Site dedicated for works of Dr. Raj Shankar

Research & Biography

(i.) Brief Outline of Research Work Done by Professor Raj Shankar. 

He worked for one year (1966-67) at the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute , University Of Delhi on the Lipid Metabolism In Mycobacteria .In 1967 , he travelled to University Of British Columbia , Vancouver B.C. , (Canada) to work under Prof.J.H. Quastel, F.R.S. , F.R.S.C for PhD degree in Biochemistry.(Photograph below shows Prof J.H Quastel And Raj Shankar working together at Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research at UBC Labs,Canada in 1969 , Photograph Published in the newspaper - "The Vancouver Sun")There he worked On "Cerebral Metabolism during Anoxia and effect of some Neurotropic Drugs".This work clearly showed that tetrodotoxin strongly stimulates anaerobic glycolysis and these findings led to the conclusion that at the onset of anoxia,and in the absence of tetrodotoxin action potentials are generated. 

The above work has been cited in various publications by a number of workers. 

Dr.Raj ShankarIn 1971,he returned from abroad and joined Deptt. Of Biochemistry of IMS , BHU , Varanasi , India .There he initiated work on undernutrition and brain development.His early work was concerned with developing a suitable model for study of effect of undernutrition on cerebral metabolism during the brain growth spurt period.Ultimately the method of restriction feeding time of the suckling rats was adopted and he found that transport property of isolated cerebral tissue is altered in developing rats This was perhaps first demonstration of the fact that undernourishment during brain growth spurt period causes changes in the membrane organization resulting in altered transport properties.It was also found that a key membrane enzyme Na+K+ ATPase show decreased activity in addition to changes in pattern of oubain inhibition which was reversible on adequate rehabilation.This work along with some other findings of him show that these changes are presumably due to the free radical induced damage to developing brain. 

Studies on incorporation of C14-acetate into brain lipids of undernourished rats in vivo carried out by him showed that inspite of lipid deficit, 14C-acetate incorporation is slightly higher in experimental animals.This finding ultimately led to the observation that operation of pentose phosphate cycle is altered in the brains of undernourished animals.Gultathione and ascorbic acid was also studied in undernourished brain. 

From 1980-84 he worked on a project "Drug Action , brain development and behavioral changes in the mammalian system "financed by CSIR.This work mainly led to the finding that action of some CNS acting drugs are potentiated in undernourished animals.They also observed that the drug reserpine is a strong inhibitor of lipid peroxidation and protein phosphorylation in brain.This project was mainly concerned with interaction between drug action , monoamines and membrane phenomenon which could later be extra polated to behaviour.Since various gangliosides are involved in binding of cerebral amines the contents of different species of gangliosides and neuraminidase activity was established. 

He established that the drug reerpine effects the cationiv content of rat brain and proposed that changes in cationic content may be playing a part in release of monoamines at the synapse.It was further shown that transport property of isolated cerebral tissue is altered in chronic reserpinized animals which further pointed out the membrane action of reserpine. 

In 1980 he established that there is a relationship between high density lipoproteins and premature atherosclerosis in patients with renal failure.The work on lipoproteins was also carried out with patients suffering from anxiety neurosis.He was one of the coinvestigators in an international study on protein energy requirements in indivisuals of this country and this work was supported by the United Nations University.In addition he was involved in a number of collaborative studies with various groups in the institute.The studies include Biochemical and Immunological studies in chylurya,placental oxidative enzymes in pregnancy anemia,Lecithin-Sphingomyelin ratio in fetal lung maturity etc. 

Till August 2000 he was involved in study of protein phosphorylation in brain.He had shown that protein phosphorylation is adversely on rehabilation .Attempts are in progress to characterize specific proteins by SDSPAGE and radioautography.He had shown the effect of pentobarbitone on cerebral protein phosphorylation which is not due to to its action on electron transport chain. 

Work was also in progress in his laboratory till August 2000 to study effect of a number of CNS drugs on protein phosphorylation in brain and to examine if specific proteins are effected.This would have helped to establish exact role of cerebral phosphoproteins in neurotransmission.Study of role of membrane glycoproteins in neuroreceptor dysfunction and role of 2' , 3' - cyclic neucleotide phosphohydrolase in the process of myelination was done. ( Singh R and Shankar R ) .Mechanism of action of some antiepileptic drugs on brain metabolism was also in progress. 

The work of Professor Shankar was involved in the elucidation of mechanisms involved in mental retardation in genetic disorders such as myxodema , phenylketonuria and possibly severe undernutrition during brain growth spurt period. 

In 1999 he conclusively established that in conditions like Alzeihmer 's disease there is phosphorylation related folding problem of proteins.This is responsible for cognitive and other defects.Similar situation exists under severe undernutrition during brain growth spurt period and similar mechanism involving protein phosphorylation may be involved here also. This discovery of Professor Raj Shankar has influenced Alzeimer 's research for years to come. 

