Biotechnica Chandigarh -2010 begins at PU: Top scientists grace inauguration

November 17, 2010

“A three-day national-level science extravaganza “Biotechnica
Chandigarh-2010” started on the Panjab University campus here today under the
patronage of Prof. R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor.  The theme of the conference-cum-fair
is “Biotechnology – its blue, green, red and white faces” signifying and symbolising
marine, agriculture, medicine, and industrial products.  
In his keynote address Prof. Asis Datta, Professor of Eminence, Director, National
Institute of Plants Genome Research (NIPGR) and President NASI talked of the latest
developments in the nutritional genomics research for the benefit of genetic
modification of crops to achieve food and nutritional security. The scientist said the
new research will enable elimination of protein calorie malnutrition and energy
deprivation to overcome “hidden hunger” caused by micro-nutrient deficiencies.  He
also elaborated on the pathogenecity of candida albicans, a causal agent of various
infections. The latest breakthrough in his research on improving shelf-life of
vegetables and fruits will enable minimize the post harvest losses estimated at
Rs.40,000 crores per year in India.    
Dr Datta citing news reports in media sometime back said a glut in tomato production
forced farmers crashing the prices of the produce to the lowest, and the farmers let
tomatoes rot in the fields in the absence of support also from the government.  
    The scientist talked of “4 E’s” about transgenic plants, that are easy to grow
and manage, are effective nutritionally, are economical, and eco-friendly.  The World
Health Organisation (WHO) has also urged for the acceptance of GM (genetically
modified) food aid to overcome poverty and hunger.
    In the plenary lecture, another eminent scientist Professor Ganapathy
Marimuthu explained the latest research on biology and behaviour of animals, talking
particularly about bats.  The scientist explained how bats and other creatures are
able to detect the prey with the help of ultrasounds emitted by creatures.   He
explained the use of FM (frequency modulation) and CF (constant frequency) by these
    In his welcome address, the Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof. R.C. Sobti
said Prof. Datta had seen the science of biotechnology growing in India from a
scratch. He also informed about his help in developing biotechnology in Panjab
University.  Prof. Sobti explained the close relationship of other sciences like micro-
biotechnology, microbiology with biotechnology and their practical contribution to the
latter.  Even students of law have done doctoral research in biotechnology, the Vice-
Chancellor pointed out.  
    Prof. Sobti honoured Prof. Asis Datta and Prof. Ganapathy Marimuthu on the
    Distinguished biotechnologist Prof. Kasturi Datta, former Dean, School of
environmental Sciences, Jawahar Lal Nehru University discussed the regulation of
Hyaluronan binding protein 1 on cancer progression and cell migration.
    Afternoon session was marked by a series of events such as Biotech quiz and
biotech debate along with parallel poster sessions.  An exhibition and student biotech
expo displaying various scientific models, posters and also highlighting the research
achievements of various departments of Panjab University was also inaugurated.  The
first day of the conclave ended with a colorful cultural evening to entertain the
    The participating industries in the event are Biocon, Chemical Resources, Dr
Reddy’s Lab, Panacea Biotec, Nectar Life Sciences, Avenues Remedies, Chandigarh
Distillers and Bottlers, Cosmas Pharmacls and Surya Group of industries.  
    This is the first privileged convention of its kind being held in North India
by the Panjab University.  The Convention aims at motivating young minds studying in
schools, colleges, universities and also companies working in biotechnology and the
life sciences, with a targeted mind to do research and develop particularly innovative
products, services and associated business ideas.  The convention will provide a
valuable common platform where “ideas will meet investors”.  The event structured in
platform for interface between industry and academia. The event will also help the
Biotech industry to showcase various facets of industrial use of Biotechnology.  The
Chairman of the event is Professor A.S. Ahluwalia, Dean Science faculty of the
Press Note No.599

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