Prof. R.C. Sobti

Brief Biodata


Name : Dr. Ranbir Chander Sobti

(Awarded Padma Shri by President of India on 14th April 2009)

Present Position : Vice Chancellor

Punjab University, Chandigarh–160 014

: Part time Director, National Research Development Corporation

(Government of India Undertaking)

: Member Executive

National Accreditation Assessment Council, Bangalore

Address : Vice Chancellor                                  Punjab University                              Chandigarh – 160 014
Phone : 0172–2541945 (O), 2541523 (R)
Fax : 0172–2541022
Email :;




B.Sc. (Hons. School) 1969 Punjab University 1st 2nd
M.Sc. (Hons. School) 1970 Punjab University 1st 1st
Ph.D. 1974 Punjab University




Punjab University 1974 to 1975 Teaching Assistant
Punjab University 1975 to 1976 Curator
Punjab University 1976 to 1985 Lecturer
Punjab University 1985 to 1994 Reader
University of Miami, Florida, USA 1980 to 1983 Research Associate Professor
Punjab University 1994 onwards Professor in Cell Biology
Punjab University July 2006 onward Vice-Chancellor




(i) Created and Headed the Department of Biotechnology, Panjab University first as Coordinator (1989-94) and then as Chairman (1994-2000, 2002-till September 2005).
(ii) Dean, Alumni Relations 1998-1999.
(iii) Dean Foreign Students, Punjab University, 2001-2004.
(iv) Honorary Director Academic Staff College 2004 – July 22, 2006.
(v) Chairman, Board of Examiners DOAECC (till 2007).
(vi) Chairman and Convener of various Boards (during various sessions).
(vii) Research Publications : About 220
(viii) Books 22




A. Awards
(i) National Merit Scholarship
(ii) All Round Best Student Award
(iii) University Medal for Standing 1st
(iv) Lady Tata Memorial Fellowship
(v) INSA Young Scientist Medal
(vi) U.G.C. Career Award
(vii) Punjab Rattan Award
(viii) Sir Shri Ram Memorial Oration Award for the year 2006-2007
(ix) Delivered 12th Dr. J.C. Bose Memorial Lecture at IETE New Delhi on 30 Nov. 2006
(x) DD Jain Oration Award (Haryana) 2007
(xi) “B.C. Guha Memorial Award” by the Indian Science Congress 2008
(xii) Amity Academic Excellence Award 2008
(xiii) National Open and Distance Education Board “Life Time Achievement Award”
(xiv) Punjab Sarkar Parman Patra-2008
(xvi) Jai Prakash Memorial Education Award, 2009
(xvii) Dr. G.S. Randhawa Oration Award, 2009
(xviii) Yokohama National University International Foundation Exchange 2009
(xix) Honorary Part Time Director National Research Development Corporation
(xx) Chaudhary Devi Lal Manch Educational Award 2010
(xxi) Prof. P. N. Mehra Memorial Award 2010
(xxii) General President’s Gold Medal of ISCA 2011
(xxiii) Swami Vivekananda National Award-2011 for Education
B. Fellowships
(i) Fellow National academy of Sciences (F.N.A.Sc.)
(ii) Fellow National Academy of Medical Sciences (FMAS)
(iii) Fellowship Zoological Society (FZS)
(iv) Fellowship of National Academy Agriculture Sciences (NAAS)
(v) Fellowship Indian Society of Cytologists & Geneticists (FSCG)
(vi) Fellowship Punjab Academy of Sciences (FPASC)
(vii) Hony. Fellowship Institute of Chemical Engineering
(viii) Fellowship of Comprehensive Cancer Centre for the State of Florida
(ix) Fellow International Union Against Cancer, Geneva
(x) Hony. Fellow Industrial· Chemical Engineering
(xi) N.C.I. (USA) Visiting Fellowship
(xii) ICRETT Fellowship of UICC (Geneva)
(xiii) Visiting Fellowship of Sylvester Cancer Centre, University of Miami, Miami
(xiv) Invited to attend International Conference on Cancer Detection in 1998 and 2000
(xv) Selected for various exchange programmes between Germany, UK and USA and Japan.
(xvi) President, Punjab Academy of Sciences 2000-2002
C. Editorship
(i) Member Editorial Board, Molecular Cell Biochemistry (Canada)
(ii) Editor, Journal of Human Genetics
(iii) Editor International Journal of Human Genetics
(iv) Editor, Newsletter, EMSI
(v) Editor, Biotech Bulletin (till 2003)
(vi) Associate Editor, Journal of Cytology and Genetics
(vii) Reviewer of various International Journals (International Journal of Cancer, Human Genetics, Molecular Cellular Biochemistry, British Journals of Medicine, Cancer Epidemiology etc.)
D. Other
(i) President Section of Animal, Veterinary and Fishery Sciences ISCA for the session 2003-2004.
(ii) Member/Executive Committee ISCA 2005-2006

