On the occasion of the 104th birth anniversary of Dr Kamal Ranadive, an Indian biomedical researcher, Google dedicated a Google doodle to her where she can be seen holding a microscope. She is well-known for her revolutionary cancer research and her commitment towards promoting social justice through education and science.
Dr. Kamal Ranadive was born in Pune on November 8, 1917. Her father, who was a biologist, encouraged her to study medicine but she had different aspirations. She decided to study botany and zoology as her main subjects and got her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in the same field from Fergusson College in Pune. She then moved to the Agriculture College in Pune for her post-graduation.
She successfully won a doctorate in Cytology (also known as cell studies) in the same year as working as a researcher at the Indian Cancer Research Center (ICRC), and thereafter, was qualified to gain a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. She thereafter returned to India and established the first tissue culture laboratory in the country in Mumbai.
She closely examined the links between cancer and different viruses, and also the link between breast cancer and heredity. She also studied Mycobacterium leprae (a type of bacterium that causes leprosy) and gave her contribution in the development of a leprosy vaccine.
Dr. Kamal Ranadive and a few of her workmates initiated the establishment of the Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA) in the year 1973 to promote women in the scientific field. The organization as of now has 11 branches across the country. It provides scholarships and childcare to women in working or researching in the scientific area.
Ranadive received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 1982 for her contributions to medicine. In 1964, the Medical Council of India presented her with the first Silver Jubilee Research Award. This award comprised of a gold medal and an amount of Rs. 15000. Another award that she received was the G. J. Watumal Foundation Prize in 1964 for her work in leprosy.
Dr Kamal Ranadive was loved and admired by many of her students and colleagues. They fondly called her ‘bai’. She always encouraged her colleagues and students to work and do various scientific researches in their own country. She also worked in rural Maharashtra after her retirement, training women as healthcare professionals and teaching them about health and nutrition.
Dr. Kamal Ranadive passed away in the year 2001 but she still continues to inspire the youth especially the women of this country to work hard and be an inspiration for many.