Lecture Series in Advanced Biology 2023

Theme: Chaos to Order

Coordinators:  Sowmya Jahnavi, Sruthi Unnikrishnan, Anubhav Prakash

Date, Time, and Venue: 30th April -02nd July 2023, Every Sunday 10AM to 1PM at NCBS, Bengaluru campus

Brief Introduction:

The postdoctoral community of NCBS and inStem brings the 10th edition of lecture series where we introduce research based learning of biology through interactive sessions and activities. We try to build concepts and foster analytical thinking.

This year we are back to offline mode and all lectures will be held at NCBS and the theme is “Chaos to Order”. Nature works at different scales from molecules to cells to a complete individual, to an environment. Constitutents at each scale orchestrate a set of transitions to achieve functionality. What exactly are these transitions from 'chaos' to order? If and how are they regulated?

The series packs exciting lectures to answer these questions. This is best suited for undergraduate students of any discipline who have an interest in biology. However, master students are encouraged to apply as well. Preference will be given to applicants in their 2nd/3rd year B.Sc, 2nd-4th year B.Tech and 1st year M.Sc due to limited capacity. Evaluation of applicants will be based on eligibility and their responses in the registration form. 

Registration deadline: 31st March 2023 [Extended till 5th April 2023]

Registration link: shorturl.at/fkX18


Aditya Asopa: I started as a veterinarian but then developed philosophical and scientific interests in studying brain and neural systems. Neural systems are especial for me as their study is a confluence of philosophy, mathematics, computer science, biology, animal behaviour and learning, artificial intelligence, engineering, the list goes on. I study how structure of neural circuits give rise to functions like memory and navigation while also keeping the circuits dynamically stable. I love to talk about abstract ideas, philosophies, thought experiments,  and science fiction.
Anubhav Prakash:  I am intersted in how tissue shape and patterns emerges from group of cells. We found that the differences in cell junctions help drives these organisation and is  governed by cell specific programmes and local biochemical tuning. This regulation is not just fascinating but also holds the door to a variety of intersteing patterns. I would love to share some of the those.
Anurag Kumar Singh: I am an Integrated PhD student at NCBS. My work primarily involves using next generation sequencing datasets to identify DNA/RNA based alterations in cancer genomes which could drive cancer growth and evolution.
Anusree Mahanta: I discovered my fascination with Immunology during my PhD research when I looked into the molecular mechanisms of severe malaria pathogenesis. Currently, as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Tina lab at inStem, I feel fortunate to pursue my area of interest with a new flavour. While immune cells are well known as defending cells, my research work deals with non-canonical functions of these cells in regulating animal growth and metabolism.
Asha Mary Joseph: I am a Molecular Microbiologist trying to understand how bacteria survive under diverse stresses in their natural environments. During my PhD at Indian Institute of Science I studied bacterial evolution under nutrient starvation. I moved to National Centre for Biological Sciences for my postdoctoral research, where I have been investigating molecular mechanisms that lead to mutagenesis in bacteria. My research has implications in understanding bacterial infections and development of antibiotic resistance. 
Atal Vats: I am doing my PhD in the field of molecular neuroscience and I am interested in understanding the cell biological mechanisms that help neurons to communicate in a meaningful way. In general, I am happy to read and discuss about any sort of communication that happens across all scales in biology. From cells to organisms, everything excites me!
Chandrima Patra: I am a graduate student in a cell biology lab at NCBS looking at the structure and function of plasma membranes of single cells.Joining in an Integrated PhD course after an undergraduate in chemistry it has been an immensely fascinating and rewarding experience looking at first principles of chemistry at play in living cells. It is this aspect of interdisciplinary research and basic science that I hope to communicate and share with the participants in the lecture series.
Girish Kumar: Pokémon was perhaps the greatest inspiration during my childhood which drew me toward plants and animals, and I am a hopeful experimental naturalist interested in all creatures great and small. Taking the greatest of joys in observing the oddest of things from tiny lantana fruits and self-burying grass seeds to Whirligig beetles and mongooses. I started off with butterfly-watching during my high school and bachelor's (I can still identify more Pokémons than butterflies, XD). And in my master's, I dissected bird brains to study their visual pathways, which then piqued my interest in neuroscience. I then decided to go down a path integrating two of my interests: insects and neuroscience. Currently, I am a graduate student at the Insect Flight Lab, at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. I study jumping strategies across insects and I want to understand how they control their jumps.
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.
Jyotsana Parmar: "I am a Physicst interested in understanding the complex biological systems using physics based models and theories. The task is to first understand the biological system by analysing the available experimental data and then develop a model/theory to understand the underlying mechanism. More specifically, I am interested in understanding the physical principles that drives the organization of DNA and its dynamics at various scales and in different cell types treating DNA as a polymer. Currently, I am studying the effects of active perturbations on DNA organization and its regulation. 
I received my PhD from IIT Bombay where we investigated nucleosome positioning and dynamics and how it affects the accessibility of DNA. Later on, I joined Institute Pasteur, Paris, as a postdoc where we studied the changes in chromosome compaction in different conditions. Currently I am working as a DST Inspire faculty fellow at Simons Center. "
Mona Hosny I am fascinated with developmental biology in general and early embryo development in particular. I find it very interesting that all the living orgnisms start with a single fertilized cell that looks quite similar that divide and differntiate continuosly  in a very organized manner using similar set of pathways and genes to make different organisms.  I have studied biotechonology  for Bacholar where I developed huge interest in biology and research. I did my graduation project in IVF center and that is where I became interested in embryos. Currently I am PhD. student in NCBS where I am studying the effect of mitochondrial dysfunction on early embryo mouse development.
Nandashree I am a researcher in Prof.Hasan's lab. My work involves understanding how intracellular calcium signalling regulates the early development of an organism.  I was intrigued to find out  how changes in calcium concentration in space and time regulate neuronal activity, which in turn regulates animal behaviuor based on internal and external cues.
Sabuj Bhattacharyya: I was always fascinated by nature. Thus after completing my Masters, I joined the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the University of Colorado, Boulder to study the impact of climatic oscillation on climate-sensitive alpine small mammals in the Western Himalayas and in the American Rockies. I have used Royle pika and American pikas (a related of rabbits and hares and inspiration behind Pokemon and Pikachu cartoons) as a model system for my doctoral research. During post-doctoral studies at the Indian Institute of Science and the University of Sheffield, I have explored various advance molecular biology tools as well as a geographic information system to understand how a species may respond to the changing environment and habitat. Before joining DBT-inStem as a scientist and ethics officer, I worked with a leading Indo-UK funding agency as a science facilitator. 
Sarayu Beri: I started out as a Zoology student but zoomed in closer and closer the animals I was studying, until I reached the point when I wanted to understand how fundamental biophysical and biochemical processes make the fascinating creatures we see. Currently I am in Mayor lab, studying mechanochemical regulation of signalling by the plasma membrane.  I especially enjoy microscopy as a way to observe cellular behaviour, and want to scale up the fascinating observations we make to connect them to processes in organisms which make them go!
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.
Sruthi Unnikrishnan: As a behavioural ecologist, I have always been interested in group living animals, specifically group living insects. I studied the social organisation in two sister species of paper wasps during my PhD in IISc, allowing me to gain insights into the evolution of eusociality. During my postdoctoral fellowship in NCBS, I started studying the evolution of division of labour in Asian honey bees, which have a more advanced social structure than the paper wasps. This has led me to appreciate even more the complexities that underly these different social systems and how we have barely scratched the surface regarding social insects and their intricacies.   
Sweety Meel: My interest in biology comes from my quest to understand and dig deeper into smaller and smaller scales of the living. I am intrigued by the hierarchy of molecules and its maintenance to bring about what we see around in nature. Starting from life sciences in Bachelor's, I have now moved into chromatin biology in my PhD. Would like to continue exploring the tiny-tiny, well organised nuclei and share the same.
Tanay Bhatt: I have done my PhD in the field of wound healing and antimicrobial peptide secretion from inStem/NCBS.  I was interested in understanding how do skin cells sense the injury and inititate the wound healing response. Through these fundamental understandings now we are designing novel therapies for non-healing diabetic wounds and antibiotic resistant infections at KoshKey Sciences Pvt Ltd. 
Vinay Sagar: I am a biologist who hated biology in school! And now, I study colour variations in tigers and their evolutionary implications. How did I get here? Things changed when I was introduced to genetics and the theory of evolution. I did my integrated master's in biological sciences from IISER Bhopal and studied the evolution of molecular chaperones in budding yeast and Arabidopsis. For my PhD at NCBS, I am investigating the evolutionary forces driving the frequencies of various colour morphs of tigers. I am a geneticist and population geneticist who uses molecular biology and bioinformatics tools to answer questions about evolutionary processes like selection and random genetic drift. The therory of evolution and the evidence for it still amaze me the same way as they did back in school and I hope to spark the same sanse of wonder in others.