Department Report 2014-2015

 The academic year 2014 -15 was filled with teaching- learning experiences, assessments, research and more.

The highlights of the year were:


• For the month of June, TY students completed their summer internships in Microbiology related Industries, Research Institutes & Pathology Labs before they started the new academic year. A few examples of institutes where some of our students interned are: Serum Institute, Pune, Cipla Ltd., Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, TAJ SATS Flight kitchen, Food and Drug Administration, Mumbai.

• Ms. Karuna Gokarn was a resource person for ‘Transformation of pGlo plasmid into competent cells’ at the Three-Day Faculty Workshop on ‘Techniques in Cell and Molecular Biology’ for College Teachers, sponsored by The Lady Tata Memorial Trust and conducted by the CAIUS Research laboratory, St.Xavier’s College- 26th to 28th June.

• Ms. Karuna Gokarn and Ms. Sangeetha Chavan also served as members of the Organizing Committee. Dr. Ms.Aparna Talekar was a participant.


• Second Year student presented ‘Microphile’ the 26th Annual Department Exhibition in which they exhibited microbial biotechnology aspects in the Medical, Food, Industrial, Agriculture and Environment fields: This exhibition was held on the 3rd and 4th of July.

• Our department faculty participated in the College Faculty workshop on “Teaching and Learning Using Moodle” on 9th July, and helped in its organisation.

• Postgraduate students attended the talk “Thermal Stability of Aquaporin 0, An Integral Lens Membrane Protein” by S. Swamy Mruthinti, Associate Dean and Professor of Biology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA on 28th July.


• Dr. Pampi Chakraborty joined the department.

• Dr. Ms. Aparna Talekar and Dr. Ms. Pampi Chakraborty participated in the National Seminar ‘Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology’ conducted by the Postgraduate Department of Biotechnology of the college on 2nd August 2014.


• Inauguration of the ‘Palacios Research Laboratory’ built from funds donated by Dr. Caroline Pai in the memory of her late brother Kevin Rasquinha on 6th September 2014.

• Dr. Ms.Aparna Talekar participated in the Training of Trainers on ‘Participatory Methods of Training for Effective Content Delivery’” conducted by Giz (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit) from 11-13th September.

• Dr. Debu Banerjee, Rutger’s University gave a guest lecture on ‘Computational Imaging to Visualise Defects in Vascular Flow’ to our postgraduate students on 22nd September.

• Dr. Sorab Dalal, Principal Investigator, ACTREC conducted a workshop on Scientific Communications for the M.Sc students on 27th September 2014.


• Dr. Ms. Vivien Amonkar completed the UGC Sponsored Short Term Course in Soft Skills

KC College that took place from 13th - 19th October 2014.

• An MOU was signed: An Industrial Project with Swati Spentose ‘Advances in Dextran Fermentation’.


• The Microbiology department undertook an Industrial Visit from 14th-16th November where we visited the Central Effluent Treatment Plant and Swati Spentose–Pharmaceutical Additives Manufacturing Plant in Vapi and a Beer Manufacturing Plant in Daman. The visit was organised by the UMAX team

• Microbiology department faculty attended the college Moodle workshop held on 19th November 2014.

• Ms. Miriam Stewart participated in the two day National Seminar on ‘Fungi in Biotechnology’ organised by the Botany Department of SIES College, Sion on 28th 29th November 2014.


• Ms Karuna Gokarn proceeded to go on leave as part of the Faculty Improvement Programme to complete her PhD and Dr. Ms. Shilpa Verekar was appointed.

• TY students attended ACTREC’s Open day on 4th and 5th of December and the Open Day of NMIMS School of Science on 6th December and were exposed to advanced instrumentation and techniques.

• The department’s annual ‘Michronicle’ was released on the 13th


• Dr. Ms. Vivien Amonkar cochaired a session at the State level Conference: Recent Trends & Innovations in Microbial World at Smt. Chandibai Himathmal Mansukhani College, Ulhasnagar on 15th January 2015.

• Ms. Sangeetha Chavan participated in a workshop on ‘Advances in Microscopy’ organised by ICARCIRCOT that was held from19th -21st January, 2015.

• Micro Day: On 24th January, alumni of the Batch of 1986 addressed our undergraduate and postgraduate students on career and life aspects. They also pledged a financial donation to the department.

The alumni included:

• Dr Colin D’Silva, Associate Director, External Relations/ Communications, Beauty Sector at Procter & Gamble, Singapore

• Dr. Fiona Miranda, Sexual Health School Educator, Mumbai

• Adolf Furtado, Broker at Re/Max, Toronto, Canada Area

• Louie Fernandes. Ralph, Founder – Zeus Selling Solutions; Director – SEVASYS, Mumbai

• Sapna Bajaj Sawant, Director at Write Right Creative Writing Institute, Mumbai

• Sapna Khandelwal, Home maker, Delhi

• Savio Fernandes, Sr. V P and Chief Sales Officer - Rediff.com India Ltd

• Dr. Bina Lobo Dias Associate Professor, Dept. of Biochemitry, Sion Hospital

• Jyoti Fernandes : Banking

• SY students visited the Bhandup Water Purification Plant on 27th January 2015, which in turn helped to reinforce their course study. FEBRUARY

• This year the department coupled the annual Khandala seminar with a visit to the Govardhan Dairy in Pune on 14th and 15th February 2015.

