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Jan 16, 2020 (New Delhi)
Building capacity in stem cell research
Department of Biotechnology's Bengaluru-based Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) is conducting a 10-day laboratory workshop on 'Reprogramming human somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells' from January 15 to 24.
The workshop is part of an effort to train and build capacity in stem cell research in the country.
Nine researchers from different institutions across the country are receiving hands-on training at the workshop. It focused on techniques involved in the generation and maintenance of high-quality human induced pluripotent stem cells from human somatic cells. The course combines hands-on laboratory training sessions and lectures from experts in the field.
The training has been organised under the aegis of the Accelerator program for Discovery in Brain disorders using Stem cells (ADBS), which aims to promote research in the area of mental illness by harnessing the power of sophisticated clinical investigations, modern human genetics, and stem cell technology.
The programme was launched in 2016 under the joint stewardship of Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, National Centre for Biological Sciences and National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences. It is supported by Department of Biotechnology and Pratiksha Trust founded by Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan and Mrs. Sudha Gopalakrishnan.
Jan 14, 2020 (Thiruvanathapuram)
Turmeric-based tech to kill cancer cells gets US patent
A potentially breakthrough cancer-fighting technology involving a molecule extracted from turmeric has won Thiruvananthapuram's Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences a US patent.
According to Lissy Krishnan, head of Sree Chitra's research team, delivery of "curcumin" directly to the affected tissues rather than through conventional oral or intravenous methods enables it to target malignant cancer cells while sparing the healthy ones around them.
Turmeric has proven anti-cancer properties and curcumin, a molecule extracted from it, is easily absorbed by the body and aids blood clotting, Krishnan said. At Sree Chitra, research funded by the Indian Council for Medical Research focused on processing curcumin to form a easy-to-use wafer configuration. When applied to body tissues, the curcumin present in the wafer is released into tissue fluids.
Human albumin, or rich proteins present in the fibrin clot produced from heavy bleeding, binds albumin receptors to cancer cells, thereby permitting its entry into the cells. Simultaneously, the fibrin clot is removed by the body's natural clot breakdown mechanism without any adverse effect.
"The fibrin wafer is targeted for implantation into the affected site after surgical removal of cancer tissue for killing any remaining malignant cells that have the potential to cause recurrence of cancer or spread to other parts of the body. In addition to drug delivery, the fibrin wafer can promote blood clotting at the surgical site," said Asha Kishore, director of Sree Chitra.
The institute is ready to transfer the technology for future development of curcumin as an anti-cancer treatment through animal and clinical trials. "The US patent adds value to our efforts to transfer technology and boosts the industry's confidence in exploring validation and trials with international markets in mind," Kishore said.
Jan 04, 2020 (New Delhi)
Future of the country depends on Science and Technology: Prof. C.N.R. Rao
Children's Science Congress urges Students to be determined in their pursuit of science
Infosys ISCA Travel Awards 2020 presented to 10 meritorious Students
Bharat Ratna, Professor C.N.R. Rao has said that the future of the country depended on science and technology and the future of science lay on the children who with their hard work and sincerity can work wonders in science. He was addressing the inaugural session of the Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan (Children's Science Congress), a part of the ongoing 107th Indian Science Congress being held at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru today. Eminent Scientists from India and abroad called on the numerous children gathered at the event to be determined, believe in themselves and be prepared for unexpected results in their pursuit of science.
Professor, Ada Yonath from Israel, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 advised the young children that in science everything would not go the way they want and that they should be prepared for the unexpected. "Even if things do not go your way, believe in yourselves and do not look for advice from others" she added.
She recalled that as a child she wanted to pursue science as a hobby and had set up her experiment to measure the height of the ceiling of her balcony.
She referred to the inspiration which she received from Professor G.N. Ramachandran, FRS who was known for the formulation of the Ramachandran plot for understanding peptide structure and for proposing the triple-helical model for the structure of collagen. "I had thought that I had lost the first experiment as a scientist, but that experiment was later presented by my guide at a conference in India and appreciated by Professor Ramachandran.
He stressed that science does not require degrees but dedication, doggedness and tenacity and mentioned that many of the great scientists like Michael Faraday, had made phenomenal contributions without degrees.
He also mentioned the timeless work of great Indian scientists like Sir C.V. Raman, Srinivasa Ramanujan and Professor J.C. Bose who went out of their way and carried out scientific research despite constraints of time, finance and facilities.
The Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan (Children's Science Congress) prominent event of the Indian Science Congress, was inaugurated by the Nobel Laureate Prof. Ada Yonath, Bharat Ratna Prof C.N.R. Rao in the presence of Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head, NCSTS, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and other dignitaries.
Children Science Congress is financially supported by NCSTC, DST. The main objective is to provide a unique opportunity to children of the age group of 10-17 years to use their scientific temperament and knowledge and to quench their thirst for creativity by conducting scientific experiments to solve problems identified by them. The students also get an opportunity to interact with scientists and subject experts.
Every year about 7-8 lakhs school children in the age group of 10-17 years participate at various levels from the districts, states & union territories. Around 2 to 3 best projects from each state are exhibited in the Indian Science Congress. Several projects made by students are being showcased in the University of Agricultural Science campus and students had the opportunity to listen and interact with the Young Scientists and Nobel Laureates.
During the event, Infosys ISCA Travel Award 2020 was also given to top 10 students for their best write ups for innovations in the field of Science & Technology.
Jan 02, 2020 (New Delhi)
107th Indian Science Congress begins on 3rd January
Prime Minister to inaugurate India's largest scientific event;
Main Focuss will be on Rural Development;
A Farmers Science Congress will be held for the first time
India's largest annual gathering of scientific luminaries from countries across the world, the '107th Indian Science Congress', will be held from January 3 to 7, 2020 at University of Agricultural Sciences (UASB), GKVK Campus, Bangalore, Karnataka focusing on 'Science & Technology: Rural Development'.
The Science Congress will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on January 03, 2020 at UASB, GKVK Campus. The Congress is a major focal point for scientists, researchers and academicians interested in various aspects of science discoveries and technologies. The five-day long event aims to bring together science fraternity across the world to discuss scientific innovation and research.
The Nobel Laureates who will be participating include German Physicist, Prof. Stefan Hell who is one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 'for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy' and Prof. Ada E. Yonath from Israel. She is a protein crystallographer who was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Apart from this, several senior Scientists from India and abroad along with several government officials will be participating in this event to exchange their views on a range of scientific issues, both at the national and international level.
There are 28 Plenary Sessions on areas ranging from Climate Smart Agriculture for Food Security, Crop Improvement Towards Food & Nutrition Security, Materials Science And Technology For Rural Development, Challenges and Opportunities In Cancer Drug Discovery, Artificial Intelligence And Medical Technology, Advances In Basic Medical And Clinical Interactions, Non- Communicable Diseases In Rural Population as well as Cancer Research - Therapeutic Applications. The areas also include Nano Materials for Energy, Environment and Health Care, Novel Solutions for Oil and Gas Industry Problems and so on in which senior scientists and officials will discuss on the status, challenges, opportunities and scope in these research areas.
Four Public lectures by eminent personalities like Nobel laureate Prof. Stefan Hell, Dr. Subra Suresh among others, covering topics like Ultrasharp Fluorescence Microscopy, science across disciplines ranging from basic science to applications in the industry, acute problem of modern medicine, life style diseases to recent advances in cardiac sciences will be organized in the Science Congress.
Sectional Sessions: Fourteen Sectional Sessions covering different disciplines of science will be organised in the Science Congress.
Farmers Science Congress
With focus on Rural Development through Science and Technology, for the first time in the history of Indian Science Congress, a Farmers Science Congress is being held. It will cover themes ranging from farmers innovation on integrated agriculture and entrepreneurship for doubling farmers income, climate change, bio-diversity, conservation, ecosystem services & farmers empowerment to agrarian distress, rural bio- entrepreneurship, policy issues.
The event will have the presence of experts and scientists from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) along with farmers whose innovative approaches have led to significant contributions.
Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan (Children's Science Congress)
A two day event 'Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelana' will be held at UASB, GKVK as part of the 107th Indian Science Congress on 4th and 5th January 2020. The aim is to provide a unique opportunity for children to view selected projects and interact with the student delegates and children will also have the opportunity to listen, interact with eminent scientists and Nobel Laureates. Events like one minute video competition, Infosys Foundation - ISCA Travel Awards for School Children, visit to exhibitions, live science demonstrations and science magic show will be organized as a part of the Science Congress.
Women Science Congress
The women's science congress aims to provide single platform for women working in different arena of science and technology to showcase their achievements and experiences. It will also prepare a vision document or a road map for women in science and technology and recommend policies to enhance the role and utilize the full potential of women in science and technology. In this session, women are invited to share ideas and experiences to motivate the younger women to actively participate in science to identify and find simpler solutions through Science and Technology.
Former VC's Science Congress
The former VC's Science Congress addresses the urgent need in Indian higher education institutions today is to establish quality internalisation pathways through quality culture in academic, administrative and financial spheres of institutional management. Several eminent Vice Chancellors like Prof. S.P. Thyagarajan, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Madas, Chennai and Prof N. Prabhudev, VC Bangalore University will be attending the event.
Vigyan Sancharak Sammelan - 2020 (Science Communicators Meet - 2020)
"Vigyan Sancharak Sammelan" is an initiative for Science communicators' for professional growth. This programme will focus on the theme "Science & Technology: Rural Development ". Science Communicators' role is to facilitate public engagement with scientific issues. Science communication plays an integral part in one's scientific career. Being able to effectively disseminate research findings within the community and to consider collective opinions in prioritizing research needs is an important attribute of scientific maturity. Thus, dissemination of scientific information and inculcation of scientific attitude among masses at large is the need of the hour.
With this broad goal, Science Communicators' Meet will be held to bring together experts in the field of science communication with particular reference to rural development. It will provide an opportunity to academicians, science journalists, activists, filmmakers, scientists and other communicators from all over the world to meet, deliberate and exchange their views on how to develop science communication.
Mega Science Exhibition - PRIDE OF INDIA ISC EXPO
Pride of India (PIO) ISC Expo is a unique platform for organizations from government, private and public sector to showcase their achievements in the field of science and technology. The POI Expo brings together and displays hundreds of new ideas, innovations and products covering the entire canvas of scientific world. The five days will witness a large number of visitors from the corporate sector, scientific fraternity and academia, R&D institutes, defense, government, PSUs and so on.
Jan 01, 2020 (New Delhi)
Strategic reasons do not allow dual time zones in India
Northeastern states of India Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura - and Andaman and Nicobar Islands was demanding different time zone as theses face difficulty in managing their routine work schedule. But this long standing demand of dual times zones in India is not possible because of strategic reasons said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minster of Science & Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences while replying to a parliamentary question.
He has been asked is there any plan of considering a dual time zone in the country in view of the time gap between Eastern States and Western States. In the reply he said "Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has published certain reports in science journals on this issue, referring to saving of electricity. The matter was examined by a High Level Committee (HLC). This committee comprising Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Director, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) and Chief Secretary, government of Tripura. The HLC after considering the issue recommended not to have two time zones for India for strategic reasons."
In Northeastern states the sun rises and sets earlier than the official working hours. This natural phenomenon gives birth to some practical problems like it affects the productivity and makes electric consumption much higher. Early sunrise leads to loss of daylight hours by the time offices or educational institutions open. In winter, this problem gets even more severe as the sun sets much early and therefore, more consumption of electricity is required. To deal with this tea gardens of Assam have been following 'Chaibagaan time' which is one hour ahead of India Standard Time (IST).
Recently, a study done by team of researchers from CSIR-NPL has been published in the journal Current Science that supported the demand of dual time zones for these states and said it is feasible to have dual time zones for them. The study said that technically it is feasible to have two time zones and two ISTs in India. It recommended that IST-I for most of India and IST- II for the Northeastern region, this would be separated by difference of one hour. At present, the country observes a single time zone based on the longitude passing through 82°33′E.
Interestingly, before independence the country was following three major time zones- Bombay, Calcutta and Madras Time. India had no official time zone till 1906 there were three presidencies: Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and three local times for the three cities, depending on where they fell on the longitude. The three time zones, thus created, were followed by all the states or cities around and near it. Calcutta was set at UTC+05.54, making it +00:24 of the current IST. Madras was set at UTC+05:21 making it -00:09 of the current IST. Bombay was at UTC+04:51, making it -01:19 of the current IST. Bagan Time was at around UTC+06:30, making it +1:00 of the current IST.
Dec 20, 2019 (New Delhi)
EChO Network launched to catalyze cross-disciplinary leadership in India; will train educators and students in interdisciplinary manner
Preparing Indian education for post-technological world: Prof. Vijay Raghavan
EChO Network, a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment was launched yesterday in New Delhi by Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
Speaking at the launch programme, Prof. Vijay Raghavan said India has recently embarked on a number of national-level efforts to promote ecological and environmental research on the subcontinent; however, there remains a lacuna of trained scientists with interdisciplinary skills and collaborative mindset. We need to train a new generation of educators and students who can identify and solve problems in an interdisciplinary manner and who can listen to our natural world and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology and I am convinced this network will inspire an entirely new approach to Indian education and exploration necessary for the post-technological world said Prof. VijayRaghavan.
