• Cell surface organization at the nanometer scale

    How do cell membranes integrate mechanical and chemical signals in response to activated sensors? Satyajit Mayor’s group at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, has published a new study that sheds light on this process. The team has shown that when a signal for cell migration activates sensors on the cell membrane, specific proteins are clustered together on the cell surface to form ‘nanodomains’. Nanodomain formation is crucial for cell migration, and involves both chemical and mechanical signals.

    A battle rages on in silence.

  • Scientists pave the way for a new therapy for type 2 diabetes

    Researchers at the Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences have come up with a finding that could pave the way for developing a new treatment for type 2 diabetes.

    The scientists have found that an enzyme called PIP4K in the body plays a major role in determining the ability of cells to detect and respond to the hormone insulin. The reduced ability of cells to respond to insulin following a meal results in Type 2 diabetes. The condition is an important health problem.

  • Meet Annamma Spudich: A molecular biologist who is reviving ancient India's healing knowledge

    Spudich, in collaboration with National Centre For Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, was recently invited by Google Cultural Institute to curate an online exhibit of her works. The institute was launched in 2011 to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve them. It partners with renowned institutions to make exhibition and archival content available online.
  • Dr Arati Ramesh awarded the 2019 HFSP Young Investigator Grant

    Dr Arati Ramesh, from the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Bioinformatics at the National Centre for Biological Sciences has been awarded a 2018 Young Investigator Research Grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).

  • Topical gel protects farmers from pesticides

    Organophosphate pesticides bring about the inhibition of important enzymes (AChE) of the body, which can, in turn, affect the functioning of nervous system, heart, immunity, and even the reproductive system.

    Explains Ketan Thorat, a doctoral scholar at the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru, “The base of the gel is chitosan, a natural substance extracted from the waste shells of crabs and shrimps, to which we added a nucleophile and few aqua reagents to get the consistency and desired pH.”

  • We Need to Save the Bees – but Where Do We Begin?

    A species is identified based on the type specimen that describes the characteristics of that species. So to zero in on the right names to apply to the species, scientists have to extensively study historical specimens and Indian and international museums, he said.

    To this end, Ascher co-organised the second Bangalore Meeting on Asian Bees, on March 1 and 2, along with V.V. Belavadi, Hemalatha Somanathan and Axel Brockmann.

  • Luckily, the rice lost it!

    Today, rice is the most widely consumed staple food in the world, feeding more than half of the world’s population. We have nothing but a tiny piece of RNA, or ribonucleic acid, to thank, for the mouthfuls of rice we eat!

  • When forests are not forests at all, can fire be used to better manage them?

    Jayashree Ratnam, associate director of the wildlife biology and conservation programme at the National Centre for Biological Science, said that these forests are mesic savannas. “Having worked for a while in African savannas and being very familiar with the idea that mixed tree-grass ecosystems were distinctive from forests, when we returned to India and started visiting various field sites, we were struck by the similarities of these sites with African savannas,” she said.

  • Two MSc Wildlife Alumni bag prestigious awards

    Nishant Srinivasaiah (MSc 2010-12)
    The Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award recognizes outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation in India. His work on elephant conservation in the South India landscape have earned him this award. Nishant is presently doing his PhD at NIAS, with Dr Anindya Sinha.

  • Flies release neuronal brakes to fly longer

        For insects, flying is a swift way of getting around to find food, identify a mate and escape unfavourable conditions. While muscles provide the power for flying, it is the brain that coordinates strategic planning. For a hungry fly, this could mean using its powerful olfaction to sense the presence of food such as a rotten banana and then navigating the distance to reach it, which may require flying for several minutes or even an hour or more. How does the insect brain coordinate the timing for such long flight bouts?

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