In 2000 along with his student Kalyan Goswami , he showed that sites in proteins damaged due to free radicals can be accurately determined by carbonylation studies and could have been developed as an accurate method to denote relation between chronological age and biological age after free radical induced damage.( Goswami , B . D. Bhatia , Raj Shankar 2000) 


(ii.)Biography Of Late Professor Raj Shankar 

On 2nd April,1947  a child was born in a famous  Kayastha  Hindu family in Gorakhpur , a small town in state of Uttar Pradesh , India. The child was named Raj Shanker  .

Nobody knew that this child would become an exceptionally bright student and teacher some day.His grandfather was a famous lawyer in Deoria District (a small town near Gorakhpur).His father Prof. Hari Shankar Srivastava who worked and chaired as Head at Department of History at Gorakhpur University for over two decades. . Prof. Hari Shankar had also chaired as the first Head of the Department Of Political Science , Gorakhpur University. He has been an eminent Historian . Now he has retired and leading old age life in Gorakhpur . Raj Shanker had four sisters Kalpana , Sadhna , Madhu and Neelima. He was the third child but only son.

Raj was very bright and a Genius in studies since his childhood.He was a pampered child too. His grandfather , Mr. Daya Shankar Lal ,used to call him every evening and asked him to take out handful of money (Rupiahs) from the box which was used to collect and keep the money earned from the practice as a lawyer . Raj Shankar used to spend that money to purchase kites and accessories for games . Raj Shankar had made his own small laboratory in a small part of his parental house .

When he was admitted in the school he was praised by his teachers due to his exceptional results in school. When he was in Class II standard,he was given promotion and promoted to higher Class III standard directly . Science was his favourite subject.He used to to perform experiments in his laboratory and published some articles in the children magazines.Since Class I standard he used to score First Class Grades in results.In 1960,he cleared High School, in 1962 he cleared Intermediate Education both in First Class Grade. For period of 1960-1962 ,he was awarded Merit Scholarship under 2nd Five year Plan of India. He passed High School and Intermediate from St .Andrews School , Gorakhpur. In 1964,he passed Bachelor Of Science from University of Gorakhpur in First Class Grade.In 1966,he completed Master Of Science ( Biochemistry ) from the University Of Lucknow in First Class Grade even. When he was studying in M.Sc he was awarded Atomic Energy Scholarship by the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1966-67 he was awarded CSIR Junior Research Fellowship at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University Of Delhi. He wanted to work and was interested in Brain research ( NeuroScience ). As a bright student ,  his teachers gave recommendation of his name for higher studies for .Ph.D.He had received offers from McGill University , Canada , Queen 's University , Canada , University of Oxford , United Kingdom and University Of British Columbia , Vancouver B.C, Canada.

Raj Shankar liked the works of Professor J . H Quastel ,FRS,FRSC ( The first person who pioneered diverse research in Neuro Bio Chemistry ) from UBC , Canada and wanted to work and complete his PhD degree under him. In 1967,Professor Quastel came to Bombay,India and got impressed with Raj Shankar's accomplishments and interests. Professor Quastel interviewed and invited Raj Shankar to come to Canada at Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research. Raj Shankar was awarded various scholarships including University Of British Columbia Graduate Fellowship at UBC. During period of 1970-71 he also taught at Faculty Of Medicine , UBC as teaching assistant for undergraduates.In 1971, he was awarded PhD degree.In 1971,Dr. Raj Shankar returned back to India and joined Department Of Bio-Chemistry , Institute Of Medical Sciences (IMS) , Banaras Hindu University , Varanasi , ( Uttar Pradesh ) , India . The then director of IMS was Professor K . N Uduppa and then Head of Department Of Biochemistry was Professor D . P . Burma. Dr. Raj Shanker was appointed as Lecturer here after giving him five successive immediate increments in the salary grade scale equivalent to the Grade Of an Indian Administrative Service Officer.

Dr.Raj Shankar was 24 yrs old now and was young and dynamic.In 1971,he was arranged married to Deepika Srivastava,daughter of Mr. B.B Singh,Deputy General Manager,Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport.In 1973,his wife gave birth a daughter named Deepali and in 1980 gave birth a son named Abhinav. From 1971-80 , Dr. Raj Shankar taught undergraduates and post graduates till 1990.In 1979,Dr.Raj Shankar became the Founder-Incharge of Neuro - Biochemistry Unit. In 1980 he became Reader ( Asst. Professor ).He wanted to return back to Canada in 1987 but the news poured in that Professor J.H Quastel was no more alive.So Dr.Raj Shankar dropped the idea for returning back to Canada.Raj was quite close to Professor Quastel .