India faces unprecedented threats to its human environmental and ecosystems, solving which requires a confluence of India's strong technological expertise and knowledge of the natural world itself. EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology. With no precedent for such a network anywhere in the world, EChO Network establishes a new platform to change how science is embedded in our modern society.
Through interactive sessions with citizens, industry, academia, and the government, the Network will identify gaps in knowledge regarding selected topics in human and environmental ecosystems. The program will then train postdoctoral leaders in research and outreach on these topics, while also incorporating current public and private efforts into a national network. It would then go on to establishing nation-wide awareness in these issues through public discourse and education for citizens, industry, and government with information exchange at all educational levels. Over time EChO Network intends to create an international distributed institute comprising individuals housed within industry, government, private, and academic sectors, combining their expertise and resources collectively to tackle large scale problems.
The initiative has drawn in partners from Government, industry and academia, with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India steering the program under the guidance of Prof. Shannon Olsson, Director, EChO Network. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hindustan Unilever Limited, RoundGlass, India Climate Collaborative, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) are the founding partners of the EChO Network.
This is a mission of hope remarked Prof. Olsson at the launch programme. He further said that throughout his career in India, he has met countless individuals working hard to make a positive difference for Indian ecosystems. The purpose of this Network he informed is to bring all those together to share knowledge and synergize efforts under the umbrella of science. In order to do this, we need leaders who are trained to communicate across different sectors of society, this is the goal of the EChO Network said Prof. Olsson.
Dec 18, 2019 (New Delhi)
JIGYASA program with CDRI
Do you know how molecules complete their journey to become a medicine? This and many other questions were answered by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow (CSIR-CDRI) scientists and research scholars in JIGYASA program under the aegis of Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) of the Institute.
A batch of 50 students along with their four faculties from Students of Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 2, Shahjahanpur (UP) visited CSIR-Central Drug Research Centre, Lucknow and interacted with scientists. Scientists from diverse fields interacted with these students where they learnt more about science and technology.
Students made lab visits where scientists explained the actual working on the various molecular aspects of drug discovery and development. Researchers demonstrated some tools and techniques of molecular biology in the lab. Students also visited the Laboratory Animal facility. The scientists explained the role of Animal Models in drug discovery and also showed them various animal models and demonstrated their handling.
Mr Vinay Tripathi, Chief Scientist, welcome the students and teachers and briefed about the programme, discussed an overview of CSIR and CDRI, its contributions in different branches of Science & Technology. He defined science, science & technology, development of science & technology in Indian perspectives.
Dr. Sanjeev Yadav, Scientist, discussed in detail about how the teamwork of scientists and researchers from various disciplines like chemistry, biology and pharmaceutical sciences come together to convert a new chemical entity into potential candidate drug and then finally a drug.
Students gained working knowledge of different kinds of machine such as Real time PCR, various microscopes, cryopreservation technics. There was an interactive session too, where students asked questions on molecular techniques, animal models and other aspects of drug discovery and development.
JIGYASA is one of the major initiatives taken up by CSIR at the national level, during its Platinum Jubilee Celebration Year. CSIR is widening and deepening its Scientific Social Responsibility further with the programme. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has joined hands with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to implement this programme. The focus of this scheme is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend students classroom learning with well-planned research laboratory based learning.
Dec 18, 2019 (New Delhi)
"Science & Technology is the fulcrum of economic development" - Prof. K VijayRaghavan
In his address at the Inaugural Session of the Indian R&D Ecosystem Conclave, Prof. K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India stated that the conclave is aimed at two major objectives namely improvement in India's R&D eco-system and also to address the gaps in data generation and collection in order to measure India's innovation competitiveness.
He emphasized that the expenditure by government in R&D should be assessed for their effective utilization as well as the outcome milestones. He also mentioned that National Research Foundation to be created by the Government of India to infuse more funds into the national R&D system. A program management unit will set up by the office of the PSA in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to work on the R&D data management and to host the R&D conclave annually. He highlighted that his office is working on the national Science, Technology & Innovation policy for India and the same should be ready within few months.
