Joyoti Basu graduated from Presidency College, Kolkata with Honours in Chemistry, and completed her MSc in Biochemistry from Calcutta University. She subsequently worked as a Research Scholar in Bose Institute and obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from Calcutta University under the guidance of Professor Parul Chakrabarti, working on the influence of fatty acid composition on the functions of yeast membranes. After a stint in the laboratory of Professor Jean-Marie Ghuysen at the University of Liege, Belgium, she initiated the characterization of mycobacterial peptidoglycan-biosynthesizing enzymes and understanding the players in mycobacterial cell division.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Basu continued her career in Bose Institute joining the faculty in 1991. She worked on various aspects of red cell membrane structure and function for over 15 years and elucidated the role of players in apoptosis of nucleated mammalian cells in the physiology of the anucleated red cell. She has been the first to show that a cellular death machinery is likely to be associated with removal of aged or oxidatively stressed red blood cells from the circulation. In parallel, she initiated studies on the mycobacterial cell wall and her research gradually expanded into various aspects of the biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis and its interaction with its host. Basu has also delineated mechanisms of how macrophage apoptosis, arguably a pathogen-containing process, is controlled in macrophages challenged with pathogenic mycobacteria, and how bacterial effectors function to offset cell death. She also analyzed as to how mycobacteria manipulate host cell signaling to dampen the innate immune response. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed research articles and mentored over 12 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Dr Basu has served on the Executive Committee and as Treasurer of the Indian Society of Cell Biology. She has played an active role in setting up of a programme on Systems Biology in Bose Institute, Kolkata. She is serving as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Immunology till July, 2014. She is also on the Editorial Board of PLoS One.
Awards and Honours: Dr Basu was awarded the INSA Medal for Young Scientists (1989) and the National Bioscience Award of the Department of Biotechnology (2002). She is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.