Representational image: A young science enthusiast peering at the sky using a telescope
Chandrayaan-2 may have dominated popular imagination during 2019 despite the Vikram Lander failing to soft-land on the lunar surface, but the year was marked by several significant developments by Indian scientists in fields ranging from nanotechnology to climate change.
The run-up to the lunar mission with planned landing of the lander-cum-rover, the launch campaign, the journey to the lunar orbit and the landing sequence all attracted national and international attention. The year ended in triumph for citizen science when Chennai-based software engineer, Shanmuga Subramanian, discovered debris of Vikram on the lunar surface using publicly available high-resolution images of the landing site. This development comes close to a rise in citizen science initiatives in the country.
Staying with space and astronomy, star of an exoplanet was named after Indian physicist, Bibha Chowdhury. During the year, Indian software engineers got readied software that will run the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which is slated to be the worlds largest ground-based telescope operating at optical and infrared wavelengths. Details about TMT and other international Big Science projects in which India is participating were on display in a roving exhibition called Vigyan Samagam which attracted huge crowds.
Climate change: Responding to climate change impacts being seen in the Himalayan region, Indian scientists developed a common framework for assessment of climate change vulnerability in all the states in the region, using an index based on socio-economic factors, demographic and health status, sensitivity of agricultural production, forest-dependent livelihoods, and access to information, services and infrastructure. This knowledge will now be applied to develop a countrywide map of climate vulnerability.
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) found a link between warming of the Indo-Pacific Ocean and changing rainfall patterns in many parts of the globe, including India. The warming pools of the Indo-Pacific Ocean are expanding, and this, in turn, is altering a major weather phenomenon known as the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO). The warming of Indo-Pacific Ocean is occurring due to man-made emissions. Another group from the Indian Institute of Science warned that as many as 55 percent of glaciers in the Satluj basin may disappear by 2050. and 97 percent by 2090, under extreme climate change scenario. Using ice thickness of glaciers as the basis, scientists also estimated that glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayas might contain 27% less ice than previously suggested.
Eco-friendly technologies: The year saw progress towards development of less polluting crackers, with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) releasing first set of green crackers. A national centre to pursue R&D in clean coal technologies was also opened in Bangalore. Eight teams of innovators from different parts of the world were selected for an international competition to develop more efficient and climate-friendly cooling solutions for residential buildings. The team will get seed money to translate their ideas into prototypes. The final winner of the Global Climate Prize will be announced in November 2020.
Representational image: Microscopic bacteria
Indian genomic data: In an important development, Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) completed whole genome sequencing of 1008 Indian individuals representing diverse ethnic groups in the country. The data will act as baseline information for developing various applications in predictive and preventive medicine.
Scientists from CCMB also found underlying genetic factors for infertility among Indian men. This knowledge could help in developing a genetic test for male infertility in near future. As part of genetic studies to trace the origins of population groups in the Indian sub-continent, it had been seen that sizeable population group of Mundas in central and northeast India shares genetic ancestry with Southeast Asian populations as well. A study revealed how and when this admixture between Mundas and Southeast Asian populations took place.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) launched a new human atlas initiative called Manav to develop a unified database of molecular network of all the tissues in the human body, and to derive a holistic picture of the working of human body. This mega project will collate and integrate molecular information on human tissues and organs that currently lies hidden in research articles in an unstructured and disorganized form.
Developments in gene editing: Indian scientists developed a new variant of currently popular gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, and showed that it can increase precision in editing genome while avoiding unintended changes in DNA. The researchers showed that this type of gene editing can be used to correct sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder. The experiments were done in human-derived cells from patients of sickle cell anemia, according to findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
New nano materials: Continuing their work in nano science and technology in 2019, scientists at the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) used gold nanoparticles, and by rearranging size and gaps between them, developed a new material with unique properties like capacity to absorb light and carbon dioxide. Gold does not have these properties, and therefore, the new material has been named black gold, dye to its black appearance.
Boosting rice productivity: Scientists at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) identified a gene involved in regulating the size of rice grain. The new development represents a new approach towards developing rice varieties that produce bigger and consequently heavier grains. Scientists from the Bose Institute came up with a new salt-tolerant transgenic rice plant by over-expressing a gene from a wild rice called Porteresia coarctata into the commonly used IR 64 indica rice variety.
Other important developments during the year included a new plan to establish a museum for marine archaeology at Lothal, a new satellite-based weather information service for deep sea fishers, grand challenge for cancer research to develop affordable cancer diagnostics and treatment, a white paper on e-cigarettes that led to its ban in India, and new initiative to boost malaria research in the country.
(This article was originally published on India Science Wire.)
See more here:
- Clene Nanomedicine Announces First Patient Dosed in the RESCUE-ALS Clinical Trial for the Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with Lead... - January 25th, 2020
- Modifying ICCA with Trp-Phe-Phe to Enhance in vivo Activity and Form N | IJN - Dove Medical Press - January 25th, 2020
- Biomedical Applications of Zeolitic Nanoparticles, with an Emphasis on | IJN - Dove Medical Press - January 25th, 2020
- Nanocarriers for Stroke Therapy: Advances and Obstacles in Translating | IJN - Dove Medical Press - January 25th, 2020
- Healthcare Nanotechnology (Nanomedicine) Market Share, Size, Future Demand, Global Research, Top Leading Player, Emerging Trends and Forecast to 2015 ... - January 25th, 2020
- Advancells Group & IFC Concluded their 3-Day Workshop on Regenerative Medicine - Business Wire India - January 25th, 2020
- I asked Tanzanians about studying in China: here's what they said - The Conversation Africa - January 25th, 2020
- The Future Of Nano Medicine - January 19th, 2020
- Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine ... - January 19th, 2020
- Nanomedicine | medicine | Britannica - January 19th, 2020
- New Approaches in Breast Cancer Therapy Through Green Nanotechnology a | IJN - Dove Medical Press - January 19th, 2020
- Controlled phage therapy hints at future alternative to antibiotics - New Atlas - January 19th, 2020
- A New Old Therapy - The UCSB Current - January 19th, 2020
- Most engineered nanoparticles enter tumours through cells not between them, U of T researchers find - News@UofT - January 19th, 2020
- Canterbury father and son's invention will revolutionise medical treatment - Stuff.co.nz - December 28th, 2019
- Electroplating method makes conductive nanostraws for injecting into and sampling from cells - Chemical & Engineering News - December 3rd, 2019
- Protein-Protected Metal Nanoclusters That Behave Like Natural Enzymes - Advanced Science News - December 3rd, 2019
- Design and Synthesis of Gold-Gadolinium-Core-Shell Nanoparticles as Co | IJN - Dove Medical Press - December 3rd, 2019
- Biochips Technologies, Companies, Applications & Markets, 2028 - 94 Companies are Included Along with a Listing of 121 Collaborations Between... - December 3rd, 2019
- Invicro LLC Joins Accenture's INTIENT Network to Help Advance Innovation in Drug Discovery and Scientific Research - BioSpace - December 3rd, 2019
- Nanoparticle therapy shows promise for treatment of rare cancer - The Brown Daily Herald - November 22nd, 2019
- At 9.6% CAGR, Healthcare Nanotechnology Market Global Industry to Reach Valuation over 306100 Million USD by 2025 - Markets Gazette 24 - November 22nd, 2019
- Nanotherapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Advantages, Challenges, and Future Direction - Rheumatology Advisor - November 22nd, 2019
- World Pancreatic Cancer Day: increasing awareness and inspiring action - UNSW Newsroom - November 22nd, 2019
- Bankrupt biopharmas are rare. 2019 has some worried that's changing. - BioPharma Dive - November 22nd, 2019
- Healthcare Nanotechnology Market Needs and Demand Analysis 2019 to 2025 - The Chicago Sentinel - November 13th, 2019
- Medical equipment to be infection-free now, says study - Zee News - November 12th, 2019
- Advances in nanomedicine for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis | IJN - Dove Medical Press - November 1st, 2019
- Market Share in Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine for Treatment of Viral Infections Could Reach Tens of Billion Dollars - P&T Community - November 1st, 2019
- A highly biocompatible and intravenous injectable hafnium oxide nanocrystal synthesized to enhance radiaotherapy efficacy for cancer treatment -... - November 1st, 2019
- Doheny and UCLA Stein Eye Institutes Welcome Kaustabh Ghosh, PhD, to the Scientific and Clinical Research Faculty - PRNewswire - November 1st, 2019
- SUNY Potsdam chemistry professor awarded grant from National Institutes of Health - NNY360 - October 1st, 2019
- Improving 131I Radioiodine Therapy By Hybrid Polymer-Grafted Gold Nano | IJN - Dove Medical Press - October 1st, 2019
- MagForce AG to host Lunch Symposium on Local Therapies in Malignant Gliomas during the 19th European Congress of Neurosurgery (EANS2019) - BioSpace - October 1st, 2019
- Synthetic networks with tunable responsiveness, biodegradation, and molecular recognition for precision medicine applications - Science Advances - October 1st, 2019
- Self-Assembly Of Retinoid Nanoparticles For Melanoma Therapy | IJN - Dove Medical Press - October 1st, 2019
- Nanomanipulator Market Upcoming Trends, Revenue, Key Manufactures and Competitive Analysis till 2025 - One Digi Click - October 1st, 2019
- First-of-its-kind trial in ALS spurs hope for brutal disease - BioPharma Dive - October 1st, 2019
- FBI Investigation Targets Trump Booster Peter Thiel’s VC Firm - September 14th, 2019
- YouTube Influencers Are Mentally Collapsing From Stress - September 14th, 2019
- Watch SpaceX Test Its Crew Dragon’s Escape System - September 14th, 2019
- MIT Team “Accidentally” Invents Blackest Material in Existence - September 14th, 2019
- A Driver Tricked Uber’s Algorithm, Sexually Assaulted a Passenger - September 14th, 2019
- Toyota Wants to Slather Solar Panels All Over Its Prius Hybrid - September 14th, 2019
- A Runaway Star Is Escaping a Black Hole at 1.2 Million MPH - September 14th, 2019
- Putin Critic Uses Drone to Save Hard Drives Before Police Raid - September 14th, 2019
- Airbus Planes Will Track How Often Passengers Go to the Bathroom - September 14th, 2019
- Watch a Robot Fish Fly by Shooting Water out of Its Rear - September 14th, 2019
- Residents Are Trying to Flee Russian Town Where Snow Turned Black - September 14th, 2019
- This Startup Will Send DNA From Your Spit to the Moon for $99 - September 14th, 2019
- Horrifying Study: Corpses Thrash Around For a Year After Death - September 14th, 2019
- French Gov Official Warns Facebook: Libra Is Not Welcome Here - September 14th, 2019
- Watch a Tesla Model X Blast Through Deep Flood Waters - September 14th, 2019
- Milky Way’s Giant Black Hole Lets out Two Giant, Radioactive Burps - September 14th, 2019
- Instagram Keeps Accidentally Flagging Fish Photos as Offensive - September 14th, 2019
- MIT Community Horrified by Famed Researcher’s Epstein Outburst - September 14th, 2019
- Unlike MIT, Harvard Cut Off Epstein Donations After Conviction - September 14th, 2019
- Can You Tell Which of These Models Is CGI? - May 28th, 2019
- We Asked an AI to Finish Real Elon Musk Tweets - May 28th, 2019
- Watch a Super-Strong Robot Dog Pull a Three-Ton Airplane - May 28th, 2019
- Asteroid Flying by Earth Is so Big It Has Its Own Moon - May 28th, 2019
- United Nations: Siri and Alexa Are Encouraging Misogyny - May 28th, 2019
- New Law Could End Robocalling Once and For All - May 28th, 2019
- Scientists Set New Temperature Record for Superconductivity - May 28th, 2019
- Elevate Your Leadership and Grow Your Business at Your Clouds Can 2019 - May 28th, 2019
- NASA’s Moon Mission Leader Just Quit After Only Six Weeks - May 28th, 2019
- Watch a Tesla in an Underground Tunnel Race One on the Street - May 28th, 2019
- SpaceX Just Unleashed 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit - May 28th, 2019
- Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies - May 28th, 2019
- See China’s Newly Unveiled Maglev Train - May 28th, 2019
- Here’s How NASA Prepares Its Spacecraft for Mars - May 28th, 2019
- This Robot Scans Preschoolers’ Faces Daily for Signs of Sickness - May 28th, 2019
- New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth - May 28th, 2019
- Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality - May 28th, 2019
- NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station - May 28th, 2019
- Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online - May 28th, 2019
- Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack - May 25th, 2019