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Department of Biological Science

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Overview

Matching with the Institute philosophy of integrated approach to the modern areas of science and technology, the Department of Biological Sciences at the BITS Pilani was formed by merging the existing Botany and Zoology Department in the year 1969. Since then the Department is engaged in providing the quality education to the selected students and contributing to the field of modern biology by the adequate research input. Drawing manpower from Biology, Pharmacy, Chemistry and Computer Science Departments, the institute created Centre for Biotechnology. The centre was formally launched in the year 1999 with the active fund support and technical expertise from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Currently the Department is offering M.Sc.(Hons) Biological Sciences, M.E.(Biotech) and Ph.D programmes.


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Research

The department is capable of undertaking contract research projects sponsored by a company, commercial organization or institution with a predefined work scope and schedule. We will act as an extension of the sponsoring company's scientific and engineering expertise, allowing it to leverage resources. We also can work closely with companies to define project goals and tailor the project to meet specific needs. Results will be strictly proprietary to the sponsor, and customer satisfaction quality checks will be conducted immediately following completion of all contract research projects. 

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Courses

We offer a number of courses ranging from introduction to Bioinformatics to Genetic engineering. The course details and handouts can be accessed here.
 
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Faculty & Staff

Our faculty have extensive experience in industry, research as well as teaching. Our strength is a reflection of their skills, innovation and drive.
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Departmental Happenings

Here is the record of current research activities happening in the department as per the chronological order...
  • Dr. Rakesh Tuli  {Ex director NBRI (CSIR) and founder Director NABI (DBT)} and Dr. R. S. Sangwan  ( Chief Executive officer, BPU NABI) visited the department on November 22, 2014.
     
  • Mr. Kuldeep Gupta, UGC-SRF working under the supervision of Prof. Lalita Gupta presented a paper in 25th National Congress of Parasitology on Global Challenges in the Management of Parasitic Diseases (GCMPD) during 16-18th Oct. 2014. The conference was jointly organized by the Indian Parasitology Society (ISP) India and Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) held at Lucknow. Mr. Gupta delivered an oral presentation on Genomic diversity of STAT (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription) gene in different Anopheles mosquito species.
     
  • Prof. Sanjeev Kumar attended 25th National Congress of Parasitology on Global Challenges in the Management of Parasitic Diseases (GCMPD) during 16-18th Oct. 2014. The conference was jointly organized by the Indian Parasitology Society (ISP) India and Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) held at Lucknow. Prof. Kumar delivered an oral presentation on Compartment-specific immune responses in malaria vector determine the vectorial capacity
     
  • Prof. Lalita Gupta, Ms. Rini Dhawan, Ms. Parik Kakani, Ms. Tania Pal Choudhury and Ms. Divya Vaswani attended VIIIth National conference of Indian Academy of Tropical Parasitology TROPACON-2014 from 20th – 22nd Nov, 2014 which was jointly organized by Regional Medical Research Centre, NE Region (ICMR) and Indian Academy of Tropical Parasitology at Dibrugarh, Assam. Details are given below. 
    Prof. Lalita Gupta delivered oral presentation on the topic Anopheles STAT pathway Duplication and its role in immunity against Plasmodium
    Ms. Rini Dhawan, Ph.D student, working under the supervision of Prof. Lalita Gupta, She delivered oral presentation on the topic Role of Mosquito Immunity against Parasite Development: An Expedition of potent immune molecule of Anopheles mosquitoes.
    Ms. Parik Kakani, Ph.D student, working under the supervision of Prof. Sanjeev Kumar, delivered oral presentation on the topic Characterization of Anophelines peroxidase- Role in development and immunity against Blood-borne antigens
    Ms. Tania Pal Choudhury, Ph.D student, working under the supervision of Prof. Sanjeev Kumar, delivered oral presentation on the topic Exploring the role of Anopheles stephensi Heme peroxidase in mosquito innate immunity
    Ms. Divya Vaswani, M.E.student, working under the supervision of Prof. Sanjeev Kumar, delivered oral presentation on the topic Characterization of inhibitory effects of herbal extracts on Aedes aegypti egg chorion Melanization and hardening
     
  • Nisha Jangir and Asha Jakhar, working under the supervision of Dr. Santosh Kumar Padhi, presented a poster entitled Exploring regional plant hydroxynitrile lyases as potential stereoselective biocatalysts
    in the International Conference and XI convention of The Biotech Research Society, India on Emerging Trends in Biotechnology (ICETB-2014) held at New Delhi during November 6-9, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and The Biotech Research Society, India. Though the stereo-preference of HNLs and their biocatalytic characterization is still being studied, the presented work focused on screening and purification of different plant HNLs.
     
