Lecture Series in Advanced Biology 2022: Feedback Systems in Biology
Co-ordinators: Aalok Varma, Abrar Rizvi, Aditi Mishra, Amruta Naik, Bhavya Dharmaraaj, Ishutesh Jain, Manoj Kumar, Oindrila Bhattacharjee, Pallavi Sabharwal, Payel Chatterjee, Rashmi Agrata, Renjitha Gopurappilly, Sandeep Ameta, Shweta Chakraborty, Sowmya Jahnavi, Sudha Swaminathan, Sukanya Madhwal.
Date, time, and venue: 29th May to 24th July 2022, Every Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm (Virtual).
Brief introduction: 
Each year, the BLiSc-postdoc community puts together an Advanced Lecture Series for undergraduate students based on our expertise. We go beyond the textbook, presenting basic and relevant information across subjects to build up concepts and to encourage analytical thinking.
The theme for this year is "Feedback systems in biology". Feedback regulation is essential from the cellular to the ecosystem levels. How is this feedback maintained? What are the players involved in such maintenance? What happens in cases where this feedback is hijacked or interrupted? We hope to provide an integrative approach and cover these topics at different scales in biology. We will also include a couple of lectures from external speakers who are experts in these fields.
This lecture series is tailored to suit final year undergraduate students and hence preference would be given to them during the selection process. However, the crucial factor contributing to selection is the answers to the screening questions we pose. Students who have attended the lectures in the previous years are welcome to apply but would be accommodated based on space availability. Please spread the word to anyone who can benefit.
This year we will be having virtual teaching sessions. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Registration (Deadline 5th May 2022): Registration: here

Aalok Varma:

I am a graduate student at NCBS, where I use zebrafish as a model system to study the development and function of the cerebellum, with a particular focus on Purkinje neuron physiology. When not in the lab, I advocate for early-career researchers as a member of eLife's Early Career Advisory Group (ECAG) and enjoy a wide range of hobbies from dance and sport to reading and teaching. (Twitter @varmaalok22, LinkedIn @varmaalok22)


Abrar Rizvi:

I did my MSc in Biotechnology from University of Kashmir, which got me interested in exploring the field of research in biological sciences. I went to IFOM, Milan for a PhD in Molecular Oncology, where I studied how cells get polarized to form luminal structures. As a postdoctoral fellow at inStem, I’m developing a novel technological platform to find safe and effective drugs against fibrotic diseases.


Aditi Mishra:

I am a behavioral ecologist working with Dr. Shannon Olsson at NCBS. I study how solitary generalist pollinators find flowers innately and how quickly they learn to adapt to floral resources in their environment. I have previously worked on the role of dopamine and CART in Teleost reproduction. (Twitter @aditi_mis_understood, LinkedIn aditi mishra)


Amruta Naik:

I am a graduate student at Dr. Raghu Padinjat's Lab at NCBS. I study various aspects of lipid signaling inside a cell.


Bhavya Dharmaraaj:

I completed my undergraduate degree from St' Josephs's College, Bangalore in Microbiology, Chemistry, and Zoology (and was quite drawn to microbe). However, when I joined NCBS for my PhD I realised I did not want to spend my all my time worrying about microorganisms and whether the culture was at the right OD. Instead, I decided to worry about whether my butterflies had laid eggs, whether my caterpillars had fungal infections, and if there were enough plants to rear more butterflies. I started working in Krushnamegh Kunte's lab studying how butterfly wing patterns evolve across species and between sexes and how butterflies use these wing colours to communicate. Through this I have gained more interest in the "larger" scales of biology and hope to share my interest with you.


Ishutesh Jain:

How do the interactions between cellular constituents lead to the emergence of attributes like robustness, precision, control, homeostasis, etc., in biological systems? I am a cell biologist and biophysicist who uses experimental and theoretical approaches to address such questions. Currently, I am studying the role non-equilibrium forces play in the precise positioning of the sub-cellular organization. I am on a joint postdoctoral fellowship between Institute Curie and NCBS. Before joining this program, I received a Ph.D. from IIT Bombay, where I studied cytoskeleton assembly using theoretical approaches.


Manoj Kumar:

I am trained in Soft Matter Chemistry. I received my Ph.D. in chemistry from CSIR-NCL, Pune (AcSIR), India. My initial research started with the understanding of membrane curvature in monoolein-water systems using polymers as a proxy for proteins. The study also led us to understand the library of structures formed during the membrane interactions with the polymeric molecules. Now, I am working as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Shashi Thutupalli at NCBS. My current research interest is in active matter and protocell systems. Here, I design active molecules and active polymers using the squirmer model system.


Oindrila Bhattacharjee:

I have done my Masters in the field of Biotechnology from St. Xavier’s College Kolkata. Thereafter I pursued PhD in the field of cell biology and immunology at the Institute For Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) Bangalore. During my PhD, I was highly fascinated by the broad range of functions performed by the white blood cells during development , homeostasis, and inflammation. This intrigued me to study the crosstalk between the epithelial cells and the immune cells that help in maintaining tissue integrity.


Pallavi Sabharwal:

I did my masters from IIT-Bombay, from where I developed a deep interest in structure and function of proteins. During my Ph.D from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, I learned to characterise plant viral proteins and also tried to exploit plant virus like particles for their use in bio-nanotechnology. Presently I am working as a postdoctoral fellow at NCBS, trying to elucidate the alternate pathways (apart from ACE2 mediated pathway) of entry of SARS-CoV-2 in cells.


Payel Chatterjee:

I finished my undergrad in physiology from Presidency College, Kolkata following which I joined the laboratory of Prof. Sanjay P. Sane at NCBS as an Integrated PhD student. During my years in the lab, I got to learn about the several fascinating facets of the neuroethology of insect flight. My PhD project focussed on the sensory feedback control of the gaze stabilization reflex in hawkmoths in which we conducted a series of behavioural assays using high-speed videography.


Rashmi Agrata:

I am a doctoral student at NCBS - TIFR. My current research work focuses on understanding the structural-conformational-functional relationship of proteins in the ubiquitination pathway. I study the biophysical and biochemical nature of enzymes to investigate the mechanisms employed by bacterial pathogens to hijack host immune responses. A dance enthusiast and an art admirer, I love mentoring! (Personal website: rashmiagrata.com, Twitter @Rashmi_Agrata, LinkedIn @rashmiagrata)


Renjitha Gopurappilly:

I work in Prof. Gaiti Hasan's group at National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, investigating the role of intracellular calcium signaling in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived neural precursors and neurons in normal and diseased state. My work focuses on the use of 2D and the currently emerging 3D organoid system to model human brain development and to understand neurodegenerative disorders. (Twitter @RGopurappilly, LinkedIn Renjitha Gopurappilly)


Sandeep Ameta:

I am an experimentalist interested in Origins of Life (OoL) problems. My work revolves around studying RNA catalysis and chemical self-replicating systems using interdisciplinary and high throughput approaches. In my postdoc, I worked on one of the fundamental questions of origins of life: ‘Can life begin as self-sustaining networks?’. To approach this problem, I built an experimental system using droplet-based microfluidics combining with single-cell sequencing (inDrop, Drop-Seq). Here at the Simons Centre NCBS, I am working on the exciting problem of experimentally demonstrating the emergence of autocatalytic networks from the library of diverse RNA fragments.


Shweta Chakraborty:

I am pursuing my PhD in NCBS. My work involves using experimental and bioinformatics tools to understand transcriptional regulation and metabolism in bacteria. My PhD project focusses on studying the diversity of mechanisms by which a single global regulator helps the cell choose optimum nutrients.


Sowmya Jahnavi:

I am a researcher in the Mayor Lab at NCBS. My work involves investigating a plasma membrane-centric view of insulin resistance. I exploit a combination of cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and super resolution microscopy to draw a picture of the insulin resistant membrane at the nanoscale level. A major aspect featuring in my research is lipid compositional homeostasis of plasma membrane and how a deviation from this "set point" affects metabolism.


Sudha Swaminathan:

I am a PhD student at NCBS. During my Masters, I was fascinated by recent discoveries in molecular biology that have really changed and challenged our understanding of gene regulation. I was keen to discover and learn more so, I decided to pursue research in this domain. Currently, I am trying to understand what happens at the molecular level inside the nucleus when cells receive hormonal signals. Specifically, I am trying to understand how binding of transcription factors to DNA changes upon hormone treatment and how that is related to changes in 3D structure of DNA.


Sukanya Madhwal:

I am a keen learner and passionate about observing nature and the functioning of life on earth. I have recently completed my Ph.D. in Dr. Tina Mukherjee's group at the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicines, Bangalore, where my research focused on understanding the metabolic control of blood cells in Drosophila. Currently, as a Bridging postdoc in the lab, I am exploring olfactory control of immune priming in Drosophila. (Twitter , LinkedIn )@madhwal_sukanyaSukanya Madhwal