Member of Selection Committees, Research Degree Committees, Board of Studies of various Universities. Besides all these, a large number of lectures have been delivered in the rural areas, schools, colleges, Universities etc. to popularize Science.



Member : American Society of Human Genetics (1982-85).
Member : American Association of Cancer Research 2006 onward
Member : Cell Kinetics Society, USA (1982-85)
Member : Canadian Society of Genetics (1982-85)
Member : Genetic Society of America (1982-85)
Life Member : Environmental Mutagen Society of India and Executive Member, 1979-80, 1993-94.
President : Environment Mutagenesis Society of India 2010-12
Life Member : Indian Society of Human Genetics.
Life Member : Indian Society of Cell Biology.
Life Member : Indian Science Congress Association (Convener, Local Chapter Since, 1994-2008)
Life Member : Society of Cytologists and Geneticists, India.
Member : Society of Cell and Chromosome Research, Japan.
Member : High Powered ‘TOKTEN’ Committee of CSIR (1998-2008)
Chairman Board of Exam. : DOEACC, Government of India (2003-2007)
Chairman : All India Biotechnologists Association (AIBA), North Zone
Advisor Biotechnology : Government of Uttranchal, Dehradun (2001-2004)
Member Advisory Council S & T : Government of Haryana (2002-2004)
Member, Governing Board : Consortium of Educational Communication, Delhi (2006-2008)
Member, Standing Finance Committee : PGIMER, Chandigarh
Member, Standing Academic Committee : PGIMER, Chandigarh
Member, Standing Selection Committee : PGIMER, Chandigarh
Chairman Standing Purchase Committee : PGIMER, Chandigarh
Member, Advisory Committee : Indian Council of Cultural Relations
Executive Member : Indian Institute of Public Admin. New Delhi
Member, Academic Advisory Committee : Academic Staff College, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Academic Staff College, Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur

Academic Staff College SR University, Triupati 2008

Member of the 11th Member VC Team for the Education to visit USA, September 2007 : US Department of State
Member, Governing Board : Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophy, Pune
Member, Governing Council : Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophy, Pune
Nominated Member : Board of Governors, NIT, Srinagar (2006-2008)
Member : National Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Symposium on Genetics, Health and Disease (ISGHD) of Department of Human Genetics, GNDU, Amritsar (2008)
Expert Member Research Council : Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow w.e.f 1st April , 2007 for 3 years
Member/Chairman : Committee to Select VCs of certain universities.
Member : Executive Council of Indian Institute of Public Administration
Member : Task Force Manpower Planning of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (1992-1996)
Executive Member : Indian Institute of Public Administration
Member : Edusat System UGC (2006-2008)
Member Governing Body : IUA, New Delhi
Member : India-U.K. Higher Education Panel, Twinned University Programme (2009)
Member : NAAC Committee for University and Colleges
Member ·Council : National Academy of Sciences, India, Allahabad (2009-2011)


The work carried out by Dr. Sobti has direct relevance to human health as he has:

1.···· identified genotypes susceptible to for the risk of lung, prostate, cervix, oesophageal and bladder cancers

2.···· developed simplified molecular technique for the detection of genetic polymorphism in population

3.···· identified agricultural chemicals with carcinogenic and mutagenic potential and worked out structure and activity relationship

4.···· detected molecular interrelation of bruchid and curculionid pests using RFLP-RAPD techniques

5.···· determined molecular taxonomic position of termites of North India

6.···· characterized the buffalo and goat genomes by developing EST and microsatellite maps. More than 1000 accession numbers for ESTs of goats have been developed.

