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Obaid Siddiqi
Born7 January 1932 (1932-01-07)
Died26 July 2013(2013-07-26) (aged 81)
Alma mater
Padma Bhushan (1984)

Padma Vibhushan (2006) FRS (1984)

Scientific career
Doctoral advisorGuido Pontecorvo
Notable studentsVeronica Rodrigues

Obaid Siddiqi FRS (7 January 1932 – 26 July 2013) was an Indian National Research Professor and the Founder-Director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) National Center for Biological Sciences. He made seminal contributions to the field of behavioural neurogenetics using the genetics and neurobiology of Drosophila.

Early life and education

Obaid Siddiqi was born in 1932 in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh. He received his early education at Aligarh Muslim University where he completed his MSc[1] He completed his PhD at the University of Glasgow, under the supervision of Guido Pontecorvo. He carried out his post doctoral research at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and University of Pennsylvania.[2] He was invited by Homi Bhabha to set up the molecular biology unit at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay in 1962. Thirty years later, he became the founding director of the TIFR National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, where he would continue his research into his final days of life.[3]


Siddiqi's studies in the field of neurogenetics unravelled the link between genes, behaviour and the brain. In the 1970s, his work with Seymour Benzer[4] at Caltech led to the discovery of temperature-sensitive paralytic Drosophila mutants and the generation and transmission of neural signals.[5] This heralded the dawn of the field of neurogenetics.

At TIFR, Siddiqi and his graduate student, Veronica Rodrigues,[6] isolated and characterized the first collection of mutants with defects in smell and taste in Drosophila. Siddiqi's work in neurogenetics led to the foundational advances in understanding how taste and smell are detected and encoded in the brain.[7]

Awards and honours

The President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presenting Padma Vibhushan to Prof. Obaid Siddiqi, an eminent scientist, at investiture ceremony, in New Delhi on 29 March 2006


Siddiqi died on 26 July 2013 in Bangalore following a freak road accident on 21 July 2013 which caused severe damage to the brain. He is survived by his wife Asiya, sons Imran and Kaleem, and daughters Yumna and Diba.[10]

Selected publications


  1. ^ "SCIENTIST AND INTELLECTUAL – Obaid Siddiqi and his larger family". The Telegraph. Kolkata. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Catalyst of a Culture of Creativity | NCBS news".
  3. ^ "Prof. Obaid Siddiqi". Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  4. ^ Tanouye, Mark A. (February 2008). "Seymour Benzer 1921–2007". Nature Genetics. 40 (2): 121. doi:10.1038/ng0208-121. PMC 2655269. PMID 18227864.
  5. ^ "Obaid Siddiqi | the Best of Indian Science". Archived from the original on 2 April 2023. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Veronica Rodrigues 1953-2010 | NCBS news".
  7. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ "Indian Fellow". Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Acclaimed scientist Obaid Siddiqi no more". The Hindu. Bangalore. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2017.