BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The family of the late Om Parkash Bahl, a
distinguished University at Buffalo professor whose scientific
research led to the development of the home pregnancy test, is
remembering him by raising money for a new endowed professorship in
the UB College of Arts and Sciences.
They have set a $1 million goal for the Om P. Bahl Professorship
in Biological Sciences. Family members have given a generous gift
to start the process, while also encouraging former students,
colleagues and friends to join them in the effort. Bahl died in
"We can think of no better way to honor my father than by
creating a professorship in his name," said Vinita Bahl, his
daughter. "A scientist at heart, my father could have chosen to
work only in a corporate lab, but he was happiest when sharing his
knowledge and insights with others -- his colleagues, his students,
The endowed professorship will continue Bahl's teaching example
and further his academic work by providing the resources to attract
scholars of his character and caliber in the field of biological
sciences. The monies will support the selected scholar in his or
her research initiatives.
"We were fortunate to have had such a strong leader in
biological sciences at UB for so many years," said Uday P.
Sukhatme, dean of UB's College of Arts and Sciences. "And now we
are grateful to Dr. Bahl's family and friends for continuing that
wonderful legacy through an endowed professorship that will attract
others equally strong in teaching, mentoring and research."
In May, well-known scientists in the field of reproductive
biochemistry and glycoprotein hormones honored Bahl at a conference
in his name held at UB.
Bahl, whose research helped establish the molecular structure of
human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) -- better known as the
pregnancy hormone -- in the early 1970s, had been looking for a
safer means of contraception while focusing on the relationship
between cancer and the abnormal production of the pregnancy
Born in Lyallpur, India, in 1927, Bahl earned his undergraduate
and graduate degrees from Lahore Government College and Punjab
University, ranking first in his classes. He received his doctorate
from the University of Minnesota. While pursuing his doctorate, he
also worked as a research associate at General Mills, receiving a
patent for a chemical technique that strengthened the paper in
grocery bags. After receiving his degree, he turned down a position
at General Mills as a research scientist, preferring instead to
continue his academic studies in biochemistry and molecular biology
Bahl joined UB in 1966 as assistant professor, rising to full
professor in 1971 and serving as chair of the Department of
Biological Sciences from 1976-83. He received many awards and
honors throughout his career, including the Dernham Fellowship of
the American Cancer Society in 1965, the Schoellkopf Medal from the
Western New York section of the American Chemical Society in 1978
and the Life Science Award from the second Annual Convention of
Asian Indian Organizations in North America.
For his scientific achievement, Bahl received the Padma Bhushan,
the highest civilian award conferred by the Indian government. He
also served on a committee investigating technology transfer for
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that helped establish capabilities in
India to conduct first-rate research in the biological sciences and
apply this research to address some of India's most pressing
Bahl wrote several textbooks, supervised doctoral students and
mentored post-doctoral students, instilling an enthusiasm for
science in those he taught and mentored. He served on a variety of
editorial boards as well as advisor to the Population Council, the
World Health Organization and the Population Research Committee of
the National Institutes of Health.
A believer in family and social causes, Bahl was involved in the
Indian Independence movement and was founding president of
All-India Student Association, now one of the largest student
groups in India, before emigrating to the U.S.
On Nov. 21, family members and friends will gather in New Delhi
at a final memorial service for Bahl.
For more information on giving to the Om. P. Bahl Professorship
in Biological Sciences Fund, please contact Deborah McKinzie at email@example.com or
716-645-6000, ext. 1503.