7.···· purified the thermostable and Novel enzymes CMCase and Beta galactosidase

8.···· got gene accession number of a large number of gene sequences of goat, buffalo and termites.


Dr. Sobti has single handedly established Centre (now full fledged department) of Biotechnology at Panjab University which has been recognized by the DBT, UGC (under emerging areas), and DST (under FIST programme). The students who have got M.Sc./Phd. Degree from this department are occupying prestigious positions in the reputed institutes in the country and aboard.

The course curricula for the courses run by the department were originally designed by Dr. Sobti.

It is under his leadership that Panjab University has got PURSE Award from the DST as well as special grant of Rs. 50 crores in the budget of Government of India 2009.

It is because of his tireless efforts and perseverance that University has been declared centrally funded Institute, thereby ending the financial instability for all times to come as well as open the doors to make 54% expansion (27% OBC, and 27% generally under this reservation Act 2006).

Role in popularizing Science in the Society

Dr. Sobti has made extensive efforts in popularizing science by

1.···· Organizing Symposia, Conferences, Workshops

i)············· Symposium on Biotechnology in Medicine, 1990

ii)············ Chandigarh Symposia in New Biology (1991-2003)

iii)··········· Reorientation course on Fundamental of Genetic Engineering – April 1993

iv)··········· Reorientation course on Fundamental of Biotechnology – December 1993 to Jan. 1994 (Sponsored by PSCST)

v)············ Short Term Training Course on Genetic Risk Assessment (DBT sponsored January-February 1993)

vi)··········· DBT sponsored Teacher’s Training Programmes in Vocational Biotechnology 2007

vii)·········· Refresher course in Environmental Studies July 1-21, 1997

viii)········· Chandigarh Symposium, 1998

ix)··········· Refresher Course in Advances in Life Sciences 16th September-13th October, 1998

x)············ 3rd Punjab Science Congress and Symposium on Hundred years of Post Mendelian Genetics Advent of Biotechnology 10-12th December 1999.

xi)··········· 13th Punjab Science Congress

xii)·········· National Academy of Science Annual Meeting, 1996, 2008

xiii)········· 1st INDO-US Workshop on Flow Cytometry 2001

xiv)········ 9th Chandigarh Symposium on New Biology 2005

xv)········· 5th INDO-US Workshop on Flow Cytometry 2005

xvi)········ National Workshop on Basic Bioinformatics 2005

xvii)······· ·The following organized in the university during his tenure as a VC. Under his direct supervision.

a.···· Three Chandigarh Science Congresses.

b.··· Two Chandigarh Language Congresses.

c.···· Two Chandigarh Social Science Congresses.

d.··· Stem Cell Conferences.

e.···· North Zone Vice-Chancellor Conferences (2008, 2010).

f.···· Indo-US Animal cell culture, DNA Fingerprinting & Cell marker Identification Workshop

g.··· Indo-US, Symposium on Cancer Stem Cell, July 2008

h.···· Research Convention (AIU, 2008, 2009)

i.····· Indo-US, Symposium of Newer Technologies, February 2009

j.····· International Conference of Agricultural Biotechnology, October 2009

k.···· SAUFEST 2009

l.····· North Zone Cultural Fest (AIU) 2009

m.·· Indo-US Symposium on Translational Biology of Cancer 2010

n.···· Biotechnica 2010

o.··· Biopsychological and Social Aspects of Human Potential Developing 2010

2.···· Organizing and delivering popular lectures

3.···· Publishing popular articles in Science today, Everyman’s Science, Everyday Science, and other scientific magazine and newspapers

4.···· Editing and publishing and scientific magazines Hippocampus, Biotech bulletin,

5.···· Visiting schools, colleges in urban and rural areas to make the students and general public aware about the scientific development in general and environment in particular.

