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The highest faculty honour at UCF goes to Debopam Chakrabarti


April 2 :
The University of Central Florida has honoured Indian American academic Debopam Chakrabarti with the title of UCF 2024 Pegasus academic. The Pegasus Professorship is the highest faculty honour at UCF. It is given to professors who have an international effect, help students succeed, and improve the university's standing via groundbreaking research.

Recognised for his work on malaria, a disease that impacts millions of people globally, Chakrabarti is the head of the molecular microbiology division at the Burnett School of Medical Sciences. He will get $5,000 in earnings as an honour.

Since malaria is becoming increasingly resistant to existing treatments, he is presently looking at the possibility of employing cancer drugs to treat the disease as well as discovering antimalarials derived from natural products found in coral, sponges, fungus, and bacteria. “My anti-malaria drug discovery programme started at UCF,” Chakrabarti reflected in a statement, reflecting on his career experience. The programme that is finding a cure for malaria was developed at UCF.

Cooperating with colleagues at Stanford and UC San Diego, he was able to acquire a $3.8 million, 5-year grant from the NIH to investigate the potential of cancer medications as malaria preventatives. A recent publication in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry detailed the findings of the investigation.

To further investigate the mechanisms by which chemicals generated from fungi eliminate the malaria parasite, Chakrabarti's group and a chemist from the University of Oklahoma were awarded a second $3.8 million NIH grant. Their research was published in Cell Chemical Biology not long ago. The Pegasus Ballroom of the UCF Student Union is the site of the Founders' Day Faculty Honours Celebration, when Chakrobarti will be presented with an award.