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September 24th, 2019

Vol. 03

NO 97

Toll Free Number: 18001-200-1818

PRIME MINISTER’S RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP (PMRF) - 2019 Hindustan Petroleum Biotech Research Recruitment

Importance of GATE Exam For Biotech / Life Science Students?





September 24th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 97

Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) Scheme December 2019

The Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) scheme is aimed at attracting the talent pool of the country to doctoral (Ph.D.) programmes of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Central Universities (which are among the top 100 National Institutional Ranking Framework, NIRF ranked universities) for carrying out research in cutting edge science and technology domains, with focus on national priorities. UNDER THE PMRF SCHEME FOR PMRF DECEMBER 2019, STUDENTS WHO HAVE COMPLETED, OR ARE PURSUING, THE FINAL YEAR OF FOUR YEAR UNDERGRADUATE OR FIVE YEARS INTEGRATED M.TECH OR FIVE YEAR INTEGRATED M.SC. OR FIVE YEAR UNDERGRADUATE-POSTGRADUATE DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMMES OR TWO YEAR M.SC. PROGRAMMES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STREAMS FROM IIEST/IISC/IITS/NITS/IISERS AND CENTRALLY FUNDED IIITS OR ANY OTHER INSTITUTE / UNIVERSITY RECOGNIZED IN INDIA, ARE ELIGIBLE FOR ADMISSION TO FULL TIME PH.D. PROGRAMME The following would be the fellowIN THE IISC, IISERS, IITS AND ship for the PMRFs: A SELECT GROUP OF CENTRAL UNIVERSITIES PROVIDED THEY Year Amount (Rs) FULFIL PRESCRIBED ELIGIBILITY Year 1 70,000 CRITERIA AND FINALLY GET SE70,000 LECTED AFTER SHORTLISTING/ Year 2 Year 3 75,000 WRITTEN TEST/INTERVIEW. By Diluxi Arya

Year 4


Year 5


For each hosting institute (IISc, IISERs, IITs and a select group of Apart from this, each Fellow would Central Universities) the PhD ad- be eligible for a research grant of Rs. missions under the PMRF scheme 2 lakhs per year (total Rs. 10 lakh) will be supernumerary.

the programme then the CGPA/CPI of UG part (first four year) will be considered, OR b. have completed or be pursuing the final year of four (or five) year undergraduate or five year integrated M.Tech or five years integrated M.Sc. or 2 years M.Sc. or five year undergraduate-postgraduate dual degree programs in Science and Technology streams from any other (not covered in a.) Institute / University recognized in India. These candidates should have secured a CGPA/CPI of at least 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) or equivalent till the last semester and have secured a score of 750 or higher in the respective GATE subject. OR c. have qualified GATE and be pursuing or have completed M.Tech. / MS by Research at IISc/IITs/IISERs having a minimum CGPA or CPI of 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) at the end of the first semester with a minimum of four courses. Those candidates who are applying after the first semester, the CGPA or CPI requirement of 8.0 will be based on all the courses, labs, thesis that the candidate has completed. This is applicable to above eligible candidates at the time of application. AND d. have completed the required academic qualifications in (a), (b) or (c) in the preceding three years from when the application is submitted.

The tenure of fellowship will be four Applicants who fulfil the eligibil- years for students from integrated ity criteria, and are finally selected courses and five years for B. Tech through a selection process, will be (or equivalent) students. The selected offered admission to PhD programme students who have completed MTech/ in one of IISc/IISERs/IITs and Cen- MS/ME after completing a qualifytral Universities (which are among ing BTech, and join PMRF will get 4 the top 100 National Institutional years of fellowship. Ranking Framework, NIRF ranked universities) with a fellowship of Eligibility: Rs.70,000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75,000/- per month The applicants for the PMRF should: for the 3rd year, and Rs.80,000/- per month in the 4th and 5th year. Apart a. have completed or be pursuing the from this, a research grant of Rs.2.00 final year of four (or five) year unlakh per year will be provided to each dergraduate or five years integrated of the Fellows for a period of 5 years M.Tech or five years integrated M.Sc. to cover their academic contingen- or 2-year M.Sc. or five-year undercy expenses and for foreign/national graduate-postgraduate dual degree travel expenses. programs in Science and Technology There will be a rigorous review of streams from IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/ the performance of Prime Minister’s IIEST and centrally funded IIITs. Research Fellowship holders and These candidates should have seAbstract Submission continuation of the next year fellow- cured a CGPA/CPI of at least 8.0 (on ship shall be contingent upon suc- a 10-point scale). For applicants in The Project abstract should clearly cessful review. the five year integrated or dual degree articulate the area of the study and programs, if separate CGPAs/CPIs should display keen interest and inare awarded for UG and PG parts of sight on the subject chosen.

The Project abstract should formulate a problem for the study which would be used for assessing the applicant’s analytical and research skills. The topic chosen should be in frontier areas of science and technology, preferably, focusing on national priorities. There should be at least two referee names provided by each applicant for the Selection Committee to seek feedback. Broad Disciplines & Nodal Institutes Admission under the PMRF will be made in 19 broad disciplines. For each broad discipline, one IIT or IISc will coordinate the admission process (review applications, shortlist applicants, constitute selection committees and hold final selections) and will be referred to as the Nodal Institute for that broad discipline. Selection Process The selection process for the PMRF will be a rigorous process consisting of Screening by the Reviewers, and final selection by the Selection Committee for each broad discipline to ensure competition, standardization, transparency and selection of the best talent. The process may also include written test and/or discussions, if necessary. The allocation of the Institute shall be done in the following manner: a. For each broad discipline, the Selection Committee constituted by the NI will conduct the interviews and select candidates. Next Page>>>>


September 24th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 97

fund flow and utilization thereof, and 1. Q. Which students are eligible to policy changes required to make the apply for the PMRF scheme? scheme more effective. A. a. Have completed or be pursuing Apart from this, the monitoring will the final year of four (or five) year be done in the manner detailed below: undergraduate or five year integrated M.Tech or five year integrated The IPR policy shall be as per the In- There will be internal reviews twice M.Sc. or 2 year M.Sc. or five year stitute’s Policy on IPRs. The IPRs are a year. undergraduate-postgraduate dual deowned by the Institution where the There will be a National Convention gree programs in Science and TechFellow has worked. every year where all PMRFs will nology streams from IISc/IITs/NITs/ showcase their work. This will be an IISERs/IIEST and centrally funded Monitoring Mechanism occasion for the Industry to partici- IIITs. These candidates should have pate in the Convention. secured a CGPA/CPI of at least 8.0 The National Coordination Commit- There will be a website set up by the (on a 10-point scale). For applicants tee (NCC) will periodically review NCC showcasing the areas of work of in the five year integrated or dual deand monitor the implementation of each PMRF. gree programs, if separate CGPAs/ the scheme. The NCC will report CPIs are awarded for UG and PG to MHRD the status of the scheme, parts of the program then the CGPA/ CPI of UG part (first four years) will be considered, OR Broad Nodal Sr. No. Discipline Institution b. have completed or be pursuing the final year of four (or five) year un1 Aerospace Engineering IIT Madras dergraduate or five year integrated 2 Agriculture and Food Engineering IIT Kharagpur M.Tech or five year integrated M.Sc. 3 Architecture and Regional Planning IIT Kharagpur or 2 year M.Sc. or five year underBiological Sciences (e.g. Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biological Engi4 neering, Computational Biology, Chemical Biology, Biotechnology, Bioprocess IIT Bombay graduate-postgraduate dual degree Engineering, etc.) programs in Science and Technology Biomedical Engineering (e.g. Biosystems Science and Engg., Medical Science IIT Bombay 5 and Technology, etc.) streams from any other (not covered Chemical Engineering (includes Biochemical Engineering, Polymer Science & in a. above) Institute / University rec6 Engineering, Cryogenic Engineering, Energy, Environment, Materials, Systems IIT Gandhinagar Engineering etc.) ognized in India. These candidates Chemistry (e.g. Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, should have secured a CGPA/CPI of 7 Organic Chemistry, Electrochemistry, High pressure chemistry, Surface chemIIT Bombay istry, Photochemistry, Solid State and Structural Chemistry, etc.) at least 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) or Civil Engineering (e.g. Environmental Science and Engineering, Earth equivalent till the last semester AND Sciences, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Ecological Sciences, Sustainable Technologies, Atmospheric Sciences, Transportation Research and Injury have secured a score of 750 or higher Prevention, Oceans,Rivers,Atmosphere and Land Sciences, Geology and 8 IIT Roorkee Geophysics, Mining Engineering, Ocean Engg and Naval Architecture, Water in the respective GATE subject. OR Resources, Building Technology and Construction Management, Geotechnical c. have qualified GATE and be pursuEngineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Geomatics Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, etc.) ing or have completed M.Tech. / MS Computer Science (includes Computer Sciences and Automation, Computer by Research at IISc/IITs/IISERs havand Data Systems, Information Technology, Theoretical Studies, Intelligent 9 IIT Delhi Systems and Human Computer Interaction, Systems Engineering, Theoretical ing a minimum CGPA or CPI of 8.0 Computer Science, etc.) (on a 10-point scale) at the end of the Electrical Engineering (includes ECE and EE, Electronics, Nanoscience and Engineering, Cyber Physical Systems, Applied Research in Electronics, Instrufirst semester with a minimum of four ment Design and Development, Electronics and Electrical Communication En10 gineering, Telecommunication, Nano Science and Technology, Power system, IIT Kanpur courses. Those candidates who are High Voltage, Photonics, Electric Drives & Power Electronics, Instrumentation applying after the first semester, the and Signal Processing, Systems and Control, Communication Systems, R.F. & Microwave Engineering, Microelectronics and VLSI, etc.) CGPA or CPI requirement of 8.0 will Engineering Design (e.g. Advanced Geometric Computing, Automotive be based on all the courses, labs, the11 Control, Electromagnetic Research, Rehabilitation Bioengineering, OptomeIIT Madras chatronics, etc.) sis that the candidate has completed. Interdisciplinary Programs in Science and Engineering (e.g. Industrial EngiThis is applicable to above eligible neering and Operations Research, Computational Science, Nano Science & Nano Technology, Cyber Physical System, Energy, Neuroscience, Cognitive candidates at the time of application. Science, Environment, Linguistic Science and Technology, Oceans, Rivers, AND Atmosphere & Land Sciences, Railway Research, Cryogenic Engineering, Quality and Reliability, Polymer, BioX ,Alternate Hydro Energy Centre, Transd. have completed the required ac12 portation Systems, Disaster Mitigation & Management, Pulp & Paper Technol- IISc ogy, Water Resource Development & Management, Earthquake Engineering, ademic qualifications in (a), (b) or Alternate Hydro Energy Systems , Environmental Management of Rivers and Lakes, Soil Dynamics, Structural Dynamics, Seismic Vulnerability and Risk (c) in the preceding three years from Assessment, Hydrology, Packaging Technology, Irrigation Water Management, Water Resources Development, Infrastructure Systems, Systems and Controls, when the application is submitted. b. The allocation of the Institute for the doctoral study would be done keeping in view the choices of the selected candidates and the availability of academic and other infrastructure. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Urban Science and Engineering, Geo-Informatics and Applications etc.)


Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering (includes Materials Engineering, Materials Science, etc.)

IIT Hyderabad



IIT Kharagpur


Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace Engineering, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Computational Engineering , Energy Science and Engineering, Micro-Nano and Bio Sciences and Engineering, Applied Mechanics, Product Design and Manufacturing, Manufacturing, Energy, Industrial Tribology, Machine Dynamics and Maintenance Engineering, Advanced Technology Development, Industrial and Systems Engineering, CAD, CAM & Robotics, Machine Design Engineering, Production & Industrial Systems Engineering, Thermal Engineering, Welding Engineering, etc.)

IIT Madras


Mining, Mineral, Coal and Energy sector (e.g. Mining, Mineral, Fuel, Petroleum, Mining Machinery, Renewable Energy, Geological engineering, Geotechnology etc.)

IIT (ISM) Dhanbad


Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture (also includes Petroleum Engineering and Offshore Technology, etc.)

IIT Madras


Physics ( e.g. Biophysics, Astronomy and Astro Physics, High Energy Physics, Instrumentation and Applied Physics, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Low Temperature Physics, Quantum and Statistical Physics, Soft Condensed Matter Physics, Solid State Electronic Materials, Photonics, etc.)

IIT Guwahati


Textile Technology

IIT Delhi


have <8 CGPA until last semester. Should I be provisionally allowed to appear for the selection procedure subject to the condition that I will improve my CGPA at the end of my qualifying Degree? A. No. You will not be considered for this round of PMRF selections. However, you may apply for the next round of PMRF selections. You should secure CGPA of 8 or more at the time of graduation. 5. Q. I am a PhD scholar from a host institute. I graduated from an AICTE recognized Institute and joined the host institute under the Direct PhD programme. Whether existing scholars like me who meet all the eligibility criteria, but have joined already will be eligible to upgrade to PMRF? A. You will have to apply afresh. If you are allotted any institute other than the parent host institute you will have to join as a totally fresh registrant at the new institute. In case, based on your merit position, you are allotted the same host institute where you are currently registered for the PhD program, you may continue the PhD program under the PMRF scheme. In this case you will be eligible for PMRF fellowship for the rest of the PhD tenure. For example, if you have already availed PhD fellowship for two years, you will be entitled for maximum three or two years of PMRF, if you entered the PhD program after B.Tech. or MTech., respectively. 6. Q. I am a third semester M.Tech./ MS by research student from one of IISc/IITs/IISERs. My current CGPA is 8.19 (on a 10-point scale) but at the end of first semester my CGPA was 7.98 based on four theory courses. Am I eligible for PMRF selection in Dec 2019? A. No. CGPA of at least eight is required at the end of the first semester as well.

7. Q. I completed my MTech from NIT in June 2016 with a CGPA 8.96. Will I be eligible to apply for 2019 December PMRF? 2. Q. I completed my B.Tech. degree A. No you are not eligible to apply for three years ago. Am I eligible to apply 2019 December PMRF. for PMRF? A. Yes. Those who are awarded de- 8. Q. I have completed my M.Tech./ gree in past three years (i.e. graduat- MS by research in 2018 from one of ed during 2017, 2018 or graduating IISc/IITs/IISERs and cleared GATE during 2019 ) are eligible to apply for in 2016. I have a CGPA of 8.0 or PMRF 2019 . Each application will above in M.Tech/MS by research. As be treated as a fresh application. per eligibility criteria (d), the required academic qualifications should be in 3. Q. My CGPA until last semester is the preceding three years. Am I eligi8.19, however, I have a backlog. Am I ble? eligible to apply? A. Yes, you are eligible. Academic A. No. Qualification refers to the qualifying degree. You must have a valid GATE 4. Q. I am a final year student and Next Page>>>>



score at the time of admission in the M.Tech./MS by research program. 9. Q. I am a student currently registered for Integrated PhD program. Am I eligible to apply for PMRF Dec 2019? A. You are eligible to apply for PMRF Dec 2019 selection subject to the following: a) You should be awarded two separate degrees for (MTech or MSc ) and PhD, and b) You should be registered in integrated MTech+PhD program at IISc/ IITs/IISERs, cleared GATE, and should have CGPA of 8/10 at the end of the first semester with four theory courses. You should have completed the first semester of MTech in academic year 2016-2017, 2017-2018 or 2018-2019 OR You should be registered in integrated MSc.+PhD program at IISc/IITs/ IISERs/NITs/ centrally funded IIITs and your institute should provide you with a certificate of completion of the two year MSc part of the integrated program with a CGPA of at least 8/10 in academic year 2016-2017, 20172018, or 2018-2019 OR You should be registered in integrated MSc.+PhD program at any recognised institute in India and your university should provide you with a certificate of completion of the two year MSc part of integrated program with a CGPA of at least 8/10 in academic year 2016-2017, 2017-2018, or 2018-2019 and you must have secured GATE score 750 or higher. 10. Q. I have done M. Pharmacy or 3-Year M.Sc from a recognised institute in India. Am I eligible to apply? A. No. 11. Q. My qualifying degree is from a IIIT which is not centrally funded (i.e., which is running on PPP mode). Under which eligibility criteria should I apply? A. You may apply under eligibility criteria ‘b’. 12. Q. I want to apply under eligibility criteria ‘c’? Which courses are considered toward 8.0 CGPA requirement in the first semester? Do I also need to get 8 CGPA at the end of M.Tech/MS by research program? A. The theory courses that are awarded grades, excluding audit or pass/fail courses, are considered toward meeting 8.0 CGPA requirement in the first semester. Candidates pursuing M.Tech. /MS by Research must have done a minimum of four theory courses and obtained the minimum CGPA or CPI of 8.0 (on a 10 point scale) at the end of the first

semester. Candidates who have completed M.Tech./MS by Research must have done a minimum of four theory courses in first semester and obtained a CGPA or CPI of 8.0 at the end of the first semester as well as overall CGPA or CPI of 8.0 based on all the courses, labs and thesis completed as part of the programme. This is applicable to above eligible candidates at the time of application. For example, a candidate who has done say 5 courses in the first semester, of which 3 (theory courses), 1 (audit or pass/fail course) and 1 (lab course) with CGPA of 8.15, is not eligible due to not meeting the four theory course requirement of the first semester. 13. Q. My university awards only in percentage. The revised guidelines of PMRF December 2019 say the candidates should have secured a CGPA/ CPI of at least 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) or equivalent till the last semester. How do I convert the percentage to a CGPA, out of 10, equivalent? A. You should contact the competent authority (e.g., Controller of Examination) at your University to know the formula for conversion. You will be required to furnish the conversion formula along with certificate issued by the competent authority at the time of application. 14. Q. My institute/university does not offer a conversion formula from percentage to Equivalent CPI/CGPA. How can I know I am eligible to apply for PMRF? A. If your institute/university does not offer a conversion formula from percentage to Equivalent CPI/CGPA, then please use the method below to convert your percentage marks to Equivalent CPI/CGPA, verify that the Equivalent CPI/CGPA is at least 8.0 and if it is, apply with supporting documents. Step 1. If P is the percentage of marks secured in the qualifying degree, then your Equivalent CGPA/CPI is given by: Equivalent CGPA = (P/10) + 0.5 For example, if you have scored 78% in your qualifying degree, then your Equivalent CGPA is (78/10) + 0.5 = 8.3. Since 8.3 is > 8 you are eligible to apply for PMRF.

September 24th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 97

applicants whose institute/university does not offer a conversion formula from percentage to Equivalent CPI/ CGPA for the qualifying degree, you need to upload a supporting letter (as a pdf file) given by competent authority which says that the respective institute/university does not offer a conversion formula from percentage to Equivalent CPI/CGPA. If you cannot obtain such a letter in time, you may instead upload a self-declaration to this effect.

21. Q. Is there a word limit for the abstract? Can I upload the proposal in JPEG format? A. The word limit is 1000 and it must be in PDF format. No other format is acceptable.

22. Q. What is expected from the project abstract? A. The requirement for a project abstract is for assisting the selection committee in assessing the research and analytical capability of the applicant. The originality of the abstract is 15. Q. I wish to apply under eligibil- very important. The abstract will be ity criteria (b), but I do not find my checked for plagiarism. The project Institute/University name listed under abstract need not necessarily be the “The above degree is in a Science and topic of PhD research. Technology stream from:” in Section-1 of the application form. 23. Q. Who can be the referees? A. From the options listed under “The A. The referees should be from among above degree is in a Science and Tech- those with whom the applicant has nology stream from:”, please select closely interacted during her or his “Other institutes/universities recog- undergraduate or post- graduate pronized in India” in Section-1 of the ap- gramme and who can comment on the plication form and proceed. You can applicant’s academic knowledge and enter your Institute/University name research and analytical skills. in the “Qualifying Degree, Institute/ University” field in Section-2 of the 24. Q. How many times can I apapplication form. ply for fellowship under the PMRF scheme? Application A. You can apply two times provided all eligibility criteria are met each 16. Q. Which are the institutes where time. PMRF Fellows can join to undertake research work as a Ph.D. student? 25. Q. If I am selected for fellowship A. The host institutions are the IISc, under the PMRF scheme this year, IITs, IISERs and Central Universities but do not avail the offer, can I apply (which are among the top 100 Nation- once again next year? al Institutional Ranking Framework, A. No. However, you can defer your NIRF ranked universities). Please admission for one year subject to aprefer the hosting institutions page for proval of the admitting host institute. the complete list of host institutions. 26. Q. My Institute does not provide 17. Q. Can I apply for more than one semester wise grade cards but I have broad discipline of PMRF December web-based marks memos. How do I 2019 Selection? apply? A. Yes. An applicant can apply for a A. You can apply by submitting in maximum of five broad disciplines of any form of transcript / grade card / PMRF. She / he will need to individ- consolidated marks memo. You may ually appear for multiple written tests submit an Electronic copy for the curand/or interviews conducted at the re- rent semester for which you need to spective nodal institutes. produce the original at the of interviews. 18. Q. Do I need to submit a project proposal along with my application? 27. Q. I am currently studying dual A. You must submit an abstract as de- degree programme and my institute/ scribed on the PMRF website. university does not provide the OptOut Certificate. Am I eligible to ap19. Q. Does PMRF scheme apply for ply? part-time Ph.D.? A. You cannot apply, but you may A. No, PMRF is for undertaking full- apply during the final year or after time Ph.D. program at host institu- completion of your dual degree protions. gramme.

Please enter the Equivalent CPI/ CGPA calculated as per the formula 20. Q. Is it compulsory to submit 5 28. Q. Is the PMRF scheme the same above while filling the application different abstracts as I want to apply as the CII-PMF scheme? for five broad disciplines? A. No, they are different. form. A. No, submit only one abstract in Step 2. Since the above conversion any of the broad disciplines. formula is applicable only for those Next Page>>>>


September 24th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 97

Written test and interview


29. Q. What will be the syllabus for the written test? A. The Nodal Institute will define the syllabus for the test. Please frequently visit the PMRF December 2019 website for the latest updates.

36. Q. I have attended interviews for ‘X’ discipline and going to appear ‘Y’ Discipline next week. May I know Results of ‘X’ discipline now? A. No. Results will be published on PMRF portal after completion of interviews for all broad disciplines.

30. Q. Where will the test centres be located? A. A single written test and/or interview for each broad discipline will be conducted at the IIT or IISc which is the Nodal Institute for that broad discipline. 31. Q. Will the written test/ interview of different disciplines be conducted on the same date. A. No. The tests will be conducted on different dates with a gap of a day or two so that an applicant may reach from one Nodal Institute to the other Nodal Institute in time. 32. Q. Will there be any TA/DA provided for appearing for the test or interview? A. No TA/DA will be provided to applicant appearing for the written test or interview.

Preference, allocation of seats 37. Q. How will the institute and discipline be allotted to the selected applicant if the applicant has selected more than one institute? A. The applicants will be asked at the time of application to give up to five choices for the broad disciplines wherein they would like to appear for interview. The applicants will be asked to provide online their preferences of combinations of institute and discipline only for the broad disciplines for which the candidate is selected. The combination of discipline and the institute will be allotted based on the preference indicated by the applicant and the merit position of the candidate. For example, a candidate who appeared for interview in Chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Interdisciplinary Programs in Science and Engineering and is selected for Chemistry, will be able to give preferences only in the Chemistry broad discipline.

33. Q. Will all the eligible applicants be called for the written test and/or interview? A. Not necessary. In case of a large number of applicants, only shortlisted applicants will be called for the writ- 38. Q. Can I give preference for diften test and/or interview. ferent disciplines in an IIT? A. Yes. An applicant will be allowed 34. Q. I have applied for ‘X’, ‘Y’ and to give up to 45 preferences (com‘Z’ broad disciplines, but received binations of the institute and discicall letter only for ‘Y’ discipline. pline) from the discipline/s she/he Whom should I contact? would have been selected for e.g. an A. Please contact the respective Nod- applicant selected for Chemistry and al Institute (NI) Coordinator. Chemical Engineering can give preference of Chemistry at IISc, Chemi35. Q. Interview dates are clashing cal Engineering IIT Bombay, Chemwith my prior commitments. Is it istry at IIT Delhi, etc.. possible to either postpone interview dates or allow me to attend interviews 39. Q. I have a specific idea for my over Skype? potential research topic. Will the seA. No. lection committee consider this while allocating me an institute/discipline if

I am selected? A. The selection committee will take holistic view of the project details, subject knowledge, research & analytical skills, and any other aspect deemed fit in their opinion in making recommendation on suitability of the candidate for PhD program under PMRF scheme. The selection and allocation are decoupled. Once the candidate is selected for PMRF for one or more disciplines, the allocation for a discipline will be based on an algorithm that will take care of merit position of the selected candidate in the discipline the candidate is selected for and the preference order of the combinations of the institute and discipline the candidate has provided. Once the candidate joins the host institute, she/he may explore with the concerned faculty members about the possibility of the potential research topic. The rules and regulation of the host institute will prevail in selection of research topic and the supervisor.


ed by the recommended candidates. Hence, it cannot be changed. 43. Q. While selecting the host institute on the online preference module, is there any provision to select the department/School/Centre in the particular host institute? A. Department/School/Centre allocation would happen at a later stage by the admitting host institution based on student interest, background, etc.. Fee Payment 44. Q. Is there an application fee, and if yes how can I pay the application fee? A. Yes, there is an application fee of Rs.1500. The fee can be paid online using the link provided in the application form by selecting the category “PMRF Application Fee for Dec 2019”.

45. Q. I have paid the requisite fee well before the due date, but I do not want submit my application. Can I get 40. Q. I have cleared PMRF selec- my application fees back? tions and my name is listed on PMRF A. No. results page. How can I select a Host Institute for joining? 46. Q. I have paid less than Rs.1500/A. An online Preference Module will as the application fee by oversight. be made available to the recommend- Am I ineligible? ed applicants to indicate preference of A. Every applicant has to pay Host Institutes. Rs.1500/-. If not received the full fee, then the NCC has the right to reject 41. Q. I was selected for ‘X’ Disci- your application. pline and I have chosen an institute as my host institute. Can I change my Contact Us discipline from ‘X’ to ‘Y’ at a later stage? INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHA. No. Change of PMRF Discipline is NOLOGY, HYDERABAD not permitted. Email: 42. Q. During the allotment process I was allotted ‘Y’ discipline and ‘B’ Helpline: +91-8330913053 Host institute, but my first preferred discipline is “X” and host institute is Address: “A”. Indian Institute of A. The seat allotment will be done Technology Hyderabad based on the merit list prepared by Kandi, Sangareddy – 502285 nodal institutes, seat availability at Telangana, INDIA various host institutes, and order of broad discipline preferences provid-



September 24th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 97

Hindustan Petroleum Biotech Research Recruitment With Up to Rs. 85,000/- pm Stipend Government research careers for candidates with a background in Biotechnology at Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).


Job Name: Research Associate Area: Ph.D., in Bio-Sciences /Biotechnology. Job Description: • To prepare Project proposal including work plan about the specific research topic assigned to the candidate. • To carry out research activities on the particular subject including literature search, setup experimental facilities, if needed, carry out experimental/ pilot/ simulation studies. • Interpret results and undertake studies for additional development/ improvement. • Prepare technical reports. • Carryout any other tasks which are assigned from time to time. Essential Qualifications: Candidates with research experience in microbial bioprocesses with experience of working on fungal or yeast molecular biology are going to be favoured. Additionally, applicants with research experience of working on bio-fuels like 2G Ethanol and Algal Biofuels are desired. NOTE: In the time of application, the candidate must have proof of award of the Degree. In the event of applicants with PhD degree, applicants must have been awarded a PhD degree at the time of application OR candidate should possess the Proof of submission of PhD thesis. Candidates (belonging to General and OBC-NC category) must have secured minimum 60% marks (taking aggregate marks of semesters/ years i.e., taking the average of all the semesters/years, irrespective of weightage given to some particular subject (including languages)/semester/year of the Institute/University) in all graduate and post-graduate degree

examinations, relaxed to 50 percent (taking aggregate marks of semesters/ years i.e., taking the average of all the semesters/years, no matter weightage given to any particular subject (like languages)/semester/year of their Institute/University) for SC/ST/PWD Candidates with Integrated Courses may also apply. Candidates must have passed the relevant qualifying degree examinations / awarded degree in PhD in the aforementioned disciplines. All of Degree/Diploma qualifications ought to be full-time regular course/s from AICTE approved / UGC recognized University/Deemed University. The courses offered by Autonomous Institutions must be equal to the relevant courses approved/recognized by Association of Indian Universities (AIU)/UGC/AICTE. Candidates with Integrated Degrees must have done a Full-Time Course. Wherever CGPA/DGPA or letter grade in a Degree is awarded, an equal percentage of marks must be indicated in the application according to criteria adopted by University/ Institution. Higher Qualifications, if any to be mentioned. Candidate should produce their degree conversion certification issued by the competent authority of the University/ Institute in support of their conversion in the time of interview. In the event of PhD candidates, the experience will be counted from the date of successful defence of PhD Dissertation/Thesis. It’s compulsory for applicants owning PhD qualification to mention that the date of the successful defense of PhD in their ap-

plication. In the event of applicants with PhD after B Tech experience is going to be reckoned after PhD. Research Work carried out during the course of acquiring a Ph.D. won’t be considered as work experience. Soft copy of this comprehensive CV including a brief description of the Ph.D. topic to be uploaded together with the Application Form. Age Limit: 32 Years or below as on 20 September 2019. Age relaxation for OBC (Non Creamy Layer) SC / ST/PWD candidates will be applicable according to the Government Directives. Relaxation & Reservation of Post:

Selection Committee. In case of the number of applications being large, the corporation will adopt shortlisting criteria to limit the number of applicants to be called for interview to a fair number by any one or more of these processes: • On the basis of higher educational qualifications than minimal prescribed in the advertising. • On the grounds of greater experience in the applicable fields compared to minimal prescribed in the advertisement • on the grounds of number of patents/high impact factor publications • By holding a written test.

Candidates shortlisted after initial The upper age limit is relaxable by scrutiny will be intimated thru the portal. Candidates are advised to go 1. 5 years for SC/ST candidates to the portal from time to time for 2. 3 years relaxation for OBC completing this exercise. (Non-creamy layer) 3. 10 years relaxation for PWD Incomplete applications will be (Persons with Disability) can- summarily rejected. didate. (Provided the percent of disability for PH candidate is 40 Stipend: percent or more) A comprehensive stipend of Rs. Reservation of posts- According 65,000/- to Rs. 85,000/- a month deto presidential directives for SC/ST/ pending on experience & qualification, is payable. Including HRA, AcOBC- NC/PWD will apply cident Insurance, Medical Insurance, MODE OF SELECTION: etc. The company doesn’t provide any transport facility for commuting to Selection will be made on the basis the office. But, there’s a sharing bus of screening of applications and Tes- facility that needs to be availed by the timonials according to the eligibility Research Associates on pay and use criteria of eligible candidates fol- basis. Lunch and breakfast facilities lowed by personal interview by the Next Page>>>>


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are provided in the office premises for which a minimal monthly lumpsum amount will be deducted. The premium towards Insurances will be deducted from the stipend. As part of the discharge of the duties, they could be asked to travel to other locations. Work-related travel expenses will be individually reimbursed according to the entitlements.


How to Apply: 1. Login to and click our existing openings. Visit Fixed Term Research Associates, R&D Centre, Bengaluru. Read all the instructions Given on the site carefully. Candidates must maintain a scanned copy of Passport size Photograph (in jpg/gif format less than 500 kb) and Soft copy of this detailed CV (including brief description of the PhD topic in case of PhD applicants ) ready before completing the online application form. 2. Fill in the online application form with all the relevant details carefully (details once submitted cannot be modified). Upload Scan copy of your Most Recent passport size photo and Detailed CV. 3. Upon completion, submit the online application by clicking on the Submit button at the bottom Of the page you’ll get a system-generated unique 12 Digit Application / Reference No. Please be aware that this Application / Reference No. Is important and will be required for all Future references throughout the selection procedure. 4. Candidates are advised to take a Printout of the Online Application Form, affix his current passport size photograph, place his/ her signature at the space provided and keep with Him/ her for future reference. Candidates Aren’t required to submit hard copy of this Application form to HPCL. 5. Candidates with multiple applications for the same discipline are apt to be rejected. 6. The details filled in the online application form will be considered final without any changes will Be entertained w.r.t. personal/ some other details, later on. General Instructions: 1. The post of RESEARCH ASSOCIATE is a fixed-term post. As such the post will be named/ called/designated as Fixed Term




6. 7.


Research Associate. If chosen, initial engagement will be for a period of one year That’s extendable by one year at a time established on The job requirement and performance of the candidate, subject to a maximum of 4 years. The applicants must have an active email id and Cell phone/ landline number, which must remain valid for next year. All future communication with all the candidates will Take place through email/cell phone /landline number only. The candidates should possess the applicable documents like percentage of marks obtained in the qualifying exam, caste/subcaste certification, date of issue, name of issuing authority, state of origin, etc. easily available with them until they commence the application process. This information will be necessary at the time of filling in the online application. Wherever CGPA/OGPA/DGPA or Letter Grade in a degree/ diploma is awarded, its equal percentage of marks should be indicated in the application form according to criteria adopted by University/ Institute. Candidates must produce their degree conversion certification issued by Competent Authority of the University/ Institute in support of their conversion. Candidates not found to be fulfilling the prescribed eligibility criteria shall be rejected at any stage of the selection procedure. All the details given in the online form will be treated as final and no changes will be entertained. HPCL Won’t be responsible for any loss/ non-delivery of email/ any other communication Sent, as a result of invalid/wrong email identification or because of some other reason. Furnishing of wrong/false information will lead to disqualification and HPCL Won’t be Responsible for any of the consequences of furnishing such wrong/false info. Each of the applications will be initially screened without any documentary evidence, the candidates must satisfy themselves of their suitability for the position to which they’re applying. If at any point during the recruitment procedure or following recruiting or joining, it’s discovered that the Candidates have furnished false or incorrect information, their candidature will be rejected.

9. Only shortlisted candidates That Are found eligible based on the details given in the application form will be called for the written test and / or personal interview as the situation may be. Candidates will be required to bring original and copies of this certificates/Testimonials During the interviews together with the printed application form. 1 set of those copies of Certificates/Testimonials, as well as the printed application form, have to be attested. Such Testimonials will be verified in detail together with the originals and if found not meeting the standards, the candidate will be summarily rejected. Such rejected candidates won’t meet the requirements for appearing for the interview. 10. Category (SC/ST/OBC-NC/ PWD) once mentioned in the application form Won’t be Changed and no benefit of an additional category will be admissible later on. 11. HPCL reserves the right to raise/ relax the minimum eligibility criteria and / or relax age, Experience standards in otherwise suitable cases. The Management reserves the right to fill or To not fill all or some of the above-mentioned positions without assigning any reason at all. 12. Any canvassing directly or indirectly by the applicant will disqualify his/her candidature. Any dispute with regard to recruiting against this advertisement will be settled within the jurisdiction of Bengaluru Court only. 13. The candidates should write their correct mobile number and correct email address neatly. Please, note the intimation for interview will be given through email ad-


dresses/cell phone/landline only. Candidates shortlisted for the interview would be reimbursed II Class Sleeper train fare by the shortest applicable route from their normal place of residence to the interview venue. Candidates will be required to make all relevant documents as Proof of travel to and fro for claiming compensation. 14. Candidates are advised to visit corporation site – under the Career Opportunities section regularly for latest updates as no separate communication will be sent. 15. Interested candidates should only apply online on the Site hpcareers/current_openings. Any Additional corrigendum/ addendum will be uploaded only on Our Site 16. It may please be noted that submission of online applications under false/pseudo Names/ email ids /mobile phone/landline telephone numbers is strictly prohibited. Any candidate resorting to these practices will be liable for suitable action under the provisions of IT Act 2000. 17. Candidates can write to email:’fixedtermrecruitment.r&‘ for any additional Inquiries and information. Important Dates: • Commencement of online application: 20 September 2019 • Last date of online application by candidates: 10 October, 2019



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Importance Of GATE Exam For Biotech / Life Science Students? Well, it won’t be wrong to say India is a country of competitive exams. Because there is hardly any governmental organization in India which recruits students without any form of entrance cum competitive exams. AND WHEN IT COMES TO SEEKING ADMISSION IN ANY OF THE WELL-REPUTED INSTITUTES THEN DEFINITELY THESE EXAMS BECOME EVEN TOUGHER. BEFORE STARTING THE PREPARATION FOR ANY OF THE COMPETITIVE EXAMS EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL WILL ASK THIS ONE QUESTION TO SELF I.E. WHY I AM APPEARING FOR THIS EXAM??? By Preety

What is the importance of this Exam? And when it comes to GATE, many of them are aware of the fact that it is one of the toughest yet at the same time prestigious competitive exams among the students who desire to appear for this exam. Most of the people have a misunderstanding that GATE is exclusively for Engineering students, no , this is not true at all. Because GATE score is valid for many public sectors, to get fellowship programs from CSIR and get a scholarship in M.Tech and many more.The way people consider CAT as a lord for MBA seekers in India the same way GATE is the lord of M.Tech as well as PhD seekers. Let’s understand the details of GATE exam and the Importance Of GATE Exam. Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an all-India examination that tests a comprehensive understanding of candidates in various undergraduate subjects in engineering and sciences.GATE is conducted every year jointly by the Indian Institute of sciences and 7 Indian Institute of Technology(IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, and IIT Roorkee)on behalf of the National Coordination Board-GATE under the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development(MHRD). Not only in India but there are certain Universities outside India that considers the GATE score for their entrance process.

upon the candidate’s performance in test/interview or academic record. Even there are certain colleges and Institutes that specify GATE qualification as an essential requirement for admission without MHRD scholarship/assistantship. Candidates who are still in a dilemma whether to appear for the exam or not, here we are exploring certain advantages or benefits that will bring clarity to your understanding with respect to GATE Exam. (Importance Of GATE Exam). So before taking the final decision lets have an insight into the importance of gate exam in shaping the career of life science or a Biotech Student: Opting for higher studies :

GATE Exam has a scope depending on the degree you hold in your Master’s or B.Tech. This exam is very helpful in pursuing M.Sc programs in any of the leading institutes of the country. Moreover, they also will be provided with scholarships during the Master’s degree. Anyone whose dream is to study in IITs and NIT a good GATE score If the candidate opts for doing post- can pave the way to fulfill the indigraduate program then he/she is se- vidual’s desire. lected either through a test or interview. The scanning process depends For the recruitment in M.Tech proon the weight of GATE performance grams, essential qualifications inas well as performance in test/inter- clude Qualifying the GATE exam, view. A minimum of 70% weight clearing the cut-off from respective comes from the GATE score and the colleges and thereafter undergoing remaining 30% is evaluated based a final round of admission i.e. Inter-

view. Not only based upon specialization of the candidate, GATE score as well as an academic interest, the candidate is also eligible to choose his/ her favorite institute. During the 2 years of Post-graduation if the candidate’s rank is high as well as secured good GATE Score then he/she will have stipend access apart from other benefits. Once they have completed their degree they will be offered good packages from reputed companies. Research/PhD: One can find a number of jobs in Technical as well as management session. Programs like MS or MS by research are basically research-oriented. So the candidates who finish such programs can join research departments. This will help in pursuing PhD to make progress in their chosen field of interest. Even though the area of research in our is still under development compared to other countries but it holds a great promise. Any Life science student can go for PhD with a good GATE Score. If a person has a good GATE Score then he/she can also apply to any of the CSIR Labs for carrying out their PhD. Because in most of the CSIR Labs, they often ask for qualifications either CSIR/GATE. Thus GATE qualified candidates are eligible for JRF in such institutes. Once after the completion of PhD they are eligible for Assistant Professor jobs at IIT. The recruitment process includes a

valid GATE Score and then facing an interview panel based on the respective area of interest. With a valid GATE Score, even Certain Universities abroad like NTU Singapore offers Ph.D. position without any GRE or TOEFL score. GATE Score is valid for 3 years from the date of announcement and GATE percentile must be above 90. PSU Sectors : There are 3 Public Sector Undertaking that is listed by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India: • Bharat Immunological and Biological Corporation • Indian Vaccine Corporation Limited(IVCOL) • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council(BIRAC) BIRAC offers opportunities which include the Post of Manager and Technical Officer which requires PhD in life science as their essential qualification. Reputed institutes like BARC also consider GATE SCORE CARD as a mandatory document for the various courses they offer. Not only it also provides good stipend for the GATE qualified candidates. There are certain courses that are named as Self Supporting Courses in BARC which demands valid scorecard. Next Page>>>>


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If anyone wants to work in the biotechnology field and he/she is having a good GATE Score, it is better to go for higher studies rather seeking for jobs because Bachelor’s degree is not sufficient to get a good job in this field. In case if a candidate is not interested in higher studies and instead wants to get into a job then in the biotech field, then he/she can apply for jobs at Pharmaceutical companies and other Research Organisation. One more thing to be added about the Importance Of GATE Exam is that the candidate can enhance their job opportunities through certain training programs offered by companies like Biotech Consortium India Limited(BCIL), Government research centers, etc, some of this will pay a good stipend as well. Hopefully, everyone is aware of the

GATE 2020 exam. GATE 2020 will be conducted for 25 papers and it will be distributed over the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th of February. The GATE examination centers are present in different cities across India as well as 6 cities outside India. And like most of the other competitive exams GATE is also purely Computer Based Test. The GATE score is valid for a period of 3 years from the date of announcement of results. Eligibility criteria for GATE 2020 include: • Bachelor’s degree holders in Engineering/Technology (4 years after 10+2 or 3 years after B.Sc./ Diploma in Engineering/ Technology) and those who are in the final year of such programs. • Bachelor’s degree holders of

Four-year program in Science (B.S.) and those who are in the final year of such programmes. • Master’s degree holders in any branch of Science/Mathematics/ Statistics/Computer Applications or equivalent and those who are in the final year of such programs. • Holders of Four-year Integrated Master’s degree (Post B.Sc.) in Engineering/Technology and those who are in the second or higher year of such programs. • Holders of Five-year Integrated Master’s degree or Dual Degree in Engineering/Technology and those who are in the fourth or higher year of such programs. • Holders of Five-year Integrated M.Sc. or Five-year integrated B.Sc./M.Sc. Dual Degree and those who are in the final year of such programs. Online application for GATE will be opening by 3.9.2019 and the clos-


ing date for submission is 24.9.2019. Admit cards will be available by 3rd January 2020. Announcement of the result will be on 16 March 2020. So I guess people who were in a lot of dilemmas and confusions with respect to GATE exam have got certain basic idea of opportunities after clearing the gate exam – Importance Of GATE Exam and as the name suggests “GATE” exam is a doorway to multiple opportunities i.e. career options. Thus without wasting a single minute, take a solid preparation for the upcoming GATE Exam. There are many institutes which provide proper guidance for clearing the GATE Exam by providing effective study materials, so try to contact them if you wish to reach the zenith of success. Hence I wish All The Best to those who are willing to appear in the upcoming GATE Exam.



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UGC Announces Penalty For Publishing Research Paper In De-Recognized Journals The Indian Higher Education Regulator â&#x20AC;&#x201C; University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all universities and colleges in the country to appoint and promote faculty members based on its new list of approved journals. The body has de-recognized names of all predatory papers. THE LIST IS CALLED AS THE UGCCARE (CONSORTIUM FOR ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND ETHICS) LIST. AROUND 800 VERIFIED AND GENUINE JOURNALS HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE LIST AFTER RIGOROUS QUALITY CHECKS. By Rahul Mishra

It has been compiled by a team of experts including scholars and subject experts from various academic councils. The previous list had over 5,000 journals, and nearly 88% of them were found to be predatory by the UGC. Consortium for Academic Research and Ethics is a government-appointed body. The education regulatory body sent a notice to all universities on 16th Septemberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;19 asking them to appoint and promote faculty using the new UGC Journal Publishing list as a reference point. According to the official press release, The UGC Journal Publishing list is valid from 14th June 2019. The UGC has asked the universities to follow the new list for appointing and promoting faculty strictly. For appointments in universities, the academic credentials of faculty members are determined based on the journal in which their research paper has been published. UGC Vice-Chairman Bhushan Patwardhan said that appointments and promotions were given based on the number of papers published by a candidate. The quality of the papers was not taking into consideration. This resulted in the appointment of

sub-standard researchers in colleges and universities. The UGC Journal Publishing rule will now focus more on the quality of researchers being appointed in the Universities. Mr. Bhushan added that only those who have published their papers in the new list of approved journals would be promoted and appointed in the universities. Occasionally if it is noticed that some good research paper has been published in an unrecognized journal by mistake, it will be reviewed by an expert committee appointed by the UGC. According to the UGC Journal Publishing Rule, faculty members who have published their research papers in de-recognized journals might be denied promotion if the quality of their papers is found to be below the benchmark set by the UGC. The new list was created after the

false information such as incorrect ISSN- International Standard Serial Number. This is meant to identify a serial publication. Some of the Journals had False claims about impact In 2018, academicians from Savitri- factor, including had credentials of bai Phule Pune University conducted editors. research. They found that over 88% of the journals in the previous UGC-ap- Mr. Patwardhan, one of the authors of the research, added that over 88% proved list were predatory. of the journals assessed by them were They conducted extensive checks on found to be of low quality. the already UGC Approved List. The academicians analyzed 1009 jour- The paper had suggested that the nals after excluding 327 indexed in UGC-approved list needed severe Scopus/Web of Science. According to re-consideration. The UGC has conthe report, about 34.5% of the 1009 sidered this suggestion and came up journals were disqualified under the with this new UGC Journal Publishessential criteria. They were found ing list. to have incorrect or non-availability of critical information such as an ad- Do you think this move by the UGC dress, website details, and names of will help escalate the research quality in Indian Universities? Do share your editors. opinions in the comment section. Another 52.3% of them provided UGC received complaints about the low quality of academic research. This also affected faculty appointment in educational institutions.


