Biotechnology

Department Report 2013-2014

Biotechnology as a subject has far-reaching effects and benefits on all strata of human society, such as biotechnological advances in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food and diagnostics, to name a few. The objective of our department is to inculcate values and impart state-of-the-art training to budding biotechnologists.

Results of the MSc-II 2013 Batch

Distinction- 16, First Class- 8, Second class- 2

Four of the students were offered and have accepted admission into the PhD program of the National University of Singapore with research scholarships. This was facilitated through a meeting arranged by the department.

The following activities were conducted during the year 2013-14:

Palindrome 2014

Palindrome is the annual Biotechnology festival of St. Xavier’s College, organised by the M.Sc. Biotech students in an attempt to merge concepts of the subject along with the spirit of competition. This year, Palindrome was held on 15th January 2014 and had a footfall of 250 students from all over Mumbai, participating in 9 Biotech based events taking place over the course of the day. The major sponsor for the entire event was Lupin Limited. The “Palindrome 2014” overall trophy was won by K.C. College. Every year Palindrome associates with a social cause, to give back to society and help those in need. Our social cause for the year 2013-2014 was “REAP – Reach Education Action Programme”,which works towards educating slum dwellers from various parts of Mumbai and empowers women by encouraging cottage industries for their self-sustenance.

Industrial Trip to Rajasthan

The M.Sc. Part I students undertook the annual industrial visit to the state of Rajasthan, from the 26th of January to the 1st of February, 2014. They visited five industries relevant to our field of study– Morarka Organic Foods Ltd., Jaipur Municipal Corporation Sewage Treatment Plant, and Birla Institute of Scientific Research in the city of Jaipur; Maharana Pratap Agricultural Institute and Saras Dairy in the city of Udaipur. These industries provided invaluable insight into the various avenues of Biotechnology, and students were able to obtain a first-hand experience of processes right from sludge treatment and bioremediation, to mushroom cultivation and plant tissue culture. Profs. Shiney Peter, Norine Dsouza and Biswa Chatterji accompanied the students on the visit.

External Research projects:

A few of the projects completed by M.Sc. Part II students:

Students completed 4-5 month-long internships at reputed research centres like ACTREC, BARC- Mumbai, National Institute of Virology-Pune, National Institute of Oceanography- Goa, and National Chemical Laboratories- Pune. Some of the research projects completed are:

  • In silico analysis of differences in gut microbiota among monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs from two continents.
  • To evaluate the effect of prolonged darkness on the development of marine diatom biofilms.
  • Structural studies on atypical Rho GTPase: Rho H.
  • Determining the role of p38α MAPK signalling pathway in regulating tumorogenesis observed upon plakophilin 3 loss.

Publications by the Department:

  • Gulshanara Shaikh, Norine Dsouza , Hoshang Master, Madhuri Hambarde published Cytotoxicity of Novel Pyrazoline derived compounds in Int J. Chem Vol2(4) Oct -Dec 2013.
  • Nikhil Bardeskar, Nikhil Thangiah, Sharang Kolwalkar, Norine D’Souza, John Cyriac, Vivien Amonkar published  Quantification of cadmium tolerance of soil isolates by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). Conference Proceedings: DBT sponