Malayali biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju bags Harvard University's Radcliffe fellowship

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Prof. Sathyabhama Das Biju | Photo: PR

Massachusetts: The Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute announced its 2023–2024 fellows, including the biologist Prof. Sathyabhama Das Biju (SD Biju) of University of Delhi.

Biju attracted global attention to amphibians in South Asia when his three decades of work discovered over a hundred new species. As a Hrdy Fellow at Radcliffe, he will expedite efforts to outpace nameless extinctions in India’s amphibian hotspots through discovery and documentation of species and identification of key biodiversity areas for conservation prioritisation.

Biju’s work will involve on-site collaborations with Harvard faculty, postdocs and students, and use of the rich specimen collections of the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

The Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship is awarded each year to 50 talented individuals from around the world—who have “demonstrated an extraordinary level of accomplishment” in their work.

“It is a great honour to be part of the Harvard’s Radcliffe community. I look forward to joining an extraordinary cohort of Radcliffe Fellows and advancing my missions in such an academically rich and diverse environment,” said Biju.

Considered among one of the most prestigious honours and a rare opportunity, this year’s cohort, comes from different countries, including one fellow from India in Biological Sciences. Past fellows include Jill Lepore, Samantha Power, Zadie Smith, Elizabeth Warren, and the Nobel Laureate Michael Kremer.

SD Biju is a leading and globally renowned amphibian biologist, hailing from Kerala. To date, Biju has formally described 116 new amphibian taxa from India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

His discoveries alone represent nearly 25% of India’s amphibian diversity. He has published over 100 research articles in top scientific journals like Nature, Science and PNAS. His findings have widely appeared in popular international press like Associated Press, BBC, CNN, Forbes, National Geographic, New York Times, Times, The Economist and The Guardian, to name a few.

Popular media has celebrated him as the Frogman of India. Biju’s contributions to amphibian research and conservation have received numerous prestigious recognitions such as the IUCN/ASG SABIN award for 2008 and more recently, the Indian State Government’s highest civilian award Kerala Sree for 2022.

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