• A farewell for the TY and MSc Part II students was organised by the UMAX team on 20th February 2015. MARCH

• Our alumnus Dr. Foster Gonsalves VP Rgenix , New York spoke on ‘Translating Scientific Discoveries to Medical Benefits’ on 7th March 2015.

• Department Faculty participated in the Intercollegiate Faculty Seminar on ‘Biosafety Issues in Research’ held on 20th March 2015. Dr. Ms. Vivien Amonkar was the Co-Convener and Ms. Karuna Gokarn and Ms. Sangeetha Chavan were members of the Organising Committee. APRIL

• Dr. Ms. Vivien Amonkar conducted a lecture for students on ‘Scientific Writing’ KC College on the 10th April 2015.

• SYBSc students made Poster Presentations for their research projects.

• A one day Career Guidance seminar was organized on the 11th, for the undergraduate students of our department. Ms.Miriam Stewart coordinated the program.

The speakers were:

• Nina Dias, Associate Professor, Dept. of Foods and Nutrition,Nirmala Niketan, Churchgate.

• Dr. Ajit Gorakshakar, Senior Deputy Director, National Institute of Immunohaematology, KEM Hospital, and HOD Dept. of Transfusion Medicine

• Ms Hetal Dedhia from the Forensic Science Dept of Institute of Science, Mumbai • Ms Cheryl Barretto. Senior clinical Research Associate, Boehringer Ingelheim

• Mr Punit Pania, Brand Manager, Abbott India Limited • As part of the Microbiology Honours programme which was coordinated by Ms. Sangeetha Chavan, students completed projects on the study of the Antimicrobial activities of herbs and spices, Plasmid Isolation and cloning in bacteria.

Research UGC Minor Research Grants (XIIth Plan)

• Sangeetha Chavan, ‘Effect of silver and titania nanoparticles on soil microbial diversity’, 2014-2016 Rs. 3,47,000/-

• Karuna Gokarn ‘Cloning of genes involved in the biosynthesis of Exochelin MS from Mycobacterium smegmatis.’2014 - 2016 Rs.2,82,000/-


• Vivien Amonkar, Varnica Khetrapal, John Cyriac, Mohini Bhattacharya (2014) Standardization of the Biosynthesis and Characterization of Silver Nanoparticles using Bacillus cereus and use of Silver Nanoparticles in the Prophylaxis of Nosocomial Infections, Int J Chem.Vol 3(4) Oct -Dec 2014, 33-342 ISSN 2249 2119 CODEN IJCML6 Impact Factor: 1.038

• Chavan Sangeetha & Gokarn Karuna,(2014), Isolation and Characterization of a free living nitrogen fixing bacterium with multiple plant growth promoting characteristics XPLORE, Xavier’s research journal, Vol. 5, Issue 1, December 2014 ISSN 2249-1878

• Mathieu C, Huey D, Jurgens E, Welsch JC, DeVito I, Talekar A, Horvat B, Niewiesk S, Moscona A, Porotto M., Prevention of measles virus infection by intranasal delivery of fusion inhibitor peptides, J Virol. 2015 Jan 15;89(2):1143-55 Impact Factor 4.648

• Deshmukh S.K., Verekar, S.A. and Bhave S. (2015) Endophytic Fungi: An Untapped Source ForAntibacterials. Frontiers in Microbiology. 5: 1-43.doi: 10.3389/ fmicb.2014.00715 Impact Factor 3.94 Oral Presentations Braggs C., Barnes N.M., Achary N., Bence A.M., Chikte A., Talekar A., Amonkar V.

• Microbial degradation of Azo Dyes by organisms isolated from a polluted source, Conference on ‘Bioremediation – Recent Trends and Future Prospects’, Royal College, 9th August , 2014 Verekar, S.A

• Invited for oral presentation on “Microbial Genome Mining in Drug Discovery” at National Conference on New and Emerging Trends in Bioinformatics and Taxonomy, NETBT 2015, organized in B.N. Bandodkar College of Science, Thane 14th and 15th January, 2015. Vivien Amonkar

• Resource person ‘Best Practices in Curricular Aspects’, UGC Sponsored National Seminar on ‘Role of Best Practices in Quality Enhancement and Sustenance in Higher Education Institutions’ CKT College, New Panvel 24th April, 2015. Student Research

• MSc Part II students completed their external projects at BARC, TIFR and NIRRH, Mumbai, NCL Pune and NIO, Goa and internal projects on several aspects of Environmental Microbiology.

• Undergraduate students completed research projects as part of the project based learning initiative of the department- TYs on Industrial Microbiology aspects and SYs on Environmental aspects. The potability of college water was monitored by SY students.

• As part of the Honours Programme activity, SY and TY students completed secondary research projects on aspects of Public Health Dr. Ms. Vivien Amonkar Microbiology, Head of Department

Dr. Ms. Vivien Amonkar

Head, Department of Microbiology.

Additional information