August 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Ecology, Oil & Gas, Research, Science & Technology | Leave a comment









Bacteria, oil-eating

Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty

Pseudomonas bacteria (“the oil-eating bacteria”)

Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty (Bengali) Ph.D. is an Indian-American microbiologist, scientist, and researcher, most notable for his work in directed evolution and his role in developing a genetically engineered organism using plasmid transfer while working at GE.

Education and home life

Ananda (generally called “Al” by scientific colleagues) Chakrabarty was born in India on 4 April 1938. He attended Sainthia High School, Belur Bidyamandir and St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta in that order during the course of his undergraduate education. Prof. Chakrabarty received his Ph.D. from the University of Calcutta in Kolkata, West Bengal in 1965.

Early scientific work

Prof. Chakrabarty genetically engineered a new species of Pseudomonas bacteria (“the oil-eating bacteria”) in 1971 while working for the Research & Development Center at General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York.[7]

At the time, four known species of oil-metabolizing bacteria were known to exist, but when introduced into an oil spill, competed with each other, limiting the amount of crude oil that they degraded. The genes necessary to degrade oil were carried on plasmids, which could be transferred among species. By irradiating the transformed organism with UV light after plasmid transfer, Prof. Chakrabarty discovered a method for genetic cross-linking that fixed all four plasmid genes in place and produced a new, stable, bacteria species (now called pseudomonas putida) capable of consuming oil one or two orders of magnitude faster than the previous four strains of oil-eating microbes. The new microbe, which Chakrabarty called “multi-plasmid hydrocarbon-degrading Pseudomonas,” could digest about two-thirds of the hydrocarbons that would be found in a typical oil spill.

The bacteria drew international attention when he applied for a patent—the first-ever patent for living organism.[8] He was initially denied the patent by the Patent Office because it was thought that the patent code precluded patents on living organisms. The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals overturned the decision in Chakrabarty’s favor, writing,

…the fact that micro-organisms are alive is without legal significance for purposes of patent law.

Sidney A. Diamond, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court case was argued on 17 March 1980 and decided on 16 June 1980. This patent was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court (Diamond v. Chakrabarty), in a 5-4 decision, when it determined that

A live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter under [Title 35 U.S.C.] 101. Respondent’s micro-organism constitutes a “manufacture” or “composition of matter” within that statute.

Prof. Chakrabarty’s landmark research has since paved the way for many patents on genetically modified micro-organisms and other life forms, and catapulted him into the international spotlight.[9] The “oil-eating bacteria” has been used to clean up many toxic oil spills, including the one caused by the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Current work

Currently, his lab is working on elucidating the role of bacterial cupredoxins and cytochromes in cancer regression and arresting cell cycle progression.[10] These proteins have been formerly known for their involvement in bacterial electron transport. He has isolated a bacterial protein, azurin, with potential antineoplastic properties.[9][11] He has expanded his lab’s work to include multiple microbiological species, including Neisseria, Plasmodia, and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans.[10] In 2001, Prof. Chakrabarty founded a company, CDG Therapeutics,[9][11] (incorporated in Delaware) which holds proprietary information related to five patents generated by his work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The University of Illinois owns the rights to the patents but has issued exclusive licences to CDG Therapeutics. [9]

In 2008, Prof. Chakrabarty co-founded a second bio-pharmaceuticsl discovery company, Amrita Therapeutics Ltd., registered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to develop therapies, vaccines and diagnostics effective against cancers and/or other major public health threats derived from bacterial products found in the human body. [12] Amrita Therapeutics Ltd. received initial funding in late 2008 from GVFL, [13] and more recently received a grant for a 2-year research program in 2010 from the Indian Department of Biotechnology under the Biotechnology Industry Promotion Program (BIPP) [14].

Academic career

Chakrabarty is currently a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Apart from being an eminent scientist, Ananda Chakrabarty has been an advisor to judges, governments, and the UN.[11] As one of the founding members of a UNIDO Committee that proposed the establishment of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB), he has been a member of its Council of Scientific Advisors ever since.[8] He has served the U.S. Government

· as a member of NIH Study Sections,

· as a member of the Board on Biology of the National Academy of Science,

· on the Committee on Biotechnology of the National Research Council

He has also served the Stockholm Environment Institute of Sweden. He has been on the Scientific Advisory Board of many academic institutions such as the Michigan Biotechnology Institute, the Montana State University Center for Biofilm Engineering, the Center for Microbial Ecology at the Michigan State University, and the Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network based in Calgary, Canada. Dr. Chakrabarty has also served as a member of NIAG, the NATO Industrial Advisory Group based in Brussels, Belgium. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts, where he participates in judicial education. More recently, he has been involved in international judicial work, serving as a Scientific Advisor for meetings in Hawaii and Ottawa, Canada, organized by the Supreme Court of Canada.[8]

Legacy and awards

Dr. Chakrabarty has received many awards, including[8]

· the ‘Scientist of the Year’ award in 1975 by Industrial Research Organization of the United States,

· the Distinguished Scientist Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency,

· the MERIT Award from NIH,

· the Distinguished Service Award given by the U.S. Army

· the Public Affairs Award awarded by the American Chemical Society, and

· the Procter & Gamble Environmental Biotechnology Award given by the American Society for Microbiology.

· the Golden Eurydice Award for contributions in Biophilosophy in 2007.

For his work in genetic engineering technology, he was awarded the civilian Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2007.