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Shocking Study Reveals Presence Of Black Carbon In Placentas Of Women Exposed To Air Pollution Research finds black carbon particles breathed by mothers can cross into unborn children AIR POLLUTION BLACK CARBON PARTICLES HAVE BEEN FOUND IN THE FETAL SIDE OF PLACENTAS OF WOMEN EXPOSED TO AIR POLLUTION, INDICATING THAT THE UNBORN BABIES ARE DIRECTLY EXPOSED TO THE BLACK CARBON PRODUCED BY MOTOR TRAFFIC AND FUEL BURNING. By Ria Roy

The research work is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by air pollution particles breathed in by the mother. It found thousands of the tiny particles of black carbon per cubic millimeter of tissues in every placenta analyzed. The link between exposure to air pollution and increased miscarriages, premature births, and low birth weights is well established previously. This research suggests that the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers. Damages to fetuses have lifelong consequences and Prof. Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium, who led this research study, said that pregnancy is the most vulnerable period of life and all the organ systems of the baby are in development. For the protection of future generations, we will have to reduce exposure to these harmful particles of air pollution. He added that governments have the responsibility of cutting air pollution but that people should avoid busy roads if possible. The comprehensive global review concluded that air pollution and its particles may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in our human body. Nanoparticles of the air pollution have also been found to cross the blood-brain barrier of the human and billions of them have been found in the hearts of young city dwellers. While air pollution is being controlled and is reducing in some of the nations, the evidence of harm caused by even low levels of this is rapidly increasing and about 90% of the world’s population lives in places where the air pollution is above WHO guidelines.

The research study is published in the journal Nature Communications. The team examined twenty-five placentas from non-smoking women in the Hasselt town. It has particle pollution levels well below the European Union limit, although above the World Health Organization limit. Scientists used a laser technique in order to detect the black carbon particles, which have a unique light fingerprint. In each case, the team found nanoparticles on the fetal side of the placentas and the number correlated with air pollution levels experienced by these mothers. There was an average of about 20,000 nanoparticles per cubic millimeter in the placentas of mothers who lived near main roads. For those stays further away, the average of about 10,000 per cubic millimeter. The team also examined placentas from miscarriages. They found the particles were present even in 12-week-old fetuses. The first report on possible pollution particles in placentas was presented at a conference on September 2018, though the composition of the air pollution particles had not been confirmed. Nawrot added that the detection of the particles on the fetal side of the placental barrier means it was very likely the fetuses were exposed. He further said that the work to analyze fetal blood for air pollution particles is now underway, as is research to see if the particles cause DNA damage.

The research team also found black carbon particles in the urine of primary school children. This study was published in 2017 and they had found an average of about 10 million particles per milliliter in hundreds of 9-to-12-year-olds tested. This shows that there is translocation of particles from the lungs to all organ systems, said Nawrot. He added that it is really difficult to give people practical advice on this just because everyone has to breathe. But what people can do to avoid these health issues caused due to air pollution particles is avoid busy roads as much as possible. Because there can be very high levels of pollution next to busy roads, but just a few meters away can be lower.

was very small and more research studies were needed to determine their impact, but he advised people to use lower pollution transport options public transport, rather than cars. Grigg sais that this new field of study certainly focuses our attention on the direct role of these particles getting to the tissues, rather than particles getting into the lungs and releasing other inflammatory substances.

Air pollution research study now shows full-scale bodily harm, from lung and heart disease to diabetes and reduced intelligence to brittle bones and damaged the skin. World Health Organization calls air pollution a public health emergency and recent analysis indicates that about 8.8 million early deaths each year, though Prof Jonathan Grigg, whose team researchers suspect even this may be presented the first report of particles “the tip of the iceberg”. in 5 placentas in September, welcomed the research study and said the team’s work had since been expanded and would be published soon. Grigg at the Queen Mary University of London in the UK said that they see shreds of evidence of particles in all women which is not like it is a one-off. This implies that every day we have these very small particles moving around in our bodies. He added that we should be protecting our fetuses and this is another reminder that we need to get the air pollution levels down. But people should not be totally scared. The total weight of the tiny particles of air pollution



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WARNING : World Is At Risk Of Pandemics That Could Kill Million : WHO Our world is facing a mounting threat of epidemic-prone viral disease pandemics that could kill millions and wreak havoc on the global economy, an international expert panel has now warned, and governments should work to prepare for it and mitigate that risk of the scenario. THE GLOBAL PREPAREDNESS MONITORING BOARD (GPMB), ALONG WITH THE WORLD BANK AND THE WHO WARNED THAT EPIDEMIC-PRONE VIRAL DISEASES LIKE EBOLA, SARS, AND FLU ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING TOUGH TO MANAGE IN OUR WORLD DOMINATED BY LENGTHY CONFLICTS, FORCED MIGRATION, AND FRAGILE STATES. By Ria Roy

The threat of epidemic-prone viral diseases spreading around the globe is a real one, the panel said in a report released on Wednesday. It was mentioned in the report that a quick-moving pathogen has the potential to kill millions of people and disrupt econo- proaches to diseases and health emermies and can destabilize national se- gencies are characterized by a cycle curity as well. of panic and neglect. While some of the governments and international agencies have made efforts to be vigilant and also to prepare for major disease outbreaks since the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, those efforts by them are grossly insufficient, the report said.

The report also cited the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic case, which killed an estimated fifty million people. With a vast number of people crossing the world on planes every day, an equivalent air-borne outbreak of these diseases now could spread globally in less than thirty-six hours and kill an estimated fifty million to eighty milGro Harlem Brundtland who is a lion people, wiping out nearly 5 performer WHO head who co-chaired cent of the global economy, the report the board added that the current ap- said.

When a risk of pandemics araises, many national health systems – particularly in poor countries – would collapse. Axel van Trotsenburg who is the acting chief executive of the World Bank and a member of the panel said that the poverty and fragility exacerbate outbreaks of infectious viral diseases and help to create the conditions for pandemics to take hold. Calling on governments to “heed the lessons these epidemic-prone vi-

ral disease outbreaks are teaching us” and to “fix a roof before the rain comes”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said they should invest in strengthening health systems, boost funds for research into new technologies, improve coordination and rapid communication systems, and monitor progress continually. The World Health Organisation also warned earlier this year that another pandemic of flu – which is caused by airborne viruses – is inevitable, and said the world should prepare for it.


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IBM Unlocks Dark Matter DNA Mysteries Using Artificial Intelligence Have you heard about Dark Matter? It makes up an astonishing 85% of the matter in the universe. They are made up of some yet to be discovered atomic particles. BUT HOW ABOUT DARK MATTER DNA? THESE UNEXPLORED MOLECULES AND MATTER SURROUNDING OUR GENES MAKE UP MORE THAN HALF OF THE HUMAN GENOME. BUT THE SCIENTISTS ARE UNAWARE OF ITS FUNCTIONS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY ITS EFFECT ON THE HUMAN BODY. By Ria Roy

Scientists at IBM and the Munich Leukemia Laboratory have used some groundbreaking A.I. algorithms to unravel the functions of these mysterious DNA. Laxmi Parida, IBM Research Fellow in Computational Genomics, said that despite it making up a large portion of our genome, the dark matter DNA had been ignored. Most scientists believe it plays no role. IBM unlocks mysterious DNAThe Idea Behind The Research The scientists designed what they refer to as a “stochastic regularization A.I. model” that was built explicitly for DNA data. They termed this sys-

tem as ReVeal. Using this the team was able to train algorithms on data from patients’ blood samples; allowing the A.I. to learn from and separate specific signals from the dark matter, as well as the rest of the DNA. Pardia explained that using ReVeal, the scientists at IBM could achieve a 75% accuracy rate in identifying blood cancers just by looking at the DNA or dark matter DNA alone in a patients’ blood sample.

From these findings, the researchers suggest that dark matter DNA plays a much more significant role than previously thought in influencing the phenotype of cells and tissues. This suggests that dark matter DNA, far from being an inconsequential research footnote, may have a much higher role to play in our genome than people realized. The results also show that DNA alone contains enough signals to classify blood cancers accu-

rately. This lays the groundwork for further analysis into how blood tests could be used to diagnose these complex diseases. Parida added that the scientists hope that this research leads to more breakthroughs into how dark matter DNA influences the human genome. Researchers at IBM believe that dark matter DNA can give them a better understanding of genetics and complex disease.

Scientists Develop Controversial Mass Human Embryoids Producing Device Researchers have now invented a device which is capable of producing large numbers of living entities, that resemble very primitive human embryos, very quickly. SCIENTISTS WELCOMED THIS DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN EMBRYOIDS PRODUCING DEVICE, DESCRIBED WEDNESDAY IN THE JOURNAL NATURE, AS AN IMPORTANT ADVANCE THAT HELPS FOR STUDYING THE EARLIEST DAYS OF HUMAN EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT. By Ria Roy

But this development of this device also raises a lot of questions about where to draw the line in manufacturing synthetic human life.

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Other researchers have previously created synthetic embryos, which are also known as embryoids. These embryoids are made by coaxing human stem cells to form structures found in very early human embryos. The research study has raised questions about how similar to complete embryos they could and should be allowed to become. The new work takes such a study further by creating a method that can

These human embryo-like structures (top) were synthesized from human stem cells; they’ve been stained to illustrate different cell types. Images (bottom) of the “embryoids” in the new device that was invented to make them. Yi Zheng/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

rapidly generate relatively large numbers of human embryoids. Jianping Fu who is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who led the research, said that this new device allows us to achieve a superior efficiency to generate these early human embryo-like structures. Fu calls this step as an exciting new milestone for this emerging field that should significantly improve the ability of researchers to study early human development. And such human embryo-like structures have a lot of potentials to open what we call the so-called black box of human development, Fu added.

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He was referring to the first few weeks after a sperm fertilizes an egg where the embryo is inside a female’s body and hard to study. A long-standing guideline bars researchers from conducting studies on embryos in their laboratories beyond 14 days of development for various ethical reasons. Fu said that the ability to produce large numbers of embryoids, which are not subject to the 14-day guideline, will hopefully provide researchers with new insights into important health issues, including how to prevent birth defects and miscarriages. In addition, scientists could use the embryoids to screen medicines, to help determine whether these medications are safe for pregnant women to take. And such research can lead to a lot of good, Fu added. Other scientists also agree with this statement. Ali Brivanlou who is an embryologist at the Rockefeller University in New York said that this is a major advance in the knowledge of early human development, They are opening up windows to the hidden aspects of development or say that we have never seen before. And this knowledge is really the Holy Grail of human embryology. Because of such concerns, Fu said that he purposefully made embryoids that are not complete models of full human embryos. Embryoids only resemble a portion of the human embryo i.e, the core of the early human embryo, Fu added. These embryoids are missing key structures, such as the early stages of the placenta and yolk sac which provide nourishment to human embryos. Fu said that he understands that there may be people sensitive to this development when they see that it is

possible to massively produce organized embryonic structures. People will be concerned. he added that he wants to make 100% clear that his team has no intention of trying to generate a synthetic structure which would look like a complete human embryo. Fu also added that they have zero intention to do that!

Other scientists and bioethicists agree with this completely. But they also caution that Fu’s research would raise sensitive issues and will face various ethical issues.

The new device from the University of Michigan team enables scientists to rapidly produce large numbers of “embryo-like” structures. Human stem cells are first placed into the device; then chemicals are added to adjoining wells that stimulate the cells to grow key structures of human embryos. Yi Zheng/ University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Each device can produce about 12 embryoids in just a few days, Fu said. This enables researchers to produce hundreds of structures by using many of the devices simultaneously.

Insoo Hyun who is a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard Medical School, said that the team needs to be very careful not to Other researchers praised Fu’s ap- model all aspects of the developing proach to developing human embry- human embryos so that they can avoid oids producing device, saying going the concerns that this embryo model further would be highly problematic. could one day become a baby if you deposit it in the womb of a woman. The human embryoids producing device Fu created is a thin silicone square. The silicon plate contains four wells around a narrow channel. The researchers place stem cells i.e, either human embryonic stem cells or say induced pluripotent stem cells, that can be made from adult cells, into the device. Next, the scientists added chemicals to adjoining wells that can stimulate the cells to grow key structures of human embryos.

The rapid advances in embryoid creation and development of the device that mass produces human embryoids Daniel Sulmasy, a bioethicist at have prompted the International SociGeorgetown University, said that the ety for Stem Cell Research to launch a recent development would be sort of a review of its guidelines. very early sort of Frankenstein model, i.e, by taking different parts and stitchAnd if these embryo models end up ing these together in order to try to being complete or are built to have create an entire organism. all the same components of a natural embryo, they should be subject to the If someone tried to do it and it was same 14-day rule that limits research even at the earliest stages of human with natural human embryos, Hyun embryonic development, and they said. That is one more reason to avoid try to then let it develop further, that modeling the whole thing at once, he would be a problem, Sulmasy added. added.


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NASA Astronauts Prepare For The Moon In A Giant Water Tank NASA astronauts have to meet a long list of criteria before the space agency decides they are fit to carry out important duties in space. ASTRONAUTS ON THE MOON MISSION WILL BE MET WITH CHALLENGES THAT FEW SPACE TRAVELERS HAVE EVER ENDURED WHEN ASTRONAUTS RETURN TO THE MOON IN THE NEAR FUTURE AND NASA WANTS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE READY FOR A LIFE ON ANOTHER WORLD. By Ria Roy

NASA, in their new blog post, highlights one of the tools at its disposal for preparing NASA’s future Moon explorers at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab located at the Johnson Space Center. In a big water tank, NASA astronauts experience simulated low-gravity, and astronauts wear much more than your average swimmer. When it comes to simulating the low gravity here on Earth, our options are very much limited. NASA’s big water lab is about as good as it gets, and while it is not exactly a one to one simulation of the Moon’s low-gravity environment, it is close enough that NASA’s moon mission astronauts get a good idea of the challenges that await them when they arrive on the lunar surface.

NASA explains: “NASA astronauts wear weighted vests and backpacks to simulate walking on the Moon, which has onesixth the gravity of Earth. Astronauts Drew Feustel and Don Pettit are among those training in the massive pool, which is used primarily to train astronauts for spacewalks aboard the International Space Station.”

An entire team of divers helps in the simulated exercises by NASA for its astronauts and the astronauts are equipped with boots and gloves that match closely with what they will be wearing during Moonwalks on the lunar surface.

was mandated by the Trump administration, shortened the timeline for a return to the Moon dramatically, and there are still plenty of experts who believe that NASA will fall short of the goal and will have to push things back a bit.

NASA is now expecting to have In any case, the astronauts chosen crewed missions ready for travel for the NASA moon missions will to the Moon as soon as 2024. The be ready for the Moon whenever the NASA mission’s launch date, which rockets are ready to fly to the moon.



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Despite being found over such a wide area, researchers have considered them to be a single species, Andrias davidianus. Recent studies have found that they are not just one species but at least three different species. The species that is the largest of the three has been given a new name: Andrias sligoi- the South China giant salamander.

four sites. However, all of these were likely released from farms, because their genetics didn’t align with that of the area.

World’s Largest AmphibianThe lead author of the paper SamComparing The Genes uel Turvey said that it was shocking that at this age people were unaware about the largest species of amphibi- During the study, the researchers ans in the world. He is a conservation examined museum specimens of the scientist with the Zoological Society Chinese giant salamanders collected many decades ago. This was before of London. the widespread farming and moveAndrias davidianus is already con- ment of amphibians around the counsidered critically endangered, and try (by humans). the creatures are very close to going Researchers’ analysis shows that extinct in the wild. Accurately identi- salamanders began to diverge 3.1 fying the animals could lead to better million years ago. This was because the Tibetan Plateau rose, along with conservation efforts. the Nanling Mountains located in World’s Largest Amphibian- Rea- south-central China. This geographically separated the animals into son Behind The Extinction at least three lineages, all of which The animals are primarily threatened by poaching, habitat loss, and widespread farming of animals. There are, in fact, millions of giant salamanders throughout China on farms. These individuals appear to be members of the more widespread species- Andrias davidianus. This is partially a result of the fact that farming originated in central China, where this species is found. They’ve since been spread throughout China since the practice took off in the last few decades. Chinese giant salamanders are prized as delicacies, and their meat can fetch high prices. Turvey and others surveyed for these giant animals in the wild from 2013 to 2016 and found them in only

are separate species. One of them is unique to the Yangtze River in the north, the other to the Pearl River in the southwest, and the third one is found in various streams in the southeast. These results follow from the unique geography and genetics of the groups. Though the scientists don’t know what exact anatomical differences the separate species of the Chinese salamander might have, due to the different preservation technique followed. Turvey added that many of the samples are also young salamanders. These specimens lack some characteristics seen in older individuals. Poaching pressure has made it such that the animals don’t grow to considerable lengths in the wild anymore. Scientists say that it is impossible to say at this point how full-grown adult

salamanders of each species would differ from one another. For the third species of the giant salamander, the research group hasn’t yet been able to describe it or even name it. This is because they only have DNA from tissue samples to work with. It is not feasible since it is not a complete animal specimen, Turvey says The scientists hope the work will lead to more appropriate conservation actions escalating forward. Ideally, salamanders from farms could be screened and have their genetics identified, before potentially being bred and reintroduced to the wild. Turvey says that we in drastic danger of losing the World’s largest amphibian – The Giant Chinese Salamander.


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IIT Madras Researchers Find An Eco-Friendly Way to Degrade Plastics This strategy can degrade several varieties of plastic – Teflon, polyethylene, polypropylene ABOUT 3 YEARS AGO SCIENTISTS FROM THE INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (IIT) MADRAS OBSERVED SILVER SLOWLY DISSOLVING IN A GLUCOSE SOLUTION WHEN IT WAS HEATED TO 70 DEGREES C. By Ria Roy

Now, the research team has demonstrated an environment-friendly way to degrade the chemically inert and physically stable plastic fluoropolymer i.e, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) of which Teflon is made. All that is required to degrade this fluoropolymer into molecules is a continuous stirring of it in water which contains 1,000 ppm glucose and also metal ions for about 15 days at 70 de- The initial intuition of the team that grees C. This is an eco-friendly way the bright red luminescent particles should be containing gold turned out to degrade plastics. to be correct. After all, compounds Using the same strategy, the research with gold carbon bonds showing red team led by T. Pradeep from the De- luminescence are well known. But to partment of Chemistry at IIT Madras their surprise, besides gold, the team was able to degrade the polypropyl- found that the tiny particles also conene too. The results of the study were tained fluorocarbon polymer. He said published in the journal ACS Sustain- that they thought that Teflon impurities were being released due to meable Chemistry & Engineering. chanical action. The research team used a magnetic stirrer coated with Teflon to continuously stirred for many days the water mixed with glucose in a beaker that contains a gold foil. Prof. Pradeep said that after a few days, the team observed something unusual. They found tiny fragments with bright red luminescence floating on the surface. In earlier studies, researchers found that gold, too, corrodes very slowly due to the presence of glucose. This phenomenon was observed when other sugars were also tested.

Abhijit Nag (seated) and Pradeep performing the degradation experiments. Image Credit – India Science Wire

So the research team tested Teflon in different forms i.e, pellets, tapes, and plates. The team repeated the experiments using a Teflon beaker and also tried different metals too and still, they got the same results each time. The only difference was that the particles didn’t show bright red luminescence when copper, silver, and iron were used instead of gold. The research team then got a clue that the PTFE polymer might be breaking down into molecules through a triboelectric degradation. And an electric potential is produced at the interface of Teflon and water when the polymer is continuously stirred in water, explained Prof. Pradeep when speaking about their eco-friendly way to degrade plastics. When glucose is added to water, it first leaches out ions from the metal surface. And when the PTFE coated magnetic pellet is continuously rotated, the triboelectric charges get generated on the pellet. The PTFE gets negatively charged and the negative charge on the PTFE surface attracts the metal ions that have been

presence of molecular fragments of PTFE polymer. The fragments seen floating on the water surfaces might be due to aggregation of the molecular fragments or even due to fragmentation of the long polymer.

Glass beaker (top view) in which copper powder is stirred with glucose in water with a Teflon-coated magnetic pellet causes polymer fragments to float on the surface. Image Credit – India Science Wire.

leached out. Interaction between the metal ions and the PTFE results in metal-polymer bonding, causing the carbon-carbon bonds to destabilize which then eventually results in PTFEs degrading into small molecules. In addition to this, no such degradation of PTFE was noticed in the absence of stirring, glucose and metal ions. Rate of degradation of PTFE gets reduced at room temperature. Abhijit Nag from IIT Madras who is the first author of the paper said that the amount of triboelectric degradation happens depending on the amount of glucose that is dissolved in water. And as the amount of glucose in water increases more metal ions get leached that leads to more interaction between PTFE and metal ions. And as more metal ions bind to PTFE, there is enhanced PTFE degradation. Prof. Pradeep added that the mass spectrometry signatures imply the

The team working on an eco-friendly way to degrade plastics, have now tested it on polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and got very similar results. For a given concentration of dissolved glucose in water, the reaction is slow as the generation of triboelectric charge is less compared with PTFE, said Nag. According to the research paper, similar chemistry can possibly lead to micro and nanoplastics in food during cooking as much modern cookware are coated with Teflon. Prof. Pradeep explained that the Triboelectric degradation of PTFE, polypropylene and the other polymers might be occurring in nature in oceans where the metal ions are found in abundance and the waves provide a constant agitation. And this must be one of the ways by which the microplastics get generated, he added.



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CRISPR Cures HIV and Cancer - Peking University Research Chinese scientists have safely treated a man with leukemia- Blood Cancer and HIV using CRISPR-edited stem cells. Researchers say that the results give the CRISPR field a ‘green light’ for future research efforts. THE MAN’S MEDICAL CASE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. THIS IS THE FIRST DETAILED REPORT IN A MAJOR ACADEMIC JOURNAL OF HOW DOCTORS ARE USING THE CRISPR TECHNOLOGY TO MANIPULATE THE DNA OF A LIVING PATIENT TO CURE DISEASES. By Rahul Mishra

Though the CRISPR technology has its advantages though there has been a heavy note of caution about this gene-editing technique due to ethical issues. Peaking University Stem Cell Research Center in Beijing administered CRISPR therapy for the same. The man needed a transplant of stem cells to replace the damaged stem cells that were causing his blood cancer. That procedure also allowed scientists to re-engineer a gene called CCR5 in the donor cells to be resistant to HIV. CRISPR Cures HIV and CancerWhat were some controversies regarding the CRISPR technique? A scientist He Jiankui altered the DNA in two embryos to make the babies resistant to HIV. This effort by the scientist sparked an international controversy regarding the ethical and moral issues of the CRISPR technique. Top international organizations called on to ban the CRISPR technique. The latest effort by the scientists at Peaking University is a far more incremental but legitimate effort. The work by Peking University’s Hongkui Deng and team had several key differences from the earlier effort. This includes the controlled use of gene-editing on only select cells, the patient’s consent, and the subsequent publication of the findings. CRISPR Cures HIV and CancerResult of the Experiment The experiment had mixed results, including both positive and negative. Nineteen months after the treatment, the young man’s cancer- acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is in remission. The attempt to cure his HIV was a failure. Only about 5% of his infection-fighting lymphocytes are now resistant to

HIV, making continued treatment of the virus necessary. Deng said that even though the results showed some negative response, it shows a vital proof of the concept that Crispr-edited cells can be transplanted into a person and persist longterm. Laurie Zoloth, a professor of religion and ethics at the University of Chicago, added that we should all hope that this is a significant and influential advance in scientific research. Zoloth highlighted that this experiment was performed safely and ethically. This experiment has the power to transform medicine. CRISPR Cures HIV and CancerWas there any Safety issues? The researchers didn’t detect any adverse effects on the patients from the gene-editing or signs that the man’s DNA had been damaged. Hongkui Deng said that more extensive studies where more altered cells persist are needed to co-relate the findings. Concerns over unknown potential effects of Crispr has been one of the major hurdles standing in the way of more trials moving forward. Data on three patients treated with Crispr-manipulated cells at the University of Pennsylvania, perhaps the first in the U.S., will be presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting in December. Crispr has been compared to a word-processing system that allows writers to cut out extraneous words and correct typos quickly. With DNA, it acts as molecular scissors. It pre-

cisely trims specific flaws in genes. Scientists are still trying to determine if modifying the genome can create stray errors elsewhere or lead to unexpected harms. Deng said that Researchers are now planning to increase the number of cells that are transformed and can thrive inside of a patient for a more extended time. CRISPR Cures HIV and CancerMore Research the Need of The Hour Researchers in the field of CRISPR agreed that the safety findings are a critical first step. They are hoping further refinement of the process of gene editing using CRISPR will lead to better results. Jennifer Doudna, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berke-

ley said that one key issue is that cells that have been altered using CRISPR gene-editing or other types of technology are “finicky and tricky” to transplant. She is credited as an inventor of the CRISPR technique. She added that the latest study confirms that CRISPR Therapy appears safe, but the next step is showing that there is some efficacy, a therapeutic benefit to doing this. The first trials dor the CRISPR Technique started in 2016 in China, when Lu You, a physician at Sichuan University, had put CRISPR-edited cells into a lung cancer patient. Since then, scientists have launched multiple clinical trials and reportedly treated dozens of patients. The main concern about the CRISPR technique is whether it benefits the patients? With time and more clinical trials, the world will surely have an answer to it!


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Scientist Develop Method To Customize Microbes For Better Biofuel Production Scientists at the DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing the power of microorganisms to turn non-food biomass like switchgrass, corn stalks, and poplar into biofuels and bioproducts. MICROORGANISMS ARE THE MOST ABUNDANT LIFE FORMS ON EARTH. THEY INFLUENCE THE GROWTH OF PLANTS, DIGEST FOOD IN THE HUMAN GUT, TRANSFORM POLLUTANTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT, AND PERFORM A HOST OF OTHER FUNCTIONS THAT AFFECT OUR EVERYDAY LIFE. By Rahul Mishra

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory- the US Department of Energy have demonstrated a method to insert genes into different microorganisms that previously would not accept foreign DNA. This was done to create custom microbes to break down plants for bioenergy. To increase the efficiency of the conversion process, microbes are required that can break down cellulose and ferment it into biofuels in a single set of reactions.

to engineer a model organism like Escherichia coli or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. He is a genetic engineer at ORNL’s Biosciences Division. Enhancing or introducing target traits in these unusual microbes can be challenging. There are few tools available for engineering non-model microbes. These organisms have developed defense mechanisms that can foil attempts to insert new genes. Microbes have defense mechanisms to guard themselves against viruses. These mechanisms destroy foreign DNA.

Dubbed consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), is an approach that improves the economics of biofuels production. Though the Scientists at CBI has demonstrated the feasibility of consolidated bioprocessing, they need better strains of microbes to achieve higher yields of biofuels. The researchers are aiming to produce bacteria that eat cellulose to produce desired fuels and thrive in high-temperature environ- To distinguish their DNA from othments without oxygen. ers, each microbe adds a methyl group on specific DNA sequences. These Adam Guss says that it involves a methylated sequences are unique to complex set of traits. It is challenging the organism and act as a signature

to that particular microorganism. Special enzymes called restriction enzymes scans the cell and chew up any DNA that lacks methyl groups on the signature sequences. Guss and his team of researchers have demonstrated a way to leverage this defense system to coax microbes into accepting bioengineered DNA as their own. The team of researchers first identified a microbe’s signature sequences and the enzymes that methylate them using sequencing methods.

DNA with the expected methylation patterns. This ensures that the target microbe would accept and use the new DNA. The scientists recently published their method and the results of the experiment validating that the gene they inserted into Clostridium thermocellum ATCC27405. This microorganism is considered as ‘challenging to transform’ by scientists previously. With the application of the newly devised method, the organism the organisms were functioning as ‘anticipated.’

Then they expressed enzymes, known as methyltransferases, in a The team of scientists has had simiconventional laboratory microbe- E. lar success with ten other species and coli. With the right methyltransferas- counting. These species were previes in place, E. coli can make copies of ously unamenable to genetic engineering.

Microbes For Biofuel Production- The Principle Behind The New Method

A new method uses E. coli to generate DNA with methylation patterns that target microbes recognize and accept as their own, facilitating customization of microbes for biofuels production. Image credit: Andy Sproles and Michelle Lehman/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Microbes For Biofuel ProductionWhat’s Next? Guss foresees many benefits of this rapid domestication method for applied and basic research. According to him, this method is especially useful in identifying gene function. With this approach, scientists can remove or overexpress the gene of interest in microbes to determine how that affects the organisms’ specific traits. In addition to bioenergy, the method can be applied in biomedical and other fundamental research. Centre for Bioenergy Innovation is one of four Bioenergy Research Centers funded by the DOE Office of Science. It focuses on custom engineering feedstock plants and microbes for a sustainable bioeconomy.



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New Antibiotics from Dirt – Latest Method Designed By Scientists Researchers have designed a new way to identify antibiotics hidden in ordinary dirt rapidly. Researchers at MacMaster University devised the original method. THIS STUDY MAY HELP GUIDE DRUG DISCOVERY BY ALLOWING RESEARCHERS TO REASSESS THE POTENTIAL OF BACTERIA THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN USED FOR RARE OR NEW COMPOUNDS WITH ANTIBIOTIC ACTIVITY. THE GOAL IS TO DEVELOP THE MEDICINES IN RESPONSE TO THE CURRENT GLOBAL ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE CRISIS. By Rahul Mishra

The study- New Antibiotics from Dirt– was published in Nature Biotechnology. Elizabeth Culp, the co-principal author of the study, said that most of the antibiotics in clinical use today have been derived from bacteria and fungi that live in the soil. Her team is trying to extract new compounds from these microorganisms. This is done because she believes that these microorganisms are capable of producing new antibiotics which may help combat antibiotic sensitivity.

principal author of the study. She is a professor at the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery within the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. New Antibiotics from Dirt-The New Technology Invented

The researchers applied the CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering techGerry Wright is the team leader and nology to a selection of antibiot-

ic-producing soil bacteria. Using this technology, the researchers deleted the genes responsible for the production of two commonly found antibiotics- streptomycin and streptothricin. When the modified bacteria were rescreened without these components, the researchers found that most of them made new compounds. Grace Yim, the co-author, and postdoctoral fellow added that the tradi-

tional antibiotic screens commonly used today keep identifying the same antibiotics. Due to this reason, the drug discovery field has moved away from developing antibiotics for decades. The researchers added that they hope that their strategy- New Antibiotics from Dirt– will help to motivate others to dig deeper into the field of antibiotic discovery.

Bone Triggers Fight-or-Flight Response, Not Adrenaline – Unusual Discovery Hormones flood inside our bodies in preparation either for a battle or a quick escape when we face a threat, which is commonly known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response! FOR DECADES, WE HAVE GENERALLY THOUGHT ‘FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT’ RESPONSE WAS DRIVEN BY ADRENALINE HORMONE. BUT A RECENT STUDY SHOWS THAT ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THESE MESSENGERS AND RESPONSES COULD COME FROM A RATHER UNEXPECTED PLACE I.E, OUR SKELETON. By Ria Roy

We usually think of chemicals & hormones like cortisol and adrenaline as the things that get the heart racing and muscles pumping. Now the real star player could actually be osteocalcin which is a calcium-binding protein that is produced by our bones. released by the endocrine system of As a response to acute stress, sterour body, where these manage the oids of the glucocorticoid variety are

production of a cascade of other ‘get ready to rumble’ chemicals through-

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out various tissues. Scientists from the United States, the UK, and India argue there is one tiny problem with this explanation of the fight-or-flight reaction. When nobody is disputing that our bodies produce cortisol when we are stressed, the fact their main action is to trigger cells into the transcribing specific genes which are a process that takes time makes it an unlikely candidate for a rapid physiological response. Gerard Karsenty a geneticist of Columbia University said that although this discovery certainly does not rule out that the glucocorticoid hormones may be implicated in some capacity in the acute stress response, the discovery suggests the possibility that other hormones, possibly peptide ones, could be involved. So Karsenty and his colleagues went on the hunt for something a little more expedient by making a discovery on Bones triggering the Fight-or-Flight Response. They did this by focussing on proteins released by bone cells that would potentially have a more immediate effect on animal metabolism. Looking into the skeleton as a source

might not be as weird as it first seems. about how acute stress responses ocIn addition to this, our bones evolved cur. as a way to protect our squishy bits from being squashed, either by preda- To test their suspicions, the scientists tor or accident. put lab mice under duress by restraining them for a 45 minute time period. Karsenty explained that if we think During this time, osteocalcin levels of bone as something that evolved in the peripheral blood rose by half, to protect the organism from danger while other skeletal hormones barely i.e, the skull protects the brain from budged. trauma, the skeleton also allows vertebrates to escape its predators, and In another test, just fifteen minalso the bones in the ear alert us to utes after a few harmless ( but which approaching danger. So now the hor- were uncomfortable) shocks to their monal functions of osteocalcin begin feet, osteocalcin protein levels in the stressed mice raised by a whole 150 to make sense. percent. Osteocalcin is not in any way new to science, either. We have understood Giving the test mice subjects a whiff its functions in bone development for of a chemical found in fox urine also nearly half a century, and in very re- elevated their peripheral osteocalcent years begun to suspect bone also cin protein levels. In addition to this, has a hand in regulating our energy these went up before their corticosterlevels just by affecting glucose metab- one hormone levels began to climb, which started after a few minutes post olism. the exposure and remaining high for It also seems to give an aging mem- another 3 hours. ory a boost, at least in lab rodents. All Just to make sure it was not only a useful things in moments of danger. mouse thing, but the research team But it is still a surprising discovery also checked the hormone in huthat osteocalcin might also help to mans who volunteered to do a public kickstart our acute stress response. speech and also undergo a pulse-raising cross-examination. Sure enough, Karsenty added that this discovery up the osteocalcin went. completely changes how we think


In yet another series of tests conducted by the team, they used rodents that were genetically engineered to lack the usual corticosteroid hormone and other stress hormones and found these animals continued to present a stress response. In addition to this, a shot of osteocalcin protein in otherwise unstressed mice was all they needed to get twitchy by raising their heart rate, the temperature of the body and levels of circulating glucose. Karsenty further added that osteocalcin could explain past observations of an intact flight-or-flight response in humans and also in other animals lacking glucocorticoids and additional molecules produced by the adrenal glands. They discovered that the bones triggers fight-or-flight response, it is not the adrenaline! With the evidence building for the bone osteocalcin protein as such a strong motivator for dealing with stresses, it stands to ask why we actually need hormones like cortisol at all. The scientists are planning to unravel this mystery in their future investigations. This research was published in Cell Metabolism.



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Startup – LifeShip Wants To Send Your DNA To Moon As Backup Paying US $99 for a trip to the moon sounds like quite the bargain. But before you sign up, be aware that it’s likely to be a one-way trip, without life support, water, or even air. IN FACT, YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR WHOLE BODY AT HOME, BECAUSE THE PASSENGERS WILL BE STRICTLY MOLECULAR. By Ria Roy

Ben Haldeman, LifeShip’s founder and a veteran of earth observation company Planet Labs, said that our DNA is the smallest payload you can imagine and yet the most important in many ways. You provide a saliva sample and then they take your DNA, your source code, and preserve it up in space for eternity. They are on the mission of lunar backup storage of human DNA. LifeShip intends to store its customers’ DNA inside a synthetic “artificial amber” first used by the Arch Mission Foundation for an ill-fated lunar mission earlier this year. Arch Mission (pronounced ‘ark’ as in ‘archive’) is a nonprofit organization aiming to create multiple redundant repositories of human knowledge around our solar system. In March, a SpaceX rocket launched an Israeli spaceship carrying Arch Mission’s Lunar Library, a 30 million-page analog and a digital archive of human history and civilization cleverly squeezed onto a stack of small nickel discs. At the last minute, Arch Mission engineers added a drop of epoxy resin containing 100 million cells from 25 humans and other organisms, as well as thousands of tardigrades—resilient

water-dwelling micro-animals famed for their ability to withstand extreme temperatures, radiation, and even the vacuum of space. While the lunar lander malfunctioned and crashed into the moon at over 500 kph (300 mph) in April, the capsule containing the Lunar Library is believed to have survived, provoking a brief controversy about whether the tardigrades could somehow contaminate the moon (they can’t). Haldeman insists that sending human DNA to our nearest celestial neighbor is even less risky, both to the moon and to the DNA itself. DNA is not living, he notes. A lot of degradation of DNA in space is when radiation hits a water molecule, which then gets excited and damages the DNA. We’ll store the DNA dry, and will have many thousands of copies of each person’s DNA. If radiation

breaks up some of them, there still should be redundancy, he added. The DNA will be embedded in Arch Mission’s synthetic amber, likely between layers of its knowledge archives on future commercial moon missions. Some DNA sequences from insects and plants trapped in tree amber for tens of millions of years have been recovered, although many scientists are skeptical that DNA can be reliably decoded after so long. No one can guarantee a million years on the moon but it should be up there for a while, said Haldeman. It’s about archiving life and saving for the future but also the wonder of traveling into space and what could happen with this DNA in the future. Nova Spivack, the entrepreneur and venture capitalist behind Arch Mission, told Spectrum that the current formulation of its “artificial amber”

is simply slow-cure epoxy resin and that its longevity had not been tested. Nobody knows how long DNA would survive on the moon in this encapsulation, he admits. The main issues are heat and radiation. To protect against those would require shielding. We have not selected a form of shielding yet but we are researching it. Haldeman hopes to make LifeShip’s lunar DNA backup available to consumers this fall, initially through a Kickstarter campaign offering home DNA collection kits for $99. Traveling to the moon alongside the human cargo will be DNA of endangered animals, rare plants, and important food crops, provided by Arch Mission as part of its planetary backup strategy. Within the next couple of years, LifeShip expects to be able to hitch a ride to the moon about every six months. People will be able to look up at the moon and feel a connection with all life, and that they’re part of the big story of the Earth, said Haldeman. It’s possible that life on Earth started from something being sent here, either intentionally or knocked off another planet. Maybe we’re at the stage now of planting our own seeds of life to move out in the universe. Or maybe it’s just another lunatic scheme in a year of grandiose projects. At the very least, transporting wisps of DNA to the moon sounds more affordable and realistic than U.S. President Donald Trump’s goal of returning living, breathing astronauts there within the next five years.


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Forensic Proteomics – Novel Tool For Crime Labs & Anthropology

DNA evidence has revolutionized the field of forensic science in the past few years, cracking open cold cases and also by bringing both convictions and exonerations. The same techniques used in this field help archaeologists and anthropologists studying remains from ancient peoples or human ancestors. BUT DNA IS A RELATIVELY FRAGILE MOLECULE WHICH BREAKS DOWN EASILY. THAT IS WHERE PROTEOMICS, I.E, THE NEW SCIENCE OF ANALYZING PROTEINS, COMES INTO THE PICTURE. By Ria Roy

By reading the sequences of amino acids from fragments of proteins, researchers can work backward to infer the sequences of DNA that produced the protein. Glendon Parker who is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology and graduate group in Forensic Sciences at the University of California, Davis, said that this tool helps in reading DNA when you do not have any DNA to read. Protein is much more stable than DNA molecule, and protein detection technology is much better now, Parker added. Parker’s laboratory at University of California, Davis, with his colleagues including Jelmer Eerkens who is a professor of anthropology, Robert Rice who is also a professor of environmental toxicology and Brett Phinney who is a manager of the Proteomics Core Facility at the University of California Genome Center, is working now to establish proteomics as a novel tool in forensics and anthropology fields. The proteomics technology could be used where samples are old or degraded, and to back up results from DNA analysis, Parker said. Like genomics which is the study of entire genomes and large amounts of DNA, it is a new field enabled by rapid advances in the protein sequencing technology and also computing. The proteins are made up of chains of units called amino acids. There are about twenty naturally occurring amino acids that are encoded by DNA. A 3 letter sequence of DNA corresponds to a specific amino acid, so reading the sequences of DNA can give you the amino acid sequences of the corresponding proteins. The DNA sequences can also be deduced by reading the amino acid sequences and comparing them against the databases of known proteins and genes. The instruments like those at the University of California, Davis, Proteomics Core Facility can work with vanishingly small amounts of protein i.e, as little as about 50 nanograms.

An inch of human hair contains about 100 micrograms of protein. Hair is one of the evidence often found at crime scenes and it has very little DNA but contains more than enough protein (mostly keratin) for analysis. Just by looking at variant amino acids in keratin, scientists can identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, in the underlying DNA. This information can be used for both personal identifications and also to get information on their ancestry. Hairs vary depending on where on the body they come from. But a recent research study led by graduate student Zachary Goecker from Parker’s team showed that the differences between hairs from scalp, beard, armpit, and pubic hair are not great enough to affect identification. Some changes such as graying, dyeing and peroxide treatments had no effect on the identifying information from peptides, Parker added. The research study was published in March 2019 in Forensic Science International: Genetics. For anthropologists, both bones and teeth are a window to people of the past, but DNA in these samples may be in a very poor state. When working with Eerkens, Julia Yip, a graduate student in Parker’s laboratory, developed a novel method to determine an individual’s biological sex based on a single tooth. That is possible because teeth contain a protein called amelogenin. This happens to be located on the X and Y chromosomes that determine the biological sex of an individual. If a tooth has amelogenin-Y, then the tooth must have come from an individual with XY chromosomes. Therefore the

individual most likely to be a biological male. In the other side-by-side tests, the tooth protein analysis was more sensitive and also reliable for sex determination than either DNA or looking at the anatomy of the skeletons. This research work was published in 2018 in the Journal of Archaeological Science. This study is being followed up by postdoctoral researcher Tammy Buonasera. In a research paper published in May 2019 in Forensic Science International: Genetics, the research team has also shown that it is possible to get enough proteins for personal identification from a fingermark. The issue here is in finding and collecting the samples rather than the sensitivity of the machine, Parker added. Parker hopes that the new tool- fo-

rensic proteomics, a novel tool-can move out of the laboratories and into some real-world cases. The technique of Forensic proteomics needs to be thoroughly validated before going into wide use, Parker added. But he expects all those “boxes to be checked” within about a year. One of the possible starting points would be working on “cold cases” sexual assault kits that are also being tested for DNA and other evidence. Parker said that they are trying to get the interest of the forensics community in getting us involved in some of these cases. Parts of the laboratory’s work of Forensic Proteomics have been supported by grants from the National Institute of Justice, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.



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New Smart Skin Designed By Scientist Inspired by Chameleon! Scientists have developed a flexible smart skin that changes color when it reacts to heat and sunlight while maintaining a near-constant volume. The first author of the research paper, Yixiao Dong, said that chameleons inspired the idea‘. HE FURTHER SAID THAT HIS TEAM DEVELOPED A NEW CONCEPT FOR A COLOR-CHANGING SMART SKIN, BASED ON OBSERVATIONS OF HOW NATURE DOES IT. By Rahul Mishra

He further said that his team developed a new concept for a color-changing smart skin, based on observations of how nature does it. Besides chameleons, many other creatures have evolved the ability to change color. For example, the stripes on a neon tetra fish turn from deep indigo to blue-green when they swim into the sunlight. The study was published in the jour- drogel changes the spacing between the arrays, resulting in a color change. nal ‘ACS Nano.’ However, the problem is the unstable structure of this material. The acNew Smart Skin- How Did The Scientists Make an Artificial Skin? tion needed to change color leads to structural instability and buckling of The coloration in these organisms is the material. It shows a significant not based on pigments, but tiny parti- shrinkage while showing a visible cles in a repeating pattern, known as change in colors. A senior author of the paper addphotonic crystals. ed that Khalid Salaita No one wants To mimic chameleons and create artificial new smart skin, scientists a camouflage cloak that shrinks to have experimented with embedding change color. photonic crystal arrays into flexible, A close up time-lapsed image of water-containing polymers, or even a chameleon changing its color revealed that the photonic crystals did hydrogels. Expanding or contracting the hy- not cover the entire skin but were

spread out within a dark matrix. As the photonic crystals turned different colors, these patches of color remained the same distance apart. Dong hypothesized that the skin cells making up the dark matrix somehow adjusted to compensate for the shifts in the photonic crystals. Witnessing this phenomenon Dong and team imagine if they could design something similar. The scientists used magnets to arrange patterns of photonic crystals containing iron oxide within a hydrogel. They then embedded these arrays into a non-colorchanging hydrogel. The second- springy hydrogel was

mechanically matched to the first hydrogel to compensate for shifts in distances between the photonic crystals. When heated, this strain-accommodating smart skin (SASS) changes color but maintains a near-constant size. When exposed to natural sunlight for 10 minutes, the SASS films shifted from orange to green, without changing in size. Dong said that there is still a long way to go for real-life applications, but this development is exciting, and it will undoubtedly lead to more extensive research to develop artificial new smart skin.


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Getting PhD Degree Via CSIR NET JRF-GATE Fellowships

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India, is one of the premier national Research and Development (R&D) organization. It is among the world’s largest publicly funded R&D organization. CSIR’S IS A PIONEER IN SUSTAINED CONTRIBUTION TO S&T HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT. IT IS HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT GROUP (HRDG), A DIVISION OF CSIR PROVIDES VARIOUS GRANTS, FELLOWSHIP SCHEMES, ETC. FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. By Preety Suman

It has been contributing immensely towards producing a fast-growing knowledge economy. The numerous schemes cover a wide range of scientists and students. One of the most recent grants is known as CSIR’S JUNIOR RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP (JRF) – GATE – (CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowship) which has the aim to promote academic excellence in CSIR labs and to generate great standards of science. CSIR JRF-GATE fellowship scheme is applicable only in CSIR laboratories. Students, when awarded JRF-GATE fellowship, have to get registered for PhD in any institution including AcSIR. Engineering graduates with GATE qualification who are interested in pursuing an Integrated MTech-PhD program can be registered in AcSIR only. One has to pursue Ph.D. only then JRF-GATE fellowship is awarded so there is no automatic exit after M.Tech. JRFGATE are not eligible to be deployed in any sponsored project. Objective – CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships is for GATE qualified engineering graduates and GPAT qualified pharmaceutical graduates and allows them to pursue research through a suitable PhD program in AcSIR or in any other institution. Fellowship – These fellowships can be applicable only at CSIR laboratories and JRFs who are selected under this scheme have the excellent opportunity to work with CSIR Scientists with best of the state-of-art R&D facilities. Candidates who are chosen for the award of JRF-GATE will be eligible for fellowship subject to the condition of getting registered/ enrolled for PhD or Integrated PhD program. Eligibility – BE/B. Tech degree holders in the engineering field with

a valid GATE score Or Candidates having a B.Pharm degree should have qualified GPAT Or Candidates with B.Tech in Biotechnology should hold valid GATE score along with securing a minimum 85.00 percentile in GATE. NOT ELIGIBLE are those candidates who hold a ME/M. Tech degree; the ones eligible for direct CSIR-SRF are also not eligible to apply for JRF- GATE. Age limit– The upper age limit for JRF is 28 years which is relaxable up to 5 years for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes, women and physically handicapped applicants. Stipend and Tenure – The CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships amounts to Rs 31,000/ p.m for the first two years. In addition, contingency grant of Rs.20,000/- per annum will be provided. Further on completion of two years as JRF-GATE, the fellowship will be upgraded to SRF-GATE and with an increase in stipend to Rs. 35,000/- p.m for the 3rd and subsequent years, on the basis of assessment according to CSIR JRF-NET guidelines. The total tenure as JRF plus SRF cannot exceed five years. The stipend of research fellow/associate is not taxable under 10(16) of the IT Act. Research Progress – The fellows’ research progress/ achievements are assessed through interview consisting of an Expert Committee which includes the Guide, Head of the Department and External Member from other Institution who should be an expert

in the relevant field, not should be below the rank of Professor/ Associate Professor. Under CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships – It is also expected that Fellows should have published their research work by the end of 3rd year. This forms an important quantitative and qualitative criterion for judging the progress made by the researcher. If the work of JRF is not found satisfactory then the fellowship gets terminated. Further, if the progress is found to be unsatisfactory on completion of any sanctioned tenure, the fellowship can then be terminated. The extension of tenure for the 4th year of SRFGATE is to be done on the basis of the progress report and recommendation of the guide. The 5th year extension as SRF-GATE is again done on the recommendation of a three-member assessments Committee and progress report which should be supported with publications in the form of manuscripts/ preprints/ prints of the paper published, accepted or communicated for publication. CSIR norms should be followed for submission of annual progress report along with submission of requisite documents within six months after completion of yearly tenure, otherwise, it may lead to termination of fellowship/associateship. Duration of Fellowship – The total duration is five years within which the candidate is expected to complete the PhD degree. Selection Procedure – Under CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships : JRF-GATE candidates will be selected by CSIR laboratories by following selection procedure guidelines as advertised

and interview will be conducted by Committee duly constituted by the Director. The recommendations which are to be approved by Director are to be forwarded to Head, HRDG, along with all necessary supporting documents. The documents include a copy of the notification, GATE/GPAT scorecard, selection proceedings, resume of the selected candidate(s), mark sheets, Date of Birth certificate, Caste certificate, etc. A formal award letter will then be issued by CSIRHRDG after scrutinizing and verifying the relevant documents. The CSIR laboratory which participates in providing Integrated M.Tech.-PhD program of AcSIR can only award a maximum of 5 (five) fellowships under CSIR JRF-GATE Scheme. The various CSIR laboratories which participating in Integrated MTech-PhD program are CBRI, CECRI, CEERI, CGCRI, CIMFR, CMERI, CRRI, CSIO, IICT, IIP, IMMT, NAL, NCL, NEERI, NML, NPL, SERC. The remaining CSIR laboratories can award a maximum of 2 (two) JRF-GATE fellowships every year. Every year the number of CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships awarded will not be more than 120, if the number of JRF-GATE fellowships awarded in a year is less than 120, the remaining fellowships usually get passed on to other laboratories during the next year with the prior approval of DG, CSIR based on their requirement.

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Reservation – This fellowship also follows the reservation guidelines of Government of India for direct recruitment. Each laboratory maintains records with regard to the reservation. Publication/Patent a) Publication: The CSIR JRFGATE Fellow’s are bound to publish their research work in standard refereed journals at the discretion of the PhD Guide. It is mandatory to acknowledge the assistance provided by CSIR in all the publications with one copy of the published research papers to be sent to CSIR. b) Patent: The results which can be patented should follow the rules as follows: (i) Public funded educational/research institution, with whom a fellow is associated, should seek the patent rights at their own cost with rights would vest with the Institution concerned according to the IP policy of the concerned institutions. (ii) In case an institution, to which a CSIR JRF- GATE fellow is associated, is not in a position to apply for patent rights then CSIR at its own cost has the rights to seek the patent rights and/or commercial exploitation of the results of the research work of the fellow, then all rights would vest exclusively with CSIR. The research fellow has to abide by the following rule: a) The fellow should be a full-time researcher and abide with the disciplinary regulations of the University/ Institute/ Laboratory where he/she is working. Regular attendance is mandatory which has to be ensured by the department by making an entry in an attendance register. b) If the fellow decides to write a competitive examination, he/she should take permission from the guide and inform CSIR about it. c) Under CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships – The Research Fellow should not take any assignment other than related to his/her approved research program, paid or unpaid. However, when required, the fellow may provide assistance to the host institute in its academic work/other activities, according to the guidelines of its PhD program, provided the progress of research work of the fellow is not affected. d) Once a Research Fellow accepts the Fellowship and joins, one has to continue the research for the full tenure of the fellowship or for such less-

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er duration in which the designed ob- same place from where he left. jectives of the research problem can be achieved. Rule for leave e) No Fellow is allowed to discontinue his/her Fellowship without t approval of CSIR. If one wishes to discontinue the fellowship prior to completion of the tenure one must submit the resignation to CSIR through the Guide one month in advance, with the specified reasons for not continuing the Fellowship. The Fellowship shall cease from the date mentioned in the CSIR letter approving the resignation. ) The research Fellow has to send a detailed consolidated report of the research work carried during the entire period of Fellowship on completion of the tenure/resignation of the Fellowship through the Guide to CSIR, in the prescribed proforma (Annexure-X), within one month. g) During the tenure of the Fellowship, the Fellow can correspond with CSIR only through the Guide with the approval of the Head of the Institution. h) The Research Fellow should also keep CSIR informed about his/ her getting the higher degree, like submission of thesis for Ph.D., MD, MDS, MS, MPhil, ME etc. and submission/acceptance/publication of any research paper related of the research work done during the tenure of the fellowship. One must acknowledge the support of CSIR in the publication(s). One copy each of all the papers published must be sent to CSIR at each stage of publication/ manuscript/reprint. The rule regarding temporary teaching & research job A Research Fellow under CSIR JRF-GATE Fellowships can take up temporary paid lectureship/research job in a recognized R&D Institution/ University, College/Institute of repute/Recognized R & D Institution/ PDF studies in India & abroad only on the recommendation of Guide, with no objection from his/her University/ Institute but the duration should not exceed one year during the entire tenure of the Fellowship (JRF & SRF together). During this period the research fellow will not be receiving any stipend and contingency grant. It will be counted as a leave in the tenure which can be only taken after joining and working as Research Scholar for at least one year. The fellow then has to report for duty at the

Termination of Fellowship

a) The fellowship will get terminated from the date of viva-voce of PhD or a) Leave with stipend will be given on completion of fellowship tenure, for only 30 days for each completed whichever is earlier. The fellowship year of tenure through the approval will also be terminated from the date of the Guide after the request is com- the Fellow resigns and the resignation municated to CSIR. This leave can be has been accepted by CSIR. The Felcarried over to the next year, howev- lowship can also stand terminated by er, one cannot accumulate more than the CSIR on the recommendation of 90 days at any time during the tenure. the Supervisor and Head of the DeOf this, not more than 30 days can be partment/Institution. The fellowship taken in a calendar year with a stipend can also be terminated if the instiand beyond that, if leave taken will be tution where the fellow is working, treated as “Leave Without Stipend”. refuses to continue to provide the faSanction of leave without stipend can cilities to the fellow on disciplinary be considered by CSIR under special grounds and thus informs CSIR. circumstances. b) If a fellow leaves without perb) Women Fellows with less than mission, the stipend due will not be two surviving children are entitled to paid to him/her by the Institution, till maternity leave for up to 180 days. all the University and other dues are cleared and certified by the Univerc) The leave should be sanctioned by sity/Institution. It is the responsibilthe Guide under intimation to CSIR. ity of the University/Institution conThe Fellowship amount for leave pe- cerned to see to it. riod is to be paid only after the fellow resumes duty and submits a medical c) The research Fellows must get certificate in support of the above their claims settled within one year cause. The Fellow should make up for of leaving the Fellowship. No claim the research work during the remain- will be taken by CSIR after one year ing tenure. of leaving the Fellowship. d) Male Fellows of CSIR with less than two surviving children are also MEDICAL BENEFITS entitled to paternity leave of 15 days during the confinement of his wife on a) All Research Fellows will be prosubmission of documentary proof. vided medical facility according to the Central /State Government Medical norms. Transfer of Fellowship – CSIR b) The host institute has to get the JRF-GATE Fellowships fellows/associates medically examined during the time of joining or It’s the responsibility of the fellow thereafter. to select the host institution, guide/supervisor, carefully with the institution having necessary infrastructural and OTHER TERMS & other research facilities, etc. so as to CONDITIONS carry out his/her research before joining. As the request for transfer of fel- The host institution is entitled to lowship is not entertained except for timely submit (within one month) of some compelling circumstances. For the following documents to CSIR. taking a transfer No Objection Certificate should be given by the Fellow/ a) The list of research fellows/asAssociate from the guide and Head sociates working/terminated/ transof Department of University/Institute ferred/ resigned in the particular year from where transfer is taken and the with their date of termination/transconsent of the Guide/Host Institute fer/resignation of fellowship/associwhere Fellowships is to be transferred ateship. by giving reasons of transfer. One has to take prior approval from CSIR for b) Yearly the number of PhD degrees “transfer of fellowship” and if he/ awarded to CSIR Research Fellows she joins elsewhere without approval (JRF/SRF)/PhD theses submitted by of CSIR, the fellowship will remain CSIR Research Fellows (JRF/SRF). terminated. The Fellowship will also stand terminated from the date of c) Consolidated utilization certifiresignation. Moreover, no transfers cate of all the fellows during the fiare allowed in the last six months of nancial year in question. the tenure of fellowships & also after submission of Ph.D. thesis. d) Statement of Receipt & Expend-


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iture of CSIR grants head-wise and year-wise. Audited statement by statutory auditors or government auditors may be sent later on. e) The host institute should provide details of refunds of unspent balance

of the fellows terminated/ transferred / scholars who resigned during the year/Leave sanctioned to research fellow(s) without Stipend and the Interest Earned on Grants released by CSIR along with the cheque/draft number, date & issuing bank branch, etc.

f) CSIR can send whenever considered necessary its officers for reviewing the work of the fellows and Associates, an inspection of accounts, attendance, etc, in Universities/Institutes where the Research Fellows/As-


sociates are placed. g) Any kind of paid or honorary, partor-full-time employment or private practice even in honorary capacity is not permissible during the tenure of Fellowship/Associateship.

CSIR Partial Financial Assistance Scheme – Who Is Eligible? How To Apply ?

Anyone who belongs to the research field wishes to present their work not only at a national level but at an international level too. Presenting work not only help in exchanging ideas but all have proved to be very helpful in developing contacts for seeking help in future for research work as well as help in knowing about the research taking place all across the world. ALSO, THE BENEFITS OF INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE HELP IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERCULTURAL SKILLS. GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT YOUR WORK AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL IS QUITE EASY IN COMPARISON TO THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL. By Preety Suman

Some major problems faced by scholars and scientists to present their work at the international level are a shortage of resources. Even when resources are available, no proper opportunity for eager researchers by some of their colleagues or absence of coordination. Therefore, to combat the problems and encourage research Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has introduced the CSIR Partial Financial Assistance scheme. What is CSIR Partial Financial Assistance scheme? Council of Scientific and Industrial Research abbreviated as CSIR was established in 1942 by the Government of India as an autonomous body. It is the largest research and development organization in India. The CSIR provides several schemes to help the candidates that want to go abroad and present their work. One of the schemes available for Indian regular employees (NON-CSIR) for participating in the International Scientific Events such as Workshops, Seminar, Symposium, Conferences to attend abroad is CSIR Partial Financial Assistance scheme. The CSIR Partial Financial Assistance scheme provides partial reimbursement of airfare from an event venue to the back.

involved in research and development activities at recognized Academic Educational, research institution or organization can apply for this scheme. Age Limit – Scientists applying for the scheme should be below the age of 50 will be given preference. Educational Qualification – The minimum qualification required is that a person should be a Postgraduate in Science or should have Bachelor degree in Technology or Engineering or should have Medicine or equivalent qualification from a recognized University or institution. Travel Support – Anyone who has availed the financial assistance from CSIR for travel support in the last 3 years is not eligible. Publications – The applicant should also ensure that he/she should have published papers in refereed journals in the last 5 years.

Interesting right! But who all are eligible for this scheme?

Received Invitation – Anyone who fulfills any one of the conditions can apply:

The first criteria are that the applicant should be a regular but nonCSIR employee. Any Faculty member, Research scientist, etc. who are

• Either the applicant should have an accepted paper for presentation as a single or lead author.

• Anyone who has received an invitation as a Keynote speaker or to chair a session at the event. Application Form – The application form for the CSIR Partial Financial Assistance Scheme must reach the CSIR human resource development group (CSIR-HRDG) at least 2 months in advance (not more than 4 months in advance). Incomplete or Late application form may not be considered or rejected.

• •

Following documents is needed. AT the pre-sanctioned stage, the applicant is required to submit all the necessary details to present work abroad. • Complete documents and duly forwarded through proper channel. • Summary Sheet (Form-CSIR/ PFA/19/SUM)(PDF|WORD) and • Application form (Form-CSIR/ PFA/19/MAIN)(PDF|WORD), placed at Annexure 1 and 2 respectively, • Letter of invitation or Acceptance from organizers of the event. • Non-Objection Certificate

• •

(NOC) or permission from the place of work (Institute or organization) for the duration of stay abroad, Copy of Brochure/Announcement of the conference/workshop/Seminar/Symposia. Abstract of the paper accepted for presentation. All the details & affiliations of co-authors (if any) is also required. If the applicant is not the lead author, a certificate from the lead author is required indicating the circumstances of deputing the applicant to present the paper. Airfare estimate/Memo for Economy/ Excursion class by the shortest route from Air-India / Govt approved travel agents. Also, a copy of the letter regarding commitment from any other national or international agency for any financial assistance, full or partial for travel, registration, per diem, etc, if any, need to be submitted. Certificate from the applicant that he/she has not availed travel support CSIR in the last 3 years. Application submitted must be signed by the candidate as well as by duly authorized signatories at the academic institution where Next Page>>>>



the applicant is working. • No application would be pro- How to Purchase Tickets cessed or considered without the signature of the authorized sig- Tickets can be purchased directly natories in the column provided. from the Website or booking counters • The candidate is expected to at- of Air India Airlines. tend the entire event /conference. Tickets can also be purchased from Government of India approved travel Result Declaration agents namely viz. M/s Ashok Travels & Tours, M/s Balmer Lawrie & ComThe result for CSIR Partial Financial pany, and IRCTC as warranted under Assistance Scheme will be notified Govt. of India orders in this subject. on the CSIR website. Also, the select- Government of India guidelines for ed candidates will be provided with CSIR Partial Financial Assistance the letter by sending it to their com- Scheme – on official air travel are munication address candidate have available on specified in the application form. So, default/files/Guidlines_Air_Travensure that the address you are filling el_19.07.2017.pdf in the application form is correct. If the candidate does not receive sanc- If the Air India Airlines does not tion letter within 10 days of declara- operate a particular sector or if the tion of results, he or she may write tickets are not available for the date to regarding a of journey, journey for that sector can copy of sanction letter. be performed by partner airlines or codeshare of Air India. In this case, In the case of the copy of the sanc- a certificate from issuing agency reg tion letter, it will be sent to the email non-availability of the ticket by Air ID specified by the candidate in his/ India / Air India does not operate that her application form. No meantime sector must be furnished. correspondence will be entertained and direct contact to any individual Candidate should note that no excepregarding the selection process in any tion will be permissible in this regard. form would lead to disqualification of the applicant. Post Completion of Event (Reimbursement) will be reimbursed to inGrant Sanctioned – If the candidate stitute’s account post completion of is selected and a grant is sanctioned the event will be done after submisthen it must be noted that journey to sion of following documents. the event should be strictly performed by the shortest route in the economy i) Annexure 3-Claim Bill (Formor excursion class by Air India. CSIR/PFA/19/GA)(PDF/WORD)).

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ii) Annexure 4-Tour report (FormCSIR/PFA/19/TR)(PDF|WORD). iii) Ticket/e-ticket with boarding passes. if air ticket is booked through Air-India and government-approved travel agents as mentioned previously then only claim the bill will be admitted for reimbursement. iv) Participation certificate at the scientific event from the organizers. v) Sanction/approval letter copy of travel support received for the trip from other organization if any. vi)Annexure 5- NEFT Form (FormCSIR/PFA/19/NEFT)(PDF|WORD) Duly verified and attested form should be submitted. Following bank details of the organization should be mentioned. • Bank name (Name as per bank records) • Branch name and address, • Account number, • Nature of account, • IFSC code and • MICR Code. placed at Annexure 5).

from the completion of the event. Complete documents should be submitted. In exceptional cases only, claim received beyond 2 months will be entertained. That to the reason of delay in submission, duly forwarded through Head of the Organisation needs to be submitted. The claim, in any case, will not be entertained after 4 months. Intimation of Reimbursement – At the earliest subject to availability of funds, reimbursement would be done. The candidate will be informed by email details of UTR / Transaction ID, on the successful transfer of the fund to the institute’s account. Communication details for the CSIR Partial Financial Assistance Scheme All communication may be addressed to:

In-charge, Symposia and Travel Grant Unit, CSIR Human Resource Development Group, Room 302, CSIR Complex, (Opposite Institute of Hotel Management), Library Avenue, Make sure that all the documents (1- Pusa, New Delhi – 110012, India 6) need to be submitted in duplicate Email: that is original and one photocopy, all Phone: 011-25841037 pages self-attested by the candidate). So, dear researchers if you are interClaim Submission ested in presenting your work abroad, then don’t delay. Apply to this CSIR Travels claims for CSIR Partial Fi- Partial Financial Assistance scheme. nancial Assistance Scheme should be submitted within 2 months (60 days) Good Luck!


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How Humans Are Turning The World Into Plastic Episode 49 By Shekhar Suman

Truth is that a great part of our modern world has been possible due to the development of plastic. However, our reliance on this material is going to put us in trouble. What was once a miracle of manufacturing is at the moment filling our oceans, landfills, and our very bodies. Hello and welcome everyone to yet another interesting episode of Voice of Biotecnika podcast. This is Deepa Sharma and today we are going to have a look at how humans are turning the world into the plastic â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Plastic Pollution.

are used for packaging. In the United States alone, packaging makes up 1/3 of all the waste that is generated annually. About 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced since its What is plastic? invention, accounting to 335 million tons in 2016 alone. So what did we do For most of our history, the stuff with all this waste? 12% was burnt, needed and used by humans was built and 9% was recycled. But 79% of it is from the things found in nature. But still sticking around. approximately 100 years ago, the creation of plastic completely changed Around 8 million tons of plastic end our world. Plastic is made from poly- up in the ocean every year. This huge mers, which are long repeating chains amount of plastic will outweigh all of molecule groups. Polymers exist the fish in the ocean by 2050. Maeverywhere in nature: the walls of in- rine animals keep getting trapped in sect carapaces, hair, cells, silk, DNA. plastic and they also swallow it. 90% However, it is also possible to create of seabirds had already eaten plastic them. When crude oil is broken down in 2015. Due to Plastic PollutionMainto its components and then rear- ny animals starve as their stomachs ranged, new synthetic polymers can become full of indigestible trash. In be formed. Synthetic polymers are 2018, a sperm whale that had eaten 32 durable, lightweight and can be mold- kilos of plastic bags, nets and a drum ed into almost any shape. Plastics can got washed up in Spain. While this is be easily mass-produced without the tragic and makes for great magazine requirement of time-consuming man- covers, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an even more wideual work. Also, the raw materials for spread, invisible form of plastic, i.e., plastics are available in enormous microplastics. amounts and incredibly at a cheap rate. Thus, the golden era of plastics Microplastics are pieces smaller began. PVC for plumbing electric than 5 millimeters and thus they are gears and cases, bakelite was used for even more easily swallowed by all mechanical parts. kinds of marine life. Some of the microplastics are used in cosmetics or Acrylic is a shatter-resistant alterna- toothpaste. Thus, there are concerns tive to glass and nylon for stockings raising among scientists, especially and for war equipment. However, about health risks coming from the plastic has long ceased to be a rev- chemicals that are being added to olutionary material and has become the plastic. For example, BPA makes trash instead. We think that plastic plastic bottles transparent. But there just appears and goes away; unfor- are pieces of evidence that it intertunately, it does not. Since, synthetic feres with our hormonal system. Plaspolymers are so durable, in order to tics are made more flexible by DEHP. be broken down plastic takes between But it may cause cancer. 500 and 1,000 years. 40% of plastics It would be pretty bad if microplas-

tics are toxic because they travel up the food chain. Zooplankton eats microplastic, and zooplanktons, in turn, are eaten up by small fish. So do crabs, oysters, and predatory fish and thereby they all land on our plates. Microplastics have also been found in sea salt, beer, honey, tap water and in the household dust around us. 8 out of 10 babies and nearly all adults have measurable amounts of phthalates, a common plastic additive in their bodies. Further, almost 93% of people have BPA in their urine as a result of Plastic Pollution.

As a result, huge plastic islands are being made. Scientists of SES (Sea Education Society) conducted a study of plastics in the Atlantic and thereby calculated that there are 5,80,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer. Sources of plastic toxins in the oceanic food chain

To the extent that plastic entering the ocean, around 20% of the trash comes from ships and platforms that are offshore. The remainder sources being picked up by tides on the beach, coming from litter being blown into the 90% of almost all plastic waste en- sea, or intentional garbage dumping. tering the ocean through rivers comes The sadder part is, these plastics do from just ten rivers in Asia and Afri- not biodegrade, and so they break up ca. The Yangtze in China alone flush- into minute pieces that are later cones 1.5 million tons of plastic into the sumed by fishes and sea mammals. ocean each year. Countries like Chi- Every year more than 1,00,000 sea na, India, Algeria or Indonesia wd turtles and birds are being killed by at an impressive pace in the last few plastic from ingestion and entangledecades, transforming the lives of ment. Further, chemicals contained in billions of people. This development plastics are released into the water as was so fast, that the garbage disposal well as the atmosphere. Fishes easiinfrastructure couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep up with ly become contaminated from these collecting and recycling all the new chemicals present in the water. This waste this brought. is a straight network of how plastic chemicals enter the food chain. The Pacific Trash Vortex or gyre, also known as The Great Pacific GarPlastics impacting human health bage Patch is located in the central North Pacific Ocean and is larger A large number of plastics spread than the state of Texas. The Indian throughout the ocean. As Styrofoam is and Atlantic ocean also have garbage broken down into smaller parts, polypatches. The patches are outlined as styrene components present in it sink containing a greater amount of plas- down lower in the ocean, and thereby tic as compared to that of surround- the pollutant spreads throughout the ing oceans. Five patches in total have sea column. Not only do the toxins in been discovered so far. Plastics are plastic affect the ocean, but, in fact, being transported and they converge in the ocean where the currents meet. Next Page>>>>



they act like sponges, and thus soak up other toxins from external sources before they enter the ocean. Animals in the ocean suffer as these chemicals are ingested by them. Further, this is also not good for humans, as we ingest contaminated fish and mammals. Plastic is dangerous for humans in a variety of ways. Direct toxicity from plastics comes from cadmium, lead, and mercury. These toxins have also been found to be present in many fishes in the ocean, which proves to be very dangerous for humans. A toxic carcinogen contained in some plastics is diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). Other toxins present in plastics are also straightaway linked to birth defects, cancers, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues. Other types of toxic plastics are health-bisphenol-A or BPA, along with phthalates. Both of these are of intense concern to human health. BPA is used in many kinds of stuff, taking in food packaging materials and plastic bottles. The polymer chains of BPA break down over time, and can thereby enter the human body in lots of ways from drinking contaminated water to consuming a fish that had been exposed to the broken down toxins. Precisely, BPA is a wellknown chemical that interferes with hormonal function in humans.

Rolf Halden, an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and Arizona State University has studied the adverse effects of plastics on humans and has thus far concluded that an accurate sketch of health effects of plastics on humans is almost impossible to find out. It is due to the fact that the plastic contamination in humans is a globally spread problem; and that there are almost no unexposed subjects. It is obvious that these chemicals are not healthy for humans. Prevention of plastic contamination Efforts are put to protect the oceans from plastic pollutants along with protecting human health, but they are mostly organizations at the grassroots level. When it comes to protecting ourself from plastic contamination / Plastic Pollution, it is probably best not to have a diet that consists mainly of fish, since most of it is contaminated. However, one of the most efficient way to deal with this problem and what we could all do is that, as members of this fragile ecosystem, we need to be responsible for our trash. When we have the opportunity, we should

September 24th, 2019 Vol. 03 NO 97

try to avoid buying products which are packaged in plastic. Further, when we do use plastic, we should always recycle it. Furthermore, at the stores, a paper bag can be requested instead of plastic, or, we can also carry our own. Also, we can use a reusable water bottle, and of course not litter.

for. A part of the problem is that all of us are not aware of how this issue starts with the individual. Our individual daily actions do have a huge impact. It matters what we do. We can solve this problem by obviously making some lifestyle changes. We just have to be ready to accept this issue and look past our denial. DisThe Role Humans Play – Plastic posable plastics should be refused. Pollution Further, our friends and family can be convinced to do the same. Companies As quoted by Achim Steiner, the Ex- and politicians can be pressurized to ecutive Director of the UN Environ- take the essential steps in order to ment Programme: keep our oceans clean and our food safe. “Marine debris – trash in our oceans – is a symptom of our throw-away so- In order to bring the change, the ciety and our approach to how we use government also needs to make reguour natural resources.” As humans, lations on plastics. There has been the our tendency to be reckless about formation of some treaties, to minicleaning up after ourselves is about to malize the amount of trash entering get us in trouble. We amplify the risk the oceans. This is still not enough. of losing many species in the ocean as These grassroots organizations are well as affecting ourselves negatively. very important to the protection of the Half a pound of plastic waste is pro- oceans, going all-out to get informaduced almost every day by an aver- tion about this catastrophic pollution. age person. No wonder the oceans are We should all be really involved since rapidly getting filled up with waste. it is everyone’s responsibility. Plastic pollution is a complicated Let us give rise to these changes & problem. We brought into being a stop Plastic Pollution before it is too magic material and we had a really late, and, before we end up killing all good time with it. But we ought to be the oceanic life, or even ourselves. careful or just like Midas, we’ll end up in a world that we never wished

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Biotecnika Times 24th Sep 2019 Edition - PMRF 2019, Hindustan Petroleum Job 2019  

Biotecnika Times 24th Sep 2019 Edition - PMRF 2019, Hindustan Petroleum Job 2019

Biotecnika Times 24th Sep 2019 Edition - PMRF 2019, Hindustan Petroleum Job 2019  

Biotecnika Times 24th Sep 2019 Edition - PMRF 2019, Hindustan Petroleum Job 2019