View this email in the browser 07 Apr 2021
From the IBS Desk

Dear Readers,

We have had a couple of highly eventful months at IndiaBioscience, with many new projects and initiatives. We conducted our first-ever virtual Young Investigators' Meeting (YIM) from 17 - 19 March 2021. The three days of the meeting were filled with insightful discussions, interesting talks, and active interactions. The videos of the lectures and panel discussions from the conference can be viewed here.

academia industry booklet

We are pleased to announce our newest resource - a short guide for researchers planning to transition from academia to industry. The eBooklet can be downloaded for free from our website. In this booklet, we have curated a set of interviews with established industry professionals from various sectors who have successfully made the transition from academia to industry. Through this initiative, we hope to give fresh science graduates insights into the basic differences and similarities between academia and industry, and the best way to prepare themselves for an industry career. Happy reading!

As always, we look forward to hearing from you. You can write to us anytime at, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

And now, here are some exciting events we have planned for April and May, along with some highlights of our activities in February and March.

Upcoming Events and Webinars
IUBS Centenary Webinar Series: Lecture 3 — Gombe and Beyond
27 April 2021 | 1:30PM GMT | 7:00 PM IST
Jane Goodall

To commemorate the completion of 100 years of promoting excellence in biological sciences, The International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) has launched a webinar series bringing the best of all disciplines to discuss topics that represent unified biology and the topics of prime importance to address contemporary problems such as climate change, endangered species, food and nutrition, health etc. The third lecture in the IUBS Webinar Series will be delivered by Jane Goodall, DBE. The title of the webinar is: ​“Gombe and Beyond”. An ethologist and environmentalist, with ongoing research spanning more than six decades, Jane Goodall is a pioneer in studying the behaviour, social organization, and cognitive abilities of chimpanzees. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace.

Register here
PDF Meeting 2021
18-21 May 2021

Applications are open for the PDF Meeting 2021, which will be held from 18-21 May 2021 in an online mode. This meeting is open to postdoctoral fellows in India and abroad. This will enable our invited fellows to learn about the thriving research ecosystem in India and virtually meet and listen to Directors/Vice-Chancellors/ Representatives of institutes and universities from across India. The bulk of the meeting will revolve around understanding the prospects of a research career and patterns and processes of hiring. There will also be panel discussions to talk about pertinent issues related to hiring and the ecosystem. If you are a postdoctoral fellow intending to set up a research group in India, this meeting is for you. Please complete the application process by 9 April 2021.

Apply here
The role of a toxin-antitoxin system in tuberculosis
Shalini Roy Choudhury
toxin antitoxin

The tuberculosis bacterium is notorious for its ability to stay dormant for years within the human body, evading the immune system and always one step away from causing aggressive infection. A new study investigates a novel molecular pathway that helps the bacteria avoid being noticed by the immune system.

IRMI Annual Conference 2021: Celebrating the Indian research management community
Adita Joshi

The first annual conference of the India Research Management Initiative (IRMI) of DBT/​Wellcome Trust India Alliance brought together various stakeholders including research managers and administrators, policymakers, funders, and private sector professionals on a virtual platform.

COVID-19 Vaccines in India: Frequently Asked Questions
Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 (ISRC)

Widespread vaccination against COVID-19 began in India on 16 Jan 2021. However, it can be difficult to keep track of all the information related to the same. Recently, Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 (ISRC) collated publicly available information related to the vaccines globally in use in an easy-to-access format. We present an abridged version of some frequently asked questions answered in this document.

Researchers post-lockdown: Finding the silver lining in a dark cloud
Karla P. Mercado-Shekhar

In this article, Karla P. Mercado-Shekhar, Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar writes about the process of adjusting to the new normal, and some positive changes in the way we communicate and collaborate that may have resulted from this experience.

India’s UG-STEM scholars: A demographic dividend waiting to be harnessed
Ritika Mukherji

India produces approximately 1.88 million STEM graduates every year. This large prospective scientific workforce suffers from the absence of a streamlined process to access empirical work opportunities in the form of internships, volunteering, mentorship or entrepreneurship. Ritika Mukherji argues that by not tapping into this demographic dividend, the country’s academia and industry are losing out on a massive semi-skilled workforce.

Juggling research and parenting: Reducing the baby-penalty
Swarna Mathre & Madhumala Sadanandappa
baby penalty

Becoming a parent can be an exhilarating experience for many researchers. However, it can also bring challenges, both on the professional and personal front, especially if one is in the early-career stage. In this article, Swarna and Madhumala discuss the ​“baby-penalty” and some strategies that early-career researchers can use to better prepare for this stage in their lives.

Roots before wings: Setting up a laboratory as a new investigator
Himanshu Shekhar
himanshu shekhar

Himanshu Shekhar is an Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar. He was one of the Young Investigators selected to attend YIM2020 in Mahabalipuram. In this invited article, he talks about the importance of learning and applying strategic management skills when a researcher is first setting up their independent lab.

DISHA: A Career Resource Book for Life Science and Biotechnology Students
Subhash Chandra Lakhotia

In February 2020, IndiaBioscience launched Disha, an eBook written by Suman Govil that provides comprehensive guidance on navigating the landscape of science careers in India. The following book review by SC Lakhotia (Banaras Hindu University (BHU)), was first published in Current Science, Vol. 120, NO. 3 (10 Feb 2021).

A computational tool that can rapidly identify and analyse coronavirus mutations
Susheela Srinivas
covid sequencing

A team of researchers at the Advanced Centre for Treatment Research & Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Navi Mumbai, have come up with a computational tool called the Infectious Pathogen Detector (IPD), which can quickly process large amounts of DNA sequencing data to spot pathogens and mutations in their genomes.

Mental Health in Indian Academia
Queer-trans people in STEM talk about their mental health
Sayantan Datta
queer trans stem

While there has recently been a movement towards recognizing and countering the mental health crisis in academia, such conversations often fail to take into account the nuances of aspects like caste, gender/​sexual identities, economic factors, and intersectionality. In this article, Sayantan examines the way the experiences of members of LGBTQIA+ communities affect their mental health and suggests ways in which the situation can be improved moving forward.

Building an international mental health support group for people in science
Paksh mental health

Jaishree Subrahmanium is a botanist who did her PhD in ecological genomics from the French National Institute of Agricultural Research. She has been working with Lotus STEMM, a Canadian NGO working on representing South Asian women in STEM careers, where she established a mental health support community — ​‘Paksh’. We spoke with Jaishree about her experience with this initiative and lessons from the same.

Money and mental health in Indian academia
Joel P. Joseph
money mental health

Studies suggest that prolonged financial instability can be a major contributor to mental health challenges. There is great disparity in the level of remuneration and financial incentives offered to graduate students in India, a population that is highly vulnerable to mental health issues. In this article, Joel explores some of the issues early career researchers face with regards to their financial security, and how these can leave an impact on their mental well-being.

Society, career and the female scientist: Tangled in a web
Nazia Nasir
women mental health

While considering the issue of mental health in academia, it is important to remember that existing societal structures have a significant impact on the lives of researchers and these effects vary from community to community. In this next article in our series on mental health, Nazia discusses how trying to balance the expectations of a patriarchal society with their scientific aspirations affects the mental health of women in science and some possible solutions to this problem.

International Grants Awareness Project (iGAP)
iGAP: Helping Indian researchers access international grants
Shantala Hari Dass & Zill-e-Anam

In 2019, IndiaBioscience launched the International Grants Awareness Program (iGAP), an initiative that aims to raise awareness about international funding opportunities available to Indian researchers, as well as to train and motivate them to apply for the same. This article looks back at some of our past activities and provides a snapshot of all the resources we have created under this project.

10 pointers for the last mile of the EMBO-YIP application
Arun Shukla & Shantala Hari Dass
arun shukla

The Young Investigator Programme (YIP), offered by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), is open to young investigators in the life sciences who have started their independent research groups within the last 4 years. Arun K. Shukla, Associate Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT‑K) and an EMBO-YI shares his 10 pointers for the last mile of the application process with Shantala Hari Dass.

Talk with Teachers: developing academic depth beyond the curriculum
Vijeta Raghuram
n latha

N. Latha is a scientist and an award-winning educator in the area of bioinformatics & computational biology at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. Her work has won her many laurels, including the Excellence Award for Teacher in Service by the University of Delhi in 2019 and, more recently, the INSA Teachers Award 2020. In this interview, she shares with IndiaBioscience her reflections on education in the 21st century and the importance of conducting undergraduate research.

Common Misconceptions in Biology – What Fuels the Body?
Maya Murdeshwar
common misconceptions

Undergraduate students of biochemistry may know the sequence of reactions in different pathways of energy metabolism. But how well do they understand the interconnections between these pathways? Maya Murdeshwar, an educator from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, uses a quiz featuring cheetahs, triathlons and monozygotic twins to test her students and uncover their misconceptions around these pathways. She explains her approach in this article.

How can we teach how to read a research paper to undergraduate students?
Anuttama Kulkarni
reading research papers

A lot of emphasis is given to introducing research in undergraduate curricula. On the other hand, there is little to no discussion about how to introduce the students to reading primary literature critically, or how to assess their understanding of it. Educators at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai developed a three-day module for reading research papers. In this article, one of the facilitators of the module walks us through their process.

New Books by the Indian Academy of Sciences
IASc book covers

The Indian Academy of Sciences recently released two new eBooks that can be downloaded for free from their website - Experiments with Drosophila for Biology Courses, edited by S. C. Lakhotia and H. A. Ranganath, and Experiments in Animal Behaviour: Cutting-Edge Research at Trifling Cost, written by Raghavendra Gadagkar.

ICGEB Research Grants 2021
The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Deadline 01 June
EMBO Global Investigator Network
Deadline 01 June
More Grants
Membership Outreach Associate-India
ACS International, Ltd
Deadline 11 April
Research Associate
National Institute of Immunology
Deadline 12 April
More Jobs
Holistic Approach For Next Generation Sequencing Data Analysis
Deadline 15 April
More Events


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