Life Sciences and Biochemistry

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

 

Faculty Appointments and Confirmations in the Department

  • Dr Seema Das resumed duties as Associate Professor in June 2018 after a 2-year sabbatical and took over as Head of the Department from Dr Nandita Mangalore on 12th November 2018.

  • Dr Nandita Mangalore was appointed the IQAC coordinator effective 12thNovember 2018.

  • Dr Radiya Pacha Gupta continued as a faculty in the department from June 2018 - April 2019.

  • Dr Dwight Figueiredo, MsPriya Jadhav, Dr Peehu Pardeshi, MsAysis Koshy and Ms Janhavi Damani assisted the department in academic work.

  • MrPrashant Ratnaparkhi and MsSangeeta Shetty resumed duty after submission of their doctoral thesis at Mumbai University.

  • Ms Sangeeta Shetty was promoted from Assistant Professor Stage 3 to Associate Professor and Dr Radhika Tendulkar, Dr Manasi Kanuga, Dr Maya Murdeshwar from Assistant Professor Stage 1 to Stage 2.

 

Events

  • Dr. Maya Murdeshwar along with Ms Linda Dhakul from the Department of Psychology conducted a Yoga session for staff and students on the occasion ofInternational Yoga Day on 21st June 2018. 

  • SYBSc Life Science students conducted a science and health awareness workshop,‘Microbes and Health’ on 27th August 2018 at a BMC school near Worli sea face. The workshop was in collaboration with Teach for India and 120 students of standard 10th participated in it. The workshop was organised byDr BinojKutty and Dr Radhika Tendulkar.DrPriyaSundarrajan, DrManasiKanuga, Dr Maya Murdeshwar and Dr. Dwight Figueiredo accompanied the students.

  • In order to acquaint teachers with the activities of Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education (CUBE), Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, an interactive session was organised by Dr Seema  Das.Dr Arunan and DrNagarjunaaddressed the students on the occasion andCUBE students from colleges across Mumbai presented their work. Teachers from theLife Science& Biochemistry, Microbiology, Botany, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics department attended the session.

  • On 1st October 2018,  convocation ceremony for the students of Diploma in Clinical Research and an orientation programme for the incoming batch of students wasconducted. Dr.AamirShaikh and Dr Seema Das were programme coordinators. Dr RadiyaPachaGupta graced the occasion as an outgoing coordinator.

  • Dr.Seema Das did a presentation on the departmental activities conducted under the DBT Star College Scheme at the review meeting held on 17th December 2018 and at the mentoring session on 4th January 2019.  

  • The 7th volume of the department magazine ‘Lignum Vitae’ themed “A constant journey towardschange”was released on 6th Feb 2019. Studentswere encouraged to write about scientific developments that inspired them the most. Dr.Priya Sunderrjan and Dr.Bhaskar Saha guided the student team.

  •  A Life Science Career Fair was held for students of TYBSc and MSc Part II on 7th February 2019. Alumni and subject experts from various science and non-science fields interacted with the students. Dr. Nandita Mangalore, Dr.Radhika Tendulkar and Dr.Binoj Kutty co-ordinated the event.

  • In accordance with a UGC notice to support FSSAI’s ‘Eat Right India’ Movement launched to commemorate 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, a poster presentation was organised by Dr Maya Murdeshwar and Dr Manasi. SYBA/ BMM/ BMS students of the cross faculty course on Nutrition and Reproductive Health displayed their posters on 13th Februaury 2019.

  • Dr Manasi organised a Webinar on ‘The role of TRAFFIC and CITES in conservation in India’for the 6U students of Life Science on 15th February 2019.

  • Dr Seema Das coordinated with B.A.R.C. for participation in Nation Science Day on 27th February, 2019. Dr Bhaskar Saha accompanied students from the Life Science, Microbiology, Zoology, Botany, Chemistry and Physics department.

  • Dr. Maya Murdeshwar andDr.SujataDeshpande, Department of Zoology, organised workshops in different schools and colleges of Assam and Karnataka as part of their DBT-funded Foldscope Project India Phase I.

  • Dr Maya and Dr Sujata held a Foldscope workshop for all teaching staff (arts, science and commerce) of St Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai, on 3rd April 2019.

Educational Trips/ Field Trips: Field trips and Institutional visits were organised for SY and TY students toMaharashtra Nature Park, Dharavi,Sewri,Khandala, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health and ACTREC. 

 

Inter-Institutional Collaboration

  1. Mr. Prashant S. Ratnaparkhi and Dr. Priya Sundarrajan guided MSc students of NirmalaNiketan College of Home Science in  their research projects.

  2. Dr. Radhika Tendulkar and Dr. Nandita Mangalore were part of the Editorial Committee of ‘Spectrum’ - a quarterly science newsletter for school students. The newsletter is a collaborative endeavour of the Department of Life Sciences, Sophia College for Women, Mumbai, and the Department of Life Science and Biochemistry, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai, under the DBT STAR College Scheme.

  3. Dr. Maya Murdeshwar and Dr. Sujata Deshpande, Department of Zoology collaborated with Dr Sewali Pathak, Bijni College, Assam, to conduct Foldscope Workshops in Assam on 14th Sep. 2018, and with Maharashtra Nature Parkand Sanjay Gandhi National Park on the DBT-Foldscope project.

  4. Dr. Priya Sundarrajan collaborated with Ms. Janjri Jasani, Center for Environment Research and Education to conduct an Honour’s program on Global Climate Change and Social Justice.

  5. Dr. Bhaskar Saha guided an M.Sc student from D.Y. Patil University, Ms.RachanaJadhav, on a One-month Neuroscience project in the Caius Research Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research. 

  6. Dr. Binoj C Kutty was a Member of the Thesis Advisory Committee, SDSOS, NMIMS University, for monitoring the progress of research work of doctoral students, 1st Dec. 2018.

 

Inter-Departmental Collaboration

  1. Dr. Manasi Kanuga delivered lectures on Biostatistics for the PG students of the Department of Masters in Public Policy (MPP) in August -  September 2018 and for the PG students of the Dept of Masters in Biotechnology in April 2019

  2. Dr. Maya Murdeshwar collaborated with Dr.Sujata Deshpande from the Department of Zoology on a DBT-Foldscope funded research project to map the biodiversity in select ecological niches and microhabitats of Maharashtra Nature Park, Mumbai.

 

Guest Speakers invited

  1. Dr. Aamir Shaikh made a short presentation on the Diploma in Clinical Research programme offered by the departmenton 26th July 2018.

  2. Ms. Katie Bagli, Childrens’ Science writer conducted a workshop on 'Creative Science Story/Script Writing' for SY and TYBSc students at Khandala on 23rd December 2018.

  3. Mr. Animesh Das delivered a lecture on 'Sacred Geometry' for SY and TYBSc students at Khandala on 23rd Dec 2018.

  4. Ms. Katie Rustom (CERE) and Ms. Namrata Arora (Environment consultant) conducted an honour’s course on Global Climate Change and Social Justice.

 

Alumni interactions:  Esteemed alumni of our department, Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri, Dr Ayesha Thanawala, Ms Hamsa Narasimhan, Ms Ishika Ramakrishnan, Ms.Jinali Mody, Dr Viraj Torsekar, Ms Srushti Chaphekar, Dr Samit Chakrabarty, and Dr.Ritwick Sawarkar delivered talks. 

 

Students’ achievements

National Scholarships

  1. FYBSc students Mr. Arjun Udupa and Mr. Bivas Nag were selected for the ‘National Initiative on Undergraduate Science’ (NIUS) Camp of the HomiBhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) in collaboration with TIFR and BARC, held between 12th - 20th November2018 in Mumbai. 

  2. SYBSc student Ms. Ira Trivediwas selected for the JNCASR Summer Research Fellowship Programme 2019.. 

 

Internships

Many of our current TYBSc students completed internships at various pharmaceutical companies, research centres, environmental NGOs and corporate houses in India and abroad during the 2019 summer break.