1. Chakrabarty, AM; Mylroie, JR; Friello, DA; Vacca, JG (1975). “Transformation of Pseudomonas putida and Escherichia coli with plasmid-linked drug-resistance factor DNA”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 72 (9): 3647–51. doi:10.1073/pnas.72.9.3647. PMID 1103151.

2. Chakrabarty, AM; Friello, DA (1974). “Dissociation and interaction of individual components of a degradative plasmid aggregate in Pseudomonas”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 71 (9): 3410–4. doi:10.1073/pnas.71.9.3410. PMID 4530312.

3. Chakrabarty, AM (1974). “Dissociation of a degradative plasmid aggregate in Pseudomonas”. Journal of bacteriology 118 (3): 815–20. PMID 4829926.

4. Chakrabarty, AM (1974). “Transcriptional control of the expression of a degradative plasmid in Pseudomonas”. Basic life sciences 3: 157–65. PMID 4823075.

5. Shaham, M; Chakrabarty, AM; Gunsalus, IC (1973). “Camphor plasmid-mediated chromosomal transfer in Pseudomonas putida”. Journal of bacteriology 116 (2): 944–9. PMID 4745436.

6. Rheinwald, JG; Chakrabarty, AM; Gunsalus, IC (1973). “A transmissible plasmid controlling camphor oxidation in Pseudomonas putida”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 70 (3): 885–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.70.3.885. PMID 4351810.

7. “Environment: Oil-Eating Bug”. Time. 22 September 1975.,9171,917877,00.html. Retrieved 28 September 2009.

8. a b c d “Ananda M. Chakrabarty, Ph.D”. Retrieved 28 September 2009. [self-published source?]

9. a b c d “‘Innovation gives you confidence and a respectable position across the globe'”. The Financial Express. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2009.

10. a b “Ananda Chakrabarty”. 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2009. [self-published source?]

11. a b c Plas, Joe Vanden (9 September 2006). “Father of life patents downplays historic role”. Wisconsin Technology Network 28 September 2009.




Pseudomonas was the subject of a landmark 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision that forms of life created in the laboratory can be patented. In “Diamond vs. Chakrabarty,” the US Supreme Court held five to four that living, manmade microorganisms are patentable. The court ruled that patents could be issued for “anything under the sun that is made by man.” In upholding Chakrabarty’s position, Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote, “The relevant distinction is not between living and inanimate things,” but rather between naturally existing and human-made inventions. Because Chakrabarty’s bacterium was created in a laboratory through cross breeding, it was not “nature’s handiwork,” the court said, but the product of “human ingenuity and research.”

The decision served as a precedent for the issuing of patents on mice, pigs and cows, some containing introduced human genes, as well as naturally occurring human bone-marrow cells. At one time shortly after the decision came through, a spokesman for Genentech, a San Francisco company formed by Robert A. Swanson and biochemist Dr. Herbert W. Boyer to exploit the possibilities of gene-splicing techniques, said the Supreme Court’s action had “assured this country’s technology future.” Many say that Chakrabarty’s battle for patent protection did indeed pave the way for future patenting of biotechnological discovery.



August 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Financial, Globalization, Research | Leave a comment









IAIS identifies need to further develop insurance specific

macroprudential surveillance

Press, Service (

Publications, Service (

Thu 8/26/10

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) today released the mid-year edition of the Global Reinsurance Market Report, entitled “Macroprudential Surveillance and (Re)Insurance”.

The report discusses macroprudential surveillance in insurance and reinsurance, looking at current issues and debates on the meaning, scope and value of macroprudential surveillance. The report also discusses current macroprudential surveillance practices among insurance supervisors as well as recent work at a global level.

The current global financial crisis has highlighted the importance of surveillance of risks beyond the level of the individual firm. It has also brought to the fore the complexities inherent in capturing and making sense of risks that evolve rapidly in time and cut across geographical boundaries and financial sectors.

The bulk of existing literature on macroprudential surveillance has focused on the banking sector. The IAIS decided to conduct a survey to determine the extent to which insurance supervisors engage in macroprudential surveillance. The survey findings are included in the report and show that while most supervisors carry out macroprudential surveillance activities, the breath, reach and frequency of activities varies from supervisor to supervisor. The most prevalent activities conducted by supervisors are insurance market analysis and analysis of the impact of macroeconomic variables on the insurance market. The focus tends to be on the analysis of domestic data with international data analysis receiving less attention.

The report identifies a critical knowledge gap with respect to insurance-specific macroprudential surveillance of a global nature. Peter Braumüller, Chair of the IAIS Executive Committee, noted that “through its Financial Stability Committee, the IAIS is currently engaged in strengthening global-level efforts in promoting financial stability. These efforts include contributing to the identification of macroprudential surveillance data and development of tools relevant to the insurance sector.”

The report is available on the IAIS website at

About the IAIS

Established in 1994, the IAIS represents insurance regulators and supervisors of some 190 jurisdictions in nearly 140 countries and has also more than 120 insurance professionals, insurers, reinsurers and trade associations as observers. The IAIS issues global insurance principles, standards and guidance papers, provides training and support on issues related to insurance supervision, and organises meetings and seminars for insurance supervisors. The IAIS works closely with other international institutions to promote financial stability.

Press enquiries: Yoshihiro Kawai, Secretary General
Tel: +41 61 280 9135

Mob: +41 76 350 9135

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

IAIS identifies need to further develop insurance specific macroprudential


Press, Service (

Publications, Service (

Thu 8/26/10


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