Boston Bangalore Biosciences Beginnings Program was held at IBAB

Bengaluru 19th December 2017 : B4 (Boston Bangalore Biosciences Beginnings) Program was held at IBAB (Institute of BioInformatics and Applied Biotechnology) Bangalore centre in association with the Harvard University (Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute).This year the theme of the SAI-B4 program is based on Genomic Applications in Healthcare & Translational Research.

The aim ofthis intensive workshop is to introduce highlytalented Indian students to the emerging area of genomicsand enable them to explore the power and excitement of NextGeneration Sequencing technologiesto address clinically relevant research questions. Theworkshop will train the participants on both the experimental aspectsof genomic sequencing & computational analysis of sequencing datathrough didactic research lectures and hands-on sessions. Theworkshop is sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

Themes:

· CancerGenomics and Translational Medicine

·  Infectiousand Rare Disease Genomics

· Genomicsof Non-Coding RNA

· PopulationGenomic

· NutriGeniomic

· Epigenomics

 Thisprogram is open to:

·Pre-doctoral,doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in Life Sciences / Biotechnology /Bioinformatics / Computer Science

·Currentlyengaged in relevant areas of research Students currently enrolled in MBBS /M.Pharm programmes

·Exceptionallytalented undergraduate student

This yearthe applications received from universities across India in the field of LifeSciences, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Computer Science were around 218and the complete applications were 177. Out of which the shortlisted candidateswere 25, who will be a part of a residential workshop for 2 weeks under thetutelage of a distinguished panel of professors from the Harvard and variousIndian and American institutes in the field of Genomics and Medical Sciences.

Dr.CynthiaCasson Morton spokeabout SeQ-a-Boo, under which she spoke about history of theprocess in the US to assess implement genomic sequencing in to NBS and Next gendiagnostics and newborn screening for hearing loss.

Followed bydiscussion with Prof Cynthia Morton and Prof Marc Lenburg,  Prof.Yathindra (Director of IBAB) and Sri Gaurav Gupta, IAS, Principal Secretary atGovt of Karnataka, IT-BT department

Dr.Cynthia Casson Morton - Directorof Cytogenetics at Brigham and Women's Hospitaland is associate withBrigham and Women's Hospital from the last 30 years.  She is WilliamLambert Richardson Professor of Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Biology and Professorof Pathology at Harvard Medical School. As Director of Cytogenetics, Dr. Mortonhas implemented the use of next-generation sequencing to provide nucleotideresolution of balanced chromosomal rearrangements detected in the prenatalsetting.  Her laboratory has been a major site for training laboratorygeneticists in clinical cytogenetics.

Also presentwas Marc Lenburg (Boston University) - Professor ofMedicine, Section of Computational Biomedicine at Boston University School ofMedicine, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Boston University,School of Medicine, Professor, Bioinformatics Program at Boston University,School of Medicine and co-Director, Microarray Core Lab, at Boston UniversitySchool of Medicine.

He is ascientist with experience in computational analysis of large scale genomicsdata and development of bioinformatics software.  His lab is currentlyinvolved in understanding lung disease through comprehensive genome-widegene-expression profiling (whether using microarray-based technology or nowRNAseq) together with rigorous computational data analysis methods to discoverunexpected distinctions between disease states that provide them not only withclues as to how disease develops, but also sensitive tools for detectingdisease.

Informationfrom a patient’s genome is increasingly useful for diagnosis and therapy as acritical part of clinical care today.

Organizationssuch as The Human Genome Project, ENCODE (Encyclopedia of Human Elements), theHuman Epigenome Consortium have advanced our understanding of the etiology ofdisease and its progression. This has spurred a great deal of excitement inpersonalized medicine, which uses genomic and epigeneomic information toguide diagnosis and therapy. Gene panel-based diagnosis, genomic markers fordisease screening and newborn screening have created avenues for therapy andearly diagnosis.

Genomics andNext-generation Sequencing technologies have influenced scientific research andmedicine significantly, which has made a striking impact on healthcare andtranslational medicine over the last decade. The capability to sequence DNA athigher speeds with precision and resolution unravels several dimensions of thecomplex genome and enhances the applicability of genomic information inpersonalized medicine. 

The South Asia Initiative (SAI) continues the long tradition of collaborationbetween Harvard and South Asia’s nations. Learning from South Asia, andcontributing to its development, has become vital given the salience of theregion in contemporary times. Harvard University became the first in the nationto offer Sanskrit courses in 1872. Today, professors and students from acrossHarvard conduct research on scientific, strategic, social, economic,environmental, and political issues, in collaboration with colleagues in SouthAsia and elsewhere, in service of the community-at-large. The purpose of SAI isto be a nexus for interdisciplinary intellectual activities at the University,with the shared aspiration to build the leading center of expertise on SouthAsia. SAI seeks to expand knowledge of a vital region through faculty andstudent engagement across disciplines. We do so in an environment ofcompassion, tolerance, humility, and awareness, which qualifies us to becomeinformed decision-makers and change agents.


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