Winner of
The Inspiring Science Award 2017

The Inspiring Science Award for the best published scientific paper in the Life Sciences from India.

This web page celebrates the participants, finalists and the winner of the Inspiring Science Award, 2017. We received 132 entries. An eminent jury picked 6 finalists, and eventually, the winner. The finalists were announced at the Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series, in Bangalore, on February 22, 2017. The Winner, Ramya Purkanti from NCBS, was announced by Dr. Emilie Marcus, CEO, Cell Press and Editor-in-Chief, Cell, at the New Delhi lecture on February 24, 2017.

As part of the travel fellowship, finalist Balaji Banoth attended the Cell Symposium on Multifaceted Mitochondria in San Diego, 2018.



Ramya Purkanti

National Center For Biological Sciences, Bengaluru

Submitted Entry: ​
Ancient dynamin segments capture early stages of host-mitochondrial integration.


Richa Pahuja

Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi

“I’m extremely elated having been qualified as one of the finalists of ‘Inspiring Science Award 2017’. The announcement of the award along with the Cell Press TNQ Lectureship Series is an excellent initiative for inspiring and recognizing the scientific passion of young Indian scientists on a global platform. Awards like these would encourage scientific temper among youth and provide motivation for good quality research work. My work is focused on nano-therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. The work for which I’ve been judged demonstrates the therapeutic effect and neuro-restorative potential of dopamine-loaded polymeric nanoparticles for the Parkinsonian brain, which after successful validation can lead to a novel therapeutic intervention for the disorder.

I’m grateful to be shortlisted among the finalists and for receiving this esteemed award. It would further provide me an opportunity to interact with and present my work to an international community.
Thank you Team Cell Press – TNQ !!!”


Submitted Entry:
Trans-Blood Brain Barrier Delivery of Dopamine-Loaded Nanoparticles Reverses Functional Deficits in Parkinsonian Rats

Abhishek Trivedi

Institute Of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh

“I Thank Cell Press-TNQ India for starting distinguished Lectureship Series in INDIA and motivating science students by giving Inspiring Science Award each year to the best paper published. Having my name in the list of finalist will inspire me to do quality science throughout my life and to be of some use for mankind through my work.”


Submitted Entry:
Thiol reductive stress induces cellulose-anchored biofilm formation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Balaji Banoth

National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi

“I feel humbled and honored to be rewarded and recognized for our work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the jury members who have judged and shortlisted our paper to be one among top picks for the science quality. I sincerely thank TNQ organization, co-sponsor Cell Press and Prof. Anuranjan Anand for initiating inspiring science award from this year in addition to lecture series. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my mentor Dr. Soumen Basak, who actually introduced me to science & research in an unprecedented manner where I rediscovered my passion for science. And, also would like to thank fellow colleagues whose contribution holds a paramount significance for the study. Right from the seminal discovery of NF-κB in Prof. David Baltimore laboratory, researchers were perplexed to have a clear understanding of NF-κB signaling owing to its pleotropic effects. In our study, we aimed to comprehend NF-κB regulatory functions in a tissue microenvironment where a plethora of signaling cascades converge onto activation of NF-κB transcription factor. We appreciated a crosstalk between canonical and non-canonical NF-κB signaling that resulted in enhanced NF-κB activity and utilizing mouse bacterial colitis models, we were able to reveal that the crosstalk is essential for mounting adequate innate immune responses towards Citrobacter rodentium. We are now looking forward to screen human colon biopsies from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients for regulatory function of non-canonical NF-κB signaling. We hope that our work will open up new avenues for therapeutic intervention regulating inflammatory immunopathologies.

TNQ-Cell Press lecture series was started in 2009 with a motto of bridging the gap between Indian and international scientific community for overall growth of scientific society This initiative provides a great platform for young biologists to share ideas with eminent pioneers and leading experts of the socio- scientific community to promote, build and enhance Indian science. I myself witnessed immense success of these events for the past three years being part of it and had chance to listen to great speakers like Prof. Eric Lander (genomic medicine), Prof. Karl Deisseroth (neural circuits) and Prof. Huda Zoghbi (neurogenetics) which had immense impact over my scientific skills. Attending these lectures were always scientifically stimulating and inspirational to me and fellow scholars. It presented a new outlook with cutting edge advancements to imbibe new facets of science. Introduction of inspiring science award from this year will inspire more Indian young students and scientists. This award not only bestows appreciation for their scientific merit but also allows them to present their work through travel fellowship at an international stage. I acknowledge this would offer young fellows to get exposure, explore issues and structure a successful career in science. I feel work being cited through these events helps in further broadened community outreach of the research unlike the conventional system. Graduate student and postdoctoral community would greatly benefit of this prospect for their professional development in research career. I am grateful for being associated with the lecture series events and for the recognition of my research work by TNQ-cell press to provide motivation for accelerated scientific contribution. I would like to once again extend my appreciation towards TNQ-Cell Press for this honor.”


Submitted Entry:
Stimulus-selective crosstalk via the NF-κB signaling system reinforces innate immune response to alleviate gut infection

Vijay Soni

National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi

“It gives me utmost pleasure being judged as a finalist for the 2017 Inspiring Science Award. I am thankful to Cell Press-TNQ India team and judges. In a world full of eminent scientists whose unremitting efforts are leading to spectacular scientific discoveries, the recognition of our work gives me a sense of absolute delight. It gives me a feeling of contentment that our efforts have been counted and we have been able to deliver and contribute our bit to the society. I am highly grateful to Dr. Vinay K. Nandicoori and Prof. D. Sriram, my mentors, for being my knowledge bearers and support systems. Also, worth mention is my group members for their remarkable contributions. This appreciation of our work has multiplied the courage and persuades me to keep up the work for scientific development.”


Submitted Entry:
Depletion of M. tuberculosis GlmU from Infected Murine Lungs Effects the Clearance of the Pathogen

Pankaj Kumar Dubey

Centre For DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad


Submitted Entry:
PTEN Regulates Glucose Transporter Recycling by Impairing SNX27 Retromer Assembly

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The Inspiring Science Award is sponsored by TNQ Technologies