2013 Events
  • Plastic surgeons, biologists and engineers constructing tissues together
    Wassim Raffoul
    From the progenitor cell to a therapeutic agent
    Lee Ann Laurent-Applegate
    Thursday, December 12, 2013, 3 - 4 pm, Dasheri auditorium

    Surgical techniques have evolved for the treatment of severe burns. Modern imaging and biomechanical measurements have helped significantly in the treatment assessment and follow- up of patients. Importantly, cellular therapies have been an integral part of tissue reconstruction. Cell cultures of skin are frequently used for subsequent treatment of burn patients since 30 years in our University Hospital. New regulatory requirements issued in recent years will assure better safety but cost will be largely affected mainly due to the infrastructure to accomplish the cell culture which has to abide to the current Good Manufacture Practices (cGMP). We have adapted some of the techniques to the new stringent conditions and we describe the impact on daily clinical care of our burn patients.Techniques for cell culture have been improved so that cells can profit from the prospected treatment of hundreds of thousands of patients with only one organ donation. It is imperative to show consistency, traceability and safety of the cell culture process including donor tissue selection, cell banking, cell testing and growth of cells in out scaling for the preparation of whole-cell tissue engineering products.


  • Memory, Oral Traditions and Musical Journeys: A talk and a performance
    Participants: Alessandro Portelli, Shabnam Virmani and Vipul Rikhi
    Friday, November 15, 2013, 5 - 7 pm, Dasheri auditorium

    About the event:
    In India, orality and memory lie at the heart of the musical traditions we are so rich in. How do we understand these musical traditions that have survived so many centuries, changed and yet remained the same? How have these traditions travelled? And what inscriptions of their journeys do they still bear? The renowned oral historian and musicologist Alessandro Portelli who has been working for many years on migrant music in Rome, will introduce some of the themes through which we could understand these questions. This will be followed by songs from the Kabir oral traditions by Shabnam Virmani and Vipul Rikhi, exploring the idea of how songs travel across lands, languages, time, body and memory.


  • 'The observatory as a site of cosmopolitan knowledge: Jai Singh's Workshop of Jyotishi's, Nujumi and Jesuit Astronomers'
    Dhruv Raina, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science and Education, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
    Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 4 pm, Haapus (LH 1)

    Historians and sociologists studying the worlds of knowledge have recently begun to focus their attention upon the “geographies” and “sites” of knowledge. The astronomical observatory since the 10th century of the Christian era is one such important site. The present talk elaborates on the genealogy of one such astronomical observatory and its “cosmopolitan” practices. Focussing not so much on the “scientific aspect” of these practices, the discussion relates to the cultural practices of science. Ironically enough the huge and impossible masonry astronomical and architectural projects that the 18th century astronomer king Jai Singh embarked on would be easier perhaps to understand in the age of Big Science. However, the project finds its place among several other monumental projects of the 18th century. Many other gargantuan projects extended over centuries. In the history of the so called modern sciences the 16th to the 18th centuries are particularly important, marked as they are by the circulation of artefacts, objects, specimens, data, textual collections and more importantly individuals – at one level it becomes impossible to speak of this circulation without engaging with this cosmopolitanism of things and peoples. However, in this talk I shall attempt to situate a much discussed “cosmopolitan encounter” between astronomers, charting out the entangled nature of this engagement with a variety of objects, knowledge forms and practices. In doing so it will be seen that the term “cosmopolitan” acquires different meanings especially when engaging with epochs preceding our own.


  • 'When we leave' - 2010, 119 mins
    Director: Feo Aladag
    Friday, August 23, 2013, 5 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)


  • 'Ali: Fear eats the soul' - 1974, 93 mins
    Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Saturday, August 24, 2013, 11 am, Haapus (LH 1)


  • 'The edge of heaven' - 2007, 116 mins
    Director: Fatih Akin
    Saturday, August 24, 2013, 2 pm, Haapus (LH 1)


  • 'Born in Absurdistan' - 1999, 111 mins
    Director: Houchang Allahyari
    Saturday, August 24, 2013, 4.30 pm, Haapus (LH 1)


  • 'Almanya-Welcome to Germany' - 2011, 101 mins
    Director: Yasemin Samdereli
    Sunday, August 25, 2013, 11 am, Haapus (LH 1)


  • 'Alice in the cities' - 1974, 110 mins
    Director: Wim Wenders
    Sunday, August 25, 2013, 2 pm, Haapus (LH 1)


  • 'In July' - 2000, 89 mins
    Director: Fatih Akin
    Sunday, August 25, 2013, 4.30 pm, Haapus (LH 1)

  • Between morality and justice: The LGBTI struggle in India
    Arvind Narrain, Lawyer and researcher at the Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Bangalore
    Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 4 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    This presentation will chart the journey right from the first tentative articulation of the concerns of those who did not fit the normative understanding of sexuality to the germinal decision of the Delhi High Court which decriminalized the lives of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) people. This journey encompassed activist work both in terms of building public opinion as well as work within the court system for a recognition of the multiple ways that people choose to lead their lives. This presentation will argue that the struggle for LGBTI rights is not just a struggle for the rights of a minority but rather for the articulation of a vision of a more inclusive and just society.

  • Topics in art history from South and Southeast Asia - July 24 - 26, 2013
    Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    Do the meanings of images, like the Nataraja, change with time, location and who sees it? Can images with accompanying texts, function as separate elements but also work together as a collective unit? Do Vishnu and Lakshmi embody the same meaning in Cambodia as in India? Art objects are products of a particular time and place. These historical and cultural contexts constitute the meaning and significance of these objects. Yet, the meanings of objects from particular contexts morph with time, so that their significance is reconstituted. The three talks in this series explore these issues of change and continuity by looking at objects of the past and of the present, from South and Southeast Asia.
  • On ways of seeing an image
    Alka Hingorani, IIT Bombay
    Wednesday July 24, 4 pm
  • Word-Image Tango: Telling stories with words and sculptures at the Kailasanatha temple complex in Kanchipuram
    Padma Kaimal, Colgate University, New York
    Thursday July 25, 4 pm

  • Synthesis of art and landscape in ancient Cambodia
    Soumya James
    , National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
    Friday July 26, 4 pm
  • Raising the bar: What the Novartis judgement means for the future of medicines in India and Beyond
    Achal Prabhala, Writer and researcher who works on access to medicines
    Tuesday June 25, 2013, 4 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    On 1 April 2013, the Indian Supreme Court denied Novartis’ application for patent protection on a modification of imatinib, a highly effective cancer treatment. It was the judgment heard around the world. Behind the judgment is a complicated and providential 45-year-old political history that resulted in the patent law we now have, a law that was upheld by the Supreme Court in the Novartis decision. Ahead of the judgment lies a pharmaceutical landscape that will be forever altered; not only will access to medicines change for the better, but so also will the terms of what we know as 'innovation'. What does the Novartis judgment mean for India and the rest of the world?

  • Copyright, Copyleft and Copy Centres: The Ecology of Access to Learning Materials in India
    Lawrence Liang, Lawyer and co-founder of Alternative Law Forum
    Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 4 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    The ownership of academic knowledge has moved into the forefront of debates on intellectual property. The control of access to expensive databases as well as the pricing of books has effectively created new gatekeepers in the political economy of knowledge production. What is the role of the law in ensuring equitable access? How do we understand the regime of fair dealing when it comes to learning materials? What are are the consequences of stronger regimes of intellectual property on academic communities and on collegiality? This presentation will raise a few key questions around the legal and philosophical dimensions of ownership and trace a genealogy of ownership in liberal philosophy and ask what alternatives we may imagine. It will also situate the debate in the context of ongoing conflicts over the scope of the education exception in copyright law in india.

  • 'The Open Frame', a documentary on the personal and artistic journey of the artist S.G Vasudev
    S. G. Vasudev, Lata Mani (Research and interviews) and Navroze Contractor (Cinematographer)
    Thursday, April 4, 2013, 4 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    About the film:
    Directed by Chetan Shah, the film is structured around Vasudev’s creation of a painting from start to finish. It enables the viewer to witness the entire process through which his paintings emerge:  from the way he prepares the blank canvas to the different stages through which the canvas then passes, with colours and textures being added and removed to produce the distinctive character of a Vasudev artwork. The film also provides glimpses of the intricate processes through which his famous copper reliefs and tapestries are produced in collaboration with master-craftsmen. And it introduces viewers to the exciting spaces where Vasudev works. Interviews with eminent art historians, long-time colleagues and lifelong friends provide insights into Vasudev the artist and the person. The viewer comes away from the film with not only a perspective on the artist’s creative process and his body of work, but also an understanding of his multiple and ongoing efforts to contribute to and help nourish the art environment and community and to forge links between the art world and the society in which it is situated. This cinematic portrait of one of India’s leading senior artists is a visually rich celebration of colour and texture thanks to the painterly cinematography of Navroze Contractor. The research and interviews conducted by Lata Mani add to the significance of the film as a record of significant developments and debates in the world of Indian art.  Music is an important part of the film, as it is of Vasudev’s work, with an original score composed by Prasanna interspersed with carefully selected tracks of classical music.

