Conferences offer opportunities for scientists to share their work, get feedback for it, and find new avenues of exploration. The Science Undergraduate Research Conference (SURC) hosted by Azim Premji University in December 2023 offered this experience to undergraduate students from across India pursuing science research. In this article, one of the organisers of the conference shares how students at this stage of education can benefit from such events.
Climate change, propelled by human activities, presents a substantial threat to insect populations worldwide, impacting their behavior, fitness, and distribution. Subhash Rajpurohit and his research group at Ahmedabad University, Gujarat, emphasises the vulnerability of ectothermic insects to fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels. His lab's work offers insights into the intricate relationship between environmental stress, dehydration, and insect reproductive success within the context of climate change.
Researchers from the Institute For Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (InStem), Bangalore, have identified a key protein- Lysine specific histone demethylase (LSD1) that enables the development of higher order cognition centres in the human brain. These findings shed light on the evolution of intelligence in humans and may also help us understand neurodevelopment disorders such as autism.
In a recent collaborative study published in Cell, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and other institutes have uncovered the molecular basis of complement receptor activation, crucial in immune response. The research team identified a synthetic peptide, EP141, derived from the C3a anaphylatoxin, which selectively binds to the C3aR receptor, offering therapeutic potential by directing biased immune signalling.
In a recent study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur, identified the unique anti-amyloid and chaperone-like activity of a host defence protein, β2-microglobulin, which prevents ⍺-synuclein aggregation. Their research has the potential for developing diagnostic and therapeutic measures for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
A team of researchers at the CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (CSIR-NBRI), Lucknow, has investigated the functional activity of the plant protein Tma12, which is toxic to whiteflies. The study demonstrates that Tma12 kills whiteflies by degrading chitin. The findings of this research can be utilised by biorefineries in the production of biofuels and for expanding the horizons of biopesticides.
Researchers from CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, India, and the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, France, recently discovered ARL8B (ADP-ribosyltransferase (Arf)-like 8), a small GTPase acting as the initial mediator of lysosome-dependent lipid degradation in human macrophages. The findings suggest implications for conditions involving lipid accumulation, such as fatty liver disease and atherosclerosis, expanding research interests in this field.