In memoriam: Subhash Basu, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry

Author: Deanna Csomo Ferrell

Candles in the Grotto

Subhash Chandra Basu, professor emeritus in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, died Nov. 15 in his Granger, Indiana, home.

Basu joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1970. Originally from Kolkata, India, he completed his doctor of science degree from Calcutta University and his doctor of philosophy degree in biochemistry at the University of Michigan. His primary research interest was to understand how glycolipids — fats attached to sugar molecules — are synthesized and regulated in different types of cells and tissues.

His research into these fundamental processes of human disease provided knowledge for the treatment of Gaucher disease, Fabry’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

“Several words describe Subhash: self-confident, determined, perseverant total commitment to career,” chemistry and biochemistry Professor Anthony S. Serianni said.  “Once he set a goal for himself, he was not to be distracted and was tireless in his pursuit, and the most important lesson he taught many of us was to never, ever, give up.”

Basu retired in 2009, after having mentored more than 170 students. During retirement, he continued to serve as editor for multiple international research journals, and founded the Cancer Drug Discovery Research Foundation to continue studying potential cancer therapies.

“He believed that hard work and complete dedication to, and focus on, the task at hand would ensure success,” Serianni said.  “Subhash especially enjoyed his role as mentor and was always willing to offer advice and provide positive reinforcement and praise.”

A small funeral with last rites and cremation was held Nov. 16.

Rebecca Hicks also contributed to this report.