"Science Academy sponsored Lecture Workshop on "Bioinformatics"

IWSA is an NGO which was established in 1973. It has ten branches in the country. IWSA has the mandate to spread science among the masses and use science for societal benefit.  IWSA conducts community and science based educational activities. The science education related  activities, include popular science lectures in schools and colleges, conferences, workshops and refresher courses (www. iwsa.net.
Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil College (KBP), Vashi, Navi Mumbai is the leading college in Navi Mumbai that provides quality education in science, commerce and arts faculties at undergraduate and post graduate level. Established in 1978, it is affiliated to University of Mumbai and reaccredited by NAAC with A grade and CGPA 3.28. It is an ISO 9001:2008 certified institute which has a vision to work for “Better Tomorrow” through educational advancement  of society while keeping social justice and social obligations in mind. The college was acknowledged as a Star college by DBT in 2015. The college belongs to Rayat Shikshan Sanstha, Satara founded in 1919 by Padmabhushan Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil with education of masses in mind.
Bioinformatics has been introduced in the Mumbai University syllabus for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the past few years.   In these courses the students are exposed to the basic concepts of bioinformatics. However they are not familiar with the integration of these data bases to move from genetic data to protein and beyond. The scope of this workshop was to bridge this lacunae.
In response to circulars sent to Colleges announcing this Lecture Workshop we received 110 applications. We selected 53 participants, so as to include participants from different Mumbai/Navi Mumbai colleges, who had a background in Life Sciences.  Most of the students had not been exposed to Bioinformatics in their curriculum.
The program was organized to have lectures by invited speakers on the 6th Feb. 2016 at IWSA and the hands – on workshop at the KBP college, IT department on the 7th Feb. 2016.  The program is attached for ready reference.
The inauguration function was held in the ICICI multipurpose hall. Dr Devaki Ramanathan President IWSA, welcomed the participants and the dignitaries on the dias.  Dr. D.P.  Thakare, Vice Principal KBP, College welcomed the audience and gave a brief introduction to the Rayat Sikshan Sanstha and KBP college.  This was followed by an overview of the education program of the academies by Dr. Tarala Nandedkar, Convenor of the Lecture-Workshop. Dr. Rita Mukhopadhyaya, Coordinator for the workshop, gave the outline of the lectures and practical lessons to the participants. The purpose of the workshop was to bridge the gap between learning and understanding. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. K.V. R. Chary, an NMR scientist, from the Chemical Sciences Dept, TIFR, Mumbai and an Academy Fellow. He explained the principle of NMR, the working of NMR machines and the history from 1945 to the latest of high resolution NMR spectroscopy. He explained how bioinformatics is useful for interpretation of NMR data and structure determination .
The lecture workshop had four sessions which enlarged on the use of Bioinformatics for 1) X-ray crystallography and 2) Mass spectrometry for protein identification and structure determination; 3) gene sequences to application and finally 4) application of protein sequences in functional analysis.  Resource persons were Drs Varma, Govekar, Sachdeva and Mukhopadhyaya.  Dr. Geetanjali Sachdeva addressed the students on the 7th Feb, 2016 during the Valedictory.
On the evening of the first day a 2 hour hands on session on introduction to databases was held at the Computer Centre, IWSA.  
On the second day, at KBP College, each participant used personal terminals to learn various softwares for 1) designing of primers and multiple sequence alignment; 2) down loading protein sequences, matching sequences and structure determination .
The valedictory function of the 2 day national academies supported lecture workshop, jointly held by IWSA and KBP college, was held at the KBP college auditorium. Dr Thakare, Vice Principal presided over the function.  Students gave their feedback.  The general response was that they had been exposed to bioinformatics which they would explore further themselves.  They were happy with the overall content of the lecture-workshop and wished that their colleagues who could not be accommodated at this workshop should be given an opportunity through another workshop soon.
Indian Women Scientists’ Association and Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil College thank the Science Academies Science Panel for supporting our application to conduct this workshop and look forward to conducting more workshops for the benefit of the student community.

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