In 1989,once Dr. Raj Shankar was reading text book of BioChemistry written by Sir James D.Watson (Co-Discoverer of DNA & a Nobel Laureate) (Click Here to view). Dr.Shankar pointed out a mistatement written about glycogen in the text- book and wrote a letter to Sir Watson . Sir Watson wrote in his reply to Dr Shankar that he felt very embarrassed and said the mistake should have been corrected since the very first edition and would get corrected from the fifth edition which was going to be released.

In 1990, Dr Shankar was promoted to become a Professor and soon after he became as Head of the Department.Soon when Dr.Raj Shankar became Professor ,he was one of the scientists from India who were selected and went in a delegation to Moscow , Soviet Union (now Russia) in 'Soviet-Indian Symposium on NeuroTransplantation and Developmental Neurobiology in 1991 organised by USSR Academy of Sciences & Indian National Science Academy (INSA), under leadership of Prof. P.N Tandon,the then INSA President. He also went to Leningrad ,in a museum to see Lenin's dead Body (not cremated then) kept in Glass. Professor Shankar said that "I felt like Lenin was sleeping quietely."Professor Shankar was appointed as Expert for Biochemistry in many selection commitees of various Indian Institutions of Higher Learning.

His main fields of specialization were Neurobiochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry. His contributions on neurochemistry are well recognized and he had been invited to deliver lectures in various prestigious conferences.Professor Raj Shankar's contribution is in developmental neurobiology with special reference to undernutrition during brain growth spurt period.His work had clearly established that undernutrition during brain development causes some irreversible changes.In 1991, work carried out in Texas and Yale with Magnetic Resonance Imaging by other workers confirmed some of the conclusions of Prof Shankar's work . Work done during last few years on developing brain show that signal transduction mechanisms are affected due to nutritional stress during brain development.Professor Shankar's other work involved biochemical aspects of mode of action of drugs on C.N.S. Apart from work on reserpine done earlier and published in NATURE and BIOCHEMICAL PHARMACOLOGY,in 1987 he established that the barbiturate pentobarbitone affects protein phosphorylation in brain. This work is significant from the point of view of views on signal transduction.His work also concerned with mode of action of drugs like haloperidol and trifluoperazine.Professor Shankar's work in clinical biochemistry was mainly concerned with lipoprotein metabolism.Professor Shankar has near about 84 publications in international and national Journals of repute.

Professor Raj Shankar had many friends in the University and he used to socialize at the BHU club.Prof. Gajendra Singh ( Department Of Anatomy , Director - IMS ) was the closest friend since school days. Dr. H.D Khanna ( Department Of Biophysics , IMS ) & Dr. P.K Dey of Physiology Department were also a good friend of him. Prof. Indra Sharma ( Department Of Psychiatry ) was a family friend.He had helped Prof. Indira Sharma in her subject when she was completeing the course of academic degrees in Psychiatry.Professor Raj Shankar used to spend the evening while playing 'Bridge' with Professor Sushil Kumar Srivastava (Department of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering , Institute Of Technology (IT) BHU ), Professor Prabhakar Jha ( Department Of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering , Institute Of Technology (IT) BHU) and Professor T Srinivasan ( Department Of Electrical Engineering , Institute Of Technology (IT) BHU).

Professor Raj Shankar used to help students of other teachers & researchers also.He co-produced some papers with Dr. G . P Katiyar & Dr. K . N Agarwal ( Professors Of Pediatrics , IMS ). He was Co-Investigator with Dr. K . N Agarwal for the United Nations University project. Dr. P . K Srivastava ( Biochemistry Department , Faculty Of Science , BHU ) used to discuss matters about administration and research.Dr. Yamini Bhushan Tripathi  ( Department of Medicinal Chemistry ),used to take advices from him about research.Dr. B.D Bhatia and Dr. P.N Singla ( Professors , Department Of Pediatrics , IMS ) were his close associates.Though Professor Raj Shankar was a strict teacher he never used to give marks on request to students but used to help them by clearing their doubts. He got many offers to go abroad but he refused by saying that he didin't want to settle abroad but want to work in his homeland India.

Professor Raj Shankar was a person who led life simply but with sophisticated thinking.He was a person of high calliber.His weakness was chain smoking of Cigarettes.He was also fond of having pufs of tobacco pipe made of wood.

Professor Raj Shankar liked to spend his time lonely and isolated since his schooling days.He had a seperate living room.He was a devoted person to his profession.A helpful man indeed.

Professor Raj Shankar was the first person in IMS , BHU who had a PhD degree from a reputed foreign University.

He was a strong believer of Astrology and Numerology.He himself was a good and expert in making 'Kundalis' and interpreting them.He was also an admirer of Late Pandit Raj Mohan Upadhyay , Late Professor of Hindu Astrology,Banaras Hindu University.