Mr. Ratan P Watal, Member Secretary, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Government of India while quoting from the report on R&D Expenditure Ecosystem prepared by Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India mentioned that government and government owned public sector undertakings have been the major investors in R&D in the country in contrast to the patterns observed in the advanced economies where private sector plays the dominant role. The aforesaid report was aimed at preparing a roadmap for the transformation of India's R&D expenditure ecosystem by creating an institutional framework, which fosters R&D spent in a coordinated, concerted and planned manner for achieving a target of GERD at 2% of GDP to the private sector playing the leading role. Indian R&D eco-system calls for higher connection, collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders for optimal expenditure coupled with improved outcomes.
Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India highlighted the need for direct funding by government to the private sector industries for risk sharing towards critical technological development.
Dr. Chitra Rajagopal, Distinguished Scientist & Director General - DRDO while addressing the conclave mentioned about the importance of defence research and how the spin-offs from defence technologies have touched the lives of common man.
Dr. Ramesh Datla, Chairman and Managing Director, ELICO Ltd. explained the contents and deliverables of the conclave.
Mr. Ravinder, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India mentioned that in order to improve the ease of doing business ranking for India, his department has taken major steps in making the patenting process more effective by taking the necessary steps in reducing the time for examination and grant of patents.
Mr. B N Satpathy, Senior Consultant, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat stated that the accuracy in generation, collection and collation of data is the key factor in capturing innovation capabilities of India. The necessary steps taken by the Government of India have resulted in substantial improvement in India's GII ranking for 81 three years ago to the current position to 52.
The objective of this conclave is twofold; to foster India's R&D ecosystem and to improve India's international ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 by addressing data gaps. It is well established that investment in R&D is the key enabler for economic growth of any country. However, India's spending on R&D has been much lower compared to other innovative nations such as the US, China, Israel and Korea and India clearly needs to redouble its efforts to improve the science and research ecosystem in the country by increasing the national expenditure on R&D and should be targeted to reach at least 2% of the GDP by 2022, which was a major target set in the report on R&D Expenditure Ecosystem published by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in July 2019. Accordingly, the conclave shall witness dedicated sessions focussing on key elements of India's R&D ecosystem, data gaps in GII, strategies and best practices for R&D around the world, enhancing contract R&D in India, higher involvement of women in science & deep-tech start-ups, and nurturing STI ecosystem in the states. The winners of CII Industrial Innovation Awards 2019 would also be felicitated at the conclave.
Dec 15, 2019 (Mysuru)
70-seater indigenous plane is in the works under CSIR's Aircraft Mission
If all goes as planned by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the prototype of India's first indigenously developed 70-seater aircraft will be ready in five or six years, with one of its labs in Bengaluru - the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) - launching the 'Aircraft Mission' soon.
NAL has developed Saras, a 19-seater light transport aircraft, and its test flights are on. This multi-purpose civilian aircraft, designed with indigenous technology, is expected to be commissioned in the next three years.
Disclosing this to reporters on the sidelines of 7th Bioprocessing India Conference at CSIR-CFTRI here on Saturday, CSIR director-general Shekhar C. Mande said the budget for the design and development of A 70-seater turbojet engine civilian aircraft has been allocated and engineers would start working on it on a mission scale. "We hope to develop the aircraft in about six years as a lot of research and work will be needed for the design of a prototype," he said.
Dr. Mande said the development of a 70-seater aircraft could change the aviation scenario as many cities with shorter runways such as Mysuru could operate these flights and be connected by air.
CSIR is also in talks with the Government of Karnataka for the launch of precision agriculture for the benefit of farmers. Dr. Mande, who is also the Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, GoI, said the project would be implemented as a pilot with the support of Infosys, IIT Dharwad, International Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru, and other institutions. With the aim of minimising losses incurred by farmers, the project will look to help them improve farm productivity through various interventions, including the use of artificial intelligence.
On wastage of food, Dr. Mande said CSIR has successfully implemented a model under which pineapples grown in Meghalaya, which were largely going to waste, are now being processed locally for juice and fruit preserves. Processing units are being set up in every district of Meghalaya with the help of entrepreneurs.
CFTRI is taking the lead in adding value to farm produce through technology intervention, and such efforts will soon be carried out in other States, including Karnataka, he added.
Speaking of another experiment, Dr. Mande said a CSIR lab has developed technology in which potash and organics can be extracted from the spent wash (residual liquid waste) of distilleries and water is used for irrigation. This model has been developed to minimise pollution. The technology was developed in Ahmedabad and trials were conducted in Sholapur. India imports potash, and at least Rs.700 crore can be saved if distilleries adopt this technology across the country, he said. "We want to implement this intervention on a cooperative model."