Number of Publications ································· More than 200


(i)·············· Eukaryotic Chromosomes: Structural and Functional Aspects with Prof. G.Obe, Director Institute of Genetics. University of Essen. Published by M/s Narosa Publishers and Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.

(ii)············ Medical Zoology published by S.L. Nagin and Co., India.

(iii)··········· Some Essays on Cytogenetical Research M/s Narendra Publishers,New Delhi

(iv)·········· Trends in Environmental Muta genesis Tausco Publishers, New Delhi

(v)············ New Biology: 1, Pb. Univ., Chandigarh.

(vi)·········· Fundamentals of Biotechnology, Pb. Univ. Chandigarh.

(vii)········· Advances in Life Sciences, Pb. Univ. Chandigarh

(viii)······· Functional Aspects of Chordates, Published by S.L. Nagin Chand and Co., India

(ix)·········· Environment: Components, Problems and Conservation, Published by Narendra Publishers, New Delhi.

(x)············ Animal Physiology (M/s Narosa Publication National Issue; M/s Alpha Publication International Issue, Cambridge)

(xi)·········· An Insight of the Insects published by M/s Tausco Publishers, New Delhi.

(xii)········· Some aspects of structure and· Function of· chromosomes Published by,· M/s Kluwers

(xiii)······· Basics of Biotechnology Vol 1 Introduction to Life Sciences Published by M/s Vishal

(xiv)······· Basics of Biotechnology Vol II: Concepts, Tools and Applications, M/s Vishal Publishers

(xv)········ Medical Zoology and Medical Technology published by M/s Shobhan Lal and Co

(xvi)······· Medical Zoology: An introduction to Parasitology published by M/s Shobhan Lal and Company

(xvii)····· Pathological Zoology Published by M/s Shobhan Lal and Company· (in Press)

(xviii)···· Elements of Biotechnology Published by M/s Ane Publishers, New Delhi

(xix)······· Fundamental of Modern Biology Published by M/s Ane Publishers, New Delhi

(xx)········ Biotech Bulletins Volumes 1 to 9

(xxi)······· Academic Staff Colleges : Perspective Panjab University , Chandigarh

(xxii)····· Centre State Relationship – Panjab University , Chandigarh

Countries Visited ··········································· USA, U.K. Germany, Japan, Netherlands

Malaysia, China and Nepal

No. of Research projects handled ··················· 22

Specific Contribution to Scientific Knowledge

Dr. Sobti started his career as a cytogeneticist (Zoology) and has made commendable contributions in the cytogenetic characterization of various animal groups and the normal and diseased humans.· Dr. Sobti has made following contributions during last couples of years in India:

i)············· Characterized the buffalo and goat genomes by developing EST and microsatellite maps. More than 1000 accession numbers for ESTs of goats have been acquired [Journals of Genetics 85: 165-170, 2006; DNA Sequence 17 (2): 94-98, 2006; Animal Biotechnology; 18 (2) 123-130, 2007, Biochem Genetics 45 (1-2) 145-153, 2007; 46 (3-4) 124-136}.

ii)············ Detection of molecular marker for determining the systematic position of bruchids, curculionids and termites [Caryologia 56 (2) : 219-222; 59 (3) : 226-234; Cytologia 7 (1): 57-62; 76 (1) : 81-85; Molecular Cell Biochemistry 295 (1-2) : 145-151].

iii)··········· Isolation of microbes and characterization of thermostable enzymes like b galactosidase (65oC), CMCase (60oC) and serine alkaline protease (65oC) [J. Indust. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 24, 58-63, 2000, Folia Microbiol. 44, 367-371, 2001; Process Biochem. 36, 276-285, 2001; World J. Microbiol and Biotech. 17, 761-765, 2001; Engg. in Life Science 2005 5 (6) : 581-584].

iv)··········· Finding of microbial transformation pathway involved in conversion of ferulic acid to vanillin which has tremendous applications in food and beverage industry so as to avoid the usage of synthetic vanillin (Journal Biotech, 2001).

v)············ Characterization of Shiga toxin from Shigella flexneri (JPAS, 2, 137-148, 2002).

vi)··········· Detection of diagnostic significance of telomerase activity in gastrointestinal and lung cancers (Mol. Cell Biochem., 217, 51-56, 2001).

vii)·········· Association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of metabolic, DNA repair, cell cycle, immunomodulatory genes with the risk of lung, prostate, bladder and cervix cancers. The CYP1A1 Msp and ile/val genotypes are important markers for the risk of lung cancer and GSTM1 null genotype for bladder cancer. An increased risk of prostate cancer associated with estrogen receptor (ER a-/-) genotype has been observed. There is 3, 5, and 6 fold increased risk of prostate cancer in individuals carrying CYP17A1/A2/A2/A2, PRA1/A2/A2/A2 and CYP1B1 and P1, combined with ER + /-/-/- genotype. CYP19 CT genotype unlike SR D5A2, VDR and Cyp2d6 genes also plays an important role in the risk of prostate cancer. Formation of resistance in P388 mouse cancer cells has been linked with the development of specific chromosome markers in cells.

viii)········· Phosphatidic acid (generated through the activation of receptor CR by cholesterol) regulates mevalonate pathway, DNA synthesis as well as expression of genes coding for C-Phos, c-myc and cyclin D.

Besides he has also worked on the following :

1.···· Molecular analysis of genetic stability of micropropagated apple root stock (Scientica Horticulture. 104 : 151-160).

2.···· Regulation of growth of Lilium plantlets in liquid medium by application of paclobutrazol or ancymidol for its amenability in a bioreactor system (Plant Cell Rep. 2005, 20: 1-10).

Biographical information, and significant contributions at (a) National and (b) International Level

Dr. Sobti has made excellent contributions in finding out relationship of various polymorphic forms of metabolic, DNA repair, cell cycle and immunomodulatory genes and the expression pattern of polymorphic form of some of the genes. It has been done to know the comprehensive multiple gene based genotypes associated with the risk of upper aerodigestive tract, lung, bladder, cervix and prostate cancers in North Indian population. Most of the observations have been made for the first time, some of which are new to the field as such and others on Indian population and the data are quite different from that wherever reported for other populations of the world.

Polymorphisms in CYP1A1 (msp1, ile/val, pst1) and GSTM1 do not show any association with upper aerodigestive tract (UAT) cancer. However, an increased risk towards UAT cancer has been observed in bidi smokers having GSTM1 or GSTT1 null genotypes.

The risk of oesophageal cancer is increased with combined CYP1A1 (*1/*2A) and CYP2D6 (EM) genotypes. Same is the case with GSTT1 null and GSTP1 (exon 5 and 6) polymorphisms.· New mutations have been reported in P53 gene in North Indian population. These include insertion of T in exon 6 at 13256 and that of A at 14376 in exon 8.

While studying the CYP1A2, SULT1A1, NAT2 and XRCC1 polymorphisms in relation to lung cancer in North Indian population it has been reported that NAT2 (*5/wt/*5/*5) genotype in combination with other genotypes of CYP2D6 (EM/HEM) and p53 shows elevated the risk of lung cancer. The risk is further increased in case of smokers. An associative interaction between ERCC2 and CCDN1 genetic polymorphism for risk of lung cancer has also observed.

The GSTT1 null and CYP2D6 (HEM) alleles increase the risk of bladder cancer. The number of mutations in p53 gene is more in patients with combined genotypes of CYP2D6 (HEM), GSTM1 null and GSTT1 null alleles. There is no other report in the world rgarding the detection of single nucleotide polymorphism of the genes LIG1 (exon 6, A à C), APE1 (ASP 148 Glu) IL-1b (-31, Cà T), IFN g (+874 A/A), IL 18 (-137, C/C) and NBS (-185 Gln/Gln) in patients with bladder cancer. The expression of IL13, IFNg and IL18 for mRNA and protein levels as well as microsatellite of IFN-g have role in the genesis of bladder cancer. IL4 (70 bp repeat in VNTR in intron 3) gene polymorphism also alter the risk for bladder cancer patients from India. The report regarding hypermethylation status of RB1, DAPK and CASP-8 in bladder cancer of Indian population is also new to literature.

