Pradeep Pattanayak

Noted scientist and director of the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, Dr Ajay Kumar Parida passed away in Guwahati, Assam. He was 58. 

The Padma Shri awardee had gone to Guwahati to attend a conference where he breathed his last. While cardiac arrest is said to be the reason behind his demise, it is yet to be confirmed. 

As per reports, Parida was rescued from his room in Guwahati and immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where the doctors declared him received dead. 

He was a recipient of several awards and recognition, Padma Shri being the major one conferred upon him in 2014 for his outstanding contribution in the field of Science and Engineering. Prior to being posted as the ILS Director, he had served M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai as an Executive Director.

It is pertinent to mention here that, Parida had been the director of the ILS, an autonomous organisation under the Department of Biotechnology of Ministry of Science and Technology, since 2017. During his tenure, the ILS played an important role, particularly during the pandemic times, the first two years, to be precise. It was the ILS that was doing genome sequencing to ascertain Covid variants, essential for proper treatment. 

During the Covid times, he became a household name. His bytes to TV channels were attentively heard as his advice was regarded worth their weight in gold. He would relentlessly sensitise people on how to keep the virus at bay.  

While the news of Parida’s demise has sent a shockwave across the State, it is yet to be ascertained when his mortal remains will reach Odisha.