A Strong Advocate and Mentor of Graduate Students is Remembered

Dr. Ralf Lucas, Josue Zambrano-Carrasco, Dr. Soma Mukhopadhyay

This year the first Tapan Chatterjee Award for Research Excellence in Vascular Biology was awarded to Josue Zambrano-Carrasco for his work on “RBX1-CRLs are essential for perinatal heart development by regulating Hippo-YAP signaling.” This award will be given annually to the Vascular Biology graduate student with the highest-scored poster presentation at the Augusta University Graduate Research Day (GRD). According to Dr. Neal Weintraub, “In considering whom this newly established award should be named after, we immediately thought of Dr. Chatterjee, who throughout his career was a dedicated advocate and mentor for trainees. While he had no children of his own, he was a father figure to all.”

Dr. Chattergee outside research building
Dr. Tapan K. Chatterjee

Dr. Chatterjee was originally trained as a neuroscientist and worked at Augusta University in the Vascular Biology Center studying the interaction of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Chatterjee passed away in May 2015 after a long battle with kidney cancer but left a lasting impression on the students and colleagues that he worked with. The Chatterjee Memorial Fund was established to honor this legacy and supports both a student award at GRD and a Vascular Biology Center (VBC) faculty award.

Weintraub sums up the reasons for naming this student award for his collaborator and friend, “Dr. Chatterjee was beloved by his family, colleagues and friends.” He did not live in Augusta for long at all, but he quickly became “an integral faculty member in the VBC and made an everlasting impact in many ways.” Equally passionate about research and education, Weintraub believes that “Dr. Chatterjee would be particularly pleased to know that his name is connected to this award for outstanding student research.” Many people were involved in the creation of this award including Weintraub, VBC Director, Dr. David Fulton, Dr. Ralf Lucas, Dr. David Stepp, and Dr. Chatterjee’s wife, Dr. Soma Mukhopadhyay. Dr. Chatterjee was described as a “Renaissance man,” with interests and knowledge of “everything.” He was a valued colleague and teacher, an advocate for his students, and a respected scientist with a deep love for research.

Dr. Ralf Lucas, Josue Zambrano-Carrasco, Dr. Soma Mukhopadhyay, and Dr. David Fulton
Dr. Ralf Lucas, Josue Zambrano-Carrasco, Dr. Soma Mukhopadhyay, and Dr. David Fulton
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Dr. Wendy Turner
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