  • From Jaipur to Micropur
    Prof. Dominique Lämmli and Dr. Annemarie Bucher
    Thursday, February 21, 2013, 5 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    How do microbiology and art approach and understand life? This is a particularly interesting question in present times. Art as well as the specific domains within the hard sciences are increasingly asked to legitimize their work and capacity. In the last few years, our work, as artists and researchers has focused on the highly disputed notions of contemporary art in glocal contexts. Through extending our comparative view to evolutionary biology, we tackle the fundamental and motivational blind spots of scientific and artistic practice. During our work at the Adaptation Lab at NCBS we gathered invaluable material for our installations on these issues. We will give you an insight into the production and layout of these installations, titled 'Lining Life'. We will also present art as a complex phenomenon with a multitude of functional claims. Finally, the installation 'From Jaipur to Micropur' on the colonnade at the Southern Labs building will visually tackle questions of water use and purity.

  • Love, Hate & Everything in Between
    Director: Alex Gabbay
    Research and script supervisor: Sara Adhikari
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 5.15 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    Man's capacity for kindness and compassion is overshadowed only by his ability to be as cruel and destructive. Can empathy resolve issues of aggression and subjugation, where wars, politics and economic sanctions have failed? New research in neuroscience, psychology, education and technology suggests it might. 'Love, Hate & Everything in Between' explores the role of empathy and its extraordinary relevance in today's increasingly interconnected world. Featuring: Vittorio Gallese, Simon Baron-Cohen, Frans De Waal, Theodore Zeldin, Mary Gordon and Jeremy Rifkin. The film duration is 52 minutes.

    This is Alex Gabbay's second film in a series on the mind and aspects of human behaviour. The first film 'Just Trial and Error, conversations on consciousness' won a Special Mention from the jury for "outstanding, statuesque and visual depiction of the sophisticated topic" at the International Scientific Film Fesitval, Tisza Mozi, Szolnok, Hungary.

  • Why exercise really is medicine: an evolutionary perspective
    Daniel Lieberman, Harvard College Professor and Chair of the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
    Thursday, January 31, 2013, 4 pm
    , Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)

    As economic development progresses around the world, more countries are experiencing a dramatic increase in non-infectious diseases caused by poor diet and physical inactivity. In this lecture I will use the lens of evolution to consider how and why humans evolved to be superlative endurance athletes, why physical activity is so healthy for humans, and why physical inactivity contributes to many kinds of disease. I will also address why, if physical activity is so beneficial, so many people dislike exercise and prefer to take it easy. And finally, I will show how an evolutionary perspective on medicine can help address diseases caused by physical inactivity.


  • Analogy in Ayurveda & Traditional Indian Discourse
    Indudharan Menon, Scholar-in-Residence, NCBS
    Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 4 pm, Dasheri (NCBS auditorium)


    Analogies are an essential feature of traditional Indian scientific and philosophical discourse, and certain analogies became leitmotifs for describing and debating the nature of man and the universe. This talk is principally about the importance of analogy in Ayurveda. Scholarly opinion has it that Ayurveda’s almost 2000 year-old medical theory was constructed using concepts from various Indian philosophical traditions and adapting them to the domain of medicine. We find the two seminal texts of Ayurveda describing the human body and its functions using age-old analogies derived from activities and contexts that have been vital for humans since prehistoric times. I argue that it was knowledge originating from time immemorial grass roots observations expressed through such analogies that shaped Ayurveda’s views about life processes, disease and healing. The talk will also examine the role of analogy in the larger context of the traditional Indian intellectual discourse. Ever since the ancient Greeks, analogies have played an important part in the history of western science. Since the past few decades, analogy has become an important subject of study, especially in cognitive science, information theory and psychology. So I will touch upon the vital role of analogy in science and scientific discoveries.