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November 12th, 2019

Vol. 03

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November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

President A.P.J Abdul Kalam Biotech Postgraduate Fellowship The notification for the President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship for the year 2020 is out.

INTERESTED CANDIDATES CAN CHECK OUT ALL OF THE UPDATES ON THE FUNDING, ELIGIBILITY, FIELDS OF STUDY, APPLICATION PROCEDURE, TIMELINES AND MUCH MORE WHICH HAVE BEEN DETAILED BELOW: By Diluxi Arya

This Postgraduate Fellowship is announced in honour of President A.P.J. Kalam. President Kalam was a solid advocate for youngsters and an enthusiastic supporter of clean energy and energy independence. He visited the University of South Florida (USF) in 2012 and is remembered affectionately by USF as well as the vibrant sible for allocating the award, will Indian heritage community in Tampa set up a review committee to choose Bay, Florida. the winning PhD proposition from among those candidates who have One award will certainly be offered been accepted by their department. each academic year. The committee will be looking for a student with exceptional academELIGIBILITY ic qualifications as well as experienced in the chosen discipline and a 1. Applicants must have submitted well-crafted research proposal. USF an application for the PhD program World is authorized to make a deciin any of the subjects listed below sion of the Kalam Fellow from recto USF (https://www.usf.edu/admisommendations made by the review sions/) and secured a USF ID. committee. 2. Applicants should satisfy all eligibility requirements for the program of their choice. 3. Candidates should have graduated from or are about to graduate from an Indian University. ELIGIBLE STEM PROGRAMS/ FIELDS OF STUDY: • • • • • • • • • • •

Applied Anthropology Applied Physics Business PhD programs Cell Biology, Microbiology & Molecular Biology Chemistry Computer Science & Engineering Engineering Criminology Integrative Biology Marine Science Psychology

SELECTION OF AWARDEES: USF World, which is only respon-

FUNDING: The University of South Florida will certainly: • Waive all tuition for an overall of approximately four years. • Contribute a stipend of $22,000 that is payable in 3 installments of $8000 each in the fall and spring semesters and $6000 in the summer semester. In addition to waiving tuition fees, this award covers health insurance and also other fees. • The stipends will be payable by USF once the winner of the President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship at the University of South Florida is enrolled at the university for his/ her first term.

The deadline to apply for the A.P.J. Kalam Fellowship is February 3, 2020. All applicants must have submitted a USF grad application and established a university ID number at the USF grad admissions portal before submitting the Kalam Fellowship form. As soon as admitted to USF, the awardee will comply with all USF regulations, procedures as well as procedures and all applicable law. To send the A.P.J. Kalam application, candidates must scan the list below materials and also email them to KalamFellowship@ usf.edu in one composite PDF (please do not send.jpeg files): • Postgraduate Fellowship Form • A brief letter detailing your interest in the Fellowship and also your proposed area of study. • Curriculum Vitae including your current occupation, your academic as well as professional experience/achievement and proof of scholarly activity. • Statement on intended research for your PhD degree under the Kalam Fellowship. • 2 Letters of Recommendation on academic and/or professional letterhead. • Some programs may require a GRE score; please check with individual departments’ requirements.

All various other costs (e.g., airfare, housing at USF, etc.) will be met by Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply to their academic program as the awardee. early as possible. Admissions dates vary depending on the program; be TO APPLY:

sure to check online for your prospective program. Timeline: • October 15 – Announcement of Fellowship opportunity sent to the Indian community. • December 1 – February 3 – (Please check individual graduate programs for the due date of application) Applicant should first apply for a graduate program via the USF Graduate Admissions Office, receive a university ID, and after that apply for the Kalam no later than February 3rd. • February 3 – Kalam Applications due to USF. • May 1 – Public announcement of the winner and also the timeline for next year. Successful Applications consist of: • Only applications for a PhD. This award is NOT a combination of Master’s degree/Ph. D. You must have currently finished your Master’s degree prior to applying for the Kalam Award. • Selection of the USF department, as well as program, should match your research, education, and background– along with your letters of recommendation.

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November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

• No plagiarism or copied info unless cited– including your very own research. The committee will search for information that has been copied or plagiarized.

• Letter of Intent needs to directly correlate and also be in relation to the application for the Kalam award– Be extremely particular in your introductory letter, state-

ment of intent, fundamental research, and program focus. • Please consist of as much info in your letter as possible to build your case regarding why you

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ought to be chosen for the Kalam Award as well as how your research would parallel the vision of President A.PJ. Abdul Kalam.

DST Women Scientists Scheme – A (WOS-A) Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, Women Scientists Scheme – A (WOS-A) 2019 call for proposals open. Interested women applicants can apply online for the Women Scientists Scheme – A (WOS-A) for the year 2019. ALL OF THE DETAILS ON THE OVERVIEW, ELIGIBILITY, APPLICATION PROCEDURE AND SUCH BELOW: By Diluxi Arya

Preamble: Women constitute an important section of the workforce. However, the present situation of a large number of well-qualified women scientists who due to various circumstances have been left out of the S&T activities needs to be addressed. The problems faced are several but, significantly, most often the “break-in-career” arises out of motherhood and family responsibilities. The option for the revival of their profession is presently unavailable due to restrictions in age and qualification and no system at present addresses these issues.

Rs. 30 lakh (for PhD or equivalent)), Rs. 25 lakh (for M.Tech/M.Pharm or equivalent) and Rs. 20 lakh (for M.Sc. or equivalent) for a well-defined R&D project proposal for a period of three years. This grant will include the fellowship of the applicant and the cost The “Women Scientists Scheme-A of small equipment, contingencies, (WOS-A)” for research in basic and travel, consumables etc. Institutional applied sciences has been evolved in overhead charges will be extra. this context, by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for Eligibility: providing opportunities to women scientists and technologists between 1. Persons already in employment the age group of 27-57 years who de- need not apply. sire to return to mainstream science and work as bench-level scientists. 2. Women scientists, less than 27 Through this endeavour of the De- years of age are not eligible. partment, a concerted effort would be made to give women a strong foot- 3. Candidates who are registered in hold into the scientific profession, PhD and receiving any fellowship are help them re-enter into the main- not eligible to apply. stream and provide a launch pad for further forays into the field of science 4. Women scientists, with a minimum of Post Graduate degree, equivand technology. alent to M.Sc. in Basic or Applied Scientific Disciplines: (1) Physical Sciences or B.Tech. or MBBS or and Mathematical Sciences [PMS] other equivalent professional qualifi(2) Chemical Sciences [CS] (3) Life cations, are eligible for this scheme. Sciences [LS] (4) Earth and Atmos- The amount of fellowship for such pheric Sciences [EAS] (5) Engineer- candidates will be Rs. 30,000/- PM. ing & Technology [ET]. 5. Women scientists, with M.Tech. Support: This scheme will provide or MD/MS, DM/MCH in Medical a research grant with an upper limit of Sciences from recognized Univer-

sities can also apply. The amount of please contact Email: support[dash] fellowship for such candidates will be wosa[At]nic[dot]in Rs.40,000/- PM. For Online Submission related 6. Women scientists having PhD queries please contact Email: supDegree in Basic or Applied Sciences port-wosa@nic.in will be entitled to the fellowship of Rs.55,000/- PM. All WOS-A aspirants may directly submit full project proposal at onMinimum 2 years of break is re- line-wosa.gov.in. However Woman Scientists who have already submitquired after PhD award. ted project proposal(PPD) in 2019 For Scheme related queries need not apply again.


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New HIV Strain Discovered After 19 Years By Abbott Scientists A group of scientists at the medical devices and health care expert company Abbott has discovered a new strain of HIV. This strain of the virus is the first to be identified in 19 years. ABBOTT IS IN CONTINUOUS SEARCH FOR POTENTIAL NEW HIV STRAINS TO ENSURE THAT DIAGNOSTIC TESTS FOR BLOOD SCREENING & DETECTING INFECTIOUS DISEASES REMAIN UP TO DATE, SAID THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE. By Rahul Mishra

The new strain has been named as HIV-1 group M subtype L. It is extremely rare and can be detected only by Abbott’s current screening system. The company’s tests screen more than 60% of the global blood supply. In the early days of HIV, in the 1980s and 1990s, some blood donors were unaware of the fact that they had HIV. These HIV patients added the virus to the blood supply. A considerable number of patients who needed regular blood transfusions suffering from hemophilia ended up contracting HIV and often dying.

complications, and other problems. Michael Worobey, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, said that it is not surprising that there are a diverse number of HIV strains in Central Africa. This was where the disease originated. Identifying a new strain of the virus does not add much to the knowledge in HIV research.

bott created its surveillance program core and molecular laboratory diag25 years ago to track changes in HIV nostic tests could detect this new HIV and hepatitis viruses strains. strain. Abbott Discovers New HIV StrainMore About Abbott’s Research

As a leader in blood screening and infectious disease analysis, Abbott had created its Global Viral SurveilAbbott Discovers New HIV Strainlance Program 25 years ago to monHow Did Abbott Discover The New itor HIV and hepatitis viruses along HIV Strain? The newly discovered subtype be- with identifying mutations to ensure The latest of the three samples used longs to the most common form of the company’s diagnostic tests reto identify HIV-1 group M subtype L HIV- group M, which accounts for main up to date. As part of this study, has been sitting in an Abbott freez- more than 90% of all HIV cases. Ab- Abbott researchers confirmed that its er since 2001. The amount of virus present in the sample was too low to detect back then, but new technology recently made it possible. Today, next-generation sequencing technology (NGS) allows scientists to build an entire genome at higher speeds and lower costs. To utilize this technology, scientists at Abbott developed and applied new techniques to help narrow in on the virus portion of the sample to sequence and complete the genome fully. Jonah Sacha, a professor at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, said that the study reminds us of the dangerous diversity of HIV. He says that Antiretroviral drugs inhibit the virus’s reproduction and spread, but they have significant side effects. Even when drugs keep the AIDS virus under control, patients are at higher risk for blood cancer, cardiovascular

In partnership with hospitals and academic institutions around the world, Abbott has collected approximately 78,000 samples containing Huma Immunodeficiency Virus and hepatitis viruses from 45 countries, identified and characterized more than 5,000 strains. Abbott has published 125 research papers to date to help the scientific community learn more about these viruses.


