Prabhat Arya grew-up on the University of Delhi campus where he received his education (BSc Hons, MSc, MPhil, PhD, 1974-85). Following post-doctoral tenures (1985-89) with Professors Robert Corriu (Univ of Montpellier, France), Ian Paterson, FRS (Cambridge Univ) and Bill Chan (McGill Univ), he then joined the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa and quickly climbed the ranks, and, worked with this organization for nearly 20 years. Later, he accepted a challenge to help the newly created institute, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), to establish the Medicinal Chemistry Program. His long-standing quest to establish a Translational Chemical Biology Program that can stand at the international level, finally brought him to India in July 2009. He started his India academic journey at the Institute of Life Sciences (later, renamed as the Dr. Reddy’s Institute of Life Sciences), located on the beautiful University of Hyderabad campus.
With an objective to building a novel chemical toolbox having small molecules that are more close to bioactive natural products, his team develops novel synthesis methods. Here the general goals are to develop methods that allow to access small molecules having some of the privileged sub-units of bioactive natural products and can be classified in the category of hybrid natural products. These compounds, in general, are having sufficient complexity to be easily workable in the drug discovery arena. In particular, his team is building a toolbox having a diverse set of natural product-inspired macrocyclic compounds. Some of the key sections of bioactive natural products that his team is working on include: eribulin, rapamycin/FK506, epothilone, radicicol and salinomycin etc. Through working in a close partnership with several biomedical researchers, this toolbox is then thoroughly subjected to a wide variety of cell-based and zebrafish assays in a hunt for modulators of Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs) and signaling pathways.
Over the years, his team has written several authoritative articles on the need to strengthen the advanced organic chemistry efforts for producing natural product-inspired chemical probes to explore their utilization in the signaling biology arena. To date, he has published 90 peer reviewed research articles, presented 130 invited talks and trained more than 55 post-doctoral fellows and several graduate and undergraduate students. During his tenure in Canada, he has served at various national and international committees dealing with grants and for developing science policies and has won several awards.
Prior to his move to India, He was also an Adjunct Professor with Chemistry Dept, University of Ottawa, Biochemistry Dept, McGill University, Affiliate Investigator, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and Member, Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology.
He enjoys spending time with his students, other team members, and, loves sharing his vision and research plans in India. Often, he can be seen cycling on adventurous Indian roads and is having a lot of fun while testing his on and off road skills. He is also keen on promoting the bicycle culture and the need to do a regular exercise to stay on top of the India hectic life!