Mahajan obtained his MBBS degree from Medical College, Amritsar (1961) and did MD (1967) (Microbiology) from Punjab University. He received advanced training in Parasitology from London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene and National Institute of Medical Research, London. He was INSA SN Bose Research Professor (2004-09). Currently, he is Emeritus Professor at PGIMER, Chandigarh and is also an Adviser in Parasitology and Communicable Diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Mahajan founded the first Department of Medical Parasitology in a medical institute in India and developed its specialty almost from scratch. His major emphasis in research has been in the field of blood borne parasites, mainly to understand the pathogenesis of the diseases. He also worked on intestinal parasites of major importance in India again in the area of pathogenesis. He has provided valuable input in epidemiology; such as finding a serological marker as a substitute of annual parasite index in malaria; identifying the changes in host cell membrane due to plasmodium infection, the basis of immunity and drug interaction in providing protection against plasmodium infection; and dynamic changes in immune functions during acute, sub-acute and chronic stages of the disease. Mahajan established the first axenic amastigote culture of L.donvovani and has also shown the differences in gene expression in promastigotes and amastigotes. He has identified a unique antigen in amastigotes, which induces immune response during the acute stage of the disease. His other major achievements have been the development of novel animal models for amoebiasis and giardiasis, demonstrating an immunologic barrier for invasive amoebiasis, etc. He has 421 research publications, several books and monographs, and has guided several MD/PhD students.
Other Contributions: Mahajan has popularized his subject amongst medical practitioners in the form of popular lectures and orations at several WHO, NAMS and UGC sponsored programmes. He was President of Asian Society of Parasitologists; Indian Society of Parasitologists; and Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists. He has been WHO Adviser in Parasitic Diseases. He is currently the Chairman of the National Committee of IUMS and is also the Chairman/ Member of Research Councils/ Scientific Advisory Committees of several Institutes/ Universities/ funding agencies in the country.
Awards and Honours: Mahajan has received several recognitions in the form of twenty seven national awards like Professor Shambu Nath Dey Memorial Award of INSA (2002); SN Bose Award of ISCA; Basanti Devi Amir Chand Prize; Dr YS Narayanan Rao Award; Dr MOT Iyangar Award; Dr BK Aikat Memorial Award; Dr PN Chhuttani Oration Award; Dr ML Kasliwal Award; Second Professor PC Sen Gupta Oration Award of STMH, Calcutta; Dr BN Singh Memorial Award; Dr BP Pandey Memorial Oration Award of ISP; Dr SC Agarwal Award; Dr HI Jhala Award; the first Endowment Oration Award of IAMM to name a few. He has also received Lifetime Achievement Award from Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists and Lifetime Achievement Award in Science & Technology from Punjab University, Chandigarh. He has been conferred with the Fellowships of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World; National Academy of Medical Sciences; National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; International Medical Science Academy (IMSA); Punjab Academy of Sciences; Indian Society of Parasitology; and Indian Society of Malaria and Communicable Diseases. Mahajan was Secretary (1999) and Vice-President, INSA (2000-01).