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11,000 Scientists Across World Declare “Global Climate Emergency” Eleven thousand scientists in 153 countries have declared a climate emergency & warned that untold human suffering is unavoidable without considerable shifts in the way we live. THE LETTER BY THE SCIENTISTS IS BASED ON CLIMATE SCIENCE THAT WAS FIRST ESTABLISHED IN 1979 AT THE FIRST WORLD CLIMATE CONFERENCE HELD IN GENEVA. FOR SEVERAL DECADES VARIOUS GLOBAL BODIES HAVE AGREED URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED, BUT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS CONTINUE TO RISE EXPONENTIALLY. By Rahul Mishra

Scientists Declare Climate Emergency- A Warning Letter William Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University, said that despite 40 years of major global negotiations, humans have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis. He spearheaded the letter. The Researchers Stated that “Clearly and unequivocally planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” According to scientists, there are minor positive indicators – such as declining birth rates and a rise in renewable energy use. Although most indicators suggest, humans are rapidly heading in the wrong direction. Some of these steps include rising meat consumption, more air travel, chopping down forests faster than ever, and an increase in global carbon dioxide emissions. Researchers want the public to understand the magnitude of the crisis and realign priorities. Scientists Declare Climate Emergency- The Main Objectives of The Letter The letter focuses on six key objectives to reduce the effect of climate change: • Replacing fossil fuels; • Reducing pollutants like methane & soot; • Restoring and protecting different ecosystems; • Eating less meat; • Converting the economy to one that has lower carbon emission and stabilizing population

growth.

thor, from the University of Sydney, said measuring global surface temperatures remained essential but that a broader set of indicators should be monitored. This includes human population growth, tree-cover loss, energy consumption, meat consumption, fossil-fuel subsidies, and annual economic losses to extreme weather events.

Professor Ripple said that there is an increase in global surface temperature, ocean heat content, including ocean acidity. He highlighted that ice is rapidly disappearing, as shown by declining trends in minimum summer Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, including the glacier thickness. All of these rapid changes highlight the urgent need for action Scientists Declare Climate Emerby various institutions. gency- Toward A Better World Dr. Thomas Newsome, Lead au-

despite the gloomy outlook, there is room for optimism. Scientists ended with a positive note stating that schoolchildren are concerned about the environment, ecocide lawsuits are swiftly proceeding in the courts. Grassroot common citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries and businesses are taking positive steps to combat climate change.

“Such swift action is our best hope to sustain life on planet Earth, our The authors of the letter said that only home” Concluded the letter.


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Scientists Create “Super-Grafts” To Treat Severe Diabetes The absence of functional insulin-producing cells characterizes severe Type 1 Diabetes. The last resort to treat severe type 1 diabetes is pancreatic cell transplantation. The islets are removed from a donor’s pancreas, isolated, and then re-injected into the patient’s liver. IT TAKES MULTIPLE DONORS TO TREAT ONE PERSON. ADDITIONALLY, THERE IS AN ACUTE SHORTAGE OF DONORS. By Rahul Mishra

The pancreas contains cell clusters called the islets of Langerhans. These are particular types of cells that produce blood glucose regulating hormones that are grouped. However, the transplant process is long and complicated: a significant part of the grafted cells die quickly without being able to engraft. Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) & the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) have discovered a new strategy to treat Severe Type 1 Diabetes. They have created a more robust super-islets of Langerhans. Once transplanted, more of them engraft. Then these super islets start producing insulin much more rapidly.

The first step took place in vitro conditions: the addition of amniotic epithelial cells, allowed the cell clusters to form regular spheres, indicating better intracellular communication & connectivity.

The second step in vivo conditions: the researchers transplanted their “super-islets” of Langerhans into diabetSuper-Grafts To Treat Diabetes- ic mice, that quickly began to produce What are its Advantages Of Using insulin. This Super-Graft? Fanny Lebreton, a scientist at the DeThe Super grafts not only improve partment of Surgery at UNIGE Faculthe success of cell transplants but also ty of Medicine and the first author of offer new perspectives for other types of transplants. To improve the precisions of islet transplantation and the survival of transplanted cells, scientists have sought to create new, more robust super islets that would withstand the stress of transplantation better than natural islet cells. To do this, they came up with the idea of adding amniotic epithelial cells, taken from the wall of the inner placental membrane to the pancreatic cells. Thierry Berney, Professor in the Department of Surgery at UNIGE Faculty of Medicine and Head of HUG Transplant Division, said that these cells are very similar to stem cells and are already being used in other therapies, such as corneal repair. Super-Grafts To Treat DiabetesWhat are the Steps Involved To Create The Super-Graft?

this work, said that even with few cell Amniotic epithelial cells are essenclusters, the super islets adapted very tial to islet survival. They seem to act well to their new environment and on two crucial elements- the lack of vascularized quickly. oxygen, which usually kills a large number of transplanted islets, & the A good vascularization is indeed the modulation of the host immune syscritical element of any transplanta- tem to limit the risk of rejection. tion. It allows to supply the new organ with oxygen and nutrients and The protective mechanism, obguarantees their survival. Besides, the served here on cell transplants, could artificial islets quickly began to pro- also take place in other types of transduce insulin. plants or even in xenotransplantationwhere non-human cells or organs are Super-Grafts To Treat Diabetes- transplanted into humans. What makes these super grafts unique?


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Cell Signalling Breakthrough Opens Up New Avenues For Research The University of Liverpool researchers has made a major breakthrough in the field of cell signaling. In humans, signaling in cells normally regulates cell growth and repair. However, abnormal cell signaling contributes to many diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration. THE STUDY, REVEALED COMPLEX CHEMICAL SIGNALS ARE TRIGGERED WHEN WATER LANDS ON A PLANT TO HELP IT PREPARE FOR THE DANGERS OF RAIN. By Ria Roy

Therefore, identifying specific proteins that control cell signaling in health and disease states could help accelerate the discovery of certain disease biomarkers & drug targets. By using a new analytical workflow involving mass spectrometry, a research team from the Department of Biochemistry- the University of Liverpool- led by Professor Claire Eyers has shown now that the phenomenon of protein modification (phosphorylation) in cell signaling is far more diverse and complex than previously thought. This research study, published in The EMBO Journal, opens up a whole new area for bioscience & clinical researchers to explore. Protein phosphorylation is a process that involves the addition of phosphate groups to proteins. It is a key regulator of protein function, and defining site-specific phosphorylation is essential to understand basic and disease biology. In vertebrates, the study has primarily focused on phosphorylation of the amino acids serine, threonine, & tyrosine. However, mounting evidence of the study suggests that phosphorylation of other “non-canonical” amino acids also regulates critical aspects of cell biology. Unfortunately, standard methods of characterization of protein phosphorylation are largely unsuitable for the analysis of these novel non-canonical phosphorylation types. Consequently, the complete landscape of the human protein phosphorylation has remained unexplored. The research reports on a new phosphopeptide enrichment strategy, which permits the identification of histidine, lysine, arginine, aspartate, glutamate, & cysteine phosphorylation sites on human proteins by mass spectrometry technique-based phosphoproteomics.

Remarkably, the scientists found that the number of unique “non-canonical” phosphorylation sites is approximately one-third of the number of phosphorylation sites observed on the more well-studied serine, threonine & tyrosine residues. Lead researcher of the team, Professor Claire Eyers who is the Director of the Centre for Proteome Research (Institute of Integrative Biology) said that the novel non‐canonical phosphorylation sites reported are likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg;

identifying the diverse phosphorylation landscape likely to exist across vertebrate & non‐vertebrate organisms is an important challenge for the future.

The mass-spectrometry-based analytical workflow that we have developed will allow scientists from around the world to define and understand regulated changes in these novel types of protein modifications The diversity & prevalence of mul- in a high throughput manner, which tiple non‐canonical phosphorylation we have demonstrated are widespread sites raises the question of how these in human cells. contribute to global cell biology, and whether they can represent the bio- The research is featured on the markers, drug targets or anti‐targets front cover of the latest edition of the in disease‐associated signaling net- EMBO Journal. works.


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CRISPR To Fight Cancer Called ‘Promising’ In 1st Safety Test CRISPR, The powerful gene-editing technique, has now raised a lot of hope in recent years for its vibrant potential to offer new ways to treat many diseases, including cancer. But until now, researchers have released very little information about the results of safety tests in patients. ON WEDNESDAY, SCIENTISTS REVEALED DATA FROM THEIR FIRST STUDY INVOLVING U.S. CANCER PATIENTS WHO HAD RECEIVED CELLS GENETICALLY MODIFIED WITH CRISPR TECHNOLOGY. By Ria Roy

The highly anticipated study results, while quite preliminary, seem to be encouraging, researchers say. This is a very important first step of the research said Dr. Edward Stadtmauer who is a professor in oncology at the University of Pennsylvania and the current study’s principal investigator. He added that they hope this is CRISPR gene editing is safe. But the the beginning of the next generation data are certainly encouraging. So far, of engineering cells to help many dif- so good- but still early. ferent diseases and tumors. Researchers in China have been trying to use CRISPR to treat cancer patients for years but have released only very little information about their research work. Another US study involving CRISPR for cancer recently He added this treatment is not ready started recruiting patients. for prime time, but it is definitely very promising. The researchers are all part of the Stadtmauer stresses that this trial was not designed to determine whether the approach actually works — only whether it is safe & feasible.

Other scientists agree. Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, who has contributed to the discovery & development of CRISPR techniques said that she is very much excited about the study results. It is definitely an important step on the path toward using CRISPR-Cas genome editing in patients. And it shows the potential of this technology to be a safe & effective therapy, she added. Dr. Michel Sadelain, who is doing related research study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, said he is glad to see the gene-editing move into the clinic this way, though he stresses that the patients will have to be followed much longer to gain the confidence that this approach is truly safe.

first wave of research moving CRISPR gene editing out of the laboratory and into patients. Doctors have just begun testing CRISPR gene editing for the blood disorders sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. And researchers plan to soon try using CRISPR to edit genes inside the cells of the human body as a way of treating a genetic form of blindness. This cancer research study, which will be presented next month at the meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Orlando, Fla., involved just 3 patients — 2 with multiple myeloma & one with sarcoma. The patients who had received infusions of about 100 million of their own immune system cells that had been removed from their bodies & were genetically modified in a laboratory.

