Emeritus Professor of Oncology, Academic Institute
Full Emeritus Member, Research Institute
Dr. Mitra had a brilliant academic career at Calcutta University, India from which he received MS in Biochemitry in 1959. After earning a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1964, Dr. Mitra did postdoctoral research in Arthur Kornberg’s laboratory at Stanford Medical School. He then returned to India to join Bose Institute, Calcutta, as an assistant professor in 1966, and became an associate professor in 1971. He came back to the U.S. in 1971 to join the Biology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a senior research investigator and subsequently became leader of the Nucleic Acid Enzymology Group. He also served as an adjunct professor of the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Mitra moved to the newly created Sealy Center for Molecular Science at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, TX in 1992 as professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and later as senior scientist in the Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine. After his retirement from UTMB in 2013, he joined Houston Methodist Research Institute as a full member in Radiation Oncology.
He was elected a fellow of AAAS in 1989 and as a fellow of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science, participating in lecture tours in Japan in 1991, 1999, and 2008. He was awarded Mark Brothers of Indiana Prize in 2009. Dr. Mitra has been continuously funded by NIH since 1982 and has been serving on various NIH and other review panels.
Working in the broad area of genome damage, its repair, and its influence in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy, Dr. Mitra has made several seminal discoveries during his tenure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including the characterization of the E. coli repair protein for the mutagenic DNA base O-6 methylguanine produced by mutagens and anticancer alkylating agents, the naming of the repair protein MGMT, and the cloning of human MGMT. More recently, Dr. Mitra’s group characterized a new family of DNA repair proteins that they named NEILs for oxidative genome damage. The recent research focus of Dr. Mitra’s group is enhancement of chemo/radiation sensitivity of tumor cells using targeted DNA repair inhibitors. After the early studies on MGMT inhibition, his current research aims to identify inhibitors for repair pathways for oxidative/radiation damage.