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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 187-188

Dr. Vrinda Khole (1952-2015): A tribute to a par excellence scientist and a dedicated teacher

1 Preclinical Reprodutive and Genetic Toxicology, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Jehangir Merwanji Street, Mumbai, India
2 Unit of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Medical Research Centre, Kasturba Health Society, Parle, Mumbai, India

Date of Web Publication6-Aug-2015

Correspondence Address:
Rama Vaidya
Unit of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Medical Research Centre, Kasturba Health Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Vanage G, Vaidya R. Dr. Vrinda Khole (1952-2015): A tribute to a par excellence scientist and a dedicated teacher. J Obes Metab Res 2015;2:187-8

How to cite this URL:
Vanage G, Vaidya R. Dr. Vrinda Khole (1952-2015): A tribute to a par excellence scientist and a dedicated teacher. J Obes Metab Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Feb 22];2:187-8. Available from: http://www.jomrjournal.org/text.asp?2015/2/3/187/162376

Dr. Vrinda Khole was courageous in life and displayed the same fortitude while she battled cancer and left for a heavenly abode on 8 th of April 2015, a week before her 63 rd birthday. In her demise not only the Indian Council of medical Research (ICMR) but the domain of reproductive biology research has lost an outstanding scientist and a teacher.

Dr. Khole obtained her PhD degree in Zoology from Pune University in 1978. She was soon awarded a prestigious fellowship in 1979 from the Government of India for pursuing her postdoctoral studies at Tashkent University, Russia. On her return to India she joined then the Institute for Research in Reproduction (now NIRRH), a premier institute of the ICMR and began an intense scientific journey in the area of reproductive immunology in 1985. Important research areas in reproductive biomedicine, that she majorly contributed to, relate to the fundamental understanding of epididymal sperm maturation and the other physiological spermatozoa functions. Her other outstanding research contributions are in the area of human ovarian autoimmunity and premature ovarian failure as well as autoimmune endometriosis. In these fields her research publications in the high impact journals brought to her an international acclaim and a national esteem.

Vrinda, under the stewardship of Dr. Uma Shashi Hegde, learnt the skills of generating monoclonal antibodies and successfully applied it for investigating the area of epididymal sperm maturation. Her research interest in unraveling the secrets of maturation of the testicular spermatozoa during their journey through epididymis continued as she and her students identified some epididymal sperm maturation proteins for the first time and studied in- depth regulation of the other known ones like methylmalonate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase. She did not hesitate to freshly develop or acquire new techniques and tools for her research in this area of epididymal sperm maturation. Her initiative is commendable in view of the rampant kit-culture in Indian science. One such innovation was the use of neonatal tolerization for determining the epididymal proteins. That research was featured on the front cover of American Journal of Reproductive Immunology 2000; 44: 350-358. Her research interest and contributions in the area of immune-contraception was rewarded with WHO Research training Grant and she had worked with Prof. Herr at his laboratory at Chalottesville, USA. There she filed a US patent for soluble adenylcyclase identified in sperm.

Her memory is etched in our minds as an intelligent, transparent and a successful collaborator who effectively steered multi-investigator projects with unique leadership. Her sensitivity to women's plight in problems such as infertility and empathy for those suffering from painful endometriosis motivated her immensely in research in these relatively neglected fields. Dr. Khole subscribed to one of the author's (RAV)- favorite dictum of "Research prospers by collaboration". Her collaboration with leading gynecologists and reproductive endocrinologists of Mumbai illustrates this vision. Such a sharing of expertise and experience between basic and clinical scientists led to research that was often based on clinical insights. Her openness to clinical problems needs to be emulated by many more basic scientists from India. As a collaborator it was amazing and inspiring to observe her to get into in-depth and spirited discussions about emerging results in the midst of her chemotherapy sessions. Her PhD students eagerly and readily participated in all these academic meetings. She had students from diverse streams such as Medical, Veterinarian, Life sciences, Biotechnology. They not only broadened the scope but even the depth of these discussions.

One of her students, Dr. Rahul Gajabhiye says "Dr. Khole's passion, as a teacher, was not restricted to academics but she also shaped their personal life. Every day she used to spend time guiding her students both on academic and personal front. As a result of their overall robust development all her students now have been placed in prestigious institutes both within and outside the country." Through sheer will power and self-discipline she managed to complete the degrees of her last four students while she was battling with terminal cancer.

Dr. Khole was an excellent administrator and served very well the NIRRH when she was Officer-in-Charge for a couple of years. She was highly recommended for the post of the Director NIRRH by some of the leading biomedical scientists of India. Even when that did not materialize, her enthusiasm and dedication to research in reproduction never wavered. She was on several research advisory positions and was invited for lectures at symposia and conferences. As an active member of the Indian Immunological society, she played a significant role in enhancing the interest in immune-Reproduction. She has many national and international research publications in peer-reviewed journals. She was bestowed the award of "Best Woman Scientist of the Year" by a leading women's organization-Vanita Samaj in 2013.

Dr. Vrinda Khole is survived by her husband Dr. Vijay Khole, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Mumbai and two sons - Ashvin and Alok. Vrinda besides being an outstanding scientist and a teacher was also an excellent home-maker, supportive spouse and a loving mother. Notwithstanding the loss to the scientific world, her ever smiling face and perspicacity will be missed by the family and her vast circle of friends.


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