Life Sciences and Biochemistry

Department of Life Science & Biochemistry

Department Activity Report (Jun. 2018 - Apr. 2018)


Lignum Vitae - A publication of the Department of Life Science & Biochemistry


Faculty Appointments and Confirmations in the Department

  • Mr. Joshua John Miranda (MSc Biological Sciences, TIFR), Jun-Aug. 2017, and
    Mr. Aditya Sethi (MSc Medical Biotechnology, Manipal University) Nov. 2017 - Apr. 2018, was appointed in place of Dr. Radiya Pacha Gupta, who retired in Aug. 2016.

  • Dr. Anupama Harshal Wadavlikar was appointed on CHB Jun-Aug. 2017.

  • Dr.  Radiya Pacha Gupta, Jun. 2017 - Apr 2018, was appointed in lieu of Dr. Seema Das who is on a two year sabbatical.

  • Dr. Peehu Pardeshi (PhD Biosciences, IIT-Bombay) and Ms. Priya Jadhav (MSc Microbiology, Pune University) joined from 1st Sep. 2017 in the FIP vacancies of
    Mr. Prashant Ratnaparkhi and Ms. Sangeeta Shetty, respectively.


BOS Meetings

Board of Studies (BOS) meetings for UG and PG Life Sciences (3rd Mar. 2018) and UG Biochemistry (10th Mar. 2018) were held. The BOS members from the department faculty includedDr Nandita Mangalore (Chairperson), Dr. Priya Sundarrajan and Dr Radhika Tendulkar. The student representatives were Mr Naythan D’souza (MSc II) and Ms Samyukta Rajan for Life Science and Ms Jigyasa Dayal and Mr Tarun Iype (all TYBSc) for Biochemistry.


Student Farewell

TYBSc and MScII farewell was held on 22nd Feb. 2018 in the College Hall.



The Dept. is grateful to Ms. Keya Kulkarni (MSc, 2015-16) for her thoughtful gesture of gifting a steel cupboard to the Dept. from the Scholarship prize money awarded to her.



The Dept. celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. To commemorate the event, 40 activities were planned and organized over academic year 2017-18 for the students, staff, non-teaching staff of the College, for other colleges and the public. The dept. focussed on student development through subject-specific and career guidance lectures, and on increasing the social outreach activities of the dept. A brief mention of the events is made below:


Conferences & Workshops

  • The year began on a healthy note with a Nutritional Awareness Workshop in the vernacular (Marathi) for the non-teaching staff of the College on 9th Jun. 2017, titled Aahar va Poshan-vishayak Karyashala. It included short lectures and games on balanced diet, nutrition, lifestyle and nutritional disorders, exercise and sleep. The workshop was conducted by Ms. Sangeeta Shetty, Dr. Radhika Tendulkar and Dr. Maya Murdeshwar and was well-received by all 61 participants.

  • A two-day National Camp and Conference was organized on 20th and 22nd Jan. 2018 in collaboration with The Verushka Foundation, an NGO working for differently abled children founded by dept. alumna Ms. Tatyana D’Souza, the Desai Foundation for Change, and the Caius Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research. The camp held on 20th Jan. 2018, was titled Know Better, Do Better and kept open to members of the public to raise awareness about the facts and misconceptions about various developmental disabilities. Mr. Nitin Patil, Commissioner for Disability, Maharashtra State was the special invitee for the camp and interacted with the students and NGOs An exhibition on the same was arranged by FYBSc Life Science students as part of their dept. SIP activity. The One-Day National Conference held on 22nd Jan. 2018 was titled Developmental Disabilities and You, and was well attended and well received by all participants.  It was inaugurated by Dr. Keki Turel, renowned Neurosurgeon. The event brought together children and adults suffering from autism, their families, caregivers, counsellors, doctors, research scientists, financial advisers, students, teachers and the layperson on one platform to share insights on the subject and benefit from it. 16 speakers spoke on the various aspects of dealing with developmental disabilities and enabling families with special children lead a quality life.


Science Orientation & Exhibition

  • Science Orientation for FYBSc Life Science students was conducted on 6th Jul. 2017. It was planned and entirely managed by the SYBSc and TYBSc students who demonstrated various experiments and the use of different instruments used in Life Sciences. Dr. Bhaskar Saha were in charge of organization and arrangements.

  • An exhibition of charts and models made by TYBSc Environmental Science students was held on 7th Feb 2018 in the College Woods and kept open to all students and staff of the college to spread the message of green technology and sustainability.


Career Fair

A Career Fair was organized for TYBSc and MSc students of the dept. on 23rd Nov. 2017. A total of 13 speakers (10 alumni and 3 external speakers) were invited to deliver insights into their chosen career paths, the prospects and challenges therein. Science and non-science (humanities, management, law, entrepreneurship etc.) careers were spoken about. Students were encouraged to register with the Xavier’s Placement Cell. The Fair was organized and managed by Dr. Radhika Tendulkar, Dr. Maya Murdeshwar, Dr. Binoj Kutty and Dr. Bhaskar Saha.


Educational Trips

  • Khandala Educational Seminar for SY and TY students on 1st – 2nd Dec 2018. Dr. Manasi Kanuga, Dr Radhika Tendulkar, Dr Maya Murdeshwar, Dr Bhaskar Saha and Mr Aditya Sethi accompanied the students.

  • MSc-II students were taken on a visit to the Bloom In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Centre, Leelavati Hospital, Mumbai on 25th Jan. 2018. Dr. Priya Sundarrajan coordinated the visit.and Dr. Maya Murdeshwar accompanied the students.


Department Magazine

The 6th volume of the department magazine ‘Lignum Vitae’ was released at the national conference. The editorial board consisted entirely of FY and SYBSc students of the dept. Dr. Radhika Tendulkar and Dr. Priya Sundarrajan were the faculty in-charge.


Invited Speakers/  Lectures for students/ staff/ public:

                              Class                                                     No. of lectures organized

  1. Junior College (Biology Students)                                                (1)

  2. BSc                                                                                          (9)

  3. BA/BMM/BMS                                                                            (1)

  4. MSc                                                                                          (6)

  5. Career Guidance for TYBSc & MSc II                                            (13)

  6. Public lectures (National Conference)                                           (16)


Inter-Institutional Collaboration

  • Dr. Priya Sundarrajan was the research co-guide for MSc Home Science (Food Processing and Preservation) students Ms. Ankita Arolkar (Screening and isolation of pectinase producers) and Ms. Sonali Singh (Effect of various plant extracts on biofilm producers and application in food processing industry) from Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science, Mumbai, on the project titled ‘Screening and isolation of protease producers and application in food processing industry’.

  • Dr. Priya Sundarrajan carried out a Quest for Excellence Programme (QEP) ‘Global Climate Change and Social Justice’ in collaboration with Ms. Janjri Jasani of CERE (Center for Environment Research and Education).

  • Dr. Radhika Tendulkar and Dr. Nandita Mangalore were part of the Editorial Committee of the 5th Issue (Mar. 2018) of ‘Spectrum’ - a monthly science newsletter for school students - a collaborative endeavour of the Dept. of Life Sciences, Sophia College for Women, Mumbai, and the Dept. of Life Science and Biochemistry, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai, under the DBT STAR College Scheme. SYBSc student Mr. Ishaan Patil designed the layouts and graphics for the newsletter.


Inter-Departmental Collaboration

  • Dr. Bhaskar Saha guided Ms. Shraddha Wadhare (BS Leeds Univ., MS Neuroscience, Glasgow Univ., UK) on a 2-month Neuroscience project in the Caius Research Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research.

  • Dr. Manasi Kanuga delivered lectures on Biostatistics for the Diploma in Forensic Science conducted by the Department of Zoology, and for MSc students of the PG dept of Biotechnology in College. Dr. Kanuga also assisted Zoology project students with biostatistical analyses of the results of their research project

  • Dr. Maya Murdeshwar collaborated with Dr. Sujata Deshpande from the Dept. of Zoology on a SYBSc Quest for Excellence programme to map the biodiversity in select ecological niches and microhabitats of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai.


Social Outreach Activities

  • This year, the Dept. SIP was offered to SYBSc Life Science students. They conducted a science and health awareness workshop in the Worli Sea Face BMC School in collaboration with Teach for India. The 1 hour session included activities, games and a puppet show on topics ‘Sanitation and Personal Hygiene’ (basic microbiology – normal skin flora, gut microbiota, harmful bacteria) and ‘Diseases’ (Malaria and Cholera –causes, symptoms, life cycle, treatment, preventive measures). 110 school students of Std 9th participated. Dr. Radhika Tendulkar, Ms. Sangeeta Shetty, Dr. Bhaskar Saha, Dr. Manasi Kanuga and Dr Priya Sundarrajan accompanied the students.

  • Dr Radhika Tendulkar and Dr Maya Murdeshwar conducted a session on ‘Nutrition and Life style disease awareness’ for school children visiting from Shikshayan School, Arasvangkadu village, in rural Tamil Nadu, and, Lumens School, Vapi, Gujarat.

  • Dr Radhika Tendulkar, Dr Binoj Kutty, Dr Bhaskar Saha,and Dr Priya Sundarrajan conducted a science teaching-cum-practical session for Std IX students at the Worli Sea Face BMC School on occasion of National Science Day on 28th Feb. 2018.

  • Dr Maya Murdeshwar compiled a PowerPoint presentation on ‘Career Paths in Biology after Std XII’ for students of rural Bihar and Jharkhand.

  • Dr. Peehu Pardeshi worked in collaboration with the NGO Doctors For You and IIT-Bombay, on the poor condition of SRA housing facilities in Mumbai and the high incidence of TB among the residents. Her research work indicated a direct correlation between the two.



College Toppers (2016-17)

2nd in Sciencestream:Ms. Hamsa Narasimhan (TY 3U) and Ms. Mallika Talwar (TY 6U)


Department Toppers (2016-17)

  • BSc 6U Life ScienceMs. Mallika Talwar

  • BSc 3U Life Science – BiochemistryMs. Hamsa Narasimhan

  • MSc Life Science (Applied Medical Sciences)Ms. Janhavi Damani



International Scholarships:

  1. Holland Scholarship at MSc in Environmental Biology at Utrecht, Netherlands -
    Ms. Asmita Dubey (TYBSc 6U).

  2. TROPIMUNDO scholarship for Erasmus Programme for Evolutionary Biology at the Groningen University, Netherlands – Ms. Samyuktha Rajan (TYBSc 3U)

  3. Neurasmus Programme at Vrije University, Netherlands – Ms. Sharmistha Muralidharan (TYBSc 3U).

  4. Le Cordon Blue, Paris – Ms. Aarohi Sanghvi (TYBSc 3U) selected for their top-rated International Hospitality programme.

  5. Mr Aditya Sethi (TY 3U, 2014-15), fully funded PhD at the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Life Sciences (Under the guidance of Prof Barbara Conradt at Ludwig Maximilians University)


National Scholarship:

DST-SHE fellowships to MSc-I students Ms. Farah Ansari and Ms. Merlyn C.


College Scholarships

The following students were felicitated at the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Student Council Day celebrations held on 31th July 2017:  

SYBSc - Ms Judith Fernando, Ms. Karishma Katpitia

TYBSc (6U) - Ms. Mallika Vivek Talwar Ms. Prerna Uttankar Ms. Soumya Srivastav

TYBSc (3U) - , Ms. Hamsa Narasimhan Mr. Som Banerjee

MSc I - Mr Dean D’Souza and Ms. Farah Ansari

MSc II - Ms. Keya Pankaj Kulkarni



12 TYBSc students completed internships at various pharmaceutical companies, research centres, environmental NGOs and corporate houses in India and abroad.


