In memoriam: Ranajit Chakraborty, PhD

Ranajit Chakraborty, PhD - source University of Cincinnati

Ranajit Chakraborty, PhD 
[Source: University of Cincinnati]

Former faculty member

HOUSTON – Ranajit Chakraborty, PhD, former faculty member at UTHealth School of Public Health, passed away in Fort Worth at age 72 on Sept. 24, 2018. A service will be held on Friday, Sept. 28 at 12:30 p.m. at the Major Funeral Home and Chapel of Fort Worth, 9325 South Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76140.

In 1973, Chakraborty joined the faculty of the School of Public Health in the Center for Demographic Genetics, which is now the Human Genetics Center, and the faculty of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He was hired by then-director of the School of Public Health’s Human Genetics Center, William Schull, PhD. From 1996 to 2001, he held the Allen King Professorship at the School of Public Health.

Many faculty and staff members of the School of Public health recall him as a true intellectual and friendly colleague.

“Dr. Chakraborty had a rare knack to see through the confusion and suggest elegant solutions to seemingly impossible problems,” says Eric Boerwinkle, PhD, dean of the School of Public Health and former director of the Human Genetics Center. “He was a prolific scholar and a good friend to the Human Genetics Center in the School of Public Health.”

Throughout his career, he served in various capacities on the faculties of Stanford University, University of Stockholm, Sweden, University of Michigan Medical School, University of Cincinnati, Rice University and Universidad de Chile. He had also been elected a foreign corresponding member of the Chilean Academy of Science. At the time of his death, he was working as director of the Center for Computational Genomics at the Institute of Applied Genetics, and a professor in the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

His wife, Bandana, is an alumnus of UTHealth School of Public Health and earned an MPH in international and family health in 1994 and a DrPH in community health practice in 2001.

Author of over 560 research articles and eight edited books, Chakraborty’s research was focused on statistical and population genetics, genomics of complex diseases, gene-environment interaction, admixture mapping, molecular epidemiology, DNA and microbial forensics, health disparities and human genome diversity.

Chakraborty earned a PhD degree in biostatistics and population genetics in 1971 from the Indian Statistical Institute at Calcutta, India supervised by the distinguished C. R. Rao. He earned a Master of Statistics degree in mathematical genetics and advanced probability and Bachelor of Statistics also both from the same institution.

—Written by Shannon LaDuke