The TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences-2021

Jennifer Doudna, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, was scheduled to be our Featured Speaker for the Eleventh Edition of the TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences in January 2021. Professor Doudna, who helped pioneer the study and use of CRISPR-Cas 9 as a tool for gene editing, was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Emmanuelle Charpentier, ‘for the development of a method for genome editing’, and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences ‘for harnessing an ancient mechanism of bacterial immunity into a powerful and general technology for editing genomes, with wide-ranging implications across biology and medicine.’

This much awaited set of lectures has now been re-scheduled, by one year, on account of the travel and other restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Doudna will now present her lectures in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi in January 2022.

TNQ-Janelia India COVID-19 Seminars

TNQ and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)’s Janelia Research Campus will jointly host the TNQ-Janelia India COVID-19 Seminars in October 2021. These seminars are aimed at bringing to Indian researchers and students current research on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.s

The TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences

The TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences were set up in 2008 as the Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series. This lecture series was conceived of and is sponsored by TNQ Technologies. Through TNQ’s relationship with its customers—leading scholarly societies and publishers—this annual event is aimed at bringing internationally renowned scientists face to face with the Indian scientific community—students, researchers, and faculty members. The objective of the lecture series is to showcase current and path-breaking research in the life sciences and facilitate interaction between the speakers and the Indian scientific community.

Over the years, these lectures have been presented across the major cities of India—Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Past Featured Speakers

The inaugural speaker of the lecture series was David Baltimore, currently the President Emeritus and Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. In 1975, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco.

The second speaker was Elizabeth Blackburn, the Australia-born, American biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, sharing it with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak.

The third speaker was Shinya Yamanaka, the Japanese physician and celebrated adult stem cell researcher. In 2012 he and John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work.

The fourth speaker was Huda Y. Zoghbi, the Lebanese-born physician and medical researcher. She is a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and the Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The fifth speaker was Eric S. Lander, a mathematician turned biologist turned geneticist, who is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He serves as Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The sixth speaker was Professor Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University neuroscientist and psychiatrist, who developed methods that have revolutionised our ability to visualise and manipulate brain circuits.

The seventh speaker was Professor Mary-Claire King, an American human geneticist and professor at the University of Washington. She is known for her accomplishments in identifying breast cancer genes, demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical, and applying genomic sequencing to identify victims of human rights abuses.

The eighth speaker was Dr David J. Anderson - Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Leadership Chair, and Director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology - Caltech in Pasadena. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The ninth speaker was Dr Helen Hobbs, physician-scientist and Breakthrough Prize winner whose work is focussed on searching for genetic factors that contribute to, and protect us from, diseases arising from dietary excess as food. She is an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Director of the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The tenth speaker was Venki Ramakrishnan, the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and currently the 62nd President of The Royal Society. He is also a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is also the author of Gene Machine, a popular book on the quest for the structure of the ribosome.

About TNQ

Chennai-based TNQ Technologies is a publishing technology and services company founded in 1998. TNQ’s technology products and services are widely used by leading publishers of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) books and journals worldwide and through them by several million scholarly authors. They form a comprehensive suite covering authoring, manuscript submission, peer review, proofing, and paging.

Author Cafe (, a part of this suite, is a knowledge management system supporting scientific research in India. It is used by over 10,000 students and faculty at Indian academic institutes, to create, collaborate and circulate reports, theses and dissertations.

TNQ has collaborated with Professor Ron Vale on the development of XBio, The Explorer’s Guide to Biology. XBio is a free learning resource that emphasises the problem solving nature of science. TNQ developed XBio’s custom web platform and made contributions to the project from concept to user experience, user design, technology strategy, and project management.

In 2016, TNQ announced the annual Inspiring Science Award for the best published paper in the life sciences by an author at the doctoral/post-doctoral level from India. The selection is made by an eminent jury and is announced at the lectures each year.

Today, TNQ has around 2,500 employees, almost all of them with a strong educational background in science. The company's mission is to provide the highest quality content for both print and web, using cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, and creative solutions.

TNQ is an equal opportunity employer with regard to gender, religion, caste, and ethnicity. The Company has a firm commitment to employee and community welfare and to the world of science in India and its development.


As a Co-Sponsor of the 125th anniversary celebrations (2011-12) of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan with the Indian Mathematical Society, TNQ hosted a lecture by Prof. Robert Kanigel, the biographer of Ramanujan in Chennai on December 26, 2011.