Publish Date: November 7, 2023

IIT Delhi Faculty Prof. Shilpi Sharma and Prof. Anurag Singh Rathore Win Tata Transformation Prize; Recognized for their Cutting-Edge Solutions to Food Security and Healthcare

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IIT Delhi’s Prof. Shilpi Sharma from the Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology and Prof. Anurag Singh Rathore from the Department of Chemical Engineering have won the Tata Transformation Prize. Tata Sons and The New York Academy of Sciences announced the first winners of the Tata Transformation Prize on November 7, 2023. The prize recognizes and supports visionary scientists in India who are developing innovative solutions to critical societal challenges.

Each winner will receive INR 2 crores (approximately US$240,000) and will be honoured at a ceremony in Mumbai in December 2023.

  • Food Security Winner: Shilpi Sharma, PhD, IIT Delhi

Professor Shilpi Sharma was selected by the jury for her work in the engineering of the soil microbiome using synthetic microbial communities, called microBIOme-based soil TRANSFORMation (BIOTRANSFORM). Plant diseases threaten crop productivity and, consequently, the global economy. Unlike conventional farming that uses agrochemicals and synthetic fertilizers, soil amended organically has the natural ability to suppress a wide range of plant pathogens. Starting from naturally suppressive soil, Shilpi will catalog the active microbial players and their mechanism of suppression of a range of phytopathogens. Her work will be the first to map the natural suppressive potential of soil across six states of India and to harness this potential by microbiome engineering to facilitate sustainable agriculture in the country and beyond.

  • Healthcare Winner: Anurag Singh Rathore, PhD, IIT Delhi

Professor Anurag Singh Rathore is a healthcare pioneer aiming to reduce the manufacturing cost of biotherapeutics for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases, thus enabling equal access to these top-tier, expensive treatments currently out of reach for 90% of the Indian population. Rathore has established a state-of-the-art drug manufacturing facility with continuous processing that incorporates novel methods for real-time process monitoring and control. Rathore’s innovation is projected to reduce manufacturing costs by 50-75%, making best-in-class biotherapeutics for complex diseases significantly more affordable for Indian populations in need and further advancing India’s position at the forefront of global medical innovation.