Venkatesh Gopal, known to many as VG, has a Master’s in Chemistry and a Ph.D in Biotechnology from Anna University. His passion is to develop commercial products that would be of use to society and research should culminate in a tangible solution rather than an esoteric exercise. As a result, many of his projects has commercial implications – whether it is in Chemistry or Biology. Although he started out as a Chemist, he realized that Biology is nothing but chemistry in a micro-scale and that a biologist would be more effective with a background in Chemistry. He chose to undertake a research project in Biology for his Graduate studies and graduated with a Ph.D in Biotechnology.
For his master thesis he worked at IIT Madras to develop novel heterocyclic compounds on Doped-Alumina catalyst and his work during his graduate studies include developing a vaccine for a viral disease and projects on identifying biologically active compounds in medicinal plants that were and are used a medicine in Siddha and Ayurveda even today. He investigated the medicinal properties of P. amarus for the treatment of human Hepatitis B virus.
He later joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology where he investigated the differential regulation of hormone receptors – progesterone and estrogens in endometrial cancer with emphasis on the mechanism of regulation of these hormones in breast and endometrial cancers. His other works include investigation of transcriptional regulations of cAMP regulated genes in diabetes and global transcriptional regulation in yeast models to understand the complex regulation of genes and the role of transcriptional factors in regulating genes at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. When an opportunity presented itself to pursue his passion of commercial products he completed a collaborative project with Pfizer in the development of a block-buster drug – Viagra®. During this research project, he independently derived the mechanism of action and the underlying cell signaling pathway – both cAMP and cGMP pathways. He held a research scientist position at Vanderbilt.
Transitioning from academic research to commercial drug discovery and development, he joined Applied Biosystems (now part of Thermo Fisher) he worked with almost all major pharmaceuticals in the US and helped developed high throughput and high content assays for the identification of drug-able targets for further development. He worked as a technical sales and business development roles for GE Healthcare and BD Biosciences while working with major pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies: from drug discovery through development and commercialization.
When the Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial bug infected him, he took a risk and joined his school mate to start a healthcare and medical device product development. At Vignani, as GM of Healthcare, conceived, developed and patented a stem cell isolation device for use in clinical settings. He implemented Quality Systems to meet ISO 13486 during this period and also consulted for a company in Slovenia to develop markets for bioprocessing products both in US and in India.
Currently he directs Sales and Business Development for products and services for Kerry, a company headquartered in Ireland and manages the US West Coast business.
VG has been teaching Healthcare and Bio Management courses since 2009 at ITU and is a passionate teacher. His teaching philosophy is based in kindling the inquisitive nature innate in the students and guide them toward developing their curiosity toward meaningful outcome. Tapping into the vast experience from successful commercial organizations his courses provide insight into the current trends and best practices in the industry to enable students to be productive employees and build their careers successfully.
In addition to teaching he is an avid gardener, photographer and loves to travel and enjoys music.