Dr. Chingakham Manoranjan was a pioneer in the field of applied Chemistry and Biochemistry in India, and he played a significant role in promoting and mentoring the younger generation of both Manipur and Kolkata in these fields.
Dr. Chingakham Manoranjan Singh (b. 1st October 1937) passed away at his residence in Kolkata on January 8, 2022 due to complications from Covid-19.
Dr. Singh was born in Janmasthan, Yaiskul, Imphal, Manipur and was an outstanding student. After completing his matriculation from Churachand High School (in 1953), he got admitted to St. Edmund’s College, Shillong, as an I.Sc. student.
In 1956, Dr. Singh was one of the 1st students from Manipur to get admitted to the prestigious Presidency College, Calcutta where he was a student of the B.Sc. department in Chemistry (Hon). He subsequently joined Calcutta University and successfully completed his M.Sc. in Applied Chemistry (Biotechnology) in 1962.
In 1963 Dr. Singh became the 1st person from Manipur to be accepted at the Department of Neurochemistry, Christian Medical College (CMC) Hospital, Vellore, to pursue his Ph.D. He started work on his thesis “Metabolism of Sulfated Complex Carbohydrates of Nervous Tissues” under the keen and able guidance of the late Professor Bimal Kumar Bachhawat.
After successfully acquiring his Ph.D. in 1968, he again became one of the 1st people from the state of Manipur to travel to the USA to do post-doctoral research work, which he did at the University of Texas, South-Western Medical School (Dallas), the University of Connecticut Health Science Center and finally at the Basic Biochemistry Unit of the Veterans Administration Hospital (Dallas). His work at these institutes involved research on basic problems of citrate metabolism, the study of structure-function relationship of citrate enzymes, the biogenesis of bacterial membranes and research on the molecular physiology of lipogenic enzymes.
He returned to India in 1981, after spending more than 10 years at these various institutes.
His subsequent years in India were very eventful. During his long tenure in the world of research and science, he served for 16 years at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata, where he retired as Deputy Director of the afore-mentioned institute.
During his tenure at IICB, his performed ground-breaking work in the discovery of the complete solution of a Kunitz type protease inhibitor protein, which was one of the very few proteins whose total structures have been solved in India till date. Work related to this protein and other enzymes of signal transduction pathways in higher plants led to the award of Ph.D. degrees of more than 10 students by Calcutta and Jadavpur Universities.
Post-retirement, Dr. Singh played many roles, the chief amongst them being a visiting Professor at the Department of Biochemistry at Manipur University.
He was also instrumental in the setting up of a Research wing at the Manovikas Kendra, Kolkata for enhancing the study and research on autism and other related diseases. He served as the Research Director of this institute till 2011, after which he slowly stepped away from active research work due to old age and various other health reasons.
Dr. Singh had the opportunity of guiding many students from Manipur, Calcutta and Jadavpur Universities, helping them in their respective fields of interest.
Dr. Singh was the 1st ever Manipuri scientist to be awarded with permanent membership of the internationally acclaimed organization, the GRC (the Guha Research Conference) – an organization which till date, plays an important role in developing and shaping the field of Biochemistry in India.
Dr. Singh is survived by his wife, son, daughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law and two grandsons. He was well loved, admired and respected in the world of science amongst his peers, colleagues and students both abroad and across the country. His contributions in the research field of proteins and enzymes have been significant and are still valued today. He was loved by all and had no enemies. We pray that his soul rest in peace.