Stadtmauer said the approach aims to combine CRISPR with another of Sadelain added we want more pa- the most exciting advances in medical tients and also a longer follow-up research in recent years i.e, to harness to really make a call that the use of the immune system to fight against

cancer.

they hoped they would do without producing any significant adverse efThe last decade has really been a rev- fects, the scientists said. olution in the immunotherapy to fight cancer, Stadtmauer said. Researchers The next step, researchers say, is have learned how to harness the im- to treat additional patients as part of mune system to fight against cancer a trial that will eventually involve -to create these miraculous cells that about 18 participants who have sarcoare infused into the patients as living ma, melanoma/ myeloma. drugs to treat cancer. Laurie Zoloth, Bioethicist of the While that approach has produced University of Chicago applauded the new treatments for some leukemia team for its cautious approaches. and lymphoma patients, those genetically engineered living drugs either Doing it slowly, doing it with a very do not work for many cancer patients small group of patients and making or eventually stop working. no grandiose claims is exactly what you would like to see in a trial like That prompted the researchers to this, said Zoloth, who helped review turn to CRISPR gene editing. the research study for the National Institutes of Health. The team wanted to see if they can even further improve these study re- Zoloth noted that the University of sults by giving these cells sort of su- Pennsylvania was the site of a differperpowers to proliferate even better, ent medical experiment that ended in to stay in the patients better as living tragedy in the year 1999, when a teendrugs and to potentially attack even age volunteer, Jesse Gelsinger, died more directly the tumor, Stadtmauer- from complications of the procedure added. he had undergone. That had set back the field of gene therapy for many Researchers used CRISPR to knock years. out 3 genes in the cells to enable the cells to attack cancer cells more aggressively. Scientists also used a more traditional form of genetic manipulation to insert into the cells a gene that would more specifically target the patient’s cancer cells. The patients were treated in January, April & August, with the first patient being followed for at least 6 months. The cells appear to be doing what


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Human Activities Drying Out Amazon For Past 20 Years: NASA Study A recent NASA study shows that over the last 20 years, the atmosphere above the Amazon rainforest has been drying out due to the human activities– increasing the demand for water and leaving ecosystems vulnerable to fires & drought. NASA’S JET PROPULSION LABORATORY SCIENTISTS IN PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, ANALYZED DECADES OF GROUND & SATELLITE DATA OVER THE AMAZON RAINFOREST TO TRACK HOW MUCH MOISTURE WAS ACTUALLY IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND HOW MUCH MOISTURE WAS NEEDED TO MAINTAIN ITS RAINFOREST SYSTEM. By Ria Roy

JPL’s Armineh Barkhordarian, the lead author of the study, said they observed that in the past 2 decades years, there has been a significant increase in dryness in the atmosphere and in the atmospheric demand for water above the rain-forest. He further explained when comparing this trend to data from models that estimate climate variability over thousands of years; the team determined that the change in atmospheric aridity is well beyond what would be expected from natural climate variability. So if it is not natural, what is causing it?

climate. But it is a delicate system that is highly sensitive to drying and warming trends. Trees & plants need water for photosynthesis and to cool themselves down when they get too warm. Trees pull in water from the soil through their roots and then release water vapor through their pores on the leaves into the atmosphere, where it cools down the air & eventually rises to form the clouds. Clouds produce rain that replenishes the water in the soil that in turn allows the cycle to continue. The rainforests generate as much as about 80 percent of their own rain, especially during the dry season.

He said that elevated greenhouse gas levels are responsible for approximately half of the increased aridity. The rest is because of ongoing human activity, most significantly, the burning of forests to clear land for agriculture and grazing. The combination of these activities is causing Amazon’s But when this cycle is disrupted by an increase in dry air, for instance, a climate to warm. new cycle is set into motion –one with And when a forest burns, it releas- significant implications, particularly es particles called aerosols into the in the southeastern Amazon, where atmosphere and among them, black trees can experience more than 4 to 5 carbon, commonly referred to as months of the dry season. soot. While bright-colored or translucent aerosols reflect radiation, the darker aerosols absorb it. And when the black carbon absorbs heat from the sun, it causes the atmosphere to warm. This can also interfere with cloud formation and, consequently, even the rainfall. Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth. When healthy, amazon absorbs billions of tons of carbon dioxide a year through photosynthesis. By removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the Amazon helps to keep temperatures down & also regulates

It is a matter of supply & demand. With the increase in temperature and drying of the air above the trees, they need to transpire to cool themselves and to add more water vapor into the atmosphere. But the soil does not have extra water for the trees to pull in, said JPL’s Sassan Saatchi, co-author of the recent study. He added the study shows that the demand is increasing, the supply is decreasing and if this continues, the forest may no longer be able to sustain itself.

Researchers observed that the most significant and systematic drying of the atmosphere is in the southeast region, where the bulk of deforestation & agricultural expansion is happening. But they also found episodic drying in the northwest Amazon which is an area that typically has no dry season. The northwest has suffered severe droughts over the past 2 decades, a further indication of the entire forest’s vulnerability to increasing temperatures & dry air.

and its ecosystem may not be able to survive. As the trees die, particularly the larger & older ones, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the fewer trees there are, the less carbon dioxide the Amazon region would be able to absorb — meaning we would essentially lose an important element of climate regulation.

The recent study, “A Recent Systematic Increase in Vapor Pressure Deficit Over Tropical South America,” was published in October in SciAnd if this trend continues over the entific Reports. The research team long term and rainforests might reach used data from NASA’s Atmospheric the point where it can no longer func- Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument tion properly and many of the trees aboard the Terra satellite. & the species that live within them


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UK To Offer Whole Genome Sequencing For Newborns in Future

Now, all children will be able to receive whole genome sequencing at birth, under ambitions laid out by the UK Health Secretary. Matt Hancock said that in the future, these tests would be routinely offered, along with the standard checks on the newborns, in order to map out the risk of any genetic diseases and offer “predictive, personalized” care. MINISTERS HAVE PROMISED THAT SUCH TESTS WILL BE OFFERED TO ALL CHILDREN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER BY THE END OF THIS YEAR. By Ria Roy

The same steps are planned now for adults with certain rare diseases & hard-to-treat cancers, with ambitions to sequence about five million genomes in the UK within 5 years. Mr. Hancock has now unveiled hopes to go further telling scientists that every single child should be given the tests at birth, in a genomic revolution across the country. treatments.

actually met last December, with the NHS now working to a goal of five These moves would mean parents The 100,000 Genomes-Project was million genomes to be sequenced could choose to be alerted to the fact launched by David Cameron in the within 5 years. their child faced heightened risks of year 2012, in memory of his son Ivan, specific diseases, and also allow the who died in the year 2009 from a rare Hancock added the project had alNHS to offer more tailored treatment, neurological disorder. The target was ready meant 15,000 cancer patients experts say. While the information could improve care & harness future breakthroughs, families will face a dilemma about whether they actually want to know about the lifetime risks facing their child. Hancock in a conference by Genomics England told that children would get the best start in life if they were offered with gene mapping alongside the standard checks offered within days of birth, to test for rare diseases. He added that his ambition is that eventually, every child should be able to receive the whole genome-sequencing along with the heel prick test. He added that these tests will give every child the best possible start in their life by ensuring children get the best possible medical attention and care as soon as they enter the world. Predictive, preventative, personalized healthcare – that is the future of the NHS – and whole-genome sequencing & genomics is going to play a vital part in that, he added. The Health Secretary added the NHS was standing on the cusp of a healthcare revolution which means everyone could receive personalized healthcare with tailor-made drugs &

had seen changes in their treatments, with a quarter of participants with rare diseases receiving a more specific diagnosis which could improve their treatments.


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China Gives Conditional Approval for Its First Self-Developed Alzheimer’s Drug China has now granted conditional approval to its first self-developed drug for Alzheimer’s disease, a move that may point to revived opportunities in a therapeutic area where drugmakers have burned billions of dollars without yielding a validated new drug. OLIGOMANNATE, WHICH USES AN EXTRACT FROM MARINE BROWN ALGAE AS RAW MATERIAL, RECEIVED A CONDITIONAL GREEN LIGHT TO TREAT MILD-TO-MODERATE LEVEL AD, THE NATIONAL MEDICAL PRODUCTS ADMINISTRATION (NMPA) SAID IN A STATEMENT ON ITS WEBSITE LATE ON SATURDAY. By Ria Roy

Effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, which is estimated in 60%-70% of around 50 million dementia cases worldwide, could become one of the high-profile failures. Pharmaceutical best-selling drugs globally. giants including Johnson & Johnson, Trial results demonstrated that Ol- Merck, and Pfizer have ditched their igomannate statistically improved projects on unsatisfactory data. cognitive function in mild-to-moderate AD patients as early as week 4 Biogen last month revived its plans and the benefit was sustained at each to seek U.S. approval for its adufollow-up assessment visit, Shanghai canumab treatment after announcing Green Valley Pharmaceuticals, which in March that it would terminate two developed the drug along with two large clinical trials for the drug. But academic institutions in China, said some analysts believed FDA approval is highly unlikely. in a statement.

offer more and cheaper options to patients, as many in the rapidly aging country struggle to find alternatives to costly treatments sold by multinational pharmaceutical firms for chronic diseases.

In an August overhaul to its drug administration law, Beijing said conditional approval could be granted to some still-under-research medicines of predictable clinical value for life-threatening diseases for which efThe outlook for a cure is clouded China is fast-tracking approval for fective treatment is not immediately with theoretical uncertainties and innovative drugs at home in a bid to available.

Further research on Oligomannate’s pharmacological mechanism and long-term safety and effectiveness is required, according to the NMPA statement. Green Valley said it would launch the drug very soon in China. The company also aims to roll out a phase-3 clinical trial with sites in the United States, Europe, and Asia in early 2020 to facilitate global regulatory approval of the drug.


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Living Skin with Blood Vessels Can Now be 3D Printed Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have now developed a way to 3D print living skin, complete with blood vessels. THE ADVANCEMENT, PUBLISHED IN TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A, IS A SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARD CREATING SKIN GRAFTS THAT ARE MORE LIKE THE SKIN OUR BODY PRODUCES NATURALLY. By Ria Roy

Pankaj Karande, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering & a member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), who led this research at Rensselaer, said whatever is available as a clinical product is more like a fancy Band-Aid. This provides some accelerated wound healing, but eventually, it just falls off; it never really biology takes over & starts getting integrates with our host cells. closer and closer to what exists in naA significant barrier to that integra- ture.

tion with the host cells has been the absence of a functioning vascular sys- Once the Yale research team grafted it onto a special type of mouse, tem in the skin grafts. the vessels from the skin printed by Pankaj Karande has been working the Rensselaer research team began on this integration challenge for sev- to communicate and connect with the eral years, previously publishing one mouse’s own vessels. of the first papers showing that scientists could take 2 types of living human cells, make them into “bio-inks,” & print them into a skin-like structure. Since then, he & his research team has been working with scientists from Yale School of Medicine to incorporate vasculature.

In this study paper, the scientists show that if they add key elements — including human endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels & human pericyte cells, which wrap around the endothelial cells — with animal collagen and other structural cells typically found in a skin graft, the cells start communicating and forming a biologically relevant vascular structure within the span of a few weeks. Watch Pankaj Karande explain this development. He said As engineers working to recreate biology, he and his team always appreciated and been aware of the fact that biology is far more complex than the simple systems they make in the laboratory. He added they were surprised to find that, once the team starts approaching that complexity,

Karande added that it is extremely important because they know there is actually a transfer of blood and nutrients to the graft which is keeping the graft alive. In order to make this usable at a clinical level, scientists need to be able to edit the donor cells using something like the CRISPR technology, so that the vessels can integrate and be accepted by the patient’s body.

Karande said he and his team is still not at that step, but they are one step closer. Deepak Vashishth, the director CBIS said this significant development highlights the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine, where solutions can be tailored to specific situations & eventually to individuals. He added this is a perfect example of how engineers at Rensselaer are solving challenges related to human health. Karande added more work will need to be done to address the challenges associated with burn patients, which include the loss of nerve & vascular endings. But the grafts his research team has created bring researchers closer to helping people with more discrete issues, like diabetic or pressure ulcers.

Karande said for those patients, these would be perfect because ulcers usually appear at distinct locations on the body and it can be addressed with smaller pieces of skin. Wound healing typically takes longer in diabetic patients, and this could also help to accelerate that process. At Rensselaer, Karande’s research team also includes Carolina Catarino, a doctoral student in chemical & biological engineering. The Yale researcher team includes Tania Baltazar, a postdoctoral researcher who previously worked on this project at Rensselaer; Dr. Jordan Pober, a professor of immunobiology & Mark Saltzman, a professor of biomedical engineering. This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.


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ICAR-CPCRI Develops Coconut Palm Plantlets Using Tissue Culture Over the years, several economically important plants have been conserved using tissue culture techniques. In this technique, whole plants are regenerated from parts of plants. HOWEVER, THE METHOD HAS NOT BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL WHEN IT COMES TO PALMS LIKE COCONUT PALM OR TODDY PALM. By Rahul Mishra

Scientists from the ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) at Kayamkulam in Kerala have developed tissue culture plants of the coconut palm. ICAR CPCRI’s Coconut PlantsWhy Is The Coconut Plants Important? The coconut palm is an essential cultivated palm in the world and is famous for its industrial and commercial applications. In India, Coconut palm is cultivated mainly in the coastal regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, West Bengal, Maharashtra and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar.

er, it takes 5 to 10 years for a plant to produce the first harvest. Consequently, crop improvement programs in coconut are time-consuming and time-consuming. Scientists have to wait for 20 to 30 years to release a new variety with the help of standard breeding approaches. Tissue culture can help overcome this even though many people have developed protocols using various parts of At present, the coconut palm is the plant-like tender leaf, immature propagated through seeds. Howevinflorescence, shoot tip, and imma-

ture embryo. However, they lack reliability and repeatability. ICAR CPCRI’s Coconut PlantsThe New Cultivation Technique CPCRI researchers used tissues from the immature inflorescence. The team of researchers was able to re-generate rooted plants. The plantlets were similar to the mother plant from which the tissue was obtained. Advanced molecular biology techniques have

confirmed this. Regi J Thomas, the leader of the research team, said that the study would have various applications in germplasm conservation and also in the large scale production of cultivars for the farming community. He added that several improvements and refinements were required in the new technology.


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Niti Aayog Proposes A Single National Body For Food & Drugs Like The US FDA Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s advisory body, has proposed the creation of a single organization as a regulator for drugs and food. CURRENTLY, DRUGS ARE BEING LOOKED AFTER BY THE CDSCO, WHILE FSSAI IS THE APEX FOOD REGULATOR. By Rahul Mishra

According to reports, the Niti Aayog has recommended that the new body should be in line with the US FDA and headed by an IAS officer of the rank of additional secretary to the Government of India’s Ministry of Health. The report suggests that the idea mooted by the Niti Aayog has been tabled before the Prime Minister’s Office, which in principle has agreed to it. ical purpose. Meanwhile, it is appropriate to menNiti Aayog’s FDA Like Body- Why tion here that the Parliamentary ComIs It Important? mittee on Health last year suggested a uniform mechanism to streamline the Niti Aayog officials state that the re- matter related to food safety through structuring of the regulatory bodies is a single body. an essential step in streamlining the The committee noted that there was work and coordination on the ground, no uniformity in the food safety inas matters related to food and drug at frastructure across the country. Some many levels overlap like nutraceu- states do not even have a food safety ticals, health foods, dietary supple- department and a food safety appelment, unique food and food for med-

Niti Aayog’s FDA Like Body- Is FDA Like Body Feasible In India?

will welcome it. But the single body should be unanimous when it comes to food, which is currently looked after by different departments or ministries. Like BIS and Legal Metrology come under consumer affairs department while the main body dealing with food safety and standards, FSSAI, comes under Health Ministry.

Lohani said that if the government takes such a decision, the federation

Will This Be A Right Step By The Government?

late tribunal. The food testing laboratories lack functional equipment as well as the technical workforce. This inadequate arrangement has failed to control food adulteration in the country.


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HIV Drug Stops Zika Virus Infection In a new study by Temple University, scientists report that a drug used in the treatment of HIV also stops Zika virus infection. IN CELL AND ANIMAL MODELS, THEY DEMONSTRATED THAT THE DRUG, CALLED RILPIVIRINE, SUPPRESSES THE ZIKA VIRUS BY TARGETING ENZYMES THAT BOTH HIV AND ZIKA VIRUS DEPENDS ON FOR THEIR REPLICATION. By Rahul Mishra

These enzymes occur in other viruses closely related to Zika. These include the viruses that cause dengue, yellow fever, West Nile fever, and hepatitis C. HIV and the Zika virus are distinct types of RNA viruses. Scientists found that rilpivirine blocks Zika virus replication by binding to an RNA polymerase enzyme common to a family of RNA viruses. This research has opened the way to potentially being able to treat multiple RNA virus infections using the same strategy.

can cause an autoimmune condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. This condition culminates in muscle paralysis. Infants born to mothers infected during pregnancy may experience delays in neurological development, including conditions such as microcephaly.

The Zika virus is now present ascross the globe, including America. HIV Drug For Zika InfectionThe infection has attracted increasing How Does It Work? attention in recent years, owing to its damaging effects on the human brain To replicate inside cells, the Zika virus needs an enzyme called non-strucand the nervous system. tural protein 5 RNA-dependent RNA The virus is transmitted to humans polymerase (NS5 RdRp). In the new by mosquitoes. Once it enters the research, Dr. Sariyer and the team body, it infects cells and replicates, showed that rilpivirine suppresses the typically infecting neural tissues. In Zika virus infection in cells by blockthe worst cases, Zika virus infection ing viral replication.

Dr. Gordon’s team carried out experiments on mice, in which the animals were infected with the Zika virus through their footpads. This is similar to the way a person becomes infected through a mosquito bite. Mice that become infected with the Zika virus typically become very sick within about a week and eventually die.

cleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs that have been developed for the treatment of HIV infection. Experiments in which the Temple researchers tested two other NNRTIs in Zika-infected cells revealed similar effects on viral replication, with the drugs specifically inhibiting NS5 activity.

On the other hand, Mice treated with rilpivirine survived. Dr. Gordon and the team concluded that rilpivirine disrupted the virus’s usual course of infection.

Dr . Gordon and the team now aim to make the drugs more potent and effective against flaviviruses. The researchers plan to step up their studies soon to develop ways to improve the effectiveness of NNRTIs in blocking infection with the Zika virus and other flaviviruses.

HIV Drug For Zika Infection- The Future Applications Rilpivirine is one of several non-nu-


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Brain-To-Brain Communication In HumansA Revolutionary Step By Scientists Direct brain-to-brain communication has been a subject of interest for many years now. In his book Beyond Boundaries, Miguel Nicolelis- one of the leaders in the field, described the merging of human brain activity as the future of humanity, the next stage in our species’ evolution. HE HAS ALREADY CONDUCTED A STUDY IN WHICH HE LINKED TOGETHER WITH THE BRAINS OF SEVERAL MICE USING COMPLEX IMPLANTED ELECTRODES KNOWN AS BRAIN-TO-BRAIN INTERFACES. By Rahul Mishra

Nicolelis and his team described this achievement as the first “organic computer.” New Research On Internet Of Brains- The Previous Study The rats in this network learned to synchronize the electrical activity of their nerve cells to the same extent as that of a single brain. The networked brains were tested for things such as their ability to discriminate between 2 different patterns of electrical stimuli, and they routinely outperformed individual animals.

ers were able to see the orientation of the block. Consequently, they were able to decide whether to signal the receiver to rotate it. They focused on a light flashing at a high frequency to pass the instruction to turn or concentrate on one flashing at a low rate to signal not to do so.

If networked animal brains are “smarter” than a single animal, im- The differences in the flashing freagine the capabilities of a biological quencies caused various brain resupercomputer of a networked human sponses in the senders, which were brain. captured by the EEGs and sent, via a computer interface, to the receiver. A Such a network could enable hu- magnetic pulse was sent to the receivmans to work in spite of language er using a transcranial magnetic stimbarriers. It could provide new means ulation device if a sender signaled to of communication for the impaired. rotate. This magnetic pulse caused a Moreover, if the rat study is accurate, flash of light (a phosphene) in the renetworking human brains might en- ceiver’s visual field as a sign to turn hance performance. the block. The absence of a signal within a discrete period was the inNew Research On Internet Of struction not to turn the block. Brains- What’s the New Research? The new study addressed some of these concerns by linking together the brain activity of a network of humans. Three individuals sitting in separate rooms teamed up to correctly orient a block so that it could fill a gap between other blocks in a video game. Two-person who acted as senders could see the difference and knew whether the block needed to be rotated to fit. The third individual served as the receiver.’ The individual was blinded to the correct answer and needed to rely on the instructions sent by the senders.

To make the activity more challenging, researchers sometimes added noise to the signal sent by one of the senders. Faced with conflicting directions, the receivers quickly learned to identify and follow the instructions of the more accurate sender. This new research is a natural extension of work previously done in laboratory animals. New Research On Internet Of Brains- Is the Future Bright?

Brain-to-brain interfaces also span across various species, with humans The two senders were armed with using noninvasive methods similar to electroencephalographs that recorded those in the BrainNet study to control their brain’s electrical activity. Send- cockroaches or rats that had surgical-

ly implanted brain interfaces. The team of researchers in the new study highlighted that it is the first report in which the brains of multiple humans have been linked in a completely non-invasive manner. They claim that the number of individuals whose minds could be networked is virtually unlimited. Yet the information being conveyed is currently straightforward: a yes-or-no binary instruction. The scientists propose that information transfer using noninvasive approaches could be improved by simultaneously imaging brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to amplify the information a sender could transmit. But fMRI is not an easy procedure, and it would expand the complexity of an already extraordinarily complex approach to sharing information.

Meanwhile, the tools for more invasive and perhaps efficient brain interfacing are being developed rapidly. Elon Musk recently announced the development of a robotically implantable BCI containing 3,000 electrodes to provide extensive interaction between computers and nerve cells in the brain. Even though the method used here is noninvasive and appears far less complicated than if a DARPA neural interface had been used, the technology still raises ethical concerns. This is mainly because the associated technologies are advancing so rapidly. New Research On Internet Of Brains takes us a step closer to the future Nicolelis imagined- we still have a far way to go before we.


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CSIR – CFTRI Scientists Find New Way to Enhance Fat-Burning Capacity Of Chilli Capsaicin is an active ingredient of chilli which is known to have anti-obesity or fat-reducing properties. Now Indian scientists from CSIR-CFTRI have figured out how this fat reducing property of capsaicin can enhance the effect of obesity related hormones. SCIENTISTS OF CSIR-CENTRAL FOOD TECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (CFTRI) HERE HAVE FOUND THAT CAPSAICIN, THE HOT FACTOR PRESENT IN CHILLIES, COULD INCREASE THE EFFECT OF OBESTATIN & THUS HELP TO REDUCE FAT IN THE BODY. By Ria Roy

Obestatin hormone sends ‘stop eating’ signals. The Obestatin hormone, produced in the digestive system, affects food intake by signaling through the brain. It affects the accumulation of glycerolipids through what biochemists term as PPAR-gamma signaling. Obestatin is one of the many satiety factors that send messages to the brain saying the belly is full. The capsaicin the active ingredient in chilli seems to increase the effect of obestatin, explained Dr. Uma V. Manjappara, the lead scientist. Capsaicin helps reduce fat by goading cells to increase secretion of catecholamines, which bind to the proteins called beta-adrenergic receptors that trigger a higher rate of metabolism. This actually triggers the browning of adipose tissue, thus reducing obesity. Hence, it is also considered a nutraceutical or a beneficial drug in the food. The team thought that if both the hormone and nutraceuticals are fed

together, the latter can act in unison with obestatin and enhance the fat digestion further, said Dr. Manjappara. This premise was tested in cultured fat cells called the 3T3-L1 cells which are generally used in studying obesity. The research team cultured 3T3-L1 cells in the presence of either obestatin or obestatin along with capsaicin & genistein. Genistein is another nutraceutical present in soya bean. This hormone affects fat accumulation. The research team compared the effects of capsaicin & genistein with or without obestatin after 14 days for various parameters like the proportion of cells completing their growth to adipocytes and the accumulation of the triglycerides.

14 days are required for the immature fat cells to grow and become mature fat cells,” says Dr. Uma. The research team also studied the activity of lipases, a class of enzymes that are involved in the digestion of fats. Capsaicin & genistein are known to increase the production of hormone-sensitive lipase, lipoprotein lipase and also the production of the PPAR-gamma proteins. In all the experiments conducted, the ability of both capsaicin & genistein to increase the production of hormone-sensitive lipase, lipoprotein lipase and the upregulation of the PPAR-gamma receptor were seen. This means the effect of both additives is beneficial. But when capsaicin or genistein was added along with

obestatin, the number of triglycerides produced in the cells was 20-25 % lower than when obestatin alone is used, explained Dr. Manjappara. The combination seems to work better than obestatin alone or either of the nutraceuticals. Why is it so is still a not well understood? However, ‘that the capsaicin and genistein could still increase the level of lipases in the cells could be the reason that extra fat was metabolized in cells with these 2 additives’, said Dr. Manjappara. The study findings were published in a recent issue of journal Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics. The research team consisted of Dr. Uma Manjappara & her student Musunuru Suneel Kumar Reddy.


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Researchers Engineer Light Activated Pancreatic Cells To Produce Insulin On Demand Tufts University scientists have actually transplanted engineered pancreatic beta cells into diabetic person mice, then created the cells to generate greater than 2 to 3 times the normal degree of insulin by subjecting them to light. HE FUNCTION OF FSSAI IS TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE PUBLIC HEALTH BY REGULATING AND SUPERVISING FOOD SAFETY By Ria Roy

The light-switchable cells are developed to make up for the reduced insulin manufacturing or lowered insulin reaction discovered in diabetic individuals. The research study published in ACS Synthetic Biology shows that glucose levels can be regulated in a computer mouse model of diabetes mellitus without pharmacological intervention. The insulin hormone plays a central role in precisely controlling levels of circulating glucose. Diabetes affects more than thirty million Americans according to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In type II diabetes which is the most common form of the disease, the cells of the body become inefficient at responding to the insulin & as a consequence of this, the glucose in circulation can become dangerously high giving rise to a condition called hyperglycemia while the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to compensate. In Type I Diabetes, the pancreatic beta cells, which are the only cells that produce insulin, are destroyed by our immune system resulting in a complete lack of the insulin hormone. Current treatments and medications include the administration of drugs that enhance the production of insulin by pancreatic beta cells, or by the direct injection of insulin to supplement the naturally produced supply. In both of these cases, regulation of blood glucose becomes a manual process, with drug or with the insulin intervention conducted after periodic readings of glucose levels, often leading to spikes & valleys that can have harmful long-term effects. Scientists sought to develop a novel way to amplify insulin production while maintaining the important real-time link between the insulin release and the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream. The team accomplished this by taking advantage of ‘optogenetics’, an approach relying

on proteins that change their activity on-demand with light. The pancreatic beta cells were engineered with a gene that can encode a photoactivatable adenylate cyclase (PAC) enzyme. The PAC enzyme produces the molecule cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) when exposed to the blue light, which in turn cranks up the glucose-stimulated the production of insulin in the beta-cell. Insulin production can increase 2- to 3-fold, but only when the blood glucose amount is high. At low levels of glucose, insulin hormone production remains low. This avoids the common drawbacks of diabetes treatments which can overcompensate on insulin exposure and then leave the patient with dangerously low blood sugar, a condition called hypoglycemia. Researchers found that transplanting the engineered pancreatic beta-cells under the skin of diabetic mice led to improved tolerance & regulation of glucose, reduced hyperglycemia, and

higher levels of plasma insulin when subjected to illumination with blue light. Emmanuel Tzanakakis who is a professor of chemical & biological engineering at the School of Engineering at Tufts University and corresponding author of the new study said it is a backward analogy, but the team is actually using light to turn on and off a biological switch. He further explained, in this way, researchers can help in a diabetic context to better control & maintain appropriate levels of glucose without any pharmacological intervention. The cells do the work of insulin hormone production naturally and the regulatory circuits within them work the same; the team just boosts the amount of cAMP transiently in pancreatic beta cells to get them to make more n more insulin only when it is needed, he added. Blue light simply flips the switch from normal mode to the boost mode. Such optogenetic approaches utilizing light activatable proteins for modulat-

ing the function of the cells are being explored in many biological systems. And it has fueled the efforts toward the development of a new genre of treatments. Fan Zhang, a graduate student in Tzanakakis’ lab at Tufts and the first author of the study, said there are several advantages to using light to control treatment. Obviously, the response is immediate & despite the increased secretion of insulin hormone, the amount of oxygen consumed by the cells doesn’t change significantly as the study shows. Oxygen starvation is one of the common problems in studies involving transplanted pancreatic cells, he added. Further development of this novel method may include embedding sources of light, for example, tiny, remotely triggered LEDs, for improved illumination & coupling to a glucose sensor for the creation of a bioartificial pancreas device.


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New Combination Gene Therapy Technique – Treats Multiple Age Related Diseases As humans age, they develop diseases such as heart failure, kidney failure, diabetes, and obesity, and the presence of any one disease increases the risk of developing others. Conventional drug treatments, however, target one condition. THAT MEANS PATIENTS HAVE TO TAKE MULTIPLE DRUGS, INCREASING BOTH THE RISK OF ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF FORGETTING TO TAKE THE MEDICATIONS ON TIME. By Ria Roy

New findings from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School suggested that it may be possible to tend to multiple ailments with one treatment. New Combination Gene Therapy Technique In the Wyss institute research, a single administration of an adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy technique, which delivered combinations of three longevity-associated genes to mice, surprisingly improved multiple age-related diseases, suggesting that a systems-level approach to treating such conditions could improve overall health and lifespan. The research took place in the lab of Wyss core scientist George Church as part of Davidsohn’s postdoctoral research into the genetics of aging. Davidsohn, Church, and team homed in on three genes that demonstrated to confer increased health and lifespan

benefits in mice that were genetically engineered to overexpress them, namely- FGF21, sTGFβR2, and αKlotho. The Scientists hypothesized that providing extra copies of those genes to non-engineered mice using the gene therapy technology would combat age-related diseases and bring health benefits. The research team created separate gene therapy constructs for each gene using the AAV8 serotype as a delivery vehicle. They injected them into mouse models for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, including heart failure, and renal failure. This was done in combination with the other genes to see whether there was a positive syner-

gistic effect. FGF21 caused a complete reversal of weight gain and Type 2 diabetes in obese, diabetic mice following a single gene therapy administration. Its combination with the sTGFβR2 gene reduced kidney atrophy by 75% in mice suffering from renal fibrosis. Heart function in mice with heart failure improved by 58% when they were given the sTGFβR2 gene individually or in combination with either of the other two genes, showing that a combined gene therapy treatment of FGF21 and sTGFβR2 could successfully treat all four age-related conditions.

