Prof. Jayanta Kumar Pal obtained his B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. (Zoology) from Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, with first class. He was a University topper in these examinations. His Ph.D. was in Zoology, with a focus in the field of Developmental Biology. After completion of his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Pune, he was awarded the High level Fellowship from the French Government for postdoctoral studies at the Institute Jacques Monod (University of Paris VII). He then moved to the US and worked briefly as an Assistant Professor at Tufts University, Boston and then at the Harvard-MIT School of Health Sciences & Technology at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA. During this tenure, Prof. Pal acquired expertise in wide areas of Life Sciences and Biotechnology.
Prof. Pal returned to the country in 1992 and joined the Department of Zoology as an Associate Professor, with the Biotechnology Teaching Programme. The University of Pune was one among the five first Biotechnology departments supported by the Government of India, Department of Biotechnology. He became Professor of Biotechnology in 2000, and headed the Department of Biotechnology, University of Pune (now Savitribai Phule Pune University) for 10 years. He also received the prestigious UGC Basic Science Research Faculty Fellowship. He retired from this institution as Professor and Head.
Biotechnology being an evolving discipline, Prof. Pal had the opportunity to influence, participate and observe the growth of this discipline. With his passion for teaching, he has been involved in several syllabus revisions, in order to ensure that students receive updated knowledge. His teaching expertise goes beyond master’s level courses, as he has mentored over 30 Ph.D. and Postdoctoral fellows, all of whom are well placed as Faculty and Scientists in India and abroad. For 10 years, Prof. Pal was responsible for coordinating the Ph.D. Fellowship programme of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT JRF), Govt. of India
In addition to teaching, Prof. Pal was and still is actively involved in biotechnology research. During his tenure of 25 years at the University of Pune, Prof. Pal received 14 extramural research grants (DBT, DST, CSIR, DAE, UGC etc.) and he also had National (NCL, NCCS, Genova Pharmaceuticals) and International (University of Paris VI, Paris; CNRS Centre for Macromolecular Biochemistry Research, Montpellier, France) research collaborations and joint Ph.D. students. He published as the lead author a text book named Fundamentals of Molecular Biology (Oxford Univ. Press) for postgraduate students, and he also obtained a US patent for an invention made in his lab. His total number of research publications and chapters of books has exceeded 80.
He received many teaching and research awards and was elected Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, India, and Maharashtra Academy of Sciences. He worked as a member of various task forces of funding agencies, like DBT, CSIR, UGC etc., and expert committee of various Universities for selection of teachers, Ph.D. and Postdoctoral students. He also was chairman and member of various other committees like, IBSC, BOS, Academic Council, Ethics and Animal ethics committees of various Institutes/Universities like NCL, NCCS, SPPU, ARI, Shivaji University, SRTM, NEHU etc. He visited many Institutes in various Countries abroad, like UK, France, Poland and USA for research activities, where he also delivered invited talks. Currently, upon invitation, he has taken over charge of Director, Dr. D.Y. Patil Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Institute, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune.