Since the beginning of the MCB blog, this is the hardest blog post that we’ve ever had to write. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Kamal Shukla, Program Director and Cluster Leader for Molecular Biophysics in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB). This is a tremendous loss for all of us.
Dr. Shukla dedicated his whole life to the advancement of science. He worked in MCB for over 20 years. Dr. Shukla was an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2000 and has received many awards, including the Director’s Distinguished Service Award from the National Science Foundation in 2010 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Biophysical Society in 2015.
As a scientist, he was ahead of his time… he was a visionary leader. He was not afraid to speak up for what he thought was right. Dr. Shukla was a mentor and a friend. He was an example of integrity, dedication, commitment, loyalty, hard work, respect and leadership. The thought of not seeing him anymore is a painful one, but the legacy he left behind is greater than our sadness. Dr. Shukla was a great colleague and human being. He was a gift to all who knew him. We will always treasure the great memories we had with him. He will always be missed, but never forgotten.
“When someone you love becomes a MEMORY, the memory becomes a TREASURE.” – Author Unknown
Kamal Shukla awarded me my very first grant. I will never forget his two phone calls: first to tell me I got my grant, then the next day to ask me to revise my budget request from three years to five! It was a real shot in the arm, especially since the NIH had twice rejected the same project because of its high-risk nature. Kamal liked to tell people how productive I went on to be in that first period: two Science papers, as well as two babies. He was very supportive of young scientists and women. He was also a lover of fine food – he always organized memorable restaurant outings when I served on his panel. R.I.P., Kamal.
Cynthia Wolberger, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
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This is very sad for me, as I looked up to Kamal as a mentor and a fine person. I diverged into biological problems mid-career and didn’t know the ropes of the Biology community. Kamal was very patient with me and was a terrific mentor. He had my highest respect. I was happy last year to open up the Biophysical Society newsletter and see that he had won a well-deserved Distinguished Service Award. He was a very polite and formal man: For many years and the first couple of grants, he was Dr. Shukla to me. It took several years before he signed an e-mail “Kamal”. Yes indeed his legacy lives on. One aspect of his legacy that is especially meaningful to me is his advocacy for incorporating Chemistry, Physics, Math, and Computational Science into Biology. His loss hurts my heart, but images of the wide reach of his influence on our field is certainly a consolation during this sad time. Kamal, I shall miss you.
Mary Jo Ondrechen
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
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Kamal was an outspoken standard bearer for molecular biology and chemistry at the foundations of life. He made his points with a great sense of humor. I remember well, and it’s hard to believe he’s gone.
Robert A. Oden, Jr. Professor of Biology
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he was the very great person…i nave no word to say about him….really missing a lot…
Kamal gave me my first grant, and really guided (and pushed) me. He took us to some really good restaurants. Once he came down to Atlanta and took me around to all the labs his program was funding, all over the city. And yes he did often brag about Cynthia Wolberger, that’s true.
Kamal gave me my very first grant. He was an inspiration to both me and my students for more than two decades. He spent several months in our lab at Rutgers working side by side with students and postdocs, and was a guiding force for me throughout my career. He made a point to be out in the field with grantees and their students, and to understand the broader impacts that NSF funding has both in supporting molecular biophysics and in training the next generation of scientists. We had great times learning new science together.
We miss you Kamal.
Jerome and Lorraine Aresty Chair
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey