Dr. Tattanahalli Nagabhushan was born and raised in the state of Karnataka, India. After completing his undergraduate studies in Science at St. Philomena’s College in Mysore (B.Sc., 1953-1955), he pursued advanced studies in Chemistry at the University of Munich, Germany (Hauptdiplom, 1958-1962) before proceeding to Canada for further studies in Organic Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), specializing in Carbohydrate Chemistry under the mentorship of the late Professor Raymond Lemieux, who pioneered a number of discoveries in chemistry including the first successful synthesis of sucrose. Between 1968 and 1972, Dr. Nagabhushan expanded his graduate thesis work and established methods for the stereoselective synthesis of alpha glycosides and alpha glycosaminides the structural elements of many natural aminoglycoside antibiotics.
In 1973, Dr. Nagabhushan joined Schering-Plough Corporation in New Jersey (USA). Over the next 27 years until his retirement in 2000, he contributed significantly to the company’s new drug discovery and development programs. His work in the infectious diseases area produced three antibiotics: two marketed abroad for human use (netilmicin and isepamicin) and one (florfenicol) marketed globally for veterinary applications. Dr. Nagabhushan played a pivotal role in the development of interferon alfa-2b (Intron A), approved worldwide for the treatment of hepatitis and various cancers.
Dr. Nagabhushan was instrumental in establishing Schering-Plough’s biotechnology department, which has conducted research and developed numerous recombinant DNA-derived products for therapeutic benefit. Over the years Dr. Nagabhushan supervised the development of novel cytokines such as granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-10 (IL-10). He also established collaborative research with the University of Alabama at Birmingham that led to the X-ray structure determination of gamma interferon, the gamma interferon/receptor complex, interferon alfa-2b, GM-CSF, IL-4 and IL-10.
In 1996, Dr. Nagabhushan was appointed head of Canji, Inc., a gene therapy company located in San Diego that Schering-Plough had acquired. Two years later, he was appointed President & CEO of both Canji and Schering-Plough subsidiary DNAX Research Institute (Palo Alto, California). He retired in 2000 as President and CEO of DNAX and Senior Vice President of Schering-Plough.
Dr. Nagabhushan was elected Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (FCIC) in 1985. In 1995, he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Alberta. He is also the recipient of the 1994 Milstein Award for his accomplishments in the field of interferon and cytokine research and development.
Dr. Nagabhushan, known among his friends as Nag, and his wife Dr. Nagamani Nagabhushan, a former drug metabolism expert at Schering-Plough, became US citizens in 1988. They are proud parents of two boys, Rangaswamy (computer scientist) and Raghunath (accountant) and their respective wives Smitha (computer engineer) and Vidya (computer engineer), and proud grandparents of their three grandchildren, Deepika (12), Ankitha (8) and Srikar (6). He enjoys playing golf, listening to classical South Indian Music, and cooking.
Professor, Nagaoka University of Technology.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Prof. Mitsui graduated from the Department of Pharmaceutical Science of the University of Tokyo and obtained his Ph.D. in 1966. After graduation, he moved to Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, to learn protein crystallography under Professors H.W. Wyckoff and F.M. Richards. In 1971, he started research on protein crystallography at the University of Tokyo. He was one of the pioneers of protein crystallography in Japan, and led the Crystallographic Society of Japan for many years.
He revealed several three-dimension al structures of crystallized proteins in his lifetime, including those of Streptomyces subtilisin inhibitor, its complex with subtilisin, ribonucleases, murine interferon beta, and extradiol-type dioxygenases. Among such structures, determination of the crystal structure of murine interferon beta was one of his outstanding achievements. It took great effort and longer than seven years to determine its structure. Prof. Mitsui also was interested in the evolutionary aspects of IFN and cytokines. Based on comparison of the sequences of various cytokines and their cognate receptors, he proposed the coupled evolution of the ligand-receptor system of cytokines.
Prof. Mitsui was known by his students, staff, collaborators and colleagues as a warm and kindhearted person. He talked with students not only about the science but also on a broad range of subjects from social issues to entertainment. His friendly attitude made the laboratory in Nagaoka attractive, and many students who had graduated from his laboratory would visit him every summer when the firework festival, a very famous event in Japan, was held in Nagaoka. Of course, his interferon research, which started in Tokyo and blossomed in Nagaoka, also attracted many students to Prof. Mitsui’s laboratory.
Yukio Mitsui, a most distinguished scholar in protein crystallography, passed away on January 19, 2000, at the age of 61. His wife, Mrs. Etsuko Mitsui, said that he was always very happy when meeting with friends and colleagues who worked in the field of interferon research and that his receipt of The Milstein Award in Budapest in 1994 was the most memorable event of his lifetime. On his death, Japanese newspapers of January 20, 2000, reported: A great winner of The Milstein Award for interferon and cytokine research, Prof. Yukio Mitsui, has passed away. He dedicated his life to elucidating the structure of interferons. An obituary of Yukio Mitsui has been published in the Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research.
Dr. Bugg received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Rice University in 1965, and joined the faculty at University of Alabama at Birmingham after completing two years of postdoctoral study at the California Institute of Technology. He also spent two years as a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford in England. Dr. Bugg was with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) since 1968, and served as Director of the Center for Macromolecular Crystallography, Associate Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In 1994, Dr. Bugg co-founded BioCryst, and served as its Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
Young Investigators to Watch for 2018
Here are some of the emerging scientists in the field of interferon and cytokine research:
Dr. Rajsbaum performed his PhD in the laboratory of Anne O’Garra at the MRC-NIMR, London in 2009, and completed his postdoctoral training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, with Dr Adolfo Garcia-Sastre.