NEW DELHI: Former DG-ICMR and father-figure of nutrition research in India, Dr. Coluthur Gopalan, passed away today at his residence in Chennai after suffering a brief illness at the age of 101 years. Dr. C Goplan was born in 1918.
During his seven decades active research career, Dr. C Gopalan served in many prestigious positions. He served as the Director of National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, from 1961 to 1974 and as Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, from 1974-79. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970 and Padma Bhushan in 2003.
Dr. C Gopalan was a scientist of international eminence and spearheaded the cause of nutrition science for several decades. His contribution towards the betterment of nutrition of the population benefited not only India but also other developing countries, especially Southeast Asian countries. His contribution helped to strengthen and inspire movements for the eradication of under-nutrition in many Third World countries.
Under his leadership as Director NIN, Hyderabad, a wealth of information was generated to tackle problems such as Protein Energy Malnutrition, Vitamin A deficiency, Phrynoderma, Lathyrism, Fluorosis and Pellagra. The National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) was also started by him.
During his tenure as the Director-General of ICMR, Dr. C Gopalan is credited with envisioning and helping build three national institutes for research on Leprosy, Malaria and Vector Control under ICMR.
“NIN today bears testimony to his genius as an architect and father of nutrition sciences in India. Research under his leadership formed the basis of major national nutrition programmes initiated in the 1970s - ICDS, Massive Dose Vitamin-A and Iron supplementation. His contributions are invaluable and the loss due to his departure is irreparable”, said Dr. R Hemalatha, Director NIN, Hyderabad.
“Dr. C Gopalan’s contributions to medical science in general and nutrition science in particular are immense. He, in fact, brought nutrition to the centre stage and was instrumental in putting it as an important driver in developmental plans and policies of the country”, said Dr. Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR.