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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...
 
  • 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.
     
     
  • Mrs. 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 attended "XVI international Biodeterioration and Biodegradation  Symposium" Which was held during 3-5 September 2014 in Lodz, Poland. The symposium was jointly organized by International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation society, Lodz University of Technology and University of Lodz. Entire event was divided into twelve different sessions dedicated to both oral and poster presentations covering current research problems in the areas of Biodegradation and bioremediation. My participation in symposium  was as a speaker in oral session 08 Biodegradation and bioremediation of persistent organic pollutants chaired by Katerina Demnerova. In my presentation entitled " Adaptation strategies in Pseudomonas sp. PJ14 thriving in extreme conditions of organic pollutants: membrane is master mind"  I started my talk with  principle and importance of cutting edge   approach rhizoremediation. Why is screening and isolation of novel plant-microbe pair to be efficiently exploited in rhizoremediation experiments is of paramount importance today? What are the prime criteria that a particular strain(s) must fulfill to be used as a bioaugmentation candidate. Later I focused  on the findings of my DST funded study  conducted in Department of Biological Sciences, BITS, Pilani. Here, I 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. As an outcome of this study we are determined to optimize bioremediation strategy(s) and develop  consortium of strains that can be efficiently used as bioaugmentation candidates for the remediation of organic pollutants contaminated areas.

  • Mr. Amit Kumar Subudhi, a Research Scholar from Department of Biological Sciences has recently attended FEBS-EMBO 2014, an international meeting held at the city of Paris (France) 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). He has attended the meeting with the financial support in the form of International Travel Award from EMBO and Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India
    Mr. Amit has presented research work entitled “Genome Wide Identification of Natural Antisense Transcripts in Plasmodium falciparum Clinical Isolates” on (September 3). This research work for the first time reports the diversity of natural antisense transcripts (NATS) in P. falciparum clinical isolates from patients with diverse clinical conditions. NATs are transcribed from the strand opposite to that of the sense transcript of either protein coding or non-protein coding genes.  

  • PA Boopathi presented a research paper entitled “Discovery of Natural Antisense Transcripts in Plasmodium vivax clinical isolates” during the FEBS EMBO 2014 Conference in Paris, France (30th August to 4th September, 2014). This is the first study on prevalence of Natural antisense transcripts (NATs) in P. vivax isolates obtained from patients showing varying clinical symptoms. We have identified a total of 1348 NATs against annotated gene loci of this parasite, using custom designed microarray that contains strand specific probes. Condition speci?c expression patterns of varying sense (S) and antisense (AS) transcript levels has also been observed from this study. Discovery of NATs in this parasite is very important since our understanding of mechanisms of gene regulation in malaria parasites is very limited. Our finding suggests that antisense transcripts play an important role in gene regulation. Thus, this study would lead to future detailed investigation of mechanisms of NATs in gene regulation.I have been awarded financial assistance to attend this conference by DST (SB/ITS-Y/02643/2014-15) and Welcome Trust / DBT Alliance Link to the conference: http://www.febs-embo2014.org/
  • 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.

  • Professor 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. 
  • Mr.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.

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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