03 October 2019 | News
The National Institute of Nutrition was nurtured by Dr Gopalan
Dr Coluthur Gopalan, a scientist of international eminence, who had spearheaded the cause of nutrition science for over four decades in India, passed away in Chennai.
He had his doctoral degree in medicine. He was the first Asian to be elected the President of International Union of Nutrition Sciences (IUNS). He had been on several WHO expert panels.
The National Institute of Nutrition was nurtured by Dr Gopalan when he was its Director for 14 years. He was also actively involved in initiating Asian Congress of Nutrition. He created Nutrition Foundation of India which has a wide interdisciplinary research network in the country.
Dr Gopalan’s professional career in nutrition research started at the Nutrition Research Laboratory (NRL), founded by Robert McCarrison under the British Empire. In the late 1950s, NRL moved to Hyderabad, and Gopalan took over as Director in 1962.
The Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) was also founded in 1962 by Prof Kalyan Bagchi as Secretary and Dr Gopalan as the president in Kolkata.
In 1969 during its Golden Jubilee, NRL was designated as ‘National Institute of Nutrition’ (NIN).
In 1973, Gopalan moved to New Delhi to take over as the Director-General of ICMR. During his tenure (1974–1979), he promoted research in communicable diseases and modernized several of the ICMR research institutions.
Dr Gopalan retired from government service in 1979, but not from service to the nation. In 1980 he set up the Nutrition Foundation of India (NFI) in New Delhi.