 

Awards

  • Ms. Zubia Shaikh (TY 3U), Ms. Karishma Katpitia and Mr. Ishaan Patil (TY 6U)’s project titled “Solar-powered Electrocoagulation for Waste Water Treatment of Sugarcane Industries in Maharashtra” was selected for the ‘Mentorship Program for Youth Leaders in Environment Conservation in Mumbai’ organized by Environmental Management Centre LLP and Ekonnect Knowledge Foundation. They are undergoing 3 capacity building programmes over 6-months to refine their project and increase its implement ability. They will make a final pitch in July 2019 to win a prize of  $3000 in order to implement the project. Dr Binoj Kutty mentored the students. 

  • Ms. Srushti Chaphekar (MSc 2016-17), Cancer Bio modelling Scientist, Cellworks, Bangalore, was awarded ‘Rookie Scientist Award’ and the ‘CellWorks Hall of Fame’ award twice. 

  • FYBSc students Mr Arjun Udupa and Mr Bivas Nag received the DD Kosambi Young Scientist Award 2019 from Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education (CUBE).

  • Ms Kareena Gala and Ms Pooja Mehta (FYBSc) won 3rd prize at Awareness and Action research for Youth Awakening (AARYA) Intercollegiate Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Competition organized byNirmalaNiketan college of Home Science on 26 - 27th February 2019. 

 

Conferences, Workshops & Seminars

Oral Presentation

  • Ms Kareena Gala and Ms Pooja Mehta (FYBSc) presented at AARYA their work on ‘Effect of Metal Ions on the Activity of Urease Extracted from  Different Plant Sources’. It was part of an Honours course conducted by Dr Priya Sundarrajan.

  • Farha Ansari and Sakina Garothwala, students of MSc presented their research on ‘Effect of Bisphenol (BPA) on Zebrafish embryo and fin development’ at the International Science Conference ‘From Health to Well-Being - An InterdisciplinaryApproach’, held at St. Xavier’s College in collaboration with Creighton University, Omaha, USA. 9th - 11thJanuary 2019.Along with Ms Ansari and Ms Garothwala, the paper was co-authored by Dr Radhika Tendulkar, Farha Ansari, Nathan D’Cunha andPriyanka Gomes.

 

Poster Presentation

International level

  • International Science Conference ‘From Health to Well-Being - An Interdisciplinary Approach’, held at St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous) Mumbai in collaboration with Creighton University, Omaha, USA. 9th - 11th Jan. 2019.

  1. Ms. Assumpta Fernandes (TY, 3U) presented a poster on Photocatalytic Degradation of Dyes: Towards Effective Waste Water Treatment and bagged the 2nd prize. Shivani Dharmadhikari, Assumpta Fernandes, Premie Fernandes, Saima Khan and Ashma Aggarwal worked on the poster.
  2. Ms. Shivani Suresh (TY, 3U) and Ms. Steffi Kunnel (TY, 6U) presented a poster on the topic,‘Can we be Cancer-free?’

 

National level

  • Ms Siddhi Parab and Ms Jennifer Tellis presented a poster on Mapping the Microscopic Biodiversity in Aquatic Ecosystems using Paper Microscope ‘Foldscope’ at the National Seminar on Facets of Life Sciences, organized by the Department of Life Sciences, Mumbai University, 26th March 2019.

 

Inter-collegiate

  • Mr Arjun Udupa (FYBSc) participated in and won the 2nd prize in the Intercollegiate Poster presentation competition GenVision 2019 at IIT-Bombay on 12th Jan. 2019. He competed against MSc and PhD students and presented a poster on the ‘Neurobiology of Memory’.He was guided by Dr Maya Murdeshwar. Arjun also participated in the science quiz ‘Cerebra’.

  • Mr Bivas Nag and Mr Rohan Gupta (FYBSc) participated in a poster competition at the CUBE Workshop and Conference: Collaboratively Learning to Do Experiments and Research (CLEAR) organized by Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education (CUBE), Mumbai, on 22nd February 2019. The competition wasa part of the Chemtech Student Outreach Program BioPharm 2019 themed ‘Neuromarketing: From Brain to Market.’

  • 11 SYBSc students participated in ‘Luminescence 2018’ at Mithibai College, Mumbai on 8th August 2018. Muskan Misra and Alisha Shah secured first place in Ethnic funk while Taneya Samant and Noel Gonsalves secured third place in inQUIZitive.

 

  • Ms Kriti Rajda (TY 3U) secured second rank in the Mumbai round of the annual Sweden India Nobel Memorial Quiz organised by the Swedish Embassy in September 2018.

  • Mr Bivas Nag secured fourth rank in Mumbai in Generations Online Quiz organized by IIT-Bombay. 

  • Ms Zubia Shaikh (TY 3U) and Mr Ishaan Patil (TY 6U) participated in the 2nd Sustainability Quiz on the UN SDGs organized by Global Compact Network, India, on 11th Deember 2018. 

 

  • Ms ZubiaShaikh’s (TY 3U) essay on ‘Politics of Identity’ bagged secondprize in the Parimal K. Shroff& Co. National Level Essay Writing Competition organized by Xavier’s Political Association. Essay on ‘Politics of Identity’.

  • Mr Lalit T (MSc Part I) participated in the event ‘Survival of the Fittest’ at Operon 2018 intercollegiate competition at SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mumbai.

  • Ms Alicia Dias and Ms Zubia Shaikh (TYBSc 3U) won second prize in ‘Let’s Research’ a survey and report writing competition conducted by Wilson College, Mumbai, as part of their inter-collegiate festival ‘Youth for Green Fest - Climate Change’, held on 15th Feb. 2019.

 

Social Outreach Activities

  • SYBSc Life Science students conducted a science and health awareness workshop, ‘Microbes and Health’ on 27th August 2018 at a BMC school near Worli sea face. The workshop was in collaboration with Teach for India and 120 students of standard 10th participated in it. The workshop was organised by Dr BinojKutty and Dr Radhika Tendulkar.Dr PriyaSundarrajan, Dr ManasiKanuga, Dr Maya Murdeshwar and Dr. Dwight Figueiredo accompanied the students.

 

  • SYBSc student Mr Kennith Castelino designed the layouts for ‘Spectrum’, a science magazine for underprivileged school students in collaboration with Sophia College for Women, Mumbai and the Teach for India Foundation.

 

FACULTY

Book Chapter:

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

 

Paper Publications

Shetty SR, Sarangdhar VC, Kamat SD (2019) A search for cellulose degraders in the         Indian soils. Environment and Ecology 37(1):62—70.

 

Shetty SR, Sarangdhar VC, Kamat SD (2019). Study of a cellulase producer, Paenibacillus50-01. Environment and Ecology 37(1):71—79.

 

Ratnaparkhi PS, Kulkarni NB, Ganu MU, Godbole SG, Deo SS (2019). Arterial Stiffness Indices and Matrix metalloproteinase: A correlation study in hypertensive type 2 diabetic subjects. Int J Diabetes DevCtries. May 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13410-019-00727-0

 

Faculty members pursue their research interest through MSc dissertation, UG and QEP projects.

 

Conferences/Seminars/ Workshops

Oral presentation

  • Dr.Priya Sundarrajan gave a talk at The Fifth Mediterranean Symposium on synthesis and characterization of silver nanoparticles using various plant extracts and their environmental implicationson April 24th – 26th, 2019, Cappadocia- Turkey.(Page 91, ISBN 978-605-61261-6-1) Authors: Priya Sundarrajan and Sangeeta Shetty

  • Dr Priya Sundarrajan presented the paper‘Characterization of lipase from lipase producing strains isolated from various sources’ at the National Seminar on Facets of Life Sciences, organized by the Department of Life Sciences, Mumbai University, 26th-27th  March. Mar. 2019.

Poster presentation

  • Dr Priya Sundarrajan presented a poster titled ‘Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles and its Characterization’ at the Mumbai University Minor Research Project poster presentation, organized by Mumbai University, 11th March 2019.

  • Dr Bhaskar Saha presented a poster titled ‘In vitro analysis of the Zinc Toxicity in the Nervous System’ at the Mumbai University Minor Research Project poster presentation, organized by Mumbai University, 11th Mar. 2019.

  • Ms Rezina Fernandes, Ms Apeksha Waghule and Ms Sanika Dadugol presented a poster  titled ‘Assessment of Lead Toxicity and Antioxidant in Daniorerio’ at the National Seminar on Facets of Life Sciences, organized by the Department of Life Sciences, Mumbai University, 26th March 2019. They were guided by Dr.Radiya Pacha-Gupta and Dr.Seema Das

  • Dr Maya Murdeshwar presented a poster titled ‘Mapping the Microscopic Biodiversity in Aquatic Ecosystems using the Paper Microscope ‘Foldscope’ at the National Seminar on Facets of Life Sciences, organized by the Department of Life Sciences, Mumbai University, 26thMar. 2019.

  • Many of the department faculty presented their work at the International Science Conference ‘From Health to Well-Being - An Interdisciplinary Approach’, held at St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous) Mumbai in collaboration with Creighton University, Omaha, USA. 9th - 11thJan. 2019.

-Dr. Manasi Kanuga presented a paper titled: Protective effect of green tea andlarvae of Chironomusripariusexposed to stress induced by incense smoke.  

-Dr.Binoj Kutty presented a paper titled ‘Modulation of g-radiation induced damages in plasmid DNA and yeast by β-propranolol’.

-Dr.Priya Sundarrajan presented a paper on ‘Genetic and Biochemical studies of Mucopolysaccharidosis I in South Indian population.

-An alumnus of the department Ms RezinaFernandes presented a paper on ‘Lead toxicity and protective effect of an antioxidant (Vitamin C) on Zebrafish(Daniorerio)’ under the guidance of Dr.Radiya Pacha-Gupta and Dr.Seema Das. Ms Apeksha Waghule and Ms Sanika Dadugol were co-authors.

 

-Dr. Nandita Mangalore, Dr.Seema Das and Dr. Priya Sundarrajan were invited to chair sessions at the Conference. Dr. Radiya Pacha Gupta was the judge for oral presentations by students.

 

Thesis submissions

  • Mr. Prashant Ratnaparkhi and Ms. Sangeeta Shetty submitted their PhD thesis in the months of December, 2018 and March, 2019 respectively.

 

  • Dr. Priya Sundarrajan completed and submitted the post-doctoral thesis as part of the TATA Heras Fellowship program of the work entitled “Biotechnology Based Novel Approach towards Sustainable Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage” in January 2019.

 

On-going Grants

No.

Name of Investigator

Title of the project 

Amount sanctioned

Funding agencies

1

Dr.Seema Das

Effect of bioaccumulation of heavy metals on growth, oxidative stress and DNA damage in Zebra fish

Rs.4,20,000/-

(money disbursed in 2018-19)

UGC – Minor Research Grant

2

Dr.Priya Sundarrajan

Isolation and screening for novel ethanol producers from various sources and their characterization

Rs.4,80,000/-

(Rs.3,00,000/- disbursed in 2017-18)

UGC – Minor Research Grant

3

Dr Priya Sundarrajan

Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles and their characterization

Rs.60,000/-

University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

4

Dr. Maya Murdeshwar


(& Dr. SujataDeshpande, Dept. of Zoology)

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

Rs.8,00,000/-

DBT-Foldscope, Department of Biotechnology, GOI

5

Dr Bhaskar Saha

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

Rs.75,000/-

University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

6

Dr Binoj Kutty

Studies on Ethanol induced reactive oxygen species stress in yeast

Rs.40,000/-

University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

7

Ms.Sangeeta Shetty

Cloning of Paenibacillus 50-01 protease

Rs 40,000/-

University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

8

Dr Manasi Kanuga

Role of selenium in sperm function in Daniorerio

Rs.40,000/-

University of Mumbai, Minor Research Grant

 

Awards

The Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education (CUBE), HBCSE, conferred the DD Kosambi Award 2019 to Dr Seema Das for cultivating scientific temper by remodelling the curriculum at the delivery stage.

 

Faculty Recharge Programmes

Dr. Manasi  Kanuga. And Dr.Bhaskar Saha attended UGC sponsored Refresher Courses.

Dr Binoj Kutty attended STEM Teacher Training Workshop on ‘Research-Based Pedagogical Tools’ (Level 1), at Kolkata. The workshop was jointly organized by the University of Sheffield, UK, and IISER-Pune, 23rd- 26thSeptember 2018.

  • Mr. Prashant  Ratnaparkhi and Dr. Binoj Kutty were elected to the Staff Council of the college on 6th August, 2018.

 

Dr. Seema Das

Head, Department of Life Science and Biochemistry

Additional information