Botany

It was a proud moment for the Botany Department when Dr. Rajendra D. Shinde was appointed as Principal of our college from 1st September 2018. He has formerly served as the Vice-Principal (Science) for period of 6 years.He was also elected as the Chairman of the Botany Board of Studies of the University of Mumbai. 

During this academic year,in addition to the aforementioned prestigious positions, Dr. Rajendra Shinde was appointed to the following boards and committees of other colleges and institutions in varying capacities:  (a) Member, Botany BOS of Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College; (b) Member, Governing body of Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College; (c) Member, Scrutiny committee of Minor Research Grant (Botany), Mumbai University; (d) Member, Scrutiny Committee for the applications received for the post of Director, Garware Institute of Career Education and Development, Mumbai University; (e) Member, Local inquiry committee for MSc by papers in Biochemistry, LTM Medical Hospital, Sion; (f) Member, Scrutiny Committee for the applications received for the post of Director, at various University Departments of Mumbai University; (g) Member,  Botany BOS of SIES College, Sion, Mumbai; and (h) Member, Plant Expert Committee, Maharashtra Government State Biodiversity Board, Pune.

Due to the overwhelming work of the college, the Principal Dr. Rajendra Shinde handed over some part of the Department responsibility to Mr. Alok Gude by appointing him as the In-charge Head of the Botany Department from 11th September 2018. Mr. Kevin D’Cruz, in addition to his regular responsibilities continues to help the college by playing a huge role of managing the Xavier's Knowledge Centre as the Director.

 

NET and GATE Exams:

Our current teaching staff member and alumnus Mr. Saif Khan (MSc Botany 2017) qualified the GATE exam (2019) in Life sciences.Mr. Royston Lobo (BSc. 2014), another teaching staff member and alumnus qualified the GATE exam (2019) in Life sciences. Mr. Jatin Vaity our ex-student (MSc 2016) qualified for UGC JRF NET exam (2018) with 93rd rank at the all India level. Ms. Snehal Unde (MSc 2016) cleared CSIR JRF NET and secured the 84th rank at an all India level. 

 

Patent Published:

A Patent titled ‘A Herbal Composition or Decoction for the Management of Abnormal Menstruation’ was filed by Dr. Rajendra Shinde and Dr. Kalpit Mhatre (ex PhD student of Dr. R. D. Shinde) and was accepted and published (patent number 201821019083) by the patent office in July 2018.

 

Research Paper Publication:

Rajendra D. Shinde, Rajdeo Singh, & Ranee Prakash, 2018, Typification of Linnaean plant: Pterospermum acerifolium (Malvaceae), based on Amman’s illustration, Taxon 67(4) 789-791.

 

Papers Presented in Conference and Seminars

Dr. Vijaya Lobo presented a poster “Phytochemical screening of Amaranthus caudatus’ at the National seminar on ‘Fragrances, Flavours and Cosmetics- Opportunities and Challenges’ organized by the Department of Botany, Microbiology, Bioanalytical Sciences and Biotechnology, at Birla College on 5th of March 2019. 

Mr. Royston Lobo presented poster titled ‘Effect of surfactants on the size of green synthesized silver nanoparticles’ at the International Science Conference on ‘From health to wellbeing: An interdisciplinary Approach’ organized by the Department of Chemistry, St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) from 9th-11th of January 2019. He also presented a paper titled ‘Synthesis of biodegradable plastic using starch’ at the National Symposium on Facets of Life Sciences (NSFLS) held from 26th-27th March 2019 and organized by the Department of Life Sciences, University of Mumbai. 

Ms. Neha Gupte presented a poster titled ‘Distribution studies of Cordia dentate using molecular marker’ at the XXVIII Annual Conference of Indian Association of Angiosperm Taxonomy and International Symposium on Conservation of Angiosperm Diversity: Hidden Treasure of today and tomorrow organized by the Department of Botany, Maharaja Sayajiroa University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat from 29nd-31st of October 2018. 

Mr. Alok Gude presented two posters ‘Short coming regarding application and implications of Section 6 of Biological Diversity Act 2002’ and ‘Climate change: Impact of an Evil on Agrarian and Indigenous Society and its Redress’ at the International conference on environmental development and Sustainability organized by the Department of Botany, Nya. Tayasaheb Athalya Arts, Ved. S. R. Sapre Commerce and Vid. Dadasaheb Pitre Science College, Devruk, Ratnagiri on 15th December 2018.

 

Seminar and Workshop Organized

The department organized two workshops and one national seminar this year. 

(a) Botany Department and National Society of the Friends of the Trees organized a National seminar on Climate, Rivers and Vegetation on 14th February 2019. Mr. Bittu Sahgal, Founding editor, Sanctuary Asia gave the keynote address on ‘Climate Change’. Other renowned speakers included Dr. Pradeep Srivastava (retd) Senior Scientist, Medicinal and Process Chemistry Division, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, who spoke on ‘Unique Biodiversity of South East Asia and Bionics: A Promising Future Ahead’ through his scientoons. Dr. Milind Sardesai, Professor, Department of Botany, Pune University, spoke on ‘Whether our forefathers  knew the technique of sex alteration in plants?’. Mr. Murari Ratnam, Ex- Director, Central Soil and Materials Research Station, Ministry of Water Resource, New Delhi gave an illustrated talk on ‘Effect of climate on water resources’. Dr. Ajit Sonakia, IFS (Retd) Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Bhopal spoke about ‘Global warming and Climate change’. Dr. Pravish Pandya, Director, Science and Conservator, Sanctuary Asia led a panel discussion to answer all queries. Some SYBSc students and all MSc-I Botany Students under the guidance of Dr. Vijaya Lobo also put up a small exhibition of plants and herbal cosmetics products, around a theme of ‘Reuse, Recycle and Innovate’. More than 180 participants from various colleges, institutes, and NGOs including students, teachers, researchers, activists and novices attended and made the seminar a successful event. The First Botany Department Magazine Acta Botanica designed by TYBSc Botany students was released during the inaugural session. The TYBSc and MSc students volunteered and helped in varying capacities to successfully organize the seminar. 

(b) The department organized a one-day workshop on 24th August 2018 in collaboration with Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, Mumbai and IISER, Pune on Preparation of Lesson Plans on Climate Change. The teaching faculty of various disciplines from numerous colleges attended the workshop as it was primarily intended for college teachers.

(c) A day long workshop onPlant nomenclature was organized by the department which was held on 22nd March, 2019, during which Dr. Kanchi Gandhi, Senior Nomenclatural Registrar, Harvard University Herbaria. USA, explained the basic and important rules of plant nomenclature. The workshop was attended by MSc and PhD students, and faculty of our college, as well as from Ramnarain Ruia college, Mithibai college, National College, of Mumbai; Sonopant Dandekar college, Palghar, and Dapoli Urban Bank Science college, Dapoli.

 

Internships

Trupti Tiwari and Pranay Juwatkar (MSc-II Botany) interned at CRESLA Pvt Ltd, Mumbai from 7th August 2018 to 18th March 2019. Their work included (a) assembling, commissioning and testing of hydroponic system for cultivation of plants; (b) cultivating, monitoring and optimizing the growth of microgreens in hydroponic system under different environmental conditions like grow lights, growing medium, fertilizer mix, and watering system; (c) cultivating, monitoring and optimizing the growth of mushrooms in hydroponic system. They were given certificates of completion and appreciation.

 

Guest Lectures organized:

The following insightful guest lectures were organized by the department: : (a) Dr. M. Sanjappa, INSA Senior Scientists, (Former Director, BSI Kolkata) Botanical Garden, University of Agricultural Sciences GKVK, Bangalore: ‘Floristic Diversity and endemism in India’ on 27th November 2018. (b) Ms. Iravati Majgoakar, Research Staff, Wildlife Conservation Society, India, Bengaluru, on ‘Carnivore distributions in semi-arid human modified landscapes’ on 8th December 2018. (c) Dr. Merwyn Fernandes, Programme Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC, WWF India, New Delhi, on ‘Law of limiting Factors and Theory of Niche’ on 21st December 2018. (d) Dr. Chandan Singh Purohit, Senior scientist, BSI, Jodhpur, on ‘Present status and conservation of threatened plants of Rajasthan’ on 22nd December 2018. (e) Dr. Ramesh K. Paliwal, Senior scientist, BSI, Jodhpur, on ‘Ginger: future Prospective’ on 22nd December 2018. (f) Dr. Prabodh K. Trivedi, Senior scientist, CSIR -NBRI, Lucknow, on ‘Pathway engineering for plants for enhanced nutritional quality for improved health’ on 21st February 2019.

 

Training received by faculty:

Dr. Rajendra D. Shinde participated in Assessors orientation programme organized by Indian institute of management, Tiruchirappalli in collaboration of NAAC on March 11, 2019. 

Mr. Alok Gude attended a ‘National Hands-on Training Workshop on Innovation Experiments in Biological Sciences for College Teachers’ organized by Ruia College in Collaboration of Homi Bhabha Centre for science education, TIFR from 29th August - 4th September 2018. 

Dr. Vijaya Lobo attended a three-day Teaching Learning Centre, workshop on ‘Plant Functional Genomics’ organized by the Department of Statistics, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, from 3-5th January, 2019.

 

Field Trips:

As a part of the curriculum, the Department organized various field trips: (a) The TYBSc students alongwith Dr. Vijaya Lobo, Dr. Manek Mistry and Mr. Uddhav Patole went for a field trip to TATA POWER Forbey, Khandala, from 27th - 29th July 2018. . Mr. Gangdhar, Manager, TATA POWER  (Lonavala Branch), guided all students and teachers round the 103-year-old unit which provides clean hydroelectricity to Mumbai. 

(b) The MSc I & II students alongwith Dr. Rajdeo Singh, Dr. Manek Mistry, Ms. Varsha Giri, Mr. Uddhav Patole and Mr. Alok Gude went to Khandala for a botanical field study tour from 27th to 29th August 2019. 

(c) Another field visit was organized for MSc I & II students from 18th to 22nd January 2019 to Birmani village, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and nearby forest areas. Dr. Rajdeo Singh (BNHS Scientist) and Dr. Manek Mistry (Retd Staff) were the resource persons. They were also accompanied by Mr. Uddhav Patole and Mr. Alok Gude. The students were assessed every night based on the learnings of the day as a part of their CIA. 

(d) The MSc- II students were also taken to Rice Research Station, Karjat, by Mr. Alok Gude on 18th August 2018 to study the rice cultivation methods and diseases of plants. The MSc students also visited Gorai on 9th March 2019 to study the mangrove flora. Dr. Rajdeo Singh explained the peculiarities of the local plants.  

 

Extension Activities

(a) MSc students Sharang Anaokar, Clive D’Costa, Ketan Kathole, Sanjay Sasidharan, Vaibhav Shedage and Shahid Nawaz documented the plant diversity and ethnobotany in seven tribal villages for Kashtakari Sanghatana, a Dahanu based NGO as a part of the work on community forest rights from 26th -29th December 2018. 

(b) The students of TYBSc (Botany-Zoology), with Dr. Rajendra Shinde, Dr. Smita Krishnan, Mr. Conrad Cabral, Mr. Alok Gude and Mr. David Foss i.e. staff from both Botany and Zoology departments participated and carried out Pipal tree plantation along the Kanjurmarg-Vikhroli Eastern Express Highway under the guidance of an NGO,Green Umbrella Organization on 14th July 2018. 

(c) A Biodiversity Audit of the Dnyanasadhana College, Thane was undertaken by Botany Department led by Dr. Rajendra Shinde. This was the result of an MoU signed between Dnyanasadhana College and our College.

(d) Ms. Raveena Biswas (MSc-II) actively participated in Zoo Volunteer Training programme conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, at the ‘Veer Jijabai Bhosale Udyan & Zoo, Byculla, Mumbai’ during the months of  May and June 2018. She actively participated in educating visitors about the animals kept in the Zoo and the role of Zoos in wildlife conservation.

(e) The Departments of Botany (Blatter Herbarium), Geology & Zoology co-hosted more than 75 students and 2 teachers in batches from Campion School in College from 22nd to 28th July 2018, with the intention of enthusing these students to experientially delve into the world of Natural Sciences. Mr. Praveen Kale (Asst. Curator, Blatter Herbarium) hosted the students every day and showed the Blatter Herbarium and explained the purpose and procedure of preserving plant specimens. 

(f) A group of students from Podar International School, Santacruz visited the Blatter Herbarium, Zoology Department and Heras Institute, on 19th  20th 26th 27th 28th & 29th November 2018. There were about 75 students and 2 teachers per day. Dr. Smita Krishnan, Dr. Joan Dias, Mr. Alok Gude and Mr. Praveen Kale facilitated these trips, during their busy schedule. 

(g) Mr. Kevin D’Cruz went along with SSL campers for their social work in rural area of Mahad and guided them in their activities in the month of October 2018.

 

Resource persons

Mr. Kevin D’Cruz served as resource person for (a) The one-day faculty training programme on ‘Effective teaching and learning through Moodle’ for faculty of Nagrik Shikshan Sanstha’s College of commerce and Economics, Mumbai, on 28th August 2018; (b) One-day faculty training programme on ‘Digital education through Google Classroom’ for faculty of Science Department, Mutangan (NGO), on 28th February 2019, and also (c) for faculty of Jai Hind College, Mumbai, on 15th March 2019.

Mr. Royston Lobo and Mr. Saif Khan are visiting faculty at Raheja College for M. Arch in Landscape and designing. 

Dr. Manek Mistry helped the department in most of the botanical field study tours by acting as resource person in the field. He showed numerous plants to students and explained their peculiarities and importance. 

Dr. Rajendra Shinde visited Hislop College, Nagpur, as a resource person for their seminar on ‘Autonomy’ on 21st January 2019. He delivered a talk on ‘Autonomy: Challenges and Solutions’. He was also invited to conduct an Academic Audit of Venkateshwara College, New Delhi – the audit ended on 25th October 2018.

 

Students participation and awards

Our FYBSc students Bivas Nag and Rohan Gupta (Lsc/Che/Bot) secured the 2nd position in the Biology Quiz Competition (Brain Crunch) organized by the Biotechnology Department of Elphinstone College for UG & PG students on 29th December 2018.Arjun Udupa and Bivas Nag also participated in the Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education (CUBE) programme organized by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai. They were awarded D.D. Kosambi Young Scientist Award 2019 for their exemplary contribution to collaborative undergraduate research. Bivas spent the whole summer vacation learning and experiencing new things there, due to his fascination. 

Arjun Udupa secured second position in the poster presentation at an event called ‘GENVISION 2019’ organized by Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering, IIT Bombay. He also participated in NIUS (Biology) camp conducted at HBCSE from 12th to 20th November 2019. Based on his performance during the camp, he got selected to continue on a project under NIUS under Prof. Swati Patankar as a project mentor. 

Akhilesh Tambe (SYBSc- Botany) participated in Zoomerang’19 festival and secured the 1st Rank in PIXEL. The festival was organized by the Department of Zoology, V.G. Vaze College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mulund, Mumbai under DBT Star Scheme on 12th March 2019.

Pooja Kumari (SYBSc- Botany) was the Creatives Subhead, AICUF for the year 2018-19.

Trish Gonsalves, Swetlena Cellini, Theresa Moraes, Ruchira Mayekar and Clarissa Rodrigues (TYBSc- Botany) taught at New Modi Street Muncipal Upper Primary English School as a part of Ek Prithvi Mumbai, of World Wildlife Fund for Nature- India. 

Yashashree Naikare (TYBSc- Botany) was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for her performance in the Cultural Programme at the International Science Conference held at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai from 9th - 11th January 2019. She also  secured the Third Prize in ‘Maharashtra Chi Lokdhara’ held in the college Marathi festival ‘Amod’ organized by Marathi Vangmai Mandal of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. 

Trupti Tiwari (MSc-II Botany) participated in a quiz in ‘Planta 2018’ conducted by the Department of Botany, Institute of Science, Mumbai on 21st and 22nd February 2019. She also attended and presented a poster at the International Science Conference held at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai from 9th - 11th January 2019.

Anwesa Dutta (MSc-II Botany) participated in a workshop entitled ‘Techniques of Public Speaking’ conducted by our Language Lab from 1st to 4th June 2018. She secured the 1st position in quiz event in ‘Planta 2018’ conducted in Department of Botany, Institute of Science, Mumbai on 21st and 22nd February 2019. 

Aishwarya Mehendale, Sharayu Dalvi and Shahid Nawaz (MSc-II Botany) actively participated in the National Workshop on ‘Monocot Systematics’ organized by the Department of Botany, Shivaji University, Kolhapur from 1st to 6th January 2019. 

 

Botany Department Magazine

The Botany Department Magazine ‘Acta botanica’ Volume I was launched in February 2019. The task was undertaken by the students of TYBSc (Botany-Zoology). The students Sudipta Kalita (Co-editor), Radhika Nair (Co-editor) and Ambrose D’Souza took this heavy task on their shoulders and did immense justice to the task at hand. Reshell George (PR Head), Alina Chettiar (Finance Head) and Nikhil Thomas (Head of Photography) also diligently headed and managed their respective departments.The contributors of articles were Himrekha Agarwal -A Shapeshifting Mystery; Amartya Mitra- The Lepidodendrales; Pradip Krishen- Rumble in the Jungle; Jay Bathia- A Helping Hand to Hydra; Shimontika Gupta- The Demon Flower; Vidisha Bansal- Home Sweet Plant; Magdelene D’Silva- The Cloak of Invisibility; Anoushia Anthony- The Sacred Fig; Saswati Sarma- On a Heavy Metal Diet; Clarita Mendes- The Hibernating Herb; Ambrose D’Souza and Sudipta Kalita – Biodiversity on St. Xavier’s Campus.  The articles in the magazine were beautifully written and had fascinating pictures including artwork, photography and drawings by Sudipta Kalita, Daphisa Jana, Trish Gonsalves and Kim D’Silva.

 

Department SIP

The Botany Department SIP was opted for by a few FY and SYBSc students. Their work included making soft copies of the Blatter library literature reprints, cleaning the herbarium books, and cleaning & arranging the specimens in the Botany store room. 



Mr. Alok Gude

In-charge Head, Department of Botany.




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