Awards and prizes
Nangia appointed director of the CSIR-National Chemical Lab
Professor Ashwini Nangia (School of Chemistry, U. of Hyderabad), well known within IUCr and in the international crystallographic community, has taken over recently as the 11th director of National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. This flagship laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the Government of India has close to 200 scientists with around 400 students pursuing a PhD degree. NCL publishes over 400 research papers and files for 60 worldwide patents annually in the field of chemical sciences. It is a unique source of research education producing the largest number of PhDs in chemical sciences within India and its former students occupy prestigious positions all over the country.
Nangia is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur. After earning his PhD at Yale U. (1988), he worked in NOCIL Agrochemicals R&D Centre, Navi Mumbai, for a year, before joining the University of Hyderabad in 1989 and started a research group in sesquiterpene synthesis. In 1994, he changed his research area completely and joined his colleague Professor G. R. Desiraju for a few years before he began independent research in crystal engineering in 1998, especially studies of very strong hydrogen bonds, interpenetrated organic crystal structures and the design of cocrystals for pharmaceutical development. He contributed very significantly to this new field and, in particular, he began a now successful start-up Crystalin in the university campus in 2010 based on commercial applications of cocrystal technology (www.crystalin.co.in/). He has published some 250 papers and his recent paper in IUCrJ is representative (http://journals.iucr.org/m/issues/2016/02/00/ed5007/index.html). He has been invited to speak at many meetings across the world in recent times. He was on the Montreal Ewald prize jury and he is an invited speaker at the 2016 Gordon Conference on Crystal Engineering this June. He was a member of the IUCr Commission on Structural Chemistry between 2008-2014, and has played a significant role in bringing the AsCA meeting to Kolkata, India, in 2015 and the IUCr Congress to Hyderabad in 2017. He is a fellow (2009) of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) which is the adhering body to IUCr.
NCL is a vast interdisciplinary research center with a wide research scope and specializes in polymer science, organic chemistry, catalysis, materials chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemical sciences and process development. The National Collection of Industrial Microorganisms is located there and is a microbial culture repository maintaining a variety of industrially important microbial culture stock. Nangia also now leads the NCL Venture Center, India's largest science business incubator. Nangia is the first in India to initiate a start-up based on crystallography and intends to expand collaborative interactions between NCL and industry in India and abroad, and to increase translational research in the generic pharmaceutical industry in particular. In a recent interview with the IUCr newsletter he said that 'NCL needs to ramp up dialog with industry in general and the generic pharma industry in particular. It needs fresh thinking and newer perspectives on market translation'. The Indian crystallographic community records its pleasure at having a crystallographer-chemist at the helm of this huge and important organization.William L. Duax, Editor