ORLANDO (Diya TV) — Debopam Chakrabarti, an Indian American professor renowned for his groundbreaking research in combating malaria, has been honored as the 2024 Pegasus Professor by the University of Central Florida (UCF). This prestigious accolade, UCF’s highest faculty honor, recognizes Chakrabarti’s exceptional contributions to his field, student success, and impactful research endeavors.

As the head of the Division of Molecular Microbiology at UCF’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, Chakrabarti’s work focuses on combating malaria, a disease that afflicts millions worldwide. His innovative research explores the utilization of cancer drugs and natural product-derived antimalarials from various sources, including fungi, bacteria, coral, and sponges, to develop new treatments for malaria, which is increasingly resistant to current therapies.

Reflecting on his journey, Chakrabarti expressed his gratitude, stating, “My anti-malaria drug discovery program started at UCF. It’s a UCF-grown program that is finding the cure for malaria.”

Chakrabarti’s research efforts have garnered significant recognition and funding, including a 5-year, $3.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate the malaria-thwarting properties of cancer drugs in collaboration with scientists from Stanford University and the University of California San Diego. Their findings, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, mark a significant milestone in malaria research.

In addition, Chakrabarti’s team received another $3.8 million NIH grant to study how fungus-derived compounds combat the malaria parasite, with their findings recently published in Cell Chemical Biology. These endeavors underscore UCF’s commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and addressing global health challenges.