J.B. Chatterjea: An obituary

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  • THROMBOSIS RESEARCH Printed in the United States

    Vol.1, pp. 281-282, 1972 Pergamon Press, Inc.


    A.K. BASU

    Department of Haematology, School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta,


    In the early hours of the morning of the 2gfh February, 1972,

    Professor Jyoti B. Chatterjea was struck down unexpectedly by an

    attack of myocardial infarction. The news came as a mortal shock

    to all'his colleagues, friends and students. Perhaps the blow

    was harder because Dr. Chatterjea was still in his prime and at

    the height of his career.

    He was loved by all those who came in touch with him for his

    kindness and good nature, and admired greatly for his varied

    scientific accomplishments and manifest leadership ability. His

    death is an irreparable loss to the field of medicine, haematology

    in particular, and has left a void which will never be filled,

    Dr. Chatterjea was born on the 16~ of February, 1919 in a

    suburban town of Bengal. He graduated in Medicine from the Medi-

    cal College of Bengal in 1942. In the year 1945 he joined the

    Haematology Department of the School of Tropical Medicine, Cal-

    cutta, as a Research Assistant. This was a significant step in

    his career. He obtained his post-graduate degree in Medicine

    (M.D.) in 1949. Dr. Chatterjea spent over a year (1950-51) in

    Dr. William B. Dameshek's laboratory at the New England Medical

    Centre in Boston, with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

    By virtue of his outstanding qualities he became the Professor of

    Haematology of the School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta in 1956

    and later (1966) he also became the Director of the School. He

    held both these posts until his death. His contributions to

    haematology earned him world-wide acclaim. He made pioneering

    studies on Nutritional Anaemias and Haemoglobinopathies. He also



    made significant and valuable contributions in the study of Iron

    Enzyme in Iron Deficiency Anaemia and other red cell enzymes as

    well as in the preservation of red cells during storage. He took

    active interest in the nutritional problems of national importance

    such as requirements of iron and folic acid in pregnancy and req-

    uirements of riboflavin and folic acid in normal Indian subjects.

    He published more than 350 articles in the journals of India and

    abroad, which bear an eloquent testimony to his remarkable re-

    search performance on diverse aspects of haematological problems.

    Honors and distinctions, national and international, came to

    him easily and profusely. In recognition of his notable contri-

    butions to the medical sciences,he was awarded the Coates Medal

    of the Calcutta University, the Barclay Memorial Medal and the

    Minto Medal. He was an honored recipient of the Amir Chand Prize

    and the Santi Swarup Bhatnagar Award.

    Dr. Chatterjea was associated with innumerable scientific

    societies and academies and served as an Advisor to the govern-

    mental organizations in his own country. He was Vice-President of

    the International Society of Haematology (Asian and Pacific Div-

    ision) and was a member of the Governing Body of the International

    Standardization Committee of Haematology and also of the Expert

    Panel on Human Genetics, World Health Organization. Jyoti B.

    Chatterjea was a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists

    (London), International Society of Blood Transfusion, Internation-

    al Reticuloendothelial Society, Indian National Academy of Scien-

    ces and Indian Academy of Medical Sciences. He was also a Corres-

    ponding Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Swiss and

    German Societies of Haematology.

    He attended many international meetings, conferences and sem-

    inars. He presided as Chairman of a scientific session at Inter-

    national Haematological Congresses in Tokyo (1960), Stockholm

    (1964), Sydney (1966), New York (1968) and Munich (1970).

    It seems rather hard to realise that Dr. Chatterjea is no

    more. For many years, he was a more than active member of the

    world of medical science. To his younger colleagues he was almost

    a father and to the rest more than a friend. With Dr. Chatterjea

    the world of haematology has lost one of its most enthusiastic

    and able members.