Dr. Awtar Krishan Ganju


Dr. Awtar Krishan Ganju
r. Awtar Krishan is a world renowned scientist. He obtained his PhD's from Panjab University (1962) and the Univ. of Western Ontario, Canada (1963) in Cytogenetics and Anatomy. From 1965 to 1977, he was at the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School as Head of the Tissue Ultrastructure and Experimental Pathology Labs.

He has developed flow cytometric techniques for rapid analysis of DNA content by hypotonic propidium iodide, monitoring of drug retention and resistance, and more recently for monitoring hormone receptor expression in archival tumors. He is currently Director, Analytical Cytometry Laboratory, at University of Miami, Florida.

Awtar Krishan was born in 1937 as the ‘fourth generation-first born son of a business family.’ As most of us know this is a special position in the KP social order. His mother was from a family known for their scholarship (Sahib-Kauls) who did not care so much for wealth and constantly advised him that ‘they can take your land, they can take your gold, but they cannot take your knowledge’. Mr. Ganju recalls that she brainwashed him so well that he was the first one in his family to go to college and obtain two doctorate degrees from Panjab University in Zoology and from the University of Western Ontario, Canada in Anatomy. He joined University of Minnesota as a Research Professor in 1965 and then left for Boston where he worked till 1977, before moving to Miamii, Florida where he was the first KP in town.

Professionally, he was Chief of Experimental Pathology and Ultrastructure labs at the Sidney Farber Cancer Center, Harvard medical School in Boston (1965-1977), Profesor and Scientific Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami (1980-1993) and Scientific Director of the Michigan Cancer Foundation and Wayne State University, Detroit (1993-1995). He returned to Miami and currently works as Professor of Pathology at the University of Miami Medical School.

He has published 4 books on stem cell and flow cytometry, and more than 160 papers in peer reviewed journals dealing with bird chromosomes, anti-cancer drug effects and the use of laser flow cytometry. His first scientific publication was “A cytological method for sexing of young chicks” published in a Swiss journal. This was before he knew what ‘chicks’ in America meant and ever since have regretted this title. He feels that he has had a full life; much different than what he would have imagined living in Srinagar-Kashmir.

What he is proud of is his family, his children and his wife and friends in Miami and other places.

With his wife Sarla Ganju (Hakhu)

With his children Ameeta, Aruna and Neil
"In Miami my adopted mother ‘Bhabi’ has given us an extended family and is very dear to me and my wife Sarla Hukhu of Suthu Barbar shah. My eldest daughter Aruna Ganju is Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in the Northwestern University in Chicago, my second daughter, Ameeta is a pediatrician in the Kaiser Permanante Medical Center in Los Angeles and my Son, Neil Kamal Ganju is costal hydrologist and principal research scientist at the United States Geological Service (USGS) in Woods Hole, Mass. We are blessed with five grand daughters who to my delight regularly ask to talk to their nana but not to nani.

12th Indo-US Flow Cytometry Workshops in Punjab University and Post Graduate Medical Research and and Education Institute, Manipal University and PY Patil University, Pune 2011
Now looking back on my life, I can say that hope and courage combined with hard work has made my life. My message to our young generation is be proud of your heritage, have faith and courage and above all don’t shy away from hard work and a challenge. We may have lost Kashmir as our home land but now we have rest of the world as our home and we will not only survive but excel with humility, hard work and intelligence. I left Srinagar at the age of 14 as a shy “Hatu” as the Panjabis used to call me in my first year in Shimla and became courageous and hardworking like the Panjabis. I am proud of my Kashmiri heritage and my association with Panjab.

In 2001, I was on the advisory board of Becton Dickinson which is famous for making laser flow cytometers for medical research. In lieu of paying me in cash as consultant, I asked them to sponsor my lectures in India to teach flow Cytometry. We started the Indo-US Cytometry Workshops in 2001 and have offered 5 day workshops in Jammu, Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Trivandrum. Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Manipal, Bombay and Pune. In 2012, we have
workshops in Kolkata and Guwahati. In our workshops we have 10-15 faculty experts from US, Canada, EU, UK, Australia and Singapore who teach up to 50 students about latest applications of laser flow cytometry. Each workshop costs approximately $50,000 and we raise the funds from grants and the students pay a nominal fee of 10-15,000 INR which includes board and lodging. Last year we had 500 students in Chandigarh, Bangalore, Manipal and Pune attend our lectures and wet labs. We have exported the Indian model to other countries and have done workshops in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Shanghai and Bangkok. We have also held workshops in Istanbul,. Ankara, Marmara and Antalya in Turkey."
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Esteemed Ganju Sb: This is the best thing that you've done to show your face to an ever-increasing readership. Believe me I felt face to face,as though talking to you. I wish you could serve the diaspora with the same fervour as you did in the past---ofcourse, with your youthful demeanour. Praying for a 'Nobel' for you. Regards with cheers! Dr. Tej Munshi (Presently in India & returning soon)
Added By Tej Munshi
Good job Sir. Great scientists in our community.
Added By Vijay Bhan
Dear Deepak ji The entire KP community feels proud for their achievements and selfless service rendered to the community. Their accomplishments are highly commendable. GOD Bless them all. sincerely,
Added By Makhan Sazawal
makes me proud just to read it. Thanks Deepak Uncle for the well written article about dad.
Added By Ameeta Ganju
I was always very prould of you & of your achievements,now the world knows about you.Doorsaba as I call you, the whole family is prould of you.Love you always.Veena Kaul MI
Added By Veena Kaul
My best wishes to the organizing team of "shehjar" for collecting and dissipating all types of news related to different aspects of Kashmir and Kashmiris in general and KPs in particular. This dedicated group through its web magazine is rendering a great service to this near extinct ethnic group.
Added By TejKrishan Walli
Dear Dr.Ganju Sahib, By chance I was going through Shejar e magazine and saw your profile.It is informative and worth for our youngesters. keep it up. Regards Puttoo,B L
Added By bansi puttoo
Dr Ganju has been highly helpful in introducing the flow cytometry to Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine at Jammu. I acknowledge his contribution in demonstrating this technology during the workshop in 2001. This is a very important equipment for R&D in drug discovery. Dr. R. K. Raina, Chief Scientist.
Added By Ravinder Raina