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Krishnaraj Rajalingam


NRI, a molecular biologist won a 1.3 million euros,
a prestigious award from the German research foundation

October 01, 2007
Ajit Bhalla

NRI Krishnaraj Rajalingam, 30, a molecular biologist from Tamil Nadu has won the coveted award from the German Research Foundation for his study on Programmed Cell Death. Defects in cell death can lead to dire consequences ranging from cancer to neuro-degenerative disorders.

A part of his research focused on some essential questions of cancer development.

  • How do bacterial infections influence the formation of a tumor?
  • How can a "normal" cancer cell become a metastatic cancer cell - the tumor forms in one region, and it goes to a completely different region?

Krishnaraj along with his team have identified a gene which seems to be crucial for tumor migration. It drives the tumor cells to move, from the normal site of origin to a distant region. Possibly a way to develop a treatment against metastasis.

He said, his first option after finishing his college is to go to the United States. But I find it very interesting in Germany, because - if you look for example at the Max Planck Institutes, we are in fact well equipped and one of the top class institutions in the world. Most of the finest research comes from Germany. We know Germany for automobile industry and science, many Noble laureates come from Germany. Of course, Germany is a land of science.

After this reward, he can now establish a fully independent research team anywhere in Germany for the next five years. His latest papers are:

  • Smac/DIABLO is required for effector caspase activation during apoptosis in human cells.
  • Ras oncogenes and their downstream targets.
  • Bak and Bax are non-redundant during infection- and DNA damage-induced apoptosis.
  • IAP-IAP Complexes Required for Apoptosis Resistance of C. trachomatis-Infected Cells.
  • NF-kappaB and inhibitor of apoptosis proteins are required for apoptosis resistance of epithelial cells persistently infected with Chlamydophila pneumoniae.
  • A global approach combining proteome analysis and phenotypic screening with RNA interference yields novel apoptosis regulators.
  • Requirement of caspase-mediated cleavage of c-Abl during stress-induced apoptosis.









NRI Dr. Krishnaraj Rajalingam, scientist


  • He was born in Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu and studied masters in life sciences from Bharathidasan University in Thiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.
  • He did his doctoral thesis from Max Planck Institute for Infections Biology in Berlin, Germany
  • Krishnaraj Rajalingam is working as scientist at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany
  • His grandfather was doctor, and he had a small clinic, close to the house. He grew up with him and was inspired to become scientist by him. His grandfather wanted him to become a doctor