Vijay Chandru

Decades spanning ...

Vijay Chandru

Service to society

Professor Chandru was elected a Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum in 2006 and served on the Forum’s global agenda council on the future of the health sector for 2014-2016. Biospectrum Magazine named Professor Chandru the Biotech Entrepreneur of 2007 in India. The Association of Biotech led Enterprises (ABLE), the apex body of the biotech industry in India, elected Chandru as Honorary President for a three year term 2009-2012.

He currently serves on the State Vision Groups for Science & Technology as well as Biotechnology and the board of the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology. As an author of the Atal Innovation Mission report in August 2015, and served briefly on the mission high level committee of AIM as convened by the Prime Minister’s Office at NITI Aayog. The Technology Development Board (TDB) has appointed Chandru for a 2-year term as a member of the TAAG – the advisory group to TDB on technology and administrative issues. Professor Chandru is also the Honorary Director of a policy think tank called the Centre for Health Ecologies and Technology (CHET) in Bangalore.

Professor Chandru has also been actively engaged in digital humanities since 2009 and is a founder trustee of the boutique International Institute for Art, Culture and Democracy. His work at IIACD on digital capture and archiving of tangible and intangible heritage artifacts has been largely funded by the Department at Science and Technology, Government of India under the research program in Indian Digital Heritage.

Additionally, Chandru has mentored numerous entrepreneurs and early stage ventures in the realms of education, technology and life sciences.

Scientific pursuit

The journey into life and health science for Professor Chandru which began in the mid-90s has been a story of science meets technology that leads to innovation – the way it is supposed to work.

Molecular biology got a great boost in the late 80s when the human genome project was conceived and the US and UK governments together pumped in around 3B$ of funding over the next 15 years to get the human reference genome sequenced and verified. The transduction of biology that happened as a consequence required the “best in class” computer science to stand shoulder to shoulder with the biologists to make sense of the huge amounts of data that started spewing out of the high precision and high throughput instruments that were flooding the market.

Applied Biosystems, Agilent, Affymetrix, Thermo Fisher, BioRad, Qiagen, Roche… the 4th paradigm of science had arrived with a bang in biology and the community of biologists were unprepared. Strand appeared on the scene early in this phase and rapidly began to partner with researchers from around the world who had the wherewithal to set up outstanding experiments but needed help with the data analysis.

While Strand hitched its future to a “software products” business and partnered with Agilent on the GeneSpring® platform, a number of research collaborations resulted as several biology labs were looking for solutions and not just products. Strand’s scientists were co-authors in a number of high quality publications, including two articles in Cell that made the cover in 2010 – a selective list of these publications is on the website at

In 2010, Strand also ventured into setting up the first next-generation sequencing lab in Bangalore in an interesting public-private partnership called Ganit Labs with central and state government participation. This was the Bio-IT Centre that were set up at the Institute for Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology in South Bangalore. The scientists at Strand were delighted to get back to the wet lab bench and so in the last 5 years, Strand also generates experimental data in house. Ganit Labs successfully assembled the genome of the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica).