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Despite resistance, Chatterjee completed her undergraduate degree in organic chemistry and went on to win many honours including India’s most prestigious science award in 1961, the annual Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for her achievements in phytomedicine. It would be another 14 years before another woman would be awarded it again.There are actually 2 Google Doodles today. The other celebrates Saudi Arabia National Day.
According to the Indian Academy of Sciences, Chatterjee “successfully developed anti-epileptic drug, Ayush-56 from Marsilia minuta and the anti-malarial drug from Alstonia scholaris, Swrrtia chirata, Picrorphiza kurroa and Ceasalpinna crista.”
Her work has contributed immensely to the development of drugs that treat epilepsy and malaria.
She was elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress Association in 1975 – in fact, she was the first woman scientist to be elected to the organisation.
An outstanding contribution was her work on vinca alkaloids, which come from the Madagascar periwinkle plant. They are used in chemotherapy to assist in slowing down and halting cancer cells duplicating.