Aristotle's maxim holds especially true when it comes to scientific research - where the diversity of disciplines adds so much more to forge the gigantic whole. And collaborations are key to the multi-disciplinary approaches that have fostered many contemporary science successes today. Now, after nearly ten years of ongoing collaborations between NCBS and the RIKEN Kobe Institute in Japan, the Bangalore Bio-Cluster comprising NCBS, inStem and C-CAMP has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with RIKEN Japan. The MoU will strengthen ongoing collaborations, now extending to all RIKEN institutes across Japan, promote graduate and post-doctoral exchange programs between the organizations involved and potentially also set up a new research center in the premises of the Bangalore Bio-Cluster.
Music is a curious thing. At face value, it seems to be an abstract concept, one that does not seem to be essential to human survival. Yet music is arguably as old or older than language itself, and ubiquitous in human culture. Indeed, it is an aspect of culture that seems to be ingrained in our species. Music has a profound effect on the human mind and emotion. However, for something that has such a powerful effect on us, we understand so little about it.
Alternative healing systems have always been part of Indian tradition: from local medicine men to the vaidyas or physicians of the more classical unani and ayurveda. The popularity of these remedies took a beating with the advent of allopathic medicine. But traditional medical systems are coming to the fore once again and enjoying renewed interest.
With the Annual Talks finishing two days back, I sent out an email to our student, junior research felllow and postdoc mailing lists asking for comments. I have compiled the responses to date, while things are still fresh in our memory. One question focused on the new conference-style format: instead of every PI giving a talk, about half the faculty did, and there were also outside speakers. Please use the comment section below this article to add any further thoughts! All photos are by me, and are from the final day's poster session.
What were you favourite talks?
* I found Benny Shilo's talk good mainly because I could relate it to my research work. I also found Nicolas' talk and work very interesting though I don't do anything related.
* Favourite talks: Nicolas Gompel (really interesting work), Jayant (introduced comments which made his talk lively), Krushnamegh (hearing him for the first time) and Pedro (very different work and model system, also highly organized presentation) in that order.
One of the most important events on NCBS's calendar, this year's Annual Meeting will be held from the 3rd to 5th January 2013. Over the three days, fourteen of NCBS's principal investigators will speak about their recent work, focusing on different aspects of "Control in Biological Systems" - the theme for this year's talks. All seminars will be held at Dasheri (the NCBS Auditorium) in the new Southern Laboratories complex within the NCBS campus. The event also involves afternoon poster sessions where NCBS's research scholars will throw light upon their recent projects at the institute. The poster sessions will be dispersed between talks on all days.
One of the most prestigious awards in science, the 2012 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, was announced yesterday, and all three recipients - Jim Spudich, Ron Vale and Michael Sheetz - have strong links to NCBS, and India generally.
Jim Spudich, from Stanford, has had a long association with NCBS and is currently adjunct faculty here. Like Vale and Sheetz, Spudich's work has focused on 'molecular motors' - intracellular molecules that can harvest chemical energy to generate force. Spudich's group has been at the forefront of discovering how the motors that power muscle and other intracellular movements -myosins- do their jobs. In particular, his laboratory has developed in vitro assays that measure the speed and force produced by myosins -and are exemplars of experimental elegance. The assays allow researchers to determine the movements and forces produced by single myosin molecules. At inStem, Spudich is now leading a team investigating the role of myosin and other proteins in inherited cardiomyopathies, visiting inStem/NCBS three to four times per year.
Daniel Louvard, Director of the Curie Institute in Paris, visited NCBS last month to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Curie and NCBS. We managed to 'steal' him away from the commotion and badgered him with questions about the MoU, the new opportunities it might give to the students of NCBS and his views on current cancer research.
Supriya: How did this collaboration come about?
Daniel: Ludger Johannes had a number of interactions with several groups here, from your institute, NCBS, and they came to the idea we should formalize our interaction. So, a year ago, a year and half ago, Ludger came to my office and said it would be good if we can formalize that by a document that really reinforces our interaction, and I say, that's a good idea. So this is how the collaboration came about. This is a document that really confirms formally an existing collaboration between groups and so there's a clear understanding of what we are doing together.
NCBS microscopists are invited to submit several of your images and/or digital video clips to the 2012 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. As indicated by its title, the compettion will honour extraordinary microscope images of life science subjects. Up to five images, videos or image sequences can be entered per person, and you do not have to be a user of Olympus equipment to join in the fun. Entries for the contest can be uploaded through a web browser directly to the Olympus servers at the following URL:
You have exactly one month to hunt through your archives, or capture some dazzling new images. The deadline for new entries is Tuesday, October 2, 2012.
The winning photos of the competition are tentatively scheduled to be published in Scientific American and the photographers will receive substantial material rewards. First prize will be Olympus microscope or camera equipment valued at $5,000. Nine additional winners will also receive valuable prizes from Olympus. Winners will be notified in late October, and publicly announced in December, 2012.