history of kamala sohonie.
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history of kamala sohonie.

Kamala Sohonie, also known as Kamala Bhagvat, was an Indian biochemist and academician who made significant contributions to the field of biochemistry. She was born on February 3, 1912, in Bombay (now Mumbai), British India. Sohonie’s life and career were marked by her pioneering achievements as a woman in the scientific community during a time when opportunities for women in academia were limited.

Sohonie completed her early education in Bombay and developed a keen interest in science, particularly in the field of biochemistry. She attended the University of Bombay, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1932. Her academic prowess and dedication to her studies earned her a scholarship from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust to pursue higher education in the United States.

In 1939, Sohonie embarked on a journey to the United States and enrolled at the University of Michigan. She pursued a Ph.D. in biochemistry and conducted groundbreaking research on the nutritional value of proteins found in cereals and pulses. Her studies focused on the impact of heat on the nutritional composition of these food sources, providing valuable insights into the field of protein nutrition.

Despite facing gender and racial discrimination during her time in the United States, Sohonie persisted and successfully completed her doctoral studies, earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1941. Her achievement made her the first Indian woman to obtain a doctorate in a scientific discipline.

Following the completion of her studies, Sohonie returned to India and joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) as a research assistant. Under the guidance of renowned Indian biochemist Sir C. V. Raman, she conducted further research on proteins and enzymes, with a specific focus on the nutritional aspects of Indian food crops and their potential for addressing malnutrition.

In 1944, Sohonie became the first Indian woman to be appointed as a faculty member at the Royal Institute of Science in Bombay. She taught biochemistry at the institute and continued her research on protein nutrition. Sohonie’s work significantly contributed to the understanding of protein metabolism and the nutritional value of Indian food crops.

Throughout her career, Sohonie faced numerous challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field. However, her determination, intellect, and passion for science allowed her to break barriers and establish herself as a respected scientist and academician. Her accomplishments paved the way for future generations of women in science in India.

Kamala Sohonie received recognition for her research and contributions to the field of biochemistry. In 1962, she was awarded the Goyal Prize by the Indian Science Congress Association for her work on nutrition. Sohonie retired from her academic career in 1977 but remained actively involved in scientific activities and research.

Kamala Sohonie passed away on June 28, 1998, leaving behind a legacy as a trailblazer for women in science. Her achievements continue to inspire and empower women pursuing careers in scientific fields in India and around the world.

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