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British-Indian knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

Jan 3, 2017 16:41 IST

A British-Indian professor, Shankar Balasubramanian has been awarded knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his immense contribution in the field of science and medicine.

Balasubramanian, who is a Professor of Chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received the recognition for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing, which is described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine.

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The professor’s work, also known as Solexa sequencing allows an individual genome to be sequenced in a day or two at a rate less than 1000 pounds. Earlier the same procedure took years of work and cost around billions.

Apart from this, the professor has also contributed immensely in understanding the role of DNA quadruplexes in cancer and invented a method for the sequencing of epigenetic modifications.

Olympic stars Andy Murray, Mo Farah, track and field athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, actor Mark Rylance, designer Victoria Beckham and Vogue editor Anna Wintour are among others whose names featured in the 2017 New Year Honours list. While Murray who won the tennis championship at Rio Olympics 2016 and Farah who won double gold received the knighthood, athlete Ennis-Hill received the title of a dame.

The honours list included a host of other Indian-original people as well such as Hardip Singh Begol of the UK’s Department for Education, Kamaldeep Singh Bhui, who is a Professor of cultural psychiatry and epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London and Neena Gill, who is a member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands.

All three received Commanders of the Order of the British Empire honour (CBEs). While Hardip Singh received the title for his services to education, Kamaldeep Singh received it for his services to mental health research and care and Neena Gill for parliamentary and political service.

Ravindra Pragji Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Borough Council and Anita Thapar, Clinical Professor at the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at the Cardiff University also received CBEs for services to Local Government and the community in Wandsworth and services to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry respectively.

Indian-origin people who won the Officers of the Order of the British Empire honour (OBEs) included Poonam Gupta, CEO of PG Paper Company for services to business and charity, Brinder Sing Mahon, CEO of Nishkam School Trust for services to education and Avtar Singh Purewal for services to prisoners.

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