Interestingly, the injected genes remained separate from the animals’ genetic makeup. It did not modify their DNA, and could not pass to the future generations. Wyss Founding Director Donald Ingber, who is the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at HMS and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that the ability to treat several age-related diseases at once using gene therapy offers a potential pathway to make aging a more manageable process.


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Fungal Feature Tracker Software To Accelerate Mycology Research New software called Fungal Feature Tracker Software could accelerate the understanding of fungal morphology and growth. GUILLERMO VIDAL-DIEZ DE ULZURRUN AND THE TEAM OF SCIENTISTS IN THE LAB LED BY YENPING HSUEH AT ACADEMIA SINICA, TAIPEI, TAIWAN, INVENTED THE TOOL AND PRESENTED IT IN THE PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY. By Rahul Mishra

There are a total of an estimated 5 million different species of fungi. Most of them produce complex networks of filamentous structures that are used to redistribute nutrients across long distances. This allows the fungi to survive extreme conditions, and sometimes they may reach the size of the entire forest. Despite the diversity of filamentous fungi, their morphology and growth dynamics are poorly understood due to a lack of efficient quantitative techniques. What Is The Fungal Feature Tracker Software? Due to recent advances in imaging

and informatics, Vidal-Diez de Ulzurrun and a team of researchers have designed a new software for capturing high-quality, cellular-resolution images of live fungi using necessary machinery. The team also developed a new software tool called the Fungal Feature Tracker, to analyze the fungal images. Fungal Feature Tracker Software can use a single image to quantify

the number of spores produced by a fungus, count and measure all the branches of the fungal network or even compute their size and shape. It can also analyze time-lapse images to detect changes in a fungal network over time. In short, it could enable the faster collection of quantitative data than is possible with traditional manual techniques.

develop additional image-based tools that improve on manual methods and to study more fungal features that are complex. For example, they hope to study the formation of traps in nematode-trapping fungi using time-lapse analysis. In general, they anticipate a rapid, field-wide increase in the use of image analysis to study filamentous fungi.

Next, the team of scientists plans to

One Thousand Plant Initiative – The 9 Years Genomic Diversity Study The One Thousand Plant Transcriptomics Initiative is also known as the 1KP or oneKP initiative. It involves a global collaboration of researchers who are examining the diversification of plant species and genomes across the 1-billion-year history of green plants. GANE KA-SHU WONG, A PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA’S DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, AND JAMES LEEBENS-MACK, PROFESSOR OF PLANT BIOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA FRANKLIN COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, ARE THE LEAD SCIENTISTS OF THE STUDY.

four more of the co-authors participated in the One Thousand Plant Initiative project while pursuing graduate degrees at UT. The Scientists included C. Neal Stewart, Jr., and Ed Schilling.

One Thousand Plant InitiativeThe Research

Stewart is a professor of plant sciences in the UT Herbert College of Agriculture. He also holds the endowed Racheff Chair of Excellence in Plant Molecular Genetics and is co-director of the UT Center for Agricultural Synthetic Biology within the UT Institute of Agriculture.

The nine-year effort has involved more than 200 international researchers. Two of them are known scientists from the University of Tennessee, and

Using his lab, Stewart and several graduate students and scientists with post-doctoral appointments helped identify plants to grow for the pro-

By Rahul Mishra

ject from which RNA from expressed genes could be isolated for sequencing. The group identified approximately 50 different species for the One Thousand Plant Initiative targeted, then performed several studies that have already been published. Stewart explained that the team of One Thousand Plant Initiative targeted- flammable plants, plants that can move their leaves, including plants that can accumulate heavy metals and with antimicrobial properties. The UTIA co-authors include Jason Burris, who is a Ph.D. student. Jason Burris continues to work with Stewart

on DARPA-funded projects. The second UT faculty co-author on the One Thousand Plant Initiative, Ed Schilling, is a professor of plant systematics in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Ed Schilling is involved in collaborative research with a group in Germany to study the evolution of wild lettuce, and information gathered in the 1KP project is helping their ongoing efforts to understand the relationship between species in North America and Europe/Asia in the complex group of plants.


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New Research Tool For Studying Mitochondrial Disorders & Ageing Karolinska Institutet researchers have developed a new research tool for studying how mitochondrial protein synthesis is affected by the disease, pharmaceuticals, aging, and different physiological situations such as exercise and diet. THE MITOCHONDRIA ARE THE POWERHOUSE OF OUR CELLS AND ARE VITAL FOR CONVERTING THE ENERGY IN THE FOOD WE EAT TO A USEFUL CELLULAR ENERGY CURRENCY. By Rahul Mishra

Proper regulation of mitochondrial function is significant for humans. There are a large number of known inherited mitochondrial disorders that often impair the function of the heart, brain, skeletal muscle, and other organs. The decreased mitochondrial function also plays an essential role in aging and age-associated human diseases. Novel strategy- New Tool To Study Ageing Nils-Göran Larsson said that it is crucial to unravel how mitochondrial function is regulated to understand these disorders better and develop new treatment strategies. She is a professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet, who led the study. Mitochondria contain their protein synthesis factories, the mitoribosomes, that are different from the other ribosomes in the cell. Although there has been marked progress in the

scientists’ understanding of the structure and composition of the mitoribosome recently, the regulation of their function is poorly understood. Recently, the scientists at Karolinska Institutet described a novel strategy to identify proteins that interact & regulate the mitoribosome. They have created a model called the MitoRibo-Tag mice, in which every mitoribosome contains a small tag that can be used as a type of fishing rod to isolate mitoribosomes. Using large-scale proteomics analyses, the new tool enables the identification of interacting proteins in a variety of tissues.

New Tool To Study Ageing- A valuable tool The scientists identified all 82 proteins that make up the mitochondrial ribosome. Also, a large number of associated factors. Some of the identified factors are novel mitochondrial proteins of unknown function that have essential roles in controlling mitochondrial protein synthesis. Miriam Cipullo, PhD student at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, said that the team believe that the MitoRibo-Tag mice will be a unique tool

for future studies of how mitochondrial protein synthesis is affected by disease, pharmacological interventions, aging and different physiological situations such as exercise, caloric restriction, and high-fat diet. The research was supported by the Max Planck Society, Karolinska Institutet, the Knut, and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the European Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society among other institutes.

Joanna Rohrbach, Nils-Göran Larsson, and Miriam Cipullo, researchers at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics. Photo: Leona Rohrbeck. Credits: Karolinska Institutet


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Karnataka State To Establish Bioincubator At MAHE The Government of Karnataka will establish a center for bio-incubator (Technology Business Incubator, TBI) at Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal on October 25. THE BIO INCUBATOR CENTER WILL BE INAUGURATED BY THE DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER DR. ASHWATH NARAYAN, THE MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, IT, BT, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE. By Ria Roy

The MAHE Bioincubator Centre will be a joint effort of MAHE & Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services, Karnataka. Dr. H S Ballal pro-chancellor MAHE told media persons, on Tuesday that this is their second incubator. The first one is Manipal Universal Technology Business Incubator which has already supported almost 30 startups since it was set up in 2010. Manipal Universal Technology Business Incubator (MUTBI) is funded by the Central Government and this one will be funded by the Karnataka state government, Ballal added. Srihari Y Upadhayay, CEO of Manipal Universal Technology Business Incubator briefly spoke about the existing incubator and how it has helped start-ups to become recognized businesses.

Dr. Ballal claimed, recently, Karnataka was declared as the state with maximum innovations in the country and their contribution to that is invaluable. He added that they hope to do much better now that they have one for the health sciences as well. The Karnataka Government will support MAHE with Rs 6.5 crore for 5 years and MAHE is providing the space & all facilities. And anyone with an innovative idea can come and work on the start-uP, he said. Giving details of the Manipal GoK Bioincubator, Dr. Manesh Thomas,

CEO, said this Technology Business Incubator will promote the technology innovations for the development of many knowledge-based enterprises with successful business models. Bioincubator will have world-class facilities, infrastructure & services for the incubation of the start-ups in various domains of the bio-pharma, biomedical devices, dental innovation, biotechnology, healthcare, and diagnostics. He added the center will be a K-tech Innovation hub developed in MAHE’s Advanced Research Centre. The

Manipal GoK Bioincubator will extend all possible support to all innovators and start-ups through various schemes and programs as a part of its policy support. The Bioincubator programs are open for all innovators across the globe and have various flexible incubation programs such as pre-Incubation, co-incubation, virtual incubation & fulltime incubation programs for proof of concept, testing, validation, trials, & commercial operation, Dr. Thomas added.


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FELLOWSHIPS & AWARDS

November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

ICAR Awards 2019 – Jawaharlal Nehru / Shastri R&D Prize Of Up to Rs 8.5 Lakhs

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CAR Awards 2019 – Jawaharlal Nehru / Lal Bahadur Shastri / Swami Sahajanand / Nanaji & Panjabrao Deshmukh R&D Prize Of Up to Rs 8.5 Lakhs. Indian nationals are encouraged to check out all of the details on the same below: Award 1: Jawaharlal Nehru Award for P.G. Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Agricultural and Allied Sciences 2019 In order to promote high quality doctoral thesis research in priority/ frontier areas of agriculture and allied sciences, ICAR has instituted Jawaharlal Nehru Award for P.G. Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Agricultural and Allied Sciences. The award, given annually, carries 18 awards of Rs. 50,000/-in cash, Citation, Certificate and silver medal (gold polished) each for the outstanding original doctoral research work in agriculture and allied sciences. This award is meant exclusively for the doctoral thesis related to agricultural sciences from Indian Universities. The Ph.D. degree/provisional degree for this award must have been awarded during the year preceding the year of the award i.e. 2018. Applicant must have evidence of publication of at least one good research paper from his/ her doctoral research work in the form of published paper/ certificate of acceptance in a reputed journal having NAAS rating of ≥ 6.Applications must be submitted in the recommended format together with a copy of the Doctoral Thesis and should be duly authenticated and forwarded by the competent forwarding authority who may give clear cut recommendation regarding the most significant contributions made by the concerned scholar. Award 2: Panjabrao Deshmukh Outstanding Woman Scientist Award 2019 Panjabrao Deshmukh Outstanding Woman Scientist Award is exclusively meant for individual women scientists in which two awards are given annually to recognize the excellence in any of the core areas of agricultural research. All women scientists engaged in research in agricultural and allied subjects /extension in a recognized institution are eligible for this award. The award consists of Rs.1.00 lakh in cash, Certificate & Citation along with provision of equal amount

