Obituary: Professor Prakash Sarvotham Shetty FRCP

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Prakash Shetty, our former teacher, colleague and friend who was appointed Chair in Human Nutrition at LSHTM in 1993 and was Head of the Public Health Nutrition Unit from 1993 to 2001.

Prakash was trained as a medical doctor at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India and completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge.  After his medical training, Prakash joined St. John’s Medical College in Bengaluru, where his research focussed on the physiological consequences of protein and energy restriction in humans.  He quickly rose through the ranks at St. John’s to become Director of the Nutrition Research Centre from 1985 to 1993.  At LSHTM he reformed nutrition research, refocusing it on public health aspects of nutrition.  In keeping with this new focus, the nutrition course at LSHTM was renamed the MSc in Public Health Nutrition.  From 2001-2005 Prakash was based in Rome as Chief of Nutrition Planning, Assessment and Evaluation for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.  On his return to the UK he was Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Southampton (2005-2015) and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006-2011).

In 2012, Prakash agreed to come out of semi-retirement to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) research programme.  Prakash gave his time and expertise selflessly, and successfully shepherded a complex multi-partner programme conducting research in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan with unparalleled political skill and dexterity.

Although a world renowned nutrition researcher, Prakash was an extremely modest and multi-talented man.  He was adored by his students for his inclusive supervisory approach.  His calm and gentle voice, together with his unique and highly personal approach to management made him a generous and highly effective leader.  Away from the desk he was a charming and relaxed conversationalist and a welcoming host at staff and student gatherings.  His encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian history, literature and classical music suggested another side to Prakash that a few were lucky to experience.

Despite increasing illness and frailty, Prakash continued working until early August 2018.  He spent his last weeks at home surrounded by his loving family and passed-away peacefully on 3 September 2018.  The world of nutrition has lost a great man, and we shall miss his presence deeply.


Photo of Professor Shetty kindly provided by LANSA

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