Oral history interview with Pradip Raychaudhuri

Oral history interview with Pradip Raychaudhuri

  • 1997-Nov-01 – 1997-Nov-02

Pradip Raychaudhuri grew up in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, the oldest of seven children. His father was a pharmacist, his mother a housewife. As a youngster he played cricket and soccer and followed the professional teams. His father wanted him to be a surgeon, but he was more interested in mathematics and the physical sciences. Raychaudhuri's maternal grandfather influenced him greatly in mathematics, working problems with him from an early age. His father inspired his interest in the Hindu religion and in philosophy, believing that Hinduism and science are compatible. Reading about scientists engaged his interest in being a scientist, and he performed well at school in the subjects he liked. Because he felt that the Indian system of graduate education was not as good as in the United States, he decided to study here. Raychaudhuri applied to several universities in the United States; he chose Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in part because he had heard talks from an Indian and an American who were at Einstein. He began studying protein synthesis in Umadas Maitra's lab, working in the lab around the clock. As an undergraduate he had been interested in cancer research, and he shifted back to it from enzymology. Homesick at first, he struggled with American culture in addition to finding the program at Einstein rigorous. He met his wife, Srilata Bagchi, a postdoc at Einstein, and they married after he completed his thesis defense. Raychaudhuri accepted a postdoc in the Joseph R. Nevins lab at Rockefeller University. There he showed that E1A activates transcription factors by removing tumor suppressors. Working in a competitive field, Raychaudhuri had to devise research projects that would enable him to compete against larger labs. He began studying the E2F-Rb complex's relationship to tumor suppressors and investigating whether replication gene expression is regulated through damaged DNA binding. Drug resistance in cancer patients was an important stimulus to Raychaudhuri's desire to find clinical applications for his research. Explaining his failure to obtain funding to determine an RNA-binding protein's relationship to Rb led to a discussion of grant writing, of the balance between clinical and basic science, and of his recent funding history and future funding prospects. After three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University Raychaudhuri accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine; he has since received tenure. He concluded the interview talking about taking his daughter to the lab; his reasons for remaining in the United States; the need to publicize one's science; the quality of graduate students and postdocs at Illinois; the need for the university to improve the quality of its scientists and research; and his definition of good science. The interview ended with an explanation of the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences funding and annual meeting on his career.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 71 pages
  • 4 h 55 m 45 s
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute
Digitization funder
  • Audio synchronization made possible through the generous funding of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Physical location

Oral history number 0550
Physical container
  • Shelfmark R134.86.R393438 A5 1997

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • January 04, 1958
  • Calcutta, India


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1980 University of Calcutta BS Chemistry
1983 Albert Einstein College of Medicine MS Molecular Biology
1986 Albert Einstein College of Medicine PhD Molecular Biology

Professional Experience

Rockefeller University

  • 1986 to 1987 Postdoctoral Fellow

Duke University

  • 1987 to 1990 Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Illinois at Chicago

  • 1990 to 1996 Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry
  • 1996 to 1998 Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry


Year(s) Award
1986 to 1989 Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fellow
1986 to 1989 Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fellow
1992 to 1996 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

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The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

7 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads