Asima Chatterjee (23 September 1917–22 November 2006) was an Indian organic chemist noted for her work in the fields of organic chemistry and phytomedicine. Her most notable work includes research on vinca alkaloids, and the development of anti-epileptic and anti-malarial drugs. She also authored a considerable volume of work on medicinal plants of the Indian subcontinent.
Asima Chatterjee (née) was born on September 23rd, 1917 in Bengal. Chatterjee grew up in Calcutta and graduated with honors in chemistry from the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta in 1936.
Asima Chatterjee received a master’s degree (1938) and a doctoral degree (1944) in organic chemistry from the University of Calcutta. Her doctoral research focused on the chemistry of plant products and synthetic organic chemistry. Among her notable instructors at the time were Prafulla Chandra Roy and Prof S.N. Bose. Additionally, she had research experience from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Caltech.
Chatterjee’s research concentrated on natural products chemistry and resulted in anti-convulsive, anti-malarial, and chemotherapy drugs.She was also successful in developing the anti-epileptic drug, ‘Ayush-56’ from Marsilia minuta and the anti-malarial drug from Alstonia scholaris, Swrrtia chirata, Picrorphiza kurroa and Ceasalpinna crista. The patented drugs have been marketed by several companies.