International Exchange Programmes

  • TYBSc 3U students Ms. Ananya Agnihotri (USA) and Ms. Mallica Pandya (Daegu Haany University, South Korea) returned with flying colours and high scores after completing their year-long foreign exchange program.

  • SYBSc students Ms. Surpreet Bhasin, Ms. Janvi Gandhi and Ms. Shivani Suresh were selected for the HCAP program at Harvard University, USA, in Jan. 2018.


Awards & Achievements

  • Ms. Jinali Mody (TYBSc 3U) was selected for a 5-day leadership development programme for young women held between 11th – 15th July 2017 at King’s College and the colleges of Oxford University in association with the Mayor of London. The programme was organized by the Transcontinental School Innovation Alliance (TSIA).

  • Ms. Modi won the 1st prize as part of the team that represented St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai, at the Milgrad Business University of Tacoma, Washington, USA.

  • MSc I students Ms. Lizanne Oliveira and Ms. Esha Shanbhag bagged the 1st prize in the Science Quiz event ‘Cerebrocracker’ at Palindrome, the annual fest of the PG Dept. of Biotechnology at St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai, on 20th Jan. 2018. Ms. Reanne Fronteiro and Ms. Deepthi Nambiar participated in the same.

  • Ms. Roshni Ann D’Souza (TY 3U, 2015-16) completed MS in Human Genetics from Imperial College, London, with distinction and was awarded the Dean’s Medal for Best Overall Performance.

  • Ms. Arundhati Mohanty (MSc, 2014-15) has been awarded a research grant of 5000 pound sterling by the Rufford Foundation for her research work on the conservation of forest owlets at Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.

  • Ms. Srushty Chaphekar (MSc, 2016-17) has been awarded a certificate of appreciation for her work at Cellworks, Bangalore. She had earlier been working with Psychologist Dr. Amish Gupta, Limitless Coaching Pvt. Ltd. Ms. Chaphekar cleared the UGC-CSIR NET exam held in Dec. 2017.


Student Research Projects – UG

TYBSc     S.LSC.6.04  Sustainable Development and Carbon Management         (18 students)

TYBSc     S.LSC.6.AC  Environmental Science Model making         (60 students)

TYBSc     S.BCH.6.PR  Biochemistry Research projects         (62 students)

FYBSc     QEP           (5 students)

SYBSc     QEP         (13 students)

TYBSc     QEP         (17 students)


Student Research Projects - PGMSc Dissertations         (19 students)


Conferences/ Seminars / Awards   (State/ College level)

  • MSc II students participated in the Science Academies sponsored Lecture Workshop on ‘OMICS: Basics & Applications’ held on 8th -9th Jul. 2017 at the Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA), Vashi, Navi Mumbai. They were accompanied by Dr. Binoj Kutty and Dr. Bhaskar Saha.

  • DBT Star Status Programme 2017-18:Dr. Rene Borges, Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc- Bangalore. ‘Cross Kingdom Interactions: Mutualism and Parasitism in a Tale of Three Cities’, organized by the Dept. of Microbiology on 21st Jul. 2017. MSc-II students attended.

  • 5 SYBSc students participated in the New India 2020 debate on ‘Yeh India ka Time Hai’ on 20th Sep. 2017. The debate was mandated by the Govt. of India to celebrate the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence and the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement.

  • Eight MSc I & II studentsparticipated in the Popular Science Writing and Editing workshop on “From Bench to Desktop” held on 12th January, 2018 organized by the PG Dept. of Biotechnology and conducted by experts from Cactus Communications.

  • FY, SY, TYBSc and MSc – I and –II students participated in the 2-day National Camp ‘Know Better, Do Better’ and National Conference ‘Developmental Disabilities and You’ organized by the dept in association with various NGOs on 20th and 22nd Jan. 2018.



Research Guidance

Dr Priya Sundarrajan received recognition as a PhD guide from the University of Mumbai, in July, 2017.



  • Pawaskar S, Venkat J, Mishra P, Mangalore N. (2017) In vitro antimicrobial activity of Mimosa pudica and Mangifera indica. Bionano Frontier. 10(2):1-4. ISSN 0974-0678 (Print),  2320-9593 (Online).