of Rs.1.00 lakh for motivating woman scientists and female students across the country including travel within a year of receiving the award. Applications must be submitted in the recommended format and should be duly authenticated and forwarded by the competent forwarding authority who may give clear cut recommendation regarding the most significant contributions made by the concerned woman scientist. Award 3: Lal Bahadur Shastri Outstanding Young Scientist Award 2019 lakh in cash, Certificate and Citation. Two awards have been assigned Lal Bahadur Shastri Outstanding across the disciplines in agriculture & Young Scientist Award is given to allied sciences. Applications must be talented young scientists to recog- submitted in the recommended format nize their outstanding original re- and should be duly authenticated and search contribution. A total of four forwarded by the competent forwardawards, one in each broad discipline ing authority who may give clear cut categories, viz; Crop & Horticultural recommendation regarding the most Sciences, Animal & Fisheries Scienc- significant contributions made by the es, NRM & Agricultural Engineering concerned scientist. and Social Sciences are given annually under this award. An individual Award 5: Nanaji Deshmukh ICAR award of Rs.1.00 lakh in cash and a Award for Outstanding Interdisciplichallenge project for three years with nary Team Research in Agricultural budgetary provision of Rs.10.00 lakh and Allied Sciences 2019 per year+ Rs. 5.00 lakh for foreign training (upto 3 months), if deemed In order to recognize, encourage necessary by the ICAR is given in and promote the understanding that this award besides Certificate & Ci- practical and useful research would tation. The challenge project and normally have interdisciplinary in foreign training will be administered/ approach, the ICAR has constituted monitored by the concerned subject the Nanaji Deshmukh ICAR Award matter Division of ICAR. All young for Outstanding Interdisciplinary scientists who possess a doctoral de- Team Research in Agricultural and gree and are below forty years of age Allied Sciences. The award is annu(on 31st Dec.2018) and hold a regular al in nature. All agricultural scientists teaching, research, extension educa- engaged in interdisciplinary team retion job in the ICAR-SAU system of search in India in the specified subinstitutions and engaged in research ject areas are eligible. The team must in agricultural and allied sciences have scientist-level representation for at least five years continuously from a minimum of three well-recogare eligible for consideration. Ap- nized disciplines and may also have plications must be submitted in the technical officers (T6 and above). recommended format and should be They must have been working on an duly authenticated and forwarded by integrated research project dealing the competent forwarding authority with an inherently interdisciplinary who may give clear cut recommen- problem in a system based, problem dation regarding the most significant solving mode. The final phase of the contributions made by the concerned research work including its field validation must have been completed scientist. during the five years preceding the Award 4: Swami Sahajanand Saras- year of the award. Each member of wati Outstanding Extension Scientist the team must have remained its active member continuously for at least Award 2019 three years preceding the year of the This award is exclusively meant for award. Documentary evidence should individual extension scientist/teach- be provided that the project has been er for excellence in agricultural ex- running/ has run continuously for at tension methodology and education least five years at that time of submiswork. Two individual awards are giv- sion of the application. The award is en annually which consist of Rs.1.00 not limited to NARS i.e. Agricultural

Scientists outside NARS are also eligible if they meet the eligibility criteria as mentioned above. Two awards ( i) Animal & Fisheries Sciences& ii) Social Sciences)would be given during the year. The awards in the remaining two categories will be given next year. Each award would be of Rs.5,00,000/– (Rupees Five Lakh only). Not more than one award will be given in any discipline. Applications must be submitted in the recommended format and should be duly authenticated and forwarded by the competent forwarding authority who may give clear cut recommendation regarding the most significant contributions made by the team of scientists. How to Apply: The prescribed eligibility criteria, the guidelines and the pro-forma for applying for these awards may be downloaded from the ICAR website (www.icar.org.in). The applicants are required to submit their application in PDF format (in concise form not exceeding 30 pages-highlighting the significant achievements, citation (where applicable), awards/ recognitions earned and other important details as required as per the application format) on our dedicated ICAR Award e-mail: (icar-award2018@ gov.in). In addition, 2 hard copies of the application form may also be submitted. In case of farmer applicants, not able to submit the applications electronically, may submit two copies of applications duly forwarded and recommended by the appropriate forwarding/ nominating authority. The application(s) with complete documents sent through email, duly

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FELLOWSHIPS & AWARDS

November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

forwarded and recommended by the appropriate authority should be sent to Dr. Shiv Prasad Kimothi, Assistant Director General (Coordination), ICAR, Room No. 204A, Krishi Bhawan, Dr.Rajendra Prasad Road, New Delhi-110001 so as to reach him on or before 31.12.2019. The last date for receiving the hard copy of appli-

cations duly forwarded and recommended by the appropriate authority for applicants in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, States/Union Territory in the North Eastern Region, Ladakh Division of J&K State and Sikkim is 15.1.2020. The candidates should also clearly mention their contact details (mobile

No. and e-mail) along with Bank Account No., Bank Address, IFSC Code and PAN No and attach a copy of cancelled cheque. The Council will retain the award winning applications/thesis for the record. Each candidate/team will be judged on the basis of the originality and/

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or the applied value of the research work/investigations as revealed in the documents submitted by him/her/ them. In all matters relating to the award, the decision of the Council shall be final and no correspondence on this account will be entertained.

IISc Raman Post Doctoral Fellowships – 50 Positions

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ISC Bangalore has launched Raman Post-Doc Program. Apply For Raman Post Doctoral Fellowship at IISC Bangalore. Bioscience & Chemical Science researchers are eligible to apply for IISC Raman Post Doctoral Fellowships. 50 IISC Raman Post Doctoral Fellowships are available. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been recognised as an Institution of Eminence (IoE) by the Government of India. As a part of the IoE initiative, IISc has created the Raman Post-Doc Program, a highly selective Post-Doc program with 50 positions. The Institute invites applications for intensely motivated individuals with an established record of high quality research, for the positions of Raman Post-Docs. Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), and foreign nationals are also eligible to apply. The information below specifically pertains to applicants intending to work with Faculty in the Biological Sciences Division. This is a rolling advertisement and candidates can apply any time during the year. The applications will be reviewed every four months around the following dates: April 30, August 31, December 31. Candidates will be informed whether they are shortlisted for an interview within two weeks after review. The interview will be held within a month after the above application deadlines, and candidates will be informed of the interview result, within 45 days of the application deadline. A candidate applies for a specific Department or Centre at the Institute. The following are the Departments and Centres within the Biological Sciences Division to which the candidates may apply. Departments/Centres: Biochemistry; Centre for Ecological Sciences; Centre for Neuroscience; Microbiol-

ogy and Cell Biology; Molecular Biophysics Unit; Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics. Further details about the various departments and interdisciplinary centres, faculty profiles, academic programs, and areas of research are available at the departmental websites and also at (www.iisc.ac.in). Qualifications and Experience Ph.D. with First Class or equivalent (in terms of grades, etc.) in the preceding degree and a good academic record throughout. Candidates who have submitted their Ph.D. thesis can also apply, along with proof of submission. Candidates should preferably be less than 32 years of age at the time of applying. Candidates with IISc PhD’s need to have been away from IISc for at least two years before their applications can be considered.

Thus, just fulfilling the minimum eligibility criteria would not entitle one to be selected. * The candidate is responsible for the correctness of the information provided in the application. If it is found at a later date that any information given in the application is incorrect or false, the candidature/ appointment is liable to be cancelled/ terminated

Duration

Candidates are encouraged to conThe duration of the fellowship is two tact the Chair of their preferred deyears. In exceptional cases, the dura- partment/s for additional information. tion may be extended by one more How to Apply: year. Emoluments Selected candidates will receive a consolidated monthly package of Rs. 1 Lakh. In addition, they will receive a research grant of Rs. 8 Lakhs per year. Additional Information

Candidates must first contact a faculty member in the Institute who is willing to host the candidate. A consent letter or consent email is required from the faculty member as a part of the application package. Candidates should apply using the fillable PDF form. The following documents are required along with the application.

* An application for being con- (A) Curriculum Vitae with a list of sidered for the advertised position can all publications be made in the prescribed form (filla(B) PDF files of at least two and up ble pdf file). to five important publications * Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), Persons of Indian Origin (C) Proposed research plan (up to (PIO), and foreign nationals are eligi- 500 words) ble to apply. (D) Consent letter or email from The Institute reserves the right to faculty member. Please get in touch screen and call only such candidates with the faculty member offline and for an interview as are found suitable. obtain the consent of the faculty

member for hosting you (E) Any other relevant information the applicant may like to furnish The filled-out PDF form must be saved as a PDF file, and a single PDF file needs to be made along with the required documents. This single PDF file must be emailed to the email address: raman.bio@iisc.ac.in a copy to the Faculty member who is willing to host the candidate. For any further information or queries on the application, please contact raman.bio@iisc.ac.in Selection Process: The applications will be screened and a small subset of applicants will be called for an interview in person or over Skype within a month of the application deadline. Candidates will be informed of the interview result, within 45 days of the application deadline. The list of the final shortlisted candidate(s) will be forwarded to an Institute level Committee for a final decision, which will subsequently be communicated to the candidate.


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FELLOWSHIPS & AWARDS

November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

JNCASR Summer Research Fellowship Program 2020 – Life Sciences

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he official notification for the JNCASR Summer Research Fellowship Program 2020. JNCASR SRFP-2020. SRFP-2020 JNCASR notification. Interested and eligible candidates can check out the JNCASR Summer Research Fellowship Program 2020 (Life Sciences) information below: INTRODUCTION: The Centre provides summer fellowships for 2 months to bright undergraduate and MSc students studying in India. This programme has proved to be very popular and competitive; every year, about 2000 students from all around India apply for the ~80 fellowships awarded. Each of the fellowships is supported by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. Students are placed with research groups at JNCASR or with scientists everywhere in India. They’re paid travelling expenses and a monthly stipend of Rs.10,000/-. Selected students get the chance to participate in cutting-edge research, and several summer projects have contributed to publications in major journals. A number of summer students of previous years have gone on to pursue graduate studies and a research career, in the JNCASR or in another leading university. RESEARCH AREAS: Life Sciences: Infectious and non-infectious diseases, bioinformatics, developmental biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, genetics, life-history evolution, circadian biology, animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, evolutionary genetics, experimental evolution, population dynamics, phylogeography, neurophysiology, behavioural neurobiology and behavioural genetics and cell biology. Materials Sciences: Nano sciences, energy and green materials. Chemical Sciences: Solid state chemistry, theoretical and computational chemistry, organic, physical and inorganic chemistry, organic and asymmetric synthesis, medicinal and bio-organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, supramolecular chemistry and chemistry of nanomaterials, renewable energy and healthcare related materials chemistry.

