Updated on 18 March 2013
In Singapore, he has put in efforts to understand the biological basis of the metabolic syndrome and the mechanisms of interaction between the endocrine system (in particular, insulin release and response) and the central nervous system. He is presently leading a new program on cancer metabolism and the development of hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.
Prof Radda's main interest area is cardiac research, understanding the basis of heart function and heart failure at the biochemical level. He collaborated with AstraZeneca as a consultant, when the company was developing drugs in this disease area.
The life of a researcher
At the age of 76, Prof Radda has retired from three different roles but is yet to hang his boots. Despite being involved in various administrative roles, he has always found time to pursue research. "My policy is that if you believe in science, you must keep up your research activities. This has been an important part of my thinking," he says. "Sometimes, it is tough because being the head of a research council requires a lot of time, but I continued to publish papers. As a leader of science, you don't have the confidence of the scientific community unless you are involved in research activities."
After retiring from the department of biochemistry at Oxford University, he took up the responsibility at the UK MRC from where he retired in 2008. Prof Radda mentions that he will still align his free time with the project at Oxford that plans to create and generate an archive of medical research of the university, particularly from people who have made key discoveries in science. The university has requested him to deposit all his material in their archive. "I have taken it up and am getting started. I am collecting all my old work from 1970s. There are 114 notebooks, 100 PhD thesis and 800 papers, and thousands of lecture notes and presentations. I suspect as I retire, I will work with the librarians," he adds with a smile.
In all this, his wife has been an immense source of support. However, while he lived in Singapore to build the industry, Prof Radda admits to have missed out on the company of his three children and three grandchildren who live in the UK.
While his research and work keep him busy in Singapore, he says he misses the opera and jazz from the life in the UK. So, he settles for his huge collection of music CDs with him. In his youth, he loved swimming. With age no longer on his side - he is 76 - he has developed an interest in cooking and enjoys inventing new dishes. But science remains his biggest weakness which, he says, is unlikely to leave him, ever.