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inStem: The new stem cell institute at Bangalore

Jyotsna Dhawan

inStem is a new collaborative initiative where scientists and clinicians will uncover basic stem cell mechanisms for applications in improving human health.

Introduction
The Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), is an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, located at and nurtured by the NCBS, Bangalore. The mandate of inStem is to serve as the umbrella organization for three initiatives: inStem itself, located at NCBS, Bangalore represents the core intramural program for interdisciplinary basic and translational research in frontier areas of stem cell and regeneration biology, the Center for Stem Cell Research (CSCR) located at CMC Vellore, a center for translational and clinical research in stem cells and regenerative medicine, and an Extramural Program in Stem Cell Research, a funding initiative for support of stem cell research nationwide.

Mission: Collaborative Research, Education, Innovation

The mission of inStem is to create a highly cooperative environment that enables scientists and clinicians to work in collaborative teams or clusters. Through such interactions, inStem will create a critical mass to tackle challenging problems that are beyond the scope of the traditional single principal investigator-driven laboratory. inStem will strive to create a think-tank environment that encourages innovative experimentation by bringing together experimental biologists and clinicians, chemists, physicists, engineers and computational scientists in a common culture.

inStem research programs will be conceived as collaborative team-based approaches to address outstanding questions in stem cell biology with implications for human health. One current initiative is the development of an interdisciplinary international collaboration on cardiac hypertrophy and regeneration spanning a spectrum of investigations from single molecule biophysical platforms through cellular and molecular studies in ES and iPS cells and differentiated cardiomyocytes to cardiac physiology in genetically engineered mouse models, and approaching systems, translational and human studies. Advanced technology groups at the newly established Center for Cellular and Molecular Platform Technologies (C‑CAMP) will work closely with teams at inStem. C‑CAMP will also manage inStem’s interfaces with industry.

Platforms and Resources

inStem will create platforms and resources that will permit investigators to rapidly engage in interdisciplinary research. inStem will have access to existing high-end facilities at NCBS and develop new platforms jointly with NCBS and C‑CAMP as a mission of the Bangalore Biocluster.

Technologies and resources will include genomics, proteomics, structure determination, bio-infomatics, systems modeling, imaging, flow cytometry, HTS assay development, chemical libraries etc.
Cultured cells will include ES cells, iPS cells, adult stem cells (HSC, MSC, epithelial stem cells, muscle stem cells, neural stem cells) of human and model organism origin.

Model organisms: In addition to a sophisticated mouse genetics facility, inStem will develop core facilities for work on Hydra, Planaria, C. elegans, Drosophila, and Zebrafish.


Academic Educational Program

inStem will engender a vibrant educational and training program for postdocs, graduate students and project trainees. In addition to didactic and practical courses for PhD level training that will be developed jointly with CSCR, C‑CAMP and NCBS, inStem will hold workshops and conferences on frontier areas in stem cell research and applications.
Positions

Located in the Bangalore Biocluster, inStem is built on a new model in science innovation, and seeks excellent individuals at all levels, who are convinced that collaborative endeavor will drive greater basic insight and application. A key focus will be on the creation of a supportive environment for outstanding young investigators, just post-PhD, through a Fellows Program. Because of the focus on interdisciplinary approaches, we encourage scientists from all branches of the natural and physical sciences, engineers and clinicians to apply. In addition to core faculty, individuals heading resource/​technology platforms will be will be offered attractive career paths and encouraged to participate in academic research as well develop industry interface programs.

People, Contacts

Officiating Director
K. VijayRaghavan vijay@​ncbs.​res.​in (also Director NCBS)

Deans
S. Ramaswamy ramas@​ncbs.​res.​in (also CEO of C‑CAMP)
Jyotsna Dhawan jdhawan@​ncbs.​res.​in

Adjunct Faculty
Maneesha Inamdar, JNCASRinamdar@​jncasr.​ac.​in

Administrative Officer
K.M. Basavaraj kmbasavaraj@​ncbs.​res.​in

Administrative Support
Suma hamsa@​ncbs.​res.​in

Website (coming soon) www​.inStem​.res​.in