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DBT Celebrates 21st Foundation Day
Nov 04, 2010

The 21st Foundation Day and Award distribution ceremony of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) was celebrated on 12th March, 2007 at the National Centre for Plant Genome Research (NCPGR), JNU, New Delhi. Presided over by Shri Kapil Sibal, Hon'ble Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, the function was attended by representatives of foreign missions in India, former Secretaries of DBT and other senior officers of various scientific departments.

Dr. M. K. Bhan, Secretary, DBT, took the opportunity to address the gathering and assure them that the Department would
continue to make efforts for the country to be recognized as a global leader in the field of biotechnology.
The Hon'ble Minister presented the Biology Scholarships for the year 2006 to 56 students who topped in the CBSE and other Board Examinations for year 2005-06 and pursuing Biology as a main subject at graduate level. Thereafter, National Bio-scientist Award for Career Development, Young and Senior Women Bioscience Awards, Innovative Young Biotechnologists Award, and Distinguished Biotechnologist Awards were also presented to the awardees.

The occasion was also used for the commercial launch of the Filarial Antibody Spot/Immunoblot Assay System for Rapid Detection of Filariasis developed by the
Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University (Tamil Nadu). 

Shri Kapil Sibal in his address appreciated efforts of DBT and its staff members for their untiring and dedicated efforts in promoting biotechnology in India through various schemes and programs. He also stressed the need for expanding the physical and technical resources of DBT in the near future for facing new challenges.
                                                                                    K. K. Khattar and Prachi Saroop (DBT)
In step with Japan
The visit of the Hon'ble Prime Minister to Japan in December, 2006, underlined the need of strengthening mutually beneficial research collaboration between scientific organizations of the two countries.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Biotechnology, India and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology, Japan in the field of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, was signed on February 12, 2007 by Shri N. S. Samant, Joint Secretary on behalf of Department of Biotechnology and Mr. Takayuki Matsuo, Director General, International Affairs Department, Japan.

The Cooperative Research Projects (CRPs) are to be negotiated in specific areas by both the parties and the nature and scope of each CRP will be determined in consultation with each other through joint workshops, seminars and exchange visits of scientists. The CRPs would have dedicated funding from both sides.

Once areas for cooperation are identified, specific projects would be taken up through joint calls for proposals expected to be rolled out in the near future

                                            Prachi Saroop (DBT)
Indo-Australia workshop on Bioremediation
An Indo-Australia workshop on ‘Bioremediation: Biotechnological Interventions’ was held from 11th-13th March, 2007. The meeting was attended by 30 scientists including 12 from Australia.

The objectives of the workshop were to: a) bring together the academia as well as other stakeholders from both the countries to access the current potential and expertise in the area of Bioremediation; b) to gain insights to the research objectives of both countries and look upon avenues available for complementing the same through collaboration and c) explore the possible linkages and collaborative research projects between Indian and Australian counterparts. The deliberations during the 3 day workshop were coordinated by Dr. Vibha Dhawan (India) and Mr. Philip Mulvey (Australia).

                                                                                                               Sundeep Sarin (DBT)

Exploring Biofuels with Canada
The dangers of excessive dependence on oil require us to look at alternative ways to augment the supply of transportation fuels. There is a need to examine options that not only help reduce burgeoning imports but also reduce harmful emissions. Biofuels offer promising prospects in this context.
In an effort aimed at the application of modern biotechnological tools for production of Biofuels, DBT supported a one day workshop: “India-Canada Biofuels Workshop: Opportunities for Collaborations”. Hosted by The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) the workshop was attended by leading researchers form both India and Canada and was a perfect amalgamation of academia and industry. 

Daylong deliberations that were coordinated by Dr. Alok Adholeya (TERI, India) and Dr. Terry McIntyre (Environment Canada, Canada) led to a consensus that enhancement of productivity of biofuel crops using biotechnological tools needs to be accorded immediate priority. Other priority
areas identified were Lignocelluloses ethanol Pre-treatment; Microbial enzyme engineering; Fermentation processes; Pyrolysis &/or Gasification of Biomass for power, ethanol, green diesel production; Bio-refineries and Value added byproducts from residues of Bio-refining. In case of Glycerol, priority areas will be Alternative separation; Production of different derivatives of glycerol; Growth substrate for yeasts; Conversion to propylene glycol. Development of decentralized pilot scale biofuel production facilities was also identified as a key thrust area.

                                                                                                               Alok Adholeya (TERI)
Setting new priorities in health biotechnology
DBT and National Research Council, Canada jointly organized a 3-Day Workshop on Health Biotechnology at New Delhi on 21st-23rd February, 2007. Inaugurated by Dr. M. K. Bhan, Secretary, DBT, the workshop was attended by some of the top health biotechnology professionals from both countries drawn from respective academic institutions, R&D laboratories and industry.

The workshop identified the following thrust areas for focusing on the joint efforts of India and Canada under a collaborative program in the future:
Vaccine formulations and delivery- adjuvants etc. for viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases
CD40 based immunomodulation for autoimmune and infectious diseases
Modulation of innate-immune response to India-specific HCV strains for elucidation of viral pathogenesis and development of therapeutics
Therapeutics development against malaria and TB
Genetics of anti-mycobacterial host response
Canada- India public-private collaboration
The workshop was organized under the aegis of Indo-Canada Collaborative Research Program in Biotechnology for which the Memoranda of Understanding was signed by DBT on 5th December , 2006 with National Research Council, Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada. 

Shailja Gupta (DBT)
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