Tapan K. Basu
International College of Nutrition
University of Alberta
Tapan Basu, a native of India was born in Seharabazar a small town in the province of West Bengal. At the age of 23, he immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1963 at that time he had Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from the University of Calcutta. He continued his studies, obtaining a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of London in 1966 and 1968, respectively. Subsequently, he obtained his PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey in 1971. Upon receiving his doctorate degree, he accepted a position as Head of Metabolic Unit, Institute of Oncology (then Marie Curie Memorial Foundation), Oxted, Surrey. He became actively involved in research on the nutritional status of cancer patients and on metabolic aspects of cytotoxic drugs. From 1972 to 1975 he also held a concurrent position as an associate lecturer in nutrition at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Surrey. In 1975, he joined the department as a full- time lecturer in nutritional biochemistry. In 1981, he accepted a position as associate professor at the department of foods and nutrition, University of Alberta, Canada and was promoted to full Professor in 1983. His earlier research had focused on the metabolism of vitamins, particularly retinol, ascorbic acid and thiamin. He had studied the relationship of these vitamins with malignant diseases. His research on various aspects of ascorbic acid is well known. In particular, his extensive reports against its megadose usage have been considered to be fundamental and have received much attention [11-15]. He had written a whole text pointing to the fact that ascorbic acid intake should not exceed 200 mg/day (Basu TK and Schorah, CJ: vitamin C in Health and Disease, AVI Pub, Connecticut, 1982). Indeed during 80s, he had been invited along with double Nobel Loreate Linus Paulin to deliver plenary lectures and serve panel discussions on the facts and fallacies of mega vitamin use in numerous scientific meetings, held in South America, North America, and Europe. Professor Pauling’s passion for mega vitamin use as panacea is well known. His work on diabetes in more recent years is another breakthrough in nutrition research. He was first to report that type 1 diabetes (T1D) is associated with impaired metabolic availability of vitamin A due to its decreased hepatic hydrolysis as well as the synthesis of its carrier protein and that this secondary deficiency of the vitamin is linked to diabetes-related retinopathy. He has been the author of nearly 200 research publications, most of which are in the areas of vitamins and phytochemicals relating human health and disease. He has also written or edited a number of reference texts, which include “Vitamins in Human Health and Disease”, “Vitamin C in Health and Disease”, “Drug-Nutrient Interactions”, “Antioxidants in Health and Disease”, and “Clinical Implications of Drug Use, Volumes 1 & 2”. The University of Alberta has recognized his enormous life-long contributions in human nutrition by honoring him with the prestigeous titles: McCalla Research Professorship (1993) and Killam Annual Professorship (1997). He is a fellow member of the American College of Nutrition as well as the International College of Nutrition. He has been invited to present his research work at numerous international scientific meetings, involving Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. He served as the president of the international college of nutrition for many years, and currently he is the Executive Director of the college. This college has achieved an international recognition just because of his dedicated efforts. His life-time research work has no doubt earned him to be a world’s leading expert in micronutrients and phytochemicals. His novel research has made a true impact in our understanding of the role of these factors on health and disease. He has also been a dedicated teacher. In addition to his undergraduate teaching, he has supervised numerous master’s and doctoral students and served as a member of many supervisory and examining doctoral thesis committees in his own as well as other national and international universities. He trained his students in all the skills of research so as to prepare them for their future challenges. Many of his graduate students have gone on to achieve much success. His contribution as a teacher and researcher is indeed outstanding. He is currently a professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at the department of agricultural, food & nutritional science, faculty of agricultural, life and environmental sciences, University of Alberta.