Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today called for incentivizing the research and public outreach as well as Inter and Intra collaboration among the frontier DBT institutes for cutting-edge and translation research for the overall benefit of society and the country.
Speaking after two-day comprehensive review of 14 Autonomous Institutions of the Department of Biotechnology at National Institute of Immunology, Dr Jitendra Singh gave the mantra of “Strive for Excellence & Innovate for the Future” to all the 14 institutes.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, in era of rapid innovations and transformative changes, Biotech Institutes should focus on its core competency and strive hard to bring research and product development at par with global standards. He said, though National Institute of Immunology (NII) has been pioneering in deciphering the molecular basis and host response to infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and viral diseases including Dengue and COVID, but its recent breakthrough in evaluating the intranasal Covid-19 vaccine in phase 3 clinical trial for its immunological effectiveness is noted by all.
Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that DBT-National Agri Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali identifies priority cereal and fruit crops with focused traits to implement genome editing approaches. He said, these new initiatives will be co-developed along with industries to streamline its operations and thereby providing impetus to Indian agriculture.
Similarly, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad has a strong mother and child health research program. Its research on immediate Kangaroo mother care has resulted in a new recommendation by WHO for preterm babies. THSTI is developing therapeutic molecules against tuberculosis, dengue and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It has contributed to covid-19 vaccine and is currently developing a pan beta corona virus vaccine, the Minister added.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB)’s HPV vaccine efficacy studies of 10 years have resulted in establishing a single dose of HPV vaccine for 9 to 18 years children sufficient to prevent infection. RGCB is also doing vaccine efficacy studies for the first indigenously developed HPV vaccine and the above has now been adopted by WHO for immunization strategy.
The achievements of National institute of animal biotechnology, (NIAB) Hyderabad has been underlined for the development of LSDV vaccine candidates through immunoinformatic, first report on complete genome sequence of LSDV (Andhra isolate), Electrochemical based Lateral Flow Assay for Japanese Encephalitis Virus and Toxoplasma Gondai.
Dr Jitendra Singh was given presentation by Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bengaluru as the institute is carrying out cutting edge research using stem cells to understand blood and cardiovascular diseases and brain disorders. Using human genetics and human stem cell technology from human clinical samples they have generated a large resource of stem cells under collaborative programs, to understand why some individuals might be prone to developing mental illness. inStem’s Centre for Stem Cell Research (CSCR) at CMC Vellore is leading efforts on musculoskeletal regeneration and gene therapy for blood disorders like hemophilia, beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Being India’s first stem cell institute inStem is also regularly carrying out extensive outreach, and highly sophisticated stem cell training for capacity building in stem cells and regenerative biology.
Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) has informed the Minister that they have identified the genomic changes which mark transition from precancer to frank oral cancer. They have conducted the first genome wide study in the GARBH-Ini cohort to identify genomic and epigenomic markers of preterm birth and also spearheaded the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, INSACOG, which provided valuable information on the emergence and spread of viral variants for public health management during the pandemic
Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar is working on several research programs in the areas of Infectious Disease Biology, Cancer Biology, and Plant and Microbial Biotechnology the research programme of ILS strategically plans to address issues on infectious disease biology in experimental as well as human models.
National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) Manesar is mandated to study brain function at different levels and apply the knowledge for societal benefit. We operate the MEG facility in collaboration with AIIMS to serve patients at a subsidized rate. In the past one year we developed a new method to estimate brain metabolites as an early indicator of dementia. We also showed that coordination between different brain centers remain invariant even though the peak alpha frequency is slowed with aging. In the next year they plan to expand our research in the areas of autism and epilepsy by utilizing the state-of-the-art MRI facilities on campus. They also aim to increase collaborations with clinicians through joint internship and MD programmes.
Heads and Directors of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thiruvananthapuram, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics, (CDFD), Hyderabad, Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, National Institute for Plant Genome Research, (NIPGR), New Delhi, Institute of Bioresources& Sustainable Development (IBSD), Imphal National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi, National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali, Punjab, Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB), Mohali, Punjab, National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar, Haryana, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (InStem), Bangalore, National Institute of Bio Medical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani took part in the review meeting.