New Delhi, May 20 (PTI) JNU faculty member and recipient of prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award Professor Deepak Gaur died of coronavirus here on Thursday.
He was 48.
Gaur was a faculty member of the School of Biotechnology (SBT) and was currently on deputation to the International Aids Vaccine Institute (IAVI). He was serving as the Deputy Country Director there since mid-November last year.
Professor Pawan Dhar, Dean, SBT, said he had known Gaur for the last six years and recalled him as 'one of the best faculty members'.
'I can't believe that I am talking about him in past tense. In the beginning of this month, I had spoken to him after learning from our Whatsapp group that he had been infected with COVID-19. He was as usual full of energy, cool and calm when I spoke to him. 'Everything is fine. You don’t worry', he had said. He was talking very confidently,' recalled Dhar.
However, almost eight days later, Dhar learnt that his friend and colleague had been admitted to the ICU.
'That was when we got worried. Yesterday morning, I spoke with his wife and she told me he had secondary infection. He was on ventilator support. He was in ICU at RML but was shifted to AIIMS yesterday after he developed renal issues,' Dhar said.
He said Gaur had received his first dose of coronavirus vaccine but was not sure whether he had also taken the second dose.
Gaur is survived by his parents, his wife Ritu Gaur and two sons. His wife is a faculty member at the South Asian University.
Professor Rupesh Chaturvedi, a faculty member of JNU, who is currently in the US, termed Gaur's death as a 'personal loss'.
'We shared our lab, our office and were friends since 2014 when we had joined the varsity. My children were friends with his children. We had spoken when he had told me that he and his elder son have been infected with the virus. I can feel the pain of his parents. I don't have the strength to talk to his family,' Chaturvedi said over the phone from the US.
Along with being a good scientist, he was also a good administrator, Chaturvedi added.
Gaur had been the Director of Admissions in JNU and he was instrumental in introducing the online system of admissions in 2019.
He was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 2017. His research focussed on understanding the biology of parasites that cause malaria and developing vaccines that can prevent the disease.
His group had discovered a molecular complex on the surface of the malaria parasite (pathogen) that plays an essential role in invasion of red blood cells.
After winning the award, he had told PTI, 'JNU supports research in a big way...' Gaur had done his PhD in Life Sciences from National Institute of Immunology, JNU.
Gaur had done his B.Sc (Honours) in Human Biology from AIIMS and his masters in Biotechnology from the same institute. His schooling was in Springdales School, Pusa Road. PTI SLB AQS AQS