APS interview of Dr. Prasad
Dr. Prasad was born in Buxar, a small town in the state of Bihar, India. After graduation from high school as the top student at age fourteen, he joined Patna Science College, Patna University. He was top student in chemistry and received B.Sc degree with honors in mathematics.
Dr. Prasad entered the Patna Medial College in Bihar, graduating there in 1951 with high distinction in physiology. In 1952 he went to St. Paul’s Hospital, Dallas, Texas, for residency training in pathology, accompanied by his wife, who sought further training in obstetrics and gynecology. Contrary to the route taken by his classmates, he decided not to seek Membership in the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), England, and looked for additional training in the USA. He was fortunate to be accepted by Dr. C.J. Watson for training in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He spent the next five years working with Dr. Edmund Flink, a member of Dr. Watson’s department, and was trained at Minnesota to be a clinical scientist. My research subjects were calcium and magnesium metabolism. Thus began a lifelong interest in the metabolism of various elements, including zinc.
Dr. Prasad was invited by Dr. Hobart A. Reimann, the Chief of Medicine at the Nemazee Hospital of Pahlevi University in Shiraz, Iran, to go to Iran. In spite of his initial reluctance, He accepted Dr. Reimann’s offer to join him in Shiraz, where he discovered zinc deficiency.
Dr. Prasad left Iran in January 1961 and joined the department of Biochemistry and Medicine of Vanderbilt University under Dr. William J. Darby. He shared with Dr. William J. Darby his speculation that zinc deficiency in the Middle East was prevalent and was responsible for widespread growth retardation. Dr. William J. Darby approved his plans to investigate zinc metabolism in growth‐retarded subjects. He then moved to U.S. Naval Medical Research unit No.3 (NAMRU‐3), inEgypt.
Dr. Prasad returned to the USA in 1963 and was offered the position of Chief of Hematology at Wayne State University. I remained in Detroit as Director of the Division of Hematology until 1984.
Dr. Prasad have published over 300 papers and fifteen books. He was founding editor of two journals, American Journal of Hematology and Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine. He has continued his research activities throughout his academic career. He has received much recognition for his contributions. These include AMA Goldberger Award, American College of Physicians Award for outstanding work in science as related to Medicine, Medal of Honor from Mayor of Lyon, France, First Raulin Award for pioneering research in zinc from International Society for Trace Elements Research in Humans (ISTERH), Robert H. Herman Award from American Society of Clinical Nutrition, Mastership from the American College of Physicians, inducted in the Heritage Hall of Fame, International Institute Foundation, Detroit, Michigan and Asian Academy Hall of Distinction Award, Washington, DC. Most importantly he received the 2010 Prince Mahidol Award from Bangkok.
-- Adapted from Dr. Prasad's biography