  • Gurpreet Kaur Sidhu, working under the supervision of Dr Sandhya Mehrotra, has presented a poster entitled Characterization of RuBisCO and Carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) proteins of Gloeobacter violaceus PCC 7421 at the International Conference and XI convention of The Biotech Research Society, India on Emerging Trends in Biotechnology (ICETB-2014) held at New Delhi during November 6-9, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and The Biotech Research Society, India. The presented work focused on cloning and characterization of the RuBisCO and the carbon concentrating mechanism protein from an early diverging cyanobacteria i.e. Gloeobacter violaceus PCC 7421.
     
  • Vandana, DST-INSPIRE fellow, working under the supervision of Dr. Sandhya Mehrotra presented a poster entitled Approaches for transplastomic integration of SbtA - a high affinity sodium bicarbonate symporter to C3 plants for enhanced CO2 fixation at the  International Conference on Emerging Trends in Biotechnology (ICETB-2014) held at New Delhi, India during November 6-9, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and The Biotech Research Society, India. The presented work focused on the shortlisting of several chloroplast inner envelope proteins of Arabidopsis thaliana to screen out suitable protein candidates that were fused upstream of the cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporter gene sbtA to prepare fusion constructs (Transit peptide element + sbtA).
     
     
     
  • Panchsheela Nogia, CSIR-SRF, working under the supervision of Dr. Sandhya Mehrotra presented a poster entitled Introducing cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporter gene (bicA) into inner envelope of C3 plant chloroplast to enhance carboxylase activity of RuBisCO at the International Conference and XI convention of The Biotech Research Society, India on Emerging Trends in Biotechnology (ICETB-2014) held at New Delhi during November 6-9, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and The Biotech Research Society, India. The presented work focused on the design and synthesis of fusion constructs of transit peptides (TP) and bicA gene which is a prerequisite for targeting and integration of this protein in the plant system.
     
  • Purva working under the supervision of Dr Rajesh Mehrotra, presented a poster entitled Cloning and characterization of protein phosphatase 2C(PP2C) like promoter from Arabidopsis thaliana at the International Conference and XI convention of The Biotech Research Society, India on Emerging Trends in Biotechnology (ICETB-2014) held at New Delhi during November 6-9, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and The Biotech Research Society, India. The presented work involves the assessment of the role of ACGT cis-element under abiotic stress conditions and focuses on understanding how plants combat abiotic and biotic stresses .
     
     
  • Priyanka Solanki, JRF, working under the supervision of Prof. Jitendra Panwar has attended National Conference on Nano and Functional Materials (NFM-2014) during November 7-8, 2014 organized by Department of Chemistry, BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus. She presented a poster entitled Catalytic Efficacy of Biosynthesized Gold Nanoparticles. The work focussed on mycosynthesis of gold nanoparticles and their comparative efficacy towards catalysis. Hereby she received the Third Best Poster Presentation Award
     
     
  • Mr. Arpit Bhargava, CSIR-SRF, working under the supervision of Prof. Jitendra Panwar presented a poster entitled Effect of iron oxide nanoparticles on the growth and biomass production of Spinacia oleracea L in the International Conference and XI convention of The Biotech Research Society, India on Emerging Trends in Biotechnology (ICETB-2014): held at New Delhi during November 6-9, 2014. The event was organized jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and The Biotech Research Society, India. The work focused on the effect of engineered metal nanoparticles on plant systems with an aim of employing them as a potential nutrient source in the form of ‘nano-fertilizers’.
     
