Columns Indian Scenario

Cutting-edge technology platforms in India

Taslimarif Saiyed

C‑CAMP is a new center in Bangalore that provides access to cutting-edge technologies in the life sciences. Learn what it has to offer…

Importance of core technology platforms

In life science research today, high-end technology and tools are becoming key components in conducting laboratory experiments. Hence, accessibility to these high-end technologies can determine the success of any scientific laboratory, organization, or community. In general, accessibility to advanced technology depends on individual Principal Investigator’s funding availability. Additionally, sharing these advance technology from individual laboratories has been a challenge through out the world; however, western countries have tried to address this by establishing core facilities accessible to all researchers. Several universities in the US and some institutions in Europe like EMBL, Marie Curie etc. have created state of the art technology platforms with technology champions as the head of each facility.

Need in India for core technology platforms

In the Indian Bioscience research community, there is currently a lack of high-end technologies being made available to the majority of scientists. This is not due to the lack of funds but the absence of professional expert-run facilities, focused on providing timely advice and services to scientists. In order to have access to high-end technologies, individual PI’s are constantly required to dig into their grant funds and establish these facilities in-house. Subsequently, these facilities become exclusively available to the PI’s lab and very few others on the outside. Even when the PI is happy to share his facilities, time and resources come in the way. As a ripple effect, these expensive technologies become infrequently used and the full potential and capabilities of the technologies are scarcely realized. Another significant stumbling block is the fact that these facilities are usually run by the PIs themselves and as a result are not given the attention they require to be managed and maintained appropriately.

In countries like the US, the burden on individual researchers has been lifted to some extent with the introduction of many centralized, high-end technology facilities that specifically cater to multiple institutions and organizations. These organizations also have dedicated facility managers and support staff to ensure the smooth running of the facilities and proper maintenance of equipment.

Genesis of C‑CAMP

Given this contrasting scenario, it was felt that India needed a dedicated organization with the aim of giving Indian researchers access to high-end technologies through a centralized medium, allowing them to compete on the world stage and at the frontier of biological science. Thus, in 2009 – 2010 Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C‑CAMP, www​.ccamp​.res​.in) came in to being as collaboration between Dept. of Biotechnology (Govt. of India) and Dept. of Atomic Energy (Govt. of India).

C‑CAMP is part of the Bangalore BioCluster, which also consists of National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS, www​.ncbs​.res​.in) and The Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem, www​.instem​.res​.in). Our vision is to act as an enabler of success in bioscience research and entrepreneurship by providing research, development, training and service in state of the art technology platforms.

C‑CAMP wants to ensure investigators are able to utilize cutting-edge bioscience tools and not be limited by technological barriers while pursuing challenging scientific questions. We are open to interesting ideas from potential collaborators from academia and industry to achieve these goals and are willing to support these ideas at various levels.