Knighthood for Indian-origin professor Shankar Balasubramanian

03 Jan 2017 | By Ramya Patelkhana

The New Years Honours List 2017 announced that a Chennai-born Medicinal Chemistry Professor at the University of Cambridge, Shankar Balasubramanian would be conferred a knighthood.

The list includes several other Indian-origin individuals who have distinguished themselves in different fields; they would be conferred other British Honors.

It also comprises the largest-ever number of individuals from the African-American and Asian minority ethnic British communities.

In context: Indian-origin recipients of British Honors

IntroductionAbout the British Honours

King George-V established the British Honours on 4 June 1917 for exceptional achievement or service on merit.

Cabinet Office Honours and Appointments Secretariat oversees the honours.

It comprises five classes in civil and military categories, the most senior two recipients of which are a knight (male) or dame (female).

British Empire Medal is awarded to individuals affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

The five classes of the Order

The five classes of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire are: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight Commander or Dame Commander (KBE or DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE).
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03 Jan 2017Knighthood for Indian-origin professor Shankar Balasubramanian

The most transformational advance in biology and medicine

DNA SequencingThe most transformational advance in biology and medicine

50-year-old Shankar Balasubramanian co-invented the Next Generation DNA sequencing, which is considered the most transformational advance for decades in biology and medicine.

The knighthood announcement stated Solexa sequencing, as it is called now, allows the sequencing of an individual genome in a day or two at a cost less than £1000.

Earlier, the human genome sequencing cost billions and took several years of work.

Citation accompanying knighthood announcement

"His (Balasubramanian's) work has spawned an entirely new discipline of Bioinformatics. More recently, he has made major contributions to understanding the role of DNA-quadruplexes in cancer and invented a method for the sequencing of epigenetic modifications."

OBEsIndividuals of Indian-origin to be conferred OBE

Institute of Neuroscience (in Kolkata) Chairman Ram Prasad "Robin" Sengupta is reportedly in line for an OBE for services to people with neurological diseases in India and Britain, and for services to the relationship between the two nations.

Several other individuals of Indian origin would be conferred OBEs, including Sital Singh Sitara, Jasvir Singh, Brinder Singh Mahon, and Neena Gill.

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HonorsMBEs & Other Honors to be conferred

Entrepreneur Priyesh Patel would be conferred an MBE for services to the economy in Leicestershire and exports.

Surjit Singh Chowdhary, Parkash Singh Dhami, and Baljit Singh Rana would also receive MBEs.

Indian-origin academics in the list are Queen Mary University of London's Cultural Psychiatry and Epidemiology Professor Kamaldeep Singh Bhui and Cardiff University's Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences Clinical Professor Anita Thapar.