Lecture Series in Advanced Biology 2019

Theme: Molecules and Memory

Date, time and venue: 20st Jan to 10th March 2019.

Every Sunday from 9 am to 12 pm at Malgova, NCBS, Bangalore.


Co-ordinators: Sumita Chakraborty, Sowmya Jahnavi, Bhaktee Dongaonkar, Dhananjay Chaturvedi, Lakshmi Balasubramanian, Renjitha Gopurapilly, Kashyap Krishnasamy, Sudheendra Rao, Shirish Mishra, Joyshree Chanam, Aritra Misra, Revathy K, Rajalakshmi Srinivasan, Vidya Ramesh

Brief introduction: What the eye sees, the brain perceives; what it perceives it strives to remember and recall at a later time. But hold on! Brain is not the only centre that can store information; other integrated systems in an organism have their own ‘memory’ which can, for instance, range from staging defence against foreign invaders to signal to the host when and what to eat to even keeping the genetic memory locked in the DNA and thus painting an evolutionary landscape. In this eight-week certificate course, we unfold to you a myriad of such tightly regulated circuitry underlying such broad systemic activities. With aid of examples, clinical case reports and experimental approaches used by us and by several researchers across the globe, one can begin to appreciate the consequences of mismanagement of these intricate circuits in systemic homeostasis.


Registration link: Questionnaire






Poster created by Vigneshwar Senthivel, inStem





Sumita Chakraborty:

My research area is molecular neuroscience. How neurons receive, read and interpret signals that results in specific output? My research focuses on neuronal signalling through calcium ions and regulation of calcium channels in the neurons. Pertaining to the question, I use fruit fly, rodent, human cell lines and stem cells as model systems. In this course, I will discuss molecular and cellular events during memory formation in the brain.


Sowmya Jahnavi:

Driven by an interest in developmental biology, I spent my time as a doctoral researcher in understanding plasticity of human adult stem cells: their ability to transdifferentiate and their response to physiological insults. I have now "scaled down" and am looking at relevant issues at the level of the plasma membrane which can control or be controlled by such insults, for instance insulin resistance. I use insulin-responsive cell types like adipocytes to address some of these issues.


Bhaktee Dongaonkar:

I plan to cover how memory at a Systems level operates in our brain. How different brain regions connect and communicate information to help us form memories. How do we  remember, solve problems, make decisions, or think creatively? I will try to include case studies from human patients to understand these phenomena.


Dhananjay Chaturvedi:

As an undergrad I studied microbiology but switched to Development from my masters’ onwards. I’ve studied brain development in mice and stem cells in Drosophila. Most recently our group uncovered a novel stem cell population in Adult fly muscles which maybe the basis of muscle maintenance and repair. This whole journey in knowledge had been enriching and rewarding. I’d like to share some of what fascinates me.


Lakshmi Balasubramanian:

I am trained chemist and got my PhD in Bioinformatics while I was working in conformations of protein structure. Currently I am a postdoctoral fellow at NCBS studying to understand host-pathogen interactions using a combined approach of 3D quantitative image analysis and Bioinformatics.


Renjitha Gopurapilly:

I worked on embryonic and adult stem cells since the completion of my post graduation. I have been associated with both the corporate and academic sector for biological research. I then did my PhD on pancreatic stem cells from Manipal University. I joined National Centre for Biological Sciences as a postdoc after that and currently study the role of intracellular calcium homeostasis in neural stem cells and their derivatives.


Shirish Mishra:

During my PhD I have studied the biogenesis of lipid droplets (LDs) from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in yeast model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. While looking at LD-ER dynamics, it was evident to me that cellular organelles are interdependent on one another for processes such as metabolism, degradation or secretion. Currently, I am trying to understand another such communication between plasma membrane (PM) and ER in photoreceptor cells of fruit fly. In this lecture course I will be sharing aspects of cell-to-cell connectivity and how it leads to learning and memory.

Kashyap Krishnasamy:

After an undergrad course work in microbial biotechnology, I switched focus to regenerative medicine for my PhD at Germany where my focus was the study of innate immune cells called macrophages. I was able to identify specific signaling mechanisms that regulate macrophage responses to tissue ischemia. Now my focus is to study the role of genomic mutations affecting immune responses and to that end, I would love to share my experiences and knowledge gained so far with you.


Sudheendra Rao:

Through this lecture course, I aim to present to you a clinician-scientist perspective of disorders of memory and therapeutics. This stems from my training in clinical sciences starting with MBBS  and neurology training at NIMHANS. Following my clinical exposure I pursued PhD in cellular and molecular neuroscience and postdoctoral training in neurotrauma at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. This helped to continue my efforts to understand neurological disorders and therapeutics from multiple dimensions. That effort has brought me to NCBS where I am studying cerebellar network using electrophysiology.


Joyshree Chanam

I work on plant–insect interactions, focusing on chemical-based communication and the evolution of mutualisms between plants and insects. During my PhD dissertation at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, I spent almost half a year every year in the tropical wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, investigating the mysteries of the ant-plant Humboldtia brunonis. Presently, I am a Post Doctoral Fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, investigating the effects of climatewarming on plant–insect interactions in the high altitude alpine meadows of the Eastern Himalayas.


Aritra Misra

I am a NCBS-inStem graduate student working in Ramkumar Sambasivan Lab. My research focuses on identifying molecular mechanisms of cell fate choice and establishment of left-right asymmetry during vertebrate embryogenesis. At the lecture series 2019, i would talk about cellular memory, both at intracellular and cell population level. The aim would be to identify the basic building blocks deployed by cells as “memory landmarks” during: 1. Differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to multiple differentiated tissue types. 2. Organization of differentiating tissues into discrete spatial domains during embryogenesis.


Revathy K

Bacteria evolve rapidly through the acquisition of new hereditary molecules by the process of horizontal gene transfer. My Ph.D work focused on elucidating the function, temporal dynamics and regulation of this variable genome in the model organism E.coli K12. As an attempt towards understanding the regulatory role of horizontally acquired genes, I have elucidated the role of an essential prophage gene and why it is important in E.coli. I am yet to take my postdoc stint in which I would be working on how would bacterium used to famine conditions would behave when it is provided feast.


Rajalakshmi Srinivasan
I am a post-doctoral researcher at InStem, Bangalore. My research area is to understand the binding specificity of transcription factors and its role in transcription regulation under various stress conditions. I employ next generation sequencing and molecular biology approaches to address questions about microbial life. I use bacteria and yeast as a model for my studies.


Vidya Ramesh

Having largely studied molecular and cellular mechanisms in forebrain development, I am now interested in applying this knowledge to neurological disorders. Currently, I am using stem cells to model neurodevelopmental diseases. I will cover topics related to neural stem cells from development and into adulthood, drawing comparisons between different species.