      
  • Prof. Jitendra Panwar attended International Conference on Biotechnology & Bioengineering (ICBB-2014 held at BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus during October 29-30, 2014. The conference was jointly organized by the Microbiologists Society, India and BITS Pilani Dubai Campus, Dubai. Prof. Panwar delivered an oral presentation on Mycogenic protein-capped zinc oxide nanoparticles and their photocatalytic activity and received the Best Oral Presentation Award. Hereby, he also chaired a technical session.
     
  • Prof.  Cait Mc Phee of Edinburgh university delivered a talk entitled How to make a super-hydrophobic bacterial raincoat on October 10th, 2014 in the Department of Biological Sciences.
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    • Mithilesh Kajla presented a paper entitled Characterization of Anopheline unique peroxidase and its role in regulation of Plasmodium development in the international conference Challenges In Malaria Research held at Oxford university, Oxford, UK during September 22-24, 2014. She participated this work in an oral session chaired by Jake Baum as well as poster presentation.
       
    • Dr Prameela Jha presented an oral lecture entitled Adaptation strategies in Pseudomonas sp. PJ14 thriving in extreme conditions of organic pollutants: membrane is master mind in the XVI International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation  Symposium held at Lodz, Poland during 3-5 September 2014. The symposium was jointly organized by International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation society, Lodz University of Technology and University of Lodz. The presented work discussed the results of membranous adaptation strategies in the form of modulation of fatty acid content used by bacterial strain PJ14 when cultivated in different toxic compounds. It attempted to optimize bioremediation strategies and develop  consortium of strains that can be efficiently used as bioaugmentation candidates for the remediation of organic pollutants contaminated areas.

    • Amit Kumar Subudhi, presented a paper entitled Genome Wide Identification of Natural Antisense Transcripts in Plasmodium falciparum Clinical Isolates in the FEBS-EMBO 2014 held at the Paris from 30th August to 4th September, 2014. The meeting was jointly organized by Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) and European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in association with French Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology (SFBBM). The presented work reported the diversity of natural antisense transcripts (NATS) in P. falciparum clinical isolates from patients with diverse clinical conditions.

    • PA Boopathi presented a paper entitled Discovery of Natural Antisense Transcripts in Plasmodium vivax clinical isolates in the FEBS EMBO 2014 held at Paris from 30th August to 4th September, 2014. The meeting was jointly organized by Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) and European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in association with French Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology (SFBBM). The presented work showed the prevalence of Natural antisense transcripts (NATs) in P. vivax isolates obtained from patients showing varying clinical symptoms. 
       
    • Prof A k Das delivered a talk entitled Challenges and ecstasy in genomics with patient isolates : A case study from complicated malaria in NGS conference-2014 conducted by Genotypic-The genomic hub of India.

    • Prof. Akiho Yokota of Nara Institute of Science and technology, Nara Japan and Director, Plant Hi-tech Institute visited Biological science department and delivered a talk on Plausible origin of photosynthetic carbon fixation cycle. 
    • Kengo Suziki Director of research and development and Director of Euglena Co Ltd,Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan delivered a talk on Development of Euglena produced materials and its derivatives.

    • Prof. Suresh Arya, Program Director, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH, USA is delivering a series of lectures (Aug-Sep 2014) focusing on Current Perspectives of Stem Cell Biology as part of a course - 'Recent Development in Biology', along with Dr Rajdeep Chowdhury, BITS-Faculty, Department of Biological Sciences.

MOU Signed with National Institute of Health, USA

BITS, Pilani has signed a MOU with National Institute of Health, USA for research collaboration in the area of epigenetics and human health. The collaboration is aimed at students and faculty exchange programme for completing doctoral thesis work.

Admission to PhD Programme

Applications are invited for admission to PhD Programme for IInd Semester, 2014-2015.
Deadline for submission of the completed application form is December 18th, 2014.  
Please visit  Admission to PhD Programme for further details.

An institution deemed to be a University estd. vide Sec.3 of the UGC Act,1956 under notification # F.12-23/63.U-2 of Jun 18,1964

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