Physical Sciences: Condensed matter theory and experimentation, statistical physics, semiconductor materials physics, biophysics, nanophysics, organic electronics, computational materials science, soft matter, semiconductor interfaces, heterostructures, physical metallurgy and transmission electron microscopy. Engineering Sciences: Computational fluid dynamics using mesoscopic simulation methods, dynamics and rheology of complex microstructured fluids such as suspensions, emulsions and polymer solutions, flow of granular media, Active matter, Hydrodynamic stability of Newtonian and viscoelastic fluids, high Reynolds number flows and turbulence, non-linear dynamics and chaos, vortex dynamics, mass and heat transfer, geophysical fluid dynamics, microfluidics, acoustofluidics, and microgravity science. Mathematics MINIMUM ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLYING: • Students who have secured not less than 80% in Maths and Science subjects in their 10th and 12th standard or equivalent examinations, and not less than first class in graduation and post-graduation (if applicable). • Students presently studying in I and II year of B.Sc., I, II & III year of B.S., I, II & III year of B.E. /B.Tech., I year of M.Sc., and I-IV year of Integrated M.Sc. Can apply for Life Sciences. • Students presently studying in II & III year of B.Sc., II, III & IV year B.S., II, III & IV year of B.E/B.Tech., I year of M.Sc. And I-III year of Integrated M.Sc. Can apply for Physical Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Mathematics. • Students presently IV year of BS-MS, I year-old M.Sc. and IV year of Int. M.Sc. Can apply for Materials Sciences and Chemical Sciences. The students chosen under this programme are placed with scientists at the Centre or elsewhere in India, for two continuous months with a stipend of Rs.10,000/- p.m and travelling support according to Centre’s criteria. Detailed information and application form may be downloaded from

http://www.jncasr.ac.in/fe/srfp.php. 2. Students that have actually curThe filled in application form with rently completed this programme earattested documents should reach the lier need not apply. 3. Your “Area of Research” on the address cited below latest by. left-hand top corner of the mailing envelope. Mailing address: 4. Mere application to this proThe Academic Coordinator gramme does not call for selection. Fellowships and Extension ProImportant Dates: grammes Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Ad• Last date for downloading the vanced Scientific Research Jakkur P.O., Bangalore – 560 064. application form from the website: 6 December 2019 Note: • Last date for receipt of completed application form: 13 December 2019 1. Please guarantee that your finished application consists of: • Selected candidates will be intimated by 28th February 2020 (a) Two confidential reports sealed by the referee and with the referees’ and the list will also be available signatures across the seals. on the link mentioned above. (b) Attested Xerox duplicates of pertinent mark sheets etc.


VOICE OF BIOTECNIKA

November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

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Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained The Government of Karnataka will establish a center for bio-incubator (Technology Business Incubator, TBI) at Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal on October 25.

Episode 55 By Divya

As we all know our planet is facing n number of environmental issues. Pollution, water scarcity, climatic changes, etc being the major contributors. But among these the biggest contributor to the environmental issues is OVERPOPULATION. Welcome to a new episode of the podcast on OverPopulation-the human explosion explained from the house of Biotecnika. Not only over the environment but it is also having a greater impact on the standard of living, global economies, and availability of resources and land. When you see around yourself, like for example you are visiting the railway station or airport or a vegetable market or the road itself you will find immense crowd everywhere at any time. And in case you are residing in a metropolitan city you can also find a huge crowd over there as well. Very strange right, the earth is made up of human beings, without us this planet would be nothing but a barren land but at the same, if present in excess it has its own negative impact. So overpopulation…is this really a big issue…what you all think??? Well, in my opinion, yes, it is and I agree with it to a greater extent because the availability of natural resources won’t be sufficient for the growing demands and ultimately it paves the way to pollution, poverty, unemployment, etc. There are a number of reasons behind overpopulation. And I think one of the prime reason could be lack of proper education. No doubt our country is under progress in terms of development but still, you can see there are many areas across the country which need to be improvised that is the people who are under the poverty line should be brought up that is giv-

ing them a better standard of living. Have you ever thought why still many areas are facing poverty and some are even facing poverty too??? And again the core reason is the climbing population. Because even today the people residing in villages believe that having more children means having a big family and further it’s like an extra hand for earning more so that they can fulfill their basic requirements. In fact, this thought has been incorporated in their mind like an ancestral tradition I am not saying they are right or wrong but instead of saying them to go for a small family why can’t we make them aware of the present scenario of our country in a better way. See, instead of restricting them to have fewer children one should encourage to them to go to school, make them aware of the value of education, work for women empowerment and last but not the least give them education regarding birth control and how it is going to benefit in the growth of our country. I think in this way their concern and understanding of the country will increase. They will be able to understand the pros and cons of having a small or big family. So far I talked about the people who are uneducated and their relation to population growth…then what about the people living in urban areas or the ones who are educated??????

Nowadays we have more advanced technologies in the field of medicine and good medication facilities due to which many untreatable diseases are getting cured. due to the availability of many life-saving drugs, proper treatment, and vaccinization people are able to overcome different types of diseases, even the dreadful diseases like cancer can be cured more effectively when compared to earlier days. Thus longevity has been increased or in other words, mortality has decreased. Of course, it’s highly desirable too, I agree. Dan what about the resources…will it be enough to meet the demands of a growing population??? What to be done to fulfill demands??? See even natural calamities will have any much effect over the population graph because if you recently, I mean some months back Kerala faced a huge flood and if you look a few years back tsunami occurred in 2004,forest fire in Uttarakhand in the year 2016, all these have lead death of number of people but do u think it affected population growth??? definitely not because it is maintained at a constant rate no matter what. Likewise, there is a huge impact on the environment overpopulation growth… How??

Agricultural yield should meet population demand.and this can be achieved by either intensive farming or by clearing the areas to create new lands i.e.deforestation.but again deforestation is having a negative impact. Co2 absorption will be reduced and it will be like adding fuel to fire that means an increase in the greenhouse gas problem. Not only that it will also lead to habitat destruction and extinction. Climatic changes unexpected seasonal changes have disrupted crop yielding and harvesting and this was quoted as one of the biggest challenges in human history. Another major effect includes a lack of fresh water. Even our planet has an optimum level of water but still, it is insufficient to meet the needs. around 2.5% only available for consumption. It was reported in the year 2016 that around 15% of the world’s population was underwater deficit zone and it is estimated to increase up to 50% by 2030. Adding to that it is also predicted that about 2/3 of the population will be deprived of water by 2025. Last but not least any guess??? Yes, its global warming.compared to the amount of co2 present in the atmosphere, the forest is having its

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VOICE OF BIOTECNIKA

double amount but what is the use??? country in terms of area and in terms of population India ranks 2nd posiPeople are clearing it for their own tion. benefits and due to that around 25% of co2 is released to the atmosphere. If we compare our population growth from 2001 to 2011 we will find that Thus the population is not only the population growth was found to about the number of people residing be 17.7% which is equivalent to an in a particular area rather it is about: add up to 181.5 million people to the existing population and according to 1.fertility rate the data it was found that the popula2.mortality tion is doubled from the past 40 years. 3.migration And you know what the day won’t be far away when our country will outSomewhere the above-mentioned compete China in terms of populafacts are correlated…how??? tion, maybe within a few decades. We all know China and India being the See it’s a fact that failure in family most populous nations with around planning ultimately leads to low in- 1.4 billion and 1.3 billion respectivecome which in turn it is not sufficient ly. to spend money on education and due to which unemployment crops up. By 2024 there are high chances that In urban areas, there is a huge com- India can overtake China. On the othpetition among each other.because er hand, Nigeria which ranks 7th in most of them are educated the tough terms of population is actually growcompetition arises to get a particular ing in a much faster way that it is job which further leads to brain drain. predicted to outcompete the USA by Lack of a good job encourages them attaining 3rd position in terms of the to migrate to other countries. Fertili- population before 2050. ty rate even though it is lower when compared with other countries it is When comes to density India holds higher. 31st position in the world. You all might be aware of the fact In our country, Mumbai is the largthat our country is the 7th largest est city followed by Delhi, Bangalore,

November 12th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 104

Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad.

And from the economic point of When it comes to population, UP view, more employment opportuniranks first of having 200 million peo- ties must be provided for rural areas ple. i.e by developing improved agricultural practices and setting up more You will be amazed to hear that in industries in rural and urban areas so the year 2011 the population was so that they can improve their standard high in UP that if it had its own rights, of living and they will not think for UP would have been the 5th largest in migration. the world followed by China, India, USA, and Indonesia. In my opinion, a part of it can be solved by the government by impleSo these are the problems we are fac- menting tax benefits meaning by reing today because of overpopulation. ducing the tax for the family who has single or max. 2 kids. Since by nature So what measures should be taken humans are more inclined towards by the government or the individual money this may have some positive to combat this??? impact. My first point goes to social meas- Thus overpopulation is not simply a ures only. problem rather it’s a problem that can be sorted out if people, NGOs, govt. Social measures in a way like mak- work for hand on hand so that everying people aware of the marriage age one can have a good quality of life. that is fixed by the law i.e.21 for men By doing any awareness /campaign and 18 for women. program we can implement the things which I mentioned before. To make them aware of women’s status i.e. they should be aware of the Once people realize that lack of famfact that women are not only meant to ily planning, unemployment, depleb within the 4 walls of a home rath- tion of natural resources, etc are the er they should learn to develop both root cause of overpopulation people mentally and socially.in other words themselves will start taking initiatives we can say independency. to combat overpopulation.


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Biotecnika Times 12th Oct 2019 Edition - Free Download  

Biotecnika Times 12th Oct 2019 Edition - Free Download

Biotecnika Times 12th Oct 2019 Edition - Free Download  

Biotecnika Times 12th Oct 2019 Edition - Free Download