Asima Chatterjee’s 100th Birthday – When Dr. Asima Chatterjee was growing up in Calcutta in the 1920s and 1930s, it was almost unheard of for a woman to study chemistry. It must have been a great surprise, then, when Chatterjee not only completed her undergraduate studies in organic chemistry, but went on to receive a Doctorate of Science, the first woman to do so in India!
Dr. Chatterjee went on to make groundbreaking developments in medicine with her research. She primarily studied the medicinal properties of plants native to India. Throughout her career, her research contributed to the development of drugs that treated epilepsy and malaria. Dr. Chatterjee’s most noted contribution to the field, however, was her work on vinca alkaloids. Alkaloids are compounds made from plants, often to treat medical ailments. Vinca alkaloids, which come from the Madagascar periwinkle plant, are used today in chemotherapy treatment because they help slow down or stall cancer cells from multiplying.
Dr. Chatterjee’s hard work and accomplishments were recognized by Universities all over the world and given accolades from the Indian government, from some of the highest awards in India (like the Padma Bhushan) to being appointed to the Upper House of Parliament!
Dr. Chatterjee embraced collaboration and even founded (and became the head of) the Department of Chemistry at Lady Brabourne College. With her dedication to Indian medicinal plants, she also started a Research institute and mentored many of India’s rising chemistry scholars. Today’s Doodle celebrates Dr. Chatterjee’s 100th birthday with an homage to this astounding woman and her great accomplishments in the name of science.
Discover more about Dr. Asima Chatterjee’s life and work by visiting Google Arts & Culture.
You can find more about Asima Chatterjee’s 100th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page