While studying the polymorphisms in NBS1 (Glul/Glu*gln/gln), IL4, IL6, IL10, FAS and TAB a risk of cervix cancer. It has been observed that +874 of IFN g and TAP genotype increases the risk for cervix cancer. On the other hand APE1 148 ASP/Glu polymorphism decreases it. The expression of IL18, IFNg genes and hypermethylation of p14 and p16 genes do not show any difference in cervix carcinoma patients and healthy controls in North Indian population.

The mutant genotype (A2/A2) of CYP17 significantly increases the risk of prostate cancer. CYP1B1 (leu/leu) genotype combined with PR (A2/A2 or A1/A2) is associated with the risk of prostate cancer. mEH3 and mutant genotype of ER (+/-/-/-) and CYP17 (A1/A2/A2/A2) and HPC/ELAC2 (Leu/Leu) show an increased the risk of prostate cancer in the Indian population.* The TA repeats (TA 9/9) and PSA (G/G) genotypes also play role in the risk of prostate cancer development has also been reported.

Metabolic syndrome and CHD allele of VEGF-1154 polymorphism is associated with development of coronary heart disease. SNP 45 T/G in adiponectin gene is associated with development of coronary heart disease in north Indian population. G allele is associated with the elevated risk of coronary heart disease.

VEGF-1154A/A may be a major risk factor in CAD, smoking, type2 diabetes and obesity, but protective in MetS thru some alternate signaling pathway. Heterozygosity in TNF-a 308G/A may have a protective role in CAD and a high risk in MetS. C allele of LEPRser492thr has a protective effect in MetS and CAD probably due to down regulation of the receptor. This study provides preliminary evidence of association of cytokine polymorphism with MetS and CAD and their risk factors in this population.

AIDS : There is no statistically significant variation in the genotype frequencies of IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-6 and IL-10 among cases and controls.* There is a statistically reduced risk of HIV-1 and slower rate of disease progression with RP2/RP2 genotype of IL-4. Moreover, marginal reduced risk of HIV susceptibility due to the combined effects of AA genotype of IL-1RA and Rp2/Rp2 of IL-4 is there 5.99 folds of statistically significant increased risk for disease progression is there in the carriers of combined genotype effects of RP1/RP1 of IL-4 and GC of IL-6. Furthermore, 1.66 folds of statistically non significant elevated risk of HIV susceptibility and 1.06 folds· statistically non significant marginal rate of disease progression due to the combined effects of AB genotype of IL-1RA and CC of IL-6 there.

Heterozygote individuals for XRCC3 Thr241Met, XPD- GLn751Gln,and XPG-His1104Hi are associated with the risk of HIV-1/AIDS disease while no association is there XRCC1- Arg399Gln, XRCC3Gln241Gln, XPD-lyc751Gln,XPG-Asp1104His genotypes· in a sample of north Indian population.

Stem cell : The recent studies employing multipotent mesenchymal stem cell line has demonstrated that these cells can be made to differentiate into, or refrain from differentiating into Adipocytes by altering the chemical stimulus to which they are exposed. The molecular components of the cells that are possibly involved in this alteration of differentiation are the downstream components of the Wnt pathways, specifically the Glycogen synthase 3β kinase (GSK3 β). The studies are underway to pinpoint the molecular cross talk among the wnt signaling molecules involved in the process of adipogenesis (Communicated).

These and other observations on animal molecular genetics/biology, human cytogenetics, environmental carcinogenesis have been published in international journals (Cancer Genetics and Cytogeneteics, Cell and Molecular Biochemistry, Mutation Research, Oncology Research, Anticancer Research, Biomarker etc..