  • Pawaskar S, Shah H, Trivedi B, Mangalore N. (2017) Estimation of non-enzymatic antioxidants from Ficus racemose Linn. and Caesalpinia bonducella Linn. Bionano Frontier. 10(2):1-4. ISSN 0974-0678 (Print),  2320-9593 (Online).

  • Pawaskar S, Bisht S, Mangalore N. (2017) Comparative study of the levels of various phytochemicals and water soluble vitamins in some Indian medicinal plants. Bionano Frontier. 10(2):1-4. ISSN 0974-0678 (Print),  2320-9593 (Online).

  • Pacha-Gupta R. (2017) Internationalization of Education at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai: A Retrospective Review of International Programmes between 2010 and 2017. Xplore – The Xavier’s Research Journal. 8(3):48-57. ISSN 2249-1878.

  • D’Costa C J, Kanuga M. (2017). Effect of glucose on sperm motility in Danio rerio as a model for diabetes: A preliminary study. Int. J. Adv. Res. 5(6):823-832.
    ISSN 2320-5407.

  • Sundarrajan P. (2017). Saving a fragile legacy: Big History and Biotechnology. Int. J. Transformation of Consciousness. 3:99-112.

  • Sundarrajan P and R. Maya Sundari. (2017). Assay of α-L- iduronidase and detection of Mucoplysaccharidosis I: A report in South Indian population. World J. Pharmaceutical Res. 6(140):1117-1125.   ISSN 2277-7105. DOI: 10.20959/wjpr201714-10048.

  • Damani J J, Pacha-Gupta R, Mangalore N. (2018) Maltase inhibitory activity of aqueous extracts of Zingiber officinale Rosc. and Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn. Pharmacogn. J. 10(2):226-229.

  • Book Chapter:

D’Souza J, Mehta S, Saha B. Chapter 4: Neurobiology and Neurochemistry, in Concepts of Biotechnology, Kaushambi Publications, (in press).


  • National Conference - Invited Speaker:

Dr. Priya Sundarrajan, Saving a fragile legacy- ‘The study of all existence’ - SSLA conference on Interdisciplinarity and Big History, organized by Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Pune between 23rd -24th Mar. 2018.

  • International Conference - Poster presentation:

Development of versatile shuttle vectors for Genetic manipulation in E. coli and Bacillussubtilis.  Priya Sundarrajan, Lavanya Indurthi and Vishwas Sarangdhar. Poster No. 21, page 60. 5th South Asia Biosafety Conference, 11th -13th Sep. 2017, Bangalore, Organized by South Asia Biosafety Program.

  • All staff members participated in various national level and college-organized conferences and seminars.

Grants awarded in 2017-18


Name of Investigator

Title of the project

Amount sanctioned

Funding agency

Dr Priya Sundarrajan

Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles and their characterization


University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

Dr. Maya Murdeshwar

(& Dr. Sujata Deshpande, Dept. of Zoology)

Mapping the microscopic biodiversity in select ecological niches of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, under changing seasons and climatic conditions.


DBT-Foldscope, Department of Biotechnology, GOI

Dr Bhaskar Saha

In vitro Analysis of the Effect of Zinc Toxicity on the Nervous System


University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

Dr Seema Das and Dr Priya Sundarrajan continue to receive financial aid for their UGC Minor Research Projects awarded in 2015-16.

Faculty as Coordinators/ Conveners

  • Dr. Radiya Pacha Gupta, Co-ordinator, Council of International Programmes

  • Dr. Priya Sundarrajan, appointed Member Secretary of IBSC, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai, by DBT, Govt. of India, 2017–19

  • Dr. Radhika Tendulkar, DQAC Coordinator

  • Dr. Maya Murdeshwar, Convener, Senior College CIA-1 Exam Committee

  • Dr. Binoj C. Kutty, Convener, Senior College Additional Exam Committee

  • Dr. Bhaskar Saha, Convener, Indian Music Group (IMG) Committee

Additional information