View this email in the browser 25 Sep 2020
From the IBS Desk

Dear Reader,

As we head into October, we hope you are all staying safe and maintaining reasonable precautions. The pandemic has resulted in fundamental changes to our daily habits and living patterns and while this may take time to adjust to, it has also opened up new possibilities and opportunities. We are pleased to bring you a set of webinars aimed at promoting skill development, knowledge gain, and dialogue on important issues. Please find these linked below.

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This month, to celebrate Teacher's Day (5 Sep), we spoke with Pragya Verma, a researcher-turned educator, who involves her students in her science in addition to carrying out social projects to promote application-based learning among students of all levels. You can listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of these discussions here, and also check out our season on ‘Crafting your Career’ on IndiaBiospeaks. If you enjoy listening to it, please leave us a comment, subscribe and share!

As many of you might know, October 10 is celebrated as World Mental Health Day. Last year, we published a series of articles on mental health and launched a survey to understand the status of mental health support in Indian Institutes. This year, we have webinars as well as a new series of articles planned around the theme of mental health, to be published soon. We are looking forward to your participation and help in raising more awareness about this often-stigmatized issue.

We always love hearing from you and you can write to us anytime at, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. If you haven't already, please visit our collection of scientifically validated resources on COVID-19, including videos, infographics, articles, FAQs, and more.

Stay tuned | Stay connected | Stay safe

Upcoming Webinars
IUBS Centenary Webinar Series: Lecture 1 | Forgetting how to tend the soil
2 Oct 2020 | 1:00 PM GMT | 6:30 PM IST

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 evolution, taxonomy, ecology, biodiversity, and other topics that represent unified biology and the topics of prime importance to address contemporary problems such as climate change, endangered species, food & nutrition, health etc. Join the conversation with this year’s World Food Prize winner Prof. Rattan Lal, moderated by Alison Meston, Communications Director, International Science Council (ISC). Register here.

IndiaBiostreams: Let's Discuss HFSP Postdoctoral Fellowships
8 Oct 2020 | 3:00 - 4:30 PM IST

IndiaBioscience's International Grants Awareness Program (iGAP) aims to spread awareness of international funding schemes, impart skills to craft a successful application, and inculcate the confidence to apply by sharing access to a network of Indian mentors. Here we explore the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellowships. Join us for an informational webinar that discusses the HFSP Fellowships open to senior PhD students and early-stage postdoctoral fellows, and provides insights on what makes for a successful application. Register here.

    IndiaBiostreams: Webinar on Mental Health for Early and Mid-Career Faculty
    9 Oct 2020 | 4:00 - 5:30 PM IST

    Mental health is a serious concern in academia, across the world and at all levels. There is an increasing global push to acknowledge and bring discussions on mental health to the forefront. and seek and share individual and collective solutions to support and promote the mental well-being of academic professionals. Taking the initiative to create awareness and de-stigmatize mental health will be vital to making science in India a more inclusive and supportive place. Join us for a moderated stakeholder dialogue towards making conscious and progressive changes at the individual and systemic levels. More information here.

    Synthetic solutions for targeting cancer cells
    Gargi Deshmukh
    synthetic biology

    One of the main challenges in cancer chemotherapy is how to selectively kill tumour cells while leaving healthy cells alive. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have come up with a novel approach where they use an artificially constructed ion channel and certain biochemical peculiarities of cancer cells to induce cell death in a highly targeted manner.

    Unexpected prey behaviour reveals positive effects of predators
    Fathima Athar

    When selecting sites for laying eggs, female Aedes mosquitoes avoid water puddles that lack predators and choose ones with a few predators instead. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), Mysore, explain this puzzling behaviour of Aedes mosquitoes.

    Bug story: Looking at Indian Bison domestication through the lens of gut microbes
    Hina Malik
    indian bison

    The gut microbiome of wild animals can provide a plethora of information related to animal health. However, studies looking at evolutionary and animal health-related issues through the lens of gut microbes are currently lacking in India. A recent study reveals the gut bacterial diversity of Indian Gaur and its domesticated form Mithun.

    A new study explains how the tuberculosis bacteria activates HIV
    Joel P. Joseph

    Tuberculosis is a common comorbidity in those infected with HIV/AIDS, and the two conditions are known to exacerbate one another. A new study from researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru demonstrates that Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the tuberculosis bacteria, can reactivate dormant HIV within the human body, a process that can potentially be targeted by specific drugs.

    Monsoon Brain Meeting 2020: Talking about the brain in the rain
    Annapoorna P K
    monsoon brain meeting

    The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded our need for virtual meeting platforms and pushed conference organisers to innovate to ensure that scientific networking continues to flourish in these troubled times. The Monsoon Brain Meeting 2020, held in June 2020, aimed to embrace the virtual format and use it to facilitate discussions on and around neuroscience, as reported here by Annapoorna, one of the attendees of the meeting.

    Winners of the first IndiaBioscience Outreach Grants announced
    Shreya Ghosh
    IOG winners

    The IndiaBioscience Outreach Grants were initiated to motivate young researchers to step out of their labs and build stronger connections with the broader public through innovative science outreach efforts. The first five winners of this grant represent a variety of fields and bring up a diverse array of ideas designed to make the most of digital communication technologies for societal benefit.

    The journey of glia from mind to machine
    Sukanya Chakraborty
    glia ai

    Glia are brain cells that have traditionally been believed to play supportive roles to neurons, their more glamorous cousins. However, new research is beginning to suggest that their function is more complex, even extending to information processing. This is information that both neurobiologists and computer scientists are ready to take advantage of, as Sukanya explores in this article.

    Adversity quotient In the era of the ​‘new normal’
    Akshatha N S & Divya Prasanna Kumar
    Adversity panel

    Among the COVID-19 pandemic’s many consequences is its impact on students and early career researchers all over the country, who have had to face new and challenging adversities, including breaks in experimental work, having to adapt to online education modes, and uncertainty over their future careers. A panel discussion organised by the Department of Biochemistry, JSS Medical College, Mysuru, attempted to address some of these issues.

    Controlled human infection models: Promises and concerns for India
    Aditi Jain
    CHIM models

    Traditional vaccine trials rely on large sample populations and natural infection processes. A quicker, cheaper, but riskier method, called Controlled Human Infection Model studies (CHIMs), has also been in practice for some time. In CHIMs, volunteers are deliberately infected with a pathogen to study its effects or to test the efficacy of a vaccine. In this article, Aditi examines the science behind CHIMs and the ethical implications of legalising this method in India, where such trials are presently banned.

    Researchers in Lockdown
    Researchers in lockdown: Life BC and AD
    Shobhana Narasimhan
    shobhona narasimhan

    In this series, we ask scientists from different backgrounds, disciplines and career stages to reflect upon their life in lockdown and how it has influenced how they approach doing science. In this article, Shobhana Narasimhan, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru, writes about the process of adjusting to the new reality established by the pandemic. This article was first published on COVID Gyan.

    Researchers in Lockdown: Breaking boundaries, building bridges
    Mayuri Rege
    mayuri rege

    In this article, Mayuri Rege from Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai, writes about how the lockdown has transformed scientific networking, especially for those for whom international travel was always a barrier. This article was first published on COVID Gyan.

    Online education in India — the good, the bad and the ugly!
    Prashanthi Karyala & Sarita Kamat
    online education

    Online education comes in shades of grey. In this article, educators, Prashanthi Karyala and Sarita Kamat, bring the voices of teachers, students and parents from across the country to the fore, as they highlight the good, the bad and the ugly faces of online education in India, and the need for inclusive education policies.

    Reader/​Assistant Professor/​Assistant Investigator (Scientist ​‘E’)
    Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru
    Deadline 30 September
    Research Associate
    National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar
    Deadline 30 September
    More Jobs
    Janaki Ammal-National Women Bioscientist Award 2020
    Department of Biotechnology
    Deadline 30 September
    The Inspiring Science Award 2021
    TNQ Technologies
    Deadline 15 October
    More Grants
    IRMI Annual Conference 2021
    Deadline 15 October
    From Molecules to Organs: The Mechanobiology of Morphogenesis
    Deadline 20 October
    More Events


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