His wife Deepika was a graduate in Arts from University of Lucknow and had immense interest in Classical Music.Though Professor Raj Shankar was a broad minded person he never supported her to take music as a profession in Performing Arts.His daughter Deepali was born on 25th October,1973 on the Deepawali Festival time.She completed B.Sc ( BZC ), M.Sc ( Botany ),PGDBA ( HRM ) and Diploma In Computer Applications .Professor Raj Shankar couldn't see the marriage of his daughter to Mr. Shyam Kartikeya as he died on 22nd August,2000. Deepali And Shyam Kartikeya are working in Sahara India Pariwar and as Business Head , SOTC , Mumbai respectively.

When Professor Raj Shankar died it was a tough time for the family both mentally and emotionally.His father and mother Prof. Hari Shankar Srivastava and Smt.Kusum Srivastava were under a strong shock as they had lost their only son.

Before death Professor Raj Shankar had discovered a good friend who was Dr. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad  , great grandson of First President Of Independent India , Dr. Rajendra Prasad . Dr. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad himself had been a remarkable scientist (an awardee of PadmaShri 2003 for Medicine) who has worked around the world. His house has been situated near Professor Raj Shankar's parental house in Gorakhpur.Dr. Ashok Prasad has got numerous degrees in account of his name.He has been a Psychiatrist by profession and practices free for public in Gorakhpur.Now he is leading almost a retired life. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad is a behavioural scientist primarily known for his work on sodium valproate as an alternative to lithium in the treatment of bipolar disorder, and his book, Biological Basis and Therapy of Neuroses, in which he expounded on the biological origins of neuroses. After seeing and examining Professor Raj Shankar's accomplishments he had nominated his name for other fellowships. But when the honour came it was too late.He couldn't receive the honour during his life-time.

Professor Raj Shankar never participated in active politics in the university.

Professor Raj Shankar shared many old memories with some of his old students namely Dr. B.K Kishore (USA), Dr. O.P Mishra (USA),Dr. Tryambak Deo (TD) Singh (BHU),Dr. Surya Pratap (SP) Singh (Japan),Dr. Sajal Kumar (Nepal),Dr. Ritu Singh and Dr. Kalyan Goswami .All his Phd. and MD students have gone to greater glories after receiving their degrees.Prof. Shanker was very proud of them.

Prof. Raj Shankar Memorial Gold Medal is being given at University of Gorakhpur to a student securing high marks in biological sciences every year.Wikipedia has named Prof Shankar in its list of Top Neuro Scientists and Biochemists List.

As a father, Professor Raj Shankar lead the responsibility very well.He used to be very concerned and caring about growing up his children with cultured values.He taught his children for respecting elders and giving love and affection to youngers.He got his children educated in convent school and tried very best by providing all the facilities to them .He used to take his children to the market to purchase and instruct to take the accessories of stationary himself.As a Kayastha ,he believed very much in worshipping 'ChitraGupta Ji Maharaj'.

When Prof RP Rastogi was Vice Chancellor he liked the positive attitude of Professor Raj Shankar very much.Prof.Shankar's talent and accomplishments were not rewarded. Prof. Raj Shankar was an Elected member of INTERNATIONAL BRAIN RESEARCH ORGANIZATION in 1979 and In 1999 elected as Executive member of NEUROSCIENCE SOCIETY OF INDIA.

Professor Raj Shankar was very much fascinated by the developments in computer science community.In his last days he was working on neural networks and its simulation.He was the first person in the IMS who implemented working on workstation computers on a local area network.Now it has become very common eveywhere.In 1996 ,he purchased a personal computer AT-486 from his salary by spending fifty thousand rupees .He wanted that his children would learn from the future of technology. He always encouraged his son Abhinav in this field .His daughter Deepali also brought laurels to him when she was completing diploma in computer applications.

Professor Raj Shankar's favourite hobbies were smoking ,reading newspaper-magazines (Times Of India,The Week, Outlook,Frontline),listening to radio and watching cricket on television.In winters he was very fond of playing chess with his son Abhinav and daughter Deepali sitting in verandah of the house which was alloted during his professor-ship with 'Burning Charcoal Angeethi' kept near the table.His favourite Music artists were Lata Mangeshkar , Asha Bhonsle , Geeta Dutt , Noorjahan , Shamshad Begum , Runa Laila , Mukesh , Kishore Kumar , Pradeep and Simon & Garfunkel . His favourite actors were Raj Kapoor , Dev Anand , Dilip Kumar , Guru Dutt , Pradeep Kumar , Wahida Rehman , Kishore Kumar , Amitabh Bacchan , Rekha , Madhubala and Madhuri Dixit .His favourite Hindi movies were all Raj Kapoor films , old 1960's and 70's James Bond Films , Maine Pyar Kiya , Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak , Hum Apke Hain Kaun , Pyasa and Taj Mahal.


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