Biomass based biofuel generation future in India

Out of some of the hottest trends that have been on the top lists for quite a while are choosing an entrepreneur as the primary occupation and doing an eco-friendly business.

The need of renewable energy is increasing in the world due to rapidly growing human population, urbanization and huge consumption of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel reserve is very limited, and the reserve is getting depleted day by day. The primary sources of energy that can be used as the alternative of fossil fuels are wind, water, solar and biomass-based energy.

Currently biomass as a feedstock for biofuel production is gaining importance. Biomass energy is supplying about 10-15% of total energy demand of the present world. Biomass feedstocks include organic material such as wood, wood-based energy crops, grass, lignucellulosic materials like wheat straw, rice straw, sugarcane baggase, corn, microalgae, agricultural residues, municipal wastes, forest product wastes, paper, cardboard and food waste. Biomass can be converted into biofuels by thermochemical and biochemical conversion. Based on the types of feedstocks or biomass the biofuels derived are divided into different groups i.e. 1st generation, 2nd generation, 3rd generation. 1st generation biofuels mainly extracted from the food crop-based feedstocks like wheat, barley, sugar and used for biodiesel and by fermentation to produce bioethanol. But first-generation biofuels face the “fuel vs food” debate and also the net energy gain is negative.  1st generation biofuels production systems also have some economic and environmental limitations. To overcome the drawbacks of 1st generation biofuels 2nd generation biofuels have been generated from the non-food crops-based feedstocks like organic wastes, lignocellulosic biomass etc. For biofuel production from these sources rigorous pretreatments are required to make the feedstocks suitable for biodiesel production. This is the major drawback of 2nd generation biofuel production. Then the attention of the world has been shifted towards 3rd generation biofuel production entails “algae-to biofuels”. Microalgae is easy to cultivate, has higher photosynthetic rate and growth rate than other plants and there is no food vs. feed dilemma present of using microalgae as feedstock for biofuel production. Presently the attention is also given towards fourth generation biofuel. The former concept of third generation of biofuel deals with the conversion process itself from the microalgae to biofuel. The fourth generation of biofuel concept deals with development of microalgal biotechnology via metabolic engineering to maximize biofuel yield. Fourth generation biofuel uses genetically modified (GM) algae to enhance biofuel production. In comparison with third generation in which the principal focus is in fact processing an algae biomass to produce biofuel, the main superior properties of the fourth are introducing modified photosynthetic microorganisms which in turn are the consequence of directed metabolic engineering, through which it is possible to continuously produce biofuel in various types of special bioreactors, such as photobioreactors.

Biomass has the highest potential for small scale business development and mass employment. Characterized by low-cost technologies and freely available raw materials, it is still one of the leading sources of primary energy for most countries. With better technology transfer and adaptation to local needs, biomass is not only environmentally benign, but also an economically sound choice. Bio-based energy can be expected to grow at a faster pace in the years to come. 

On the Biomass Energy sector, the India government committed to increasing the share of non-fossils fuel in total capacity to 40% by 2030. India produces about 450-500 million tonnes of biomass per year. Biomass provides 32% of all the primary energy use in the country at present. A total capacity of 10145 MW has been installed in the Biomass Power and Cogeneration Sector. The Installed Capacity of Biomass IPP is 1826 MW together with the Installed Capacity of Bagasse Cogeneration is 7547 MW and the Installed Capacity of Non-Bagasse Cogeneration is 772 MW. 

The eco-friendly business has lots of benefits, by going green with your business you’re promoting the Earth’s safety from potential environmental catastrophe, you support innovation and concomitantly producing green energy.

The Government of India has been constantly bound on increasing the use of clean energy sources. This does increase a better future and at the same time creates employment opportunities too. According to The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), India’s total installed capacity of renewable energy is 90 GW excluding hydropower. Also, it states that 27.41 GW will be added. Renewable Energy in India is a great asset to Energy Contribution, yet India still needs to work a lot in Renewable Energy Sectors.

What is Biochemistry- more of Biology or more of Chemistry

After your 10+2 examination, it is the time to choose your carrier path and you need to decide on a subject for your under graduation study. You need to choose a subject wisely, which you can fall in love with, has a good job perspective, a versatile curriculum and you can have a carrier that is fulfilling to your intellectual and curious mind and most importantly serves society in a way that no other profession can substitute it. Here I am going to suggest to you the subject Biochemistry.

Now before you sought ‘Eureka’ and jump into this Biochemical soup; let us understand what Biochemistry really is and what the carrier opportunities are for a student studying Biochemistry. First, let us understand if Biochemistry is more of chemistry or Biology or if both of them in equivalent. The subject Chemistry mostly deals with atoms and molecules, which are the constituents of our whole universe. Chemistry describes the different properties of every individual element in the periodic table, also describes how the atomic-level structure of those elements is responsible for these special characteristics. By doing so, it opens up new possibilities to design new materials and molecules with novel functions that have never existed in our universe or some improved version of the existing materials. Therefore, chemistry discovers the basic theories or rules of chemical science to invent new materials and molecules. These rules are followed by every element and chemical reaction in nature including all the living entities. The subject Biochemistry uses those rules to explain all the reactions and phenomena of the biological world.  Consider us, Humans, the way our eyes see light follows the basic rules of photochemistry, the way we breadth it follows basic chemical rules of diffusion and osmosis. All the metabolic reaction that generates energy, produces biomolecules, polymerization of DNA, RNA and proteins follow basic rules of chemical reactions. So, you may ask, is there anything special in Biochemistry or it is just that old chemistry in a new wrapper? Biochemistry deals with the structure and functions of bio-macromolecules, which are more complex than simple elementary chemistry. Biological reactions are remarkably accurate, specific (Stereospecific/regiospecific), and high yield. Moreover, all the reactions occur at 37 degrees centigrade with no scope of heating or cooling. Therefore, although the biochemical reactions are following basic elementary chemical principles, it uses sophisticated biological machinery (like ribosome to synthesize proteins, motor proteins for cellular transport and different enzymes for biochemical synthesis, etc) to make the reactions more efficient. The subject Biochemistry deals with these machinery to explain how it works and how malfunction of it can cause a deadly disease. The scope of biochemistry extends even further to identify or invent molecules that have medicinal properties to cure the disease.  So, therefore, the subject biochemistry has the equivalent amount of Biology and Chemistry and also includes small parts of Physics too. However, the curriculum for B. Sc Biochemistry includes associated subjects like Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biotechnology, Molecular biology, Recombinant DNA technology, Immunology, Human Physiology, Genetics, etc. So, as a whole, the course Biochemistry has little more Biology than Chemistry.

You might be wondering after you finished your B. Sc in Biochemistry, what are the jobs that are available to you.  Now a day, Indian bio-industries are growing like never before and everyone knows these names like Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Biocon. These big bio-industries which produces vaccine, enzymes, antibody-based immunotherapy for cancer (Biologics), etc recruits Biochemistry undergraduates. All medicine companies like Dr. reddy’s laboratories, Cipla, Aurobindo Pharma, Lupin limited, etc recruit Biochemistry undergraduates as laboratory associates as well as medical representatives. Different food processing, breweries and bioprocess companies recruit Biochemistry undergraduates as quality control experts. Other than industry, you can appear for all those government jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.

However, the most interesting and intense carrier opportunity a Biochemistry undergraduate can have is pursuing higher study and research. There are different competitive examinations like National eligibility test (NET) and Graduate aptitude test for engineers (GATE) after you complete your M. Sc in Biochemistry to join a research lab as a PhD student in India. Alternatively, you can appear in Graduate Record Examination (GRE)/ Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and choose to go abroad (USA, Germany, Canada, UK, Singapore, etc) to pursue your PhD. The focus of research in Biochemistry lab all over the world are mainly to understand the molecular basis of life. The area like protein Biochemistry identifies and understands proteins and enzymes and characterizes the function and their role in a biochemical reaction. Structural Biology is the area to understand the three-dimensional structures of bio-machineries at atomic level resolution using sophisticated techniques like X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy and NMR. Researchers are also working on cell biology, cancer biology, synthetic biology/bio-printing, antibiotic resistance, drug discovery, Bioinformatics/computational biology, immunology/antibody engineering, Virology/vaccine development, Bioelectronics/Biosensor and many more interesting topics.      

Although we know a lot about basic chemistry that explains some of the most complex phenomena in the universe but unfortunately, we still do not know everything about ourselves and the biological systems around us. We need thousands of trained biochemists (like you would be) to solve the most challenging problems in biological science. Right now burning problems are antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria, the development of therapeutics for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, resolving unknowns about the human brain and its functions, etc.  We need biochemists to contribute to our current development of gene therapy techniques to cure diseases associated with congenital genetic disorders like Haemophilia, Muscular dystrophy, Thalassemia, and many more. You can also contribute to human sustainability in the era of environmental crisis by implementing genetic engineering to improve food production, recycling water using microorganisms, developing new ways to control heavy metal and plastic pollution, development of biofuel/Hydrogen/microbial fuel cells as an alternative to overcome fast depletion of natural fuel resources, etc.  Please keep in mind that the path of biological research is not smooth at all; you have to be prepared for continuous failure, unsuccessful experiments and plans, sleepless nights, irregular lunch and diners and many more. However, the role you are going to serve as a Biochemist for the benefit of humankind is unique and invaluable for the well-being of all of us.

biochemistry
Figure: The mechanism of inhibition of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase from SARS-CoV-2 by remdesivir have been discovered using cryo-electron microscopy technique which is associated with structural biology and students with a degree in Biochemistry can participate similar kind of research.

Dramatic Change in Chemistry Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused teaching institutions to switch from face-to-face instruction to online remote instruction. Chemistry teachers have to deal with this as well. Teachers had attempted to conduct learning using a variety of technological platforms. Furthermore, the majority of them had trouble organizing lab activities. Because the end of the epidemic cannot be predicted, this presents a set of obstacles and opportunities to consider integrating online chemistry learning from time to time. However, chemistry exhibits a positive attitude in this pandemic period due to its importance in the pharmaceutical business, which serves as a symbol of optimism.

Throughout the year, the world has experienced various crises. Sometimes it’s because of world wars, other times it’s because of invasions, other times it’s because of natural disasters, and other times it’s because of several pandemics. Various moderate to severe pandemics have emerged all over the world or in some regions of the world, till now. Bubonic plague, Spanish flu, SARS-virus, HIV, Pox, and other diseases wreak havoc on people’s lives and the global economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has recently impacted the entire world. It all began in the middle of 2019 in Wuhan, China. It has spread all over the world by the year 2020. For several months, almost the entire planet was on lockdown.

During the pandemic every institution went under online mode completely. Earlier it was quite difficult to switch everything into online mode. But there, technology came like an angel. Technology brings new challenges to teaching, including developing knowledge about technology and the integration of the technology with content, teaching, and learning. The technology referred to here is the technology that which can help teachers to represent concepts, principles, or laws in a virtual way. Therefore, teachers should have competencies that include content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge. All virtual ways went through different virtual platforms (like, Zoom, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams etc.). We also used WhatsApp, YouTube, Quizizz, and other apps for online chemistry learning. But learning chemistry is impossible without lab-activities. We used several recorded lab videos or online performed lab videos to solve this purpose, but 100% lab working learning is not possible. So, in some points technology can’t help us to deliver in that most effective way.  University closures may cause delays in graduation for students who are already in graduate school. When the universities closed in April 2020 in India owing to the coronavirus, students performing field or lab research had to stop working. The situation has been specifically difficult for Ph.D. students who were planning to defend their thesis that time. The closures have had a short-term influence on publication records as well. For kids that do modelling and have the opportunity, the situation may be slightly better. Many scientists are concerned that when the economy enters a downturn, they may have a tougher time obtaining federal research grants and other sources of support. Due to various nations’ policies for limiting the Covid-outbreak, many students have lost possibilities to study abroad. Postdoctoral students may be able to find a faculty position that hasn’t been cancelled. If they fail, they will most likely look for positions in the industry. Postdocs who move into her tenure-track post believe that their universities will fairly evaluate any delays in the research and progress of new faculty members. Other than this, The COVID-19 pandemic has a negative influence on higher education due to the long-term pandemic situation and onerous measures such as lockdown and stay-at-home directives. There is an urgent need to create interventions and preventive methods to address college students’ mental health.

Chemistry jobs allow scientists to address fascinating challenges while also allowing them to build something engaging and valuable. Layoffs become a source of anxiety during economic turmoil and decline. Layoffs may be on the rise again as a result of the current coronavirus outbreak. The cutbacks had already been implemented in the pharmaceutical business, while the chemical industry had increased by 16 percent in 2018. On the other hand, controlling this pandemic outbreak, along with biology, chemistry is one of the most important fields that contribute maximum. Starting from Covid-19 infection pattern determination to vaccine development, chemistry plays a big role. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global chemical and materials industry is undergoing a complete transformation, resulting in increased demand for protective gear and disinfectants, increased demand for antimicrobial supplements, and an increase in the absorption of plastic and glass for the construction of protective equipment. However, due to economic constraints and supply chain interruptions, the industry is expected to suffer in the coming days. The chemical market, on the other hand, may benefit from increased demand for textile materials used in a variety of health and hygiene goods. As the demand for sanitizers and various medicines grows, the chemicals segment has the potential to grow quickly. As a result of all this chemical market will reach to new peak soon. All these things overly enhance the employability for a chemistry students in near future. Hope all of those issues will be solved soon. Hope whole world will be back in its track soon.

Post-COVID Alteration of Teaching-Learning Process in Chemistry

It’s no secret that many students and educators struggled to adjust to last year’s rapid change to remote learning. Both groups faced a variety of obstacles, including lost lab time and increasing knowledge gaps, as well as learning loss and disengagement. 

As a result, it’s unclear how much mastery pupils gained in their classes during the pandemic, and how much retention they’ll show when we return to class. Which begs the question: how can chemistry teachers prepare themselves (and their students) for success with a new school year approaching and so much uncertainty still hanging in the air? 

Challenges To Be Faced In 2022

With so much ambiguity surrounding immunizations, the constant threat of new variations, and the general health concerns linked with in-classroom learning, educators must adapt at breakneck speed. This might result in abrupt changes to curriculum design or the need to plan for unexpected changes in teaching approaches. 

As a result of this unprecedented demand on educators, one out of every four instructors polled said they were considering retiring by the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year. This could result in a last-minute shortage of certified instructors for higher college courses such as chemistry, which require specific skills to teach. 

From the perspective of the students, many are trapped between wanting to keep themselves and their loved ones safe by staying at home and grappling with the many limits that a year of remote learning imposed. For a variety of reasons, staying at home may also imply sacrificing their level of mastery (access or familiarity with technology, difficulty staying engaged, etc). 

Chemistry Education Has Evolved

In 2022, there will be more alternatives for remote teaching than ever before (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Classroom to name a few). While these tools are great for remote meetings, they lack the kind of functionality that helps teachers teach highly conceptual (and technical) subjects like chemistry. 

Fortunately, the rise of new educational technologies has been one of the most favourable things to occur in the recent 12 months. Beyond the basics of remote access, new technologies that focus on active learning and skill development have been fast emerging and will only improve in the future. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for bridging learning gaps and engaging students more effectively. 

Possibilities For the Future

In 2022, teaching will entail being prepared to recognise and address student knowledge and learning gaps while also incorporating flexibility and adaptability into your course design. It also entails utilising chemistry-specific, student-centred instructional technology tools, such as Active Chemistry, to provide students with actively engaging information, concept visualisation, and practise. 

Finally, instructors that incorporate a student response mechanism that can be used both in-person and online will be ahead of the game and prepared for any eventuality. 

Biochemistry: An Integral Part of Drug Discovery

The on-going pandemic situation gave humanity a hard lesson- life is uncertain. Before the pandemic, we never seriously thought about this type of disease which could lead to such a global health crisis. Now, Covid-19 is a reality and it taught us that as the virus changed itself we must constantly change ourselves and be prepared for sudden battles. Humanity has a long history of fighting against deadly diseases like plague, malaria, polio, cholera, etc. and in all those battles our greatest weapons are drugs. In this article, we will see how biochemistry is an integral part of a drug discovery process.

Biochemistry is the amalgamation of chemistry and biological sciences. It brings together all of the sciences to study the chemical and physical processes that occur in living organisms. It truly is the science of life. Students of biochemistry learn various classical as well as modern subjects like stem cell biology, immunology, bioinformatics, genetic engineering, and many more. These subjects give them ample knowledge about the basic processes of life and that gives them the scope to explore properly a particular phenomenon in a living system. The mixture of chemistry and biology is a tremendous weapon for students for understanding the complex design of a disease-causing bacteria or virus. Applying these knowledge life-saving drugs can be developed by biochemistry professionals.

A drug is a chemical substance that, when administered to a living organism produces a biological effect. Drugs are also called medicine as it is used for treatment, cure, prevent disease, and promote good health. Drugs can be taken via different modes like inhalation, injection, ingestion, absorption via a patch on the skin, suppository, or dissolution under the tongue. So, recently discovered vaccines against Covid-19 are also part of modern-day drugs.

There are several phases of drug discovery and its commercialization; 1) Basic research for lead development 2) Preclinical studies 3) Clinical studies (different phases) 4) Review by regulatory authorities and approval 5) Pre and post marketing monitoring. In all these phases major roles are played by biochemistry people.

The first step of basic research consists of lead molecule discovery and its target identification which is totally done by biomedical scientists. During lead discovery, an intensive search ensues to find a drug-like small molecule or biological therapeutic, typically termed a development candidate, that will progress into preclinical, and if successful, into clinical development and ultimately be a marketed medicine. Generally, drugs are very specific in nature, i.e., they work in a specific manner on a specific type of cell or exo or endotoxins. So, first, to discover the lead, one has to find the type of cell or chemical substances on which the drug is going to affect, what’s the nature of the target.

The next step is the preclinical trial, which is a stage of research that begins before clinical trials (testing in humans) and during which important feasibility, iterative testing, and drug safety data are collected, typically in laboratory animals. This step requires multiple types of studies/tests like screening, tests on isolated organs and bacterial cultures, tests on animal models, general observational tests, confirmatory tests and analogous activities, mechanism of action, systemic pharmacology, quantitative tests etc. that are all done by Biochemistry people. The main purpose of preclinical studies is to accurately model the desired biological effect of a drug in animals [non-human primates] in order to predict treatment outcomes in patients (efficacy), and to identify and characterize all toxicities associated with a drug in order to predict adverse events in people (safety) for informed—preclinical testing analyses the bioactivity, safety, and efficacy of the formulated drug product.

After a proposed drug has gone through premedical trials, the next step is clinical trials. The main difference is while preclinical research answers basic questions about a drug’s safety, it is not a substitute for studies of ways the drug will interact with the human body. The biomedical persons design clinical trials, develop a study plan or protocol and follow them to answer specific research questions related to medical products. Before the trial begins, they decide who qualifies to participate (selection criteria), how many people will be part of the study, how long the study will last, whether there will be a control group and other ways to limit research bias, how the drug will be given to patients and at what dosage, what assessments will be conducted, when, and what data will be collected, how the data will be reviewed and analysed. Clinical trials follow a typical series of early, small-scale, Phase 1 studies [20-100 healthy/diseased volunteers], Phase 3 studies [Several hundred people with the disease], Phase 3 studies [300-3000 volunteers with the disease], and lastly, late-stage, large scale Phase 4 studies [Several thousand volunteers with the disease].

The next step is, review by regulatory authorities and approval of the drug. Drug approval processes are designed to allow safe and effective drugs to be marketed. Drug regulatory agencies in various countries attempt to rely on premarketing scientific studies of the effects of drugs in animals and humans in order to determine if new drugs have a favourable risk-to-benefit ratio. The manufacturer must provide the concerned authority review of all the test and study reports with detailed information about the proposed drug including usage of the drug to be effective, all the possible risks, and how to use it. Physicians and scientists of the concerned authority then review the drug research and the labelling information on how to use the drug. If the findings show the drug’s benefits outweigh its known risks — and that the drug can be manufactured in a way that ensures a quality product.

After the drug gets all the certification, the last step is Post-marketing monitoring. Post marketing drug surveillance refers to the monitoring of drugs once they reach the market after clinical trials. It evaluates drugs taken by individuals under a wide range of circumstances over an extended period of time. Such surveillance is much more likely to detect previously unrecognized positive or negative effects that may be associated with a drug. The majority of post-marketing surveillance concern adverse drug reactions (ADRs) monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, biochemistry people always get an edge in these type of drug developmental industry.

Genetics: A field to excavate for futuristic potentials

According to Edwin Grant Conklin, “what molecules and atoms and electrons are to physicists and chemists, chromosome and genes are to biologists”.

At the end of school days, as the students are at the verge of initiating their higher education, they develop a fairly vivid idea about their inclination towards a particular subject of interest. This decision is the most crucial stepping stone in the budding path of their career. If the science of life fascinates a student, then the curriculum of biology provides a basic introduction to different fields of biological science like botany, zoology, physiology, microbiology, genetics, etc. Some of these fields are classical while the others are contemporary with continuous addition of recent technologies and novel findings.

When a young scientific mind intends to unravel the mystery underlying the behaviour and characteristic features of the living world, the interrogation should be triggered at the level of DNA. DNA is an astonishing molecule that stores every possible information of all life forms: How they look like? Do they resemble their parents? How they function? Whether a person is more inclined to have a disease or whether a person can have some power to avoid a disease? How to increase yield of a crop? And many other questions find their answer in this central molecule of biology. In short, DNA is the language that writes the story of genes according to which the life forms enact.

What is Genetics all about?

Genetics, as a key field of biological science, is the blend of classical concepts of hereditary passage of genetic information from parent to offspring or of a population as a whole together with recent advancements of applied science as in genetic engineering, recombinant DNA technology, forensics and pharmacogenomics. The advancement in this field is now prompting the use of genetic information in designing disease treatment in an individualistic manner – the very essence of personalized medicine or “precision medicine” that may provide life-saving cues for ailments that are hard to treat. Using the concept of genomics and transcriptomics we can also increase sustainability of agriculture, improve crop production (genetically modified crops) to solve the global problem of food scarcity. As a major component of forensic science it is indispensable for solving cases of criminology, dubious parenthood and other issues of biological relevance under legal surveillance. Even the most complex form of genetic information is opening up through high throughput advancements like human genome project.

Components of the subject worth mentioning:

Classical genetics: Classical Genetics is the oldest discipline of genetics based on Mendelian inheritance that provided many insights into inherited traits and elucidated many inherited human disorders that were known to follow Mendel’s law of inheritance and were useful to explain the reappearance of disease within families.

Population genetics: Population genetics deals with genetic differences within and among populations, and the dynamics of how populations evolve as a result of the propagation of genetic mutations occurring within the germlines of individuals together with contribution of evolutionary attributes.

Conservation Genetics: Conservation genetics is an interdisciplinary extension of population genetics for conservation and restoration of biodiversity through comprehension of the dynamics of genes in populations.

Quantitative Genetics: Quantitative genetics deals with the genetics of traits that are continually fluctuating on the basis of alterations in the frequency distribution of traits that are difficult to assign in discrete phenotypic classes.

Ecological Genetics: It deals with features associated with fitness that are involved in interactions between/ within species, and between an organism and its environment.

Medical genetics: In the field of medicine it deals with application of genetics for diagnosis and management of genetic diseases apart from investigating the causes and inheritance of the disorders.

Immunogenetics: It refers to the scientific discipline that studies the molecular and genetic basis of the immune response with emphasis on immunological pathways as well as genetic variations that result in immune defects. It is a subfield of medical genetics.

Molecular genetics: Molecular genetics is concerned with the structure and function of genes at the molecular level and utilizes molecular biology tools and technique of genetic engineering to manipulate organism’s genome that gets translated through protein function to health and disease.

Human genetics: It involves the study of the human genome and the gene transmission from one generation to the next. It is an interdisciplinary field contributed by classical genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, genomics, population genetics, developmental genetics, clinical genetics, and genetic counselling.

 Combining the concepts derived from the above mentioned subfields of genetics, every now and then, new areas of scientific knowledge and research are coming up to find the answers of countless questions that are unaddressed till date in living world and its complexity. The new fields with immense potential for research activity that are worth mentioning are Genomics, Epigenomics, Metagenomics, Phramacogenomics, and many others.

Career options:

  1. Genetic Counsellors –Due to increase in gene-based therapies and wellness treatments, there is a rise in demand for Genetic counsellors for Pedigree analysis, identification of risk factors, etc. 

  2. Forensic Science Research Associates/ Scientist – Law enforcement firms recruit geneticists to identify and analyze the evidences from DNA samples, tissue samples, etc. from potential crime scenes.
  3. Genetic Scientist in Agriculture & Food – For food and agriculture based industries, new varieties of genetically modified crops are being generated by manipulating plant genes. The resultant varieties are generated for increased yield, resistance to pests and plant pathogens or for increasing tolerance of the plants for adverse environmental conditions. It is not limited to plants, the scientist work on animal breeds also to get a better variety.

  4. Scientific Researcher – With a doctoral degree a student of genetics can work on a scientific project involving the study of various genes and their regulations to pave the way towards new discoveries like CRISPR gene editing. The Human Genome Project or the 1000 genome project is a hallmark achieved by genetic scientist.

  5. Academic researcher: As an academic researcher one can apply his/her expertise and skills developed through study and research: as a teacher as well as a researcher. And contribute to journals and books with research articles and new findings.

  6. Medical Scientist –The medical scientist can use sequence information to understand genetic disorders especially those with hereditary conditions and find a solution for them. They can address not only diseases of population in general but also at level of individuals based on response of his genome towards medication – the very essence of precision medicine or personalized medicine.
  7. Scientific Content Writer –Scientific writing is a very lucrative career at present and in the coming years as it offers you to learn in the field of one’s mother subject as well as earn.

Genetics is the science of future. As all aspects of life are being questioned for improvisation or for addressing errors or deficiencies, the molecules regulating life are now and will always be in limelight and those molecules are indeed the DNA, RNA and proteins. Therefore innumerable DNA and RNA analysis are awaiting technical knowledge of upcoming geneticists. So the job and research prospect of genetics students are broadening day by day for the young people who aspires to do something new, something different. To open up the prospects of such promising career for our future students, Department of Microbiology from School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Adamas University is opening a new three year undergraduate course BSc with Honours in Genetics.

Curriculum: Addressing all the components in the field of genetics the courses offered include the following:

  • Fundamental Courses: Principles of Transmission genetics, Population and Evolutionary Genetics, Biochemistry, etc.
  • Advanced Courses: Immunology, Molecular Biology, Microbial genetics, Genomics & Proteomics, Nanotechnology, etc.
  • Applied Courses: Bioanalytical tools, Genetic modification in agriculture, food and medicine, Tools for gene expression analysis, Genetic disorder and gene therapy, etc.
  • Skill Enhancement Courses: Molecular diagnostics & genetic counselling, Basics of Forensic Science, Bioinformatics, Intellectual Property Right (IPR) etc.

With all technologically advanced laboratory facilities available and highly qualified faculty members who excel in their respective fields of expertise, our department presents a perfect ambience for the students to undertake BSc Honours in Genetics as a choice to begin their career.

Chemistry: An Indispensable tool to understand coronavirus from its transmission to treatment

Chemistry-based research from the laboratory to industries are progressing their efforts towards discovering more about the virus, developing improved testing technologies, and eventually discovering drugs to treat the disease. Chemistry as the subject of practice in every step of life is essential at every step of our response to contain the virus. Scientists throughout the world are involved in evolving new diagnostic methods to be deployed for the SARS-CoV-2 identification including optical biosensors and point-of-care diagnostics. 

In spite of an immensely disrupted class routine, there will surely be thousands of students going on to study and work in chemistry in the years to come. Through this blog, we are trying to document the chemical science community’s role in response to the recent outbreak of coronavirus. 

COVID-19 disease transmission route inspired by Gas-Phase Chemistry: 

The person-to-person spread of infectious respiratory diseases like COVID-19 occurs primarily due to the transference of virus-laden fluid particles from the diseased person. The infectious fluid particles instigate from the respiratory tract of the person and are ejected from the nose and the mouth during breathing, speaking, whistling, sneezing, and coughing etc. These particles have been broadly classified into two types: aerosols (aerodynamic particle size <5 μm) and droplets (aerodynamic particle size ≥5 μm–10 μm). The outcomes indicated that the transmission phenomena of these virus particles ejected by patients would be dependent on droplet sizes. Once expelled from the mouth or nose, bigger respiratory droplets endure gravitational subsiding before evaporation; in contrast, the smaller droplet particles evaporate faster than they settle down, afterwards forming the aerosolized droplet nuclei that can be deferred for prolonged periods and foldaway in the air over long distances. Investigations by Bourouiba et al. have shown that these droplets can travel rather large distances initially within a turbulent jet, which later transition to a puff or a cloud due to the lack of a continuous momentum source. Depending on the ambient conditions and droplet size, these droplets evaporate at different times. Chemical kinetics-based model i.e. the application of Lattice Boltzmann Method with Brownian dynamics to access the effects of nanoparticles at the liquid-vapour interface of an evaporating sessile droplet can be coupled with of evaporation, dispersion and precipitation to devise a hitherto new methodology to predict the infection spread in the context of COVID-19. 

All most all investigations have found that SARS-CoV-2 virus stability monotonically decreases with an increase in temperature. It has also been found that the enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV-2 survive well in droplets far from their dried state, as well as in the desiccated residue where the virus remains in a frozen state, these shreds of evidence prove that virus survivability within desiccated nuclei enables the virus to be airborne. To prove these, chemists have used 1% (w/w) NaCl aqueous solution as a substitute respiratory fluid and 100nm fluorescent particles as a stand-in virus, whose concentration was controlled from 0.005 to 0.1%. Featured basic mechanism in particle deposition in water-based solutions explained in these studies can be extended to pathogens, the dynamics in respiratory droplets are more involved due to the physicochemical complexities and the resulting variation in thermo-physical properties. 

Role of synthetic chemists in the development of drugs  

The development of antibiotics was one of the most important scientific innovations of the twentieth century, as it drastically reduced the threat of bacterial infections. Though the early antibiotics era was characterized by fully synthetic compounds (e.g., sulfonamides and organoarsenicals) and was largely pioneered by industrial chemists, the modern era of natural product-based antibiotics witnessed significant contributions from academia. Penicillin V  and vancomycin provide two examples where synthetic chemists have made impactful, translational contributions by pursuing fundamental research interests. In this time of pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, chemists from worldwide are trying their best to delineate different drugs to annihilate this virus.  the antiviral drugs commonly used in clinical practice to treat viral infections are not applicable to SARS-Cov-2. Thus, it is very necessary to identify new drugs suitable for the treatment of the 2019-nCoV outbreak 

Nanotrap: Chemists from the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering have designed an entirely novel potential treatment for COVID-19: nanoparticles that apprehend SARS-CoV-2 viruses within the body and then use the body’s own immune system to annihilate it. 

These “Nanotraps” entice the virus by imitating the marked cells the virus infects. When the virus muddles to the Nanotraps, the traps then impound the virus from other cells and target it for annihilation by the immune system. 

In theory, these Nanotraps could also be used on variants of the virus, leading to a potential new way to constrain the virus moving forward. Though the therapy remains in the early stages of testing, the researchers envision it could be administered via a nasal spray as a treatment for COVID-19. 

HTCC: An antiviral potential of the polymer HTCC [N-(2-hydroxypropyl)-3-trimethylammonium chitosan chloride], which efficiently hampered infection of all low-pathogenicity human coronaviruses in vitro and ex vivo.  The hydrophobically-modified derivative (HM-HTCC) acts as potent inhibitors of the coronavirus HCoV-NL63.  we show It has been investigated as that HTCC inhibits interaction of a virus with its receptor and thus blocks the entrySynthetic chemists are trying to delineate the process through which the HTCC interferes with the virus replication. The photophysical study of HTCC labelled with FITC in water were measured in the absence and in the presence of various concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 domains to understand the effectivity of HTCC. 

Application of polymer chemistry to contain SARS-CoV 2: 

Polyelectrolytes: The surface of such envelope virus is found to be rich in amino acid residues. Therefore, polyanions may be used to electrostatically bind to the spike (S) glycoprotein, which binds to the ACE2 protein as an important step in host cell invasion and prevent the virus from interacting with the host cell’s surface. Thus, polyanions and polycations can be used to potentially interrupt the binding between the virus and host cell. As examples, Poly(propylacrylic acid), poly(vinylbenzoic acid) (PVBzA), poly(vinylphosphonic acid) (PVPA), and poly(2-acrylamidoethyl)phosphate may be developed as bio-compatible to exhibit this inhibitory effect. 

Dendritic Polymer: Dendritic or highly branched polymers that possess greater solubilities, larger surface areas, and tuneable shapes are being investigated to hinder the virus and cell binding. These types of polymers are being designed to be non-toxic and bio-compatible thus they can act as co-receptor and subsequently, mediate the entry of the SARS-CoV2 virus to the host cells. 

Natural Polymer: Natural polymers like  polysaccharides, cyclodextrins (CDs) and chitosan are reported to inhibit the attachment of coronavirus to host cells because of their ability to remove cholesterol from cell membranes. These polymers can inhibit the replication of the virus in the host cell.  Moreover, polysaccharides can activate T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, and other immune cells to improvise an advantageous immune response to inhibit the virulent effect. It is worthy to mention here that natural polymers inherently possess greater biocompatibility compared to synthetic polymers, which serves as one of the major factor for their applicability as potential drugs. 

Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused a global health crisis with high rates of infection and mortality. However, in existing treatment programmes, there are latent drawbacks such as they are time-consuming and full proof. It is hoped that the chemists along with scientists & technologists from interdisciplinary branches throughout the world will develop better model and drugs in the near future and move toward clinical treatment as soon as possible. More clinical trials with these suitable drugs should be performed on patients affected by SARS-CoV-2 of different mutant strains to prove their efficacy and safety. Not only chemists, but it’s a team’s of scientists of all spheres and philosophers’ activity towards investigation how the system can be used to help medical professionals treat patients more effectively.  

As a chemist, we have learned that we are very resilient and have discovered our extra efficacies in terms of serving the people, we may not have found had this pandemic not happened. 

References: 

  1. KuritzkesD.R. Drug resistance in HIV-1. Curr. Opin. Virol. 2011;1:582–589. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.10.020. 
  2. TannockG.A., Kim H., Xue L. Why are vaccines against many human viral diseases still unavailable; an historic perspective? J. Med. Virol. 2020;92:129–138. 
  3. KC GB, Bocci G, Verma S. et al. A machine learning platform to estimate anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities.
  4. ToturaA.L., Bavari S. Broad-spectrum coronavirus antiviral drug discovery. Expet Opin. Drug Discov. 2019;14(4):397–412. 
  5. LiowS.S., Chee P.L., Owh C., Zhang K., Zhou Y., Gao F., Lakshminarayanan R., Loh X.J. Cationic poly ([R]-3-hydroxybutyrate) copolymers as antimicrobial agents. Macromol. Biosci.  
  6. Lin Q., Lim J.Y.,Xue K., Yew P.Y.M., Owh C., Chee P.L., Loh X.J. Sanitizing agents for virus inactivation and disinfection. View. 2020 

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology: A Guide to Skilled Technicians

What is Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology (BSc MLT) Program?
Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology (BSc MLT) is an undergraduate course of 3 years, which is divided into six semesters (two semesters per academic year). It is a paramedical program that offers practical and theoretical knowledge related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various kinds of ailments and health problems through various clinical laboratory tests. Students will get an exposure regarding how to perform the analysis of different body fluids during their course of study which includes haematological, bacteriological, immunological, chemical, histopathological and microscopical evaluation.

 

Admission Criteria:
Students must have scored a minimum of 55% marks in their higher secondary examination in science stream and should have Physics, Chemistry and Biology or Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology as their compulsory subjects in 12th standard to be eligible for admission. Adamas University offering BSc MLT courses provides admission to the students on the basis of entrance examination conducted by the institute. However, students are also eligible for direct admission based on merit.

 

Objectives:
The main objective of the course is to provide a comprehensive knowledge to the students with respect to various techniques of testing that are conducted as a part of diagnosis of various diseases such as blood test, blood typing, urine analysis and other tests without any errors. The course includes the study of diagnosing a disease by utilizing a clinical laboratory. It also involves a proper analysis of the reports of laboratory tests required to treat a particular disease using the best medical procedures and facilities. In the modern era of medical science, treatment for any disease is completely reliant on the diagnostic tests performed in the laboratory. This highlights the significance of this program in the medical and health sector. For various job positions after completion of this course, the average annual salary ranges from INR 2 Lakhs to 6 lakhs per annum. However, the salary keeps on increasing with experience and expertise.

 

Course Highlights:
• Program- Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology
• Abbreviation- BSc MLT
• Level- Graduate
• Duration- 3 year
• Eligibility- 10+2 from any recognized education board
• Admission Process- Entrance exam and merit-based
• Possible Job Positions- Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Laboratory Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Technician, Lab Technologist, Biochemist, Phlebotomist, Medical Phlebotomist, Clinical Laboratory Technologist, etc.
• Expected Average Salary- INR 2 lakhs to 6 lakhs per annum.

 

Why study BSc MLT?
BSc MLT is one of the perfect courses for those students who want to make themselves skilled professionals in medical field because in this course the students will go through the relevant training and gain the required skill set to work efficiently in medical sector. Medical science is one of the finest areas which is in high demand and a career in the same is chosen by candidates with an interest in the healthcare sector. Medical lab technicians play a crucial role in the conduction of various activities related to the diagnostic and pathology laboratories. BSc MLT syllabus consists of subjects that inculcate the skills in the students required to handle advanced equipments so as to perform accurate laboratory tests. This course empowers the students to go for various educational, hospital, governmental sectors as they can run a laboratory, consultancy services as well as health care centres. This enables the graduates to opt for higher degree programs in various specializations which can include any of the following:
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Nuclear Medicine Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Imaging Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Nuclear Medicine Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Lab Technology
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Lab Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Imaging Technology.

 

Scope:
Graduates have immense opportunities to establish their career in different spheres after completion of the course. The academic and technical proficiencies of the technician determine the job opportunities in this area. Graduates have numerous scope of working as Phlebotomist, Medical Laboratory Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Technician, Lab Technologist, Biochemist and Medical Phlebotomist, Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Medical Laboratory Technician. A skilled and efficient graduate in this field is liable to acquire challenging positions in different hospitals in public or private sectors such as emergency centres, blood donor centres, laboratories, etc.

 

The scope of this course is very wide. After BSc MLT course, candidates have ample of great opportunities in many fields anywhere in the world. The scope linked to the course includes the following:
• A career in this field is amongst the most challenging and satisfying careers in today’s market. Everyday, a technician/technologist gets to learn something new, which is great for their career.
• A number of Medical Laboratory Technicians can find employment in pathology labs, research labs, urology labs, pharmaceutical sector, hospitals and in many other areas.
• Apart from the above opportunities, an aspirant can also pursue a career in the education field as a lecturer. With passing years, the course has multiplied in terms of what a student learns during the course, thereby multiplying the scope as well. The scope has significantly expanded and a number of opportunities have been on the rise.
• The Medical Laboratory Technology field includes areas such as blood banking, clinical chemistry, haematology, immunology, microbiology, cytotechnology, urine analysis, blood sampling, etc. There are innumerable fields that can serve as suitable career options for the graduates.
• BSc MLT provides ample job opportunities in the healthcare sector. Every hospital and healthcare sector needs clinical lab technicians to detect problems and diseases affecting the patients. Hence, it is creating more job opportunities for the graduates of BSc MLT. Medical Laboratory Technology profession has a positive impact on people’s health.

Choosing career during challenging time!

What do we learn from a challenging situation like this? Well, one of the take-home messages for all of us that by taking appropriate measure one can fight an adverse situation and turn it into a favourable one. Likewise, you need to take charge of the career of the ward and turn it into a successful one. The definition of “success” being debatable, you all must try to do something which leaves footprints on the path of development of society through technological breakthroughs.

 What is the best in you?

 The most common question one face during his school days is probably “what do you want to become in your life?”. It is asked with the intention to support your career. The most common applauded answer is probably as per traditional mindset such as doctor or engineer. But is it the only question that one should ask? Let’s take a lesson from the life of accomplished people. If we look at the life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Acharya J. C. Bose, Prof. C. V. Raman, Prof. Homi Bhabha, our president Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, then we find they are all known for their work and contribution towards society. They are not merely recognized by the career they choose. It’s their intention and actions rather than career options. Whichever field you choose, making an impact is most important.

So, you can say to your child, “what do you want to do in your life” is a more basic and pertinent question rather than “what do you want to become in your life”. If you concentrate on that question and explore what you want to do in our life then it would tell you what stream you should choose, what career you should choose and many more.

It is not an easy question and takes time to find an answer. The most common guiding line by the seniors is “pursue your dreams”. But dreaming without full information about the future possibilities is not an option you should go for!! In today’s world, where the job market and job roles are changing so fast, you should choose a stream that offers flexibility. Flexibility in terms of further study areas and flexibility in the career options. Science is the only stream that has the potential and diversity to offer this much flexibility.

Why Basic Science still today?

I hope, there is no doubt whatsoever in anyone’s mind about the importance and usefulness of basic science, even today! In fact, all the aspects of the development of humankind is marked by the progress of science. Because today’s science will create tomorrow’s technology. So, the question is not really about the utility of science but the prospect of a career in science. Somehow one misconception is there in the mind of common people that there is a limited job available to students of science disciplines. But in reality, this is just the opposite. If you take the example of any advanced country then the economic model they are following is that of the knowledge economy.

This knowledge economy is propelled by the rapid advancement of scientific innovation. Rapid innovation in science is only possible if you have a skilled workforce capable of carrying out cutting edge scientific research. In India, slowly and steadily we are also moving towards a knowledge-based economy. That is why one can see every company has its own dedicated R&D wing which seeks to employ thousands of employees trained in science. India’s transition to a knowledge-based economy is also reflected through various government initiatives like Atal Innovation Mission, Startup India etc. But that is about the high-end job. Traditional jobs like jobs in the government sector, teaching job in schools, Colleges and Universities and private sectors mostly employ people from science background. So we can say if you are talking about a job in science then it is limited only by your imagination. The possibility is limitless.

School of Basic and Applied Science (SOBAS) at Adamas University is committed to delivering quality education in science and applied areas of Science and at the same time to create world-class scientific knowledge.

To meet our objectives, we have created an ecosystem that focuses on three main areas:

(i) Teaching-Learning pedagogy (ii)  Intellectual capital (iii) Infrastructure.

Let us briefly tell you about the features of these three areas:

(i) Process of delivering education:

  • Outcome-Based Education followed in major National and International Universities.
  • Choice Based Credit System for all programs.
  • Freedom to Choose an area of Specialization based on individual choice in Postgraduate program.
  • Regular monitoring of Syllabi by renowned external experts from Academia and Industry.
  • Learner-centric pedagogies.
  • Healthy Student-faculty ratio.
  • Equal attention to Theory as well Practical classes.
  • Uninterrupted class in every situation including pandemic (Online class, Smart Lab)
  • D2P: Every student (UG & PG) is encouraged to publish their dissertation in reputed peer-reviewed journals.
  • Academic & Industry Internship program in reputed organizations.
  • Number of Value Added Courses
  • Co-curricular Activities like National & International Conferences in Technical collaboration with reputed International Publishing Houses like IOPScience, Elsivier, Springer, AIP Publishing etc. , Seminars, Webinars, Field visits etc.
  • Various Extra-curricular Activities through different club activities like Writer’s club, Environmental Club, Film Club, Dance Club etc.
  • Adamas Comprehensive Excellence (ACE) scorecard to track the holistic growth & development of each student – regular monitoring by individual mentor
  • Special classes for competitive academic examinations (JAM, NET, GATE)
  • Special guidance for higher studies in abroad through Study Abroad Program
  • Special guidance for entrepreneurial & innovation activities through SOBAS Innovation & Incubation cell
  • Improvements of soft skills through various programs organized by Career Development Cell (CDC).
  • Regular career guidance and campus interviews organized by Career Development Cell
  • Single window grievance cell for students through SOBAS care.

(ii) Intellectual capital

  • Experienced Faculty Members with specializations in a wide range of Science & Applied science subjects.
  • Publication with major International journals
  • Experience in conducting high-quality research in India & abroad.
  • Experience in conducting sponsored research from Government agencies & Industry.
  • Regular update of knowledge through various Faculty Development programs, online courses.
  • Knowledge exchange and research collaboration through physical/online seminars, academic visits

(iii) Infrastructure

  • Smart Classroom with projector facilities
  • State of the Art Laboratories
  • High-End Computation Facility with many software like Mathematica, Matlab, R, Python, QGIS, SAGA, GIS, tnt MIPS etc.
  • The flexibility of conducting activities through online/offline mode.
  • Digital infrastructure like Canvas, Smart Lab, TCSion, Microsoft Teams, digital tablets etc.

Currently, we are running our programs through six domains – Chemistry, Environmental Science, Forensic sciences, Geography, Mathematics & Physics. Various Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctoral courses offered by these departments can be accessed through our website – https://science.adamasuniversity.ac.in/. Also, any queries regarding our school can be addressed to sobascare@adamasuniversity.ac.in.

Finally, to all our prospective students we would like to say, we harvest knowledge in its pure form, come join us in our quest and try to make a difference in tomorrow’s world!