the murine typhoid model using anti-porin monoclonal antibodies he has generated. As Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin, he developed the mouse corneal model to study angiogenesis leading to its publications in Science and J Natl Cancer Inst, including a cover picture in American Journal of Pathology. He has published over 90 research articles, and mentored 28 PhD students.
Other Contributions: While in Madurai Kamaraj University, Muthukkaruppan has studied the aetiology of Eales disease in collaboration with Aravind Eye Hospital. Consequently, he was invited to serve as Director-Research of Aravind Medical Research Foundation (1999) and to establish a laboratory for basic research on eye diseases. His present interests are: the identification of specific markers for human corneal epithelial stem cells, etiology and immune mechanism of leptospirosis associated ocular inflammation, methods of prevention of posterior capsular opacification and pathogenic mechanisms of diabetic retinopathy and Eales disease.
Awards and Honours: Muthukkaruppan is a recipient of Ranbaxy Research Award (1989), Swamy Pranavanand Award, and National Institute of Immunology Award for Senior Scientists (1992). He served as President of Indian Immunology Society (1981-82) and National Fellow of UGC (1986-88), and is a Fellow of India Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1990).