Winner of
The Inspiring Science Award 2021

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

This page celebrates the finalists and the winner of the Inspiring Science Award – 2021. 554 entries were received. An eminent jury picked 6 finalists, and eventually, the winner. The winner, Richa Mishra, was announced at the virtual ceremony held on 29th January, 2021.



Richa Mishra

Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Submitted Entry: ​
​Targeting redox heterogeneity to counteract drug tolerance in replicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis

“It is an honour to be chosen as one of the winner for the prestigious Inspiring Science Award 2021. I would like to extend my gratitude to the jury and to TNQ Technologies for their appreciation of our study that aims to comprehend drug tolerance in the pathogen that causes tuberculosis (TB) and devise more effective therapeutic strategies for TB management. I share this recognition with my mentor, Professor Amit Singh, who has been an absolute inspiration in my career, and with all my colleagues who have contributed to this study. I also acknowledge our funders at the Wellcome Trust India Alliance, DBT, India, and the Indian Institute of Science.”


Santosh Kumar Kuncha

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad

“It is indeed a happy moment for me to be chosen as one of the finalists for the prestigious Inspiring Science Award 2021. I am grateful to the jury and the organisers for recognising our research article titled “Genomic innovation of ATD alleviates mistranslation associated with multicellularity in Animalia”. The articulation of this perceptive scientific work has been made possible under the inspiring mentorship of Dr Rajan Sankaranarayanan, and the ever supportive lab-members at CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad. There is nothing more reassuring for a young scientist than getting a nod of approval from the learned scientific community. At a personal level, it brings me much hope and enthusiasm about my future work. Many thanks to the organisers for recognizing the budding scientists of India through the Award.”


Submitted Entry:
Genomic innovation of ATD alleviates mistranslation associated with multicellularity in Animalia

Aarush Mohit Mittal

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

“I am incredibly delighted to be among the finalists for the 2021 Inspiring Science Award. I thank TNQ and the jury members for recognising the importance of our research and the hard work we put into it, and inspiring researchers across India to pursue scientific excellence. I am grateful to Dr Nitin Gupta, my mentor, Dr Andrew C. Lin, our collaborator, and all the other authors for their guidance and contributions to the research paper. I want to thank all my labmates at IIT Kanpur, friends, and family for supporting me throughout. It is truly a great honour.”


Submitted Entry:
Multiple network properties overcome random connectivity to enable stereotypic sensory responses

Soumik Ray

Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

“I am extremely honored that I have been selected as one of the finalists for the 2021 Inspiring Science Award. I extend my sincere gratitude to the jury members and TNQ for this recognition. The discovery of pathological phase separation of α-synuclein leading to its amyloid formation was a team effort and therefore, I dedicate this award to all of the scientists who were involved in this work. A very special thanks to my supervisor, Professor Samir K. Maji, without whom this could not have been possible.”


Submitted Entry:
 α-Synuclein aggregation nucleates through liquid–liquid phase separation

Ritika Tiwari

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

“I am truly honoured and humbled to be shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious Inspiring Science Award 2021. I extend my sincere thanks to the jury members for selecting our work focussed on revealing the detrimental effects of anti-androgen therapy in prostate cancer, and offering a strategy for adjuvant therapy. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude towards my mentor, Dr Bushra Ateeq, for her guidance and encouragement to pursue this research work. I would also like to thank all the co-authors and collaborators for making this challenging work possible. I acknowledge Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur for the infrastructure, and DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance for supporting this work. Lastly, none of this would have been possible without the constant support of my family members and friends.”


Submitted Entry:
Androgen deprivation upregulates SPINK1 expression and potentiates cellular plasticity in prostate cancer

Raj Kumar Verma

Centre For DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad

“I feel elated and overwhelmed to have been chosen as one of the finalists for the prestigious Inspiring Science Award 2021. I am deeply grateful to the jury members and the organisers at TNQ Technologies for acknowledging my doctoral research work wherein we have elucidated the integration of photo-sensing with intracellular signaling by bacterial phytochrome to control social behaviour and virulence during early plant-microbe interaction. This achievement is incomplete without acknowledging my mentor, Dr Subhadeep Chatterjee for his scientific guidance and relentless efforts towards inspiring me to pursue good quality research. I wish to thank my colleagues for their constant support and encouragement. Also, I am grateful to DBT and CSIR, Government of India, and CDFD for providing me with financial assistance and research funds for accomplishing my research.”

Submitted Entry:
 A Bacteriophytochrome Mediates Interplay between Light Sensing and the Second Messenger Cyclic Di-GMP to Control Social Behavior and Virulence

If you have questions, or are having trouble submitting your paper, please write to us:

The Inspiring Science Award is sponsored by TNQ Technologies