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SFBR’s Ravindranath Duggirala wins award for his studies of the genetics of complex diseases.

Ravindranath Duggirala, Ph.D., a scientist at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) in January received the Hind Rattan Award for his studies of the genetics of complex diseases.

The award is given to Indians living in other countries for their professional achievements and contributions to society by the Non Resident Indians Welfare Society of India, a group of government and business leaders that works to foster bonds with Indians living in other countries. The words Hind Rattan in English mean Jewel of India. Thirty awards are given each year.

Duggirala is the third of seven children of late Mr. D. T. Moses and Mrs. D. Suvarnamma of Ongole, of Andhra Pradesh, India. He grew up in India, and received his masters degree in human genetics and physical anthropology at Andhra University in 1978.

After his arrival in the United States in 1986, Duggirala obtained a masters degree in anthropology from the University of Montana in 1991; a doctorate in biological anthropology at the University of Kansas in 1995; and underwent postdoctoral training during 1995-1997 in genetic epidemiology of type 2 diabetes and its related diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

He now directs a team in SFBR’s Department of Genetics that is studying the genetics influencing a range of common complex diseases. He is the principal investigator on projects to study the genetics of complex diseases such as gallbladder disease, type 2 diabetes, and the early signs of metabolic syndrome in Mexican Americans.

Given the burden of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease in Indian populations, Duggirala has co-organized several workshops in India related to genetic epidemiology and molecular genetics of complex diseases. He participates in Genome India International, a network of scientists and scholars in genome science and its related fields.

The awards were presented in during the society’s International Congress in New Delhi on Jan. 25, the eve of India’s 61th Republic Day. D.M. Christopher, Duggirala’s brother, accepted the award from the Honorable Vilasrao Deshmukh, India’s Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. The ceremony was attended by many members of Parliament, central ministers of Government of India, and non-governmental dignitaries.