Chandrima Shaha received her BSc and MSc degrees from Calcutta University. She joined Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (then Indian Institute of Experimental Medicine) for her doctoral research and worked on 'mechanisms of embryo implantation' under the supervision of Dr A Pakrashi. Subsequently, she joined the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, as Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr Gilbert Greenwald where she worked on various aspects of Steroidal Modulation of Ovarian Cell Function. She did postdoctoral research (1982-84) at the Population Council, New York with Dr C Wayne Bardin, where her work revolved around studying the functional role Endorphins play in the reproductive processes. Upon returning to India, she joined the National Institute of Immunology (NII) as Staff Scientist (1984) and continues to work there.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Shaha initiated a research program for the study of cellular defense mechanisms in various model systems and later expanded her area of research to explore how these defensive systems were linked to cellular apoptosis. She made significant contributions to understand the mechanisms of cellular defense from oxidative stress and modalities of cell death in a multicellular model of mammalian germ cells and a unicellular model of a protozoan parasite. Also, her group was one of the first to show that programmed cell death exists in unicellular organisms. She also authored over 80 research papers.
Other Contributions: Shaha served as Member of Task Force on Human Genetics and Genome Analysis, Department of Biotechnology; Task Force on Male Contraception of the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi; Steering Committee for the Task Force on Regulation of Male Fertility of the World Health Organization, Geneva; and the International Consortium on Male Contraception, New York.
Awards and Honours: Dr Shaha received the Shakuntala Amirchand Award of ICMR (1992); and Special Award for 50th Anniversary of DNA Double Helix Discovery (2003) for significant contributions towards understanding of Cell Death Processes in different Model Organisms. She is a JC Bose National Fellow and an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.