Jain (Deemed-to-be University) and Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), Bangalore chapter together hosted a two-day national conference on “Future India - Science and Technology: Research Innovations in Biology” on 14 and 15 February 2019.
Dr. N. Sundarajan, Vice Chancellor, Jain Deemed-to-be University) spoke about the recent trend in the emergence of three IT’s (infotech, biotech and nanotech) and how it has revolutionized science and technology in India. Dr. Gangadhar, ISCA stressed the role played by ISCA in promoting the research culture for the growth and development of a country.
Dr. Rajan Dighe, Professor, IISc, chief guest of the conference, advocated freedom of expression and was also of firm opinion in encouraging a certain degree of disagreement in academics as it can lead to more creativity among faculty and research scholars. His talk also focused on the need for improving the writing skill among the younger generations.
There were around 208 participants with 23 oral presentations, 20 poster presentations and 118 participants apart from judges, chairpersons, invited guests and speakers making the event a grand success.
The scientific sessions on the first day of the conference started with a keynote address delivered by Dr. Rajan Dighe, Professor, IISc explained the mechanism of action of glycoprotein hormones and their receptors at the physiological and molecular level. His lab has attempted in answering the questions related to “how gonadotrophin regulate gonadal function in male reproduction?”
This was followed by invited lectures by Dr. Shivaprasad, NCBS, Bengaluru and Dr. Shravanthi, instem, Bengaluru. Dr. Shivaprasad’s talk started with the statement “evolution of plant forms is still an abominable mystery”. His lecture revealed how multiple yield-related traits associated with rice domestication are linked to micro (mi) RNA- mediated regulation. His talk ended by suggesting that miRNAs largely contribute to crop domestication associated phenotypes.
Dr. Shravanti spoke about epigenetics and stem cells and clarified the concept of stem cell development and homeostasis. She especially focused her lecture on the importance of euchromatic histone methyltransferase 1 (EHMT1), also known as g9a-like protein (GLP), a protein that in humans is encoded by the EHMT1 gene in development, disease and aging. She summarized her lecture by showing the possibility and the advantages of engineering EHMT1 in neurodevelopment.
The 2nd day of the conference started with a lecture on “asymmetry in nature: why and how?” The lecture was delivered by Dr. K N Ganeshaiah, INSA fellow and Prof (retd), University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru. His talk was related to the rule of “self-organizing principle” and “asymmetry”. His studies involved investigating the asymmetrical approach taken by a group of ants to have its food. His talk concluded by mentioning how symmetry if introduced into the asymmetrical portions of the plants such as soybean, can result in an increase in yield.
This was followed by the talk on “Floristic diversity in India: challenges ahead” by Dr. R R Rao, INSA Honorary Scientist. He spoke extensively on the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of genetic resources and its immense opportunities for bioprospection in India. Throughout the lecture, the speaker concentrated on the need to convert the biological resources into economic wealth by way of developing some global level products. The talk finished by stating “biodiversity-rich nations only can rule the world in the coming decades” and is possible only when we convert the biological wealth into economic wealth.
The final invited lecture was on “Transcriptome profiling of breast cancer” by Prof. Paturu Kondaiah, IISc, Bengaluru. Prof. Kondaiah explained how transcriptome profiles of breast cancer tissues are elucidated using whole genome arrays in different categories of breast cancers in patients. In order to identify differentially expressed genes in breast cancer tissues, Prof Kondaiah’s lab performed microarray hybridizations and analysis of breast tumor RNA against pooled normal RNA using Oligonucleotide arrays. Analysis of microarray data revealed differentially expressed genes between all invasive tumors compared to normal breast tissues.
The Dept. of Biotechnology, School of Sciences, Jain (Deemed-to-be University) in association with the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) Bangalore Chapter, also organized a panel discussion on “Employment Opportunities in Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutical sector”. Many eminent personalities from the Biopharmaceutical and Biotechnology sector were part of this panel discussion which was held on 15 February 2019. Dr. K N Varalakshmi, Director, Dept. of Biotechnology, Jain (Deemed-to-be University) moderated the panel discussion.
Industry experts like Dr. Madhumathi Bhavani Shankar, Deputy Manager, Discovery Biology, Anthem Biosciences Pvt. Ltd, Dr. Arvind Raghunath, Managing Director, Vyuhgenics India Pvt Ltd, Dr. Chandrashekharan, Senior Head Bangalore Genei and Founding Chairman of Vipragen Biosciences Pvt Ltd were the panelists.
Dr. Varalashmi started the panel discussion by asking the panelists on their entry to the industry sector-the path they took to reach the high positions in their respective fields. All the panelists were of the opinion that success in the industry sector requires the right attitude, good communication skills and willingness to learn. Dr. Chandrasekharan mentioned that the Biotechnology sector is challenging and also the most job satisfying sector and can’t even be compared with the IT which can be quite monotonous. Salaries are extremely competitive and are bound to increase as an individual attains experience. They also emphasized the importance of researching and getting prior knowledge about the company/industry before a job recruitment interview. The panelists mentioned that there are 1600 start-up or established companies in the biotechnology and Bio-pharma sector. The MSc and Ph.D. students of all the departments asked several questions on the job opportunities and criteria for joining a company. The panel discussion was interactive and useful for the students.
The valedictory function was graced by Dr. Nagendra and Dr. Varalakshmi KN. The Chief Guest, Dr. Nagendra, Professor & Head, Department of Bio-Technology, Sir MVIT, Bengaluru congratulated the organizers for the smooth conduct of the conference and mentioned that such scientific meetings improve awareness in the scientific community. This was followed by prize distribution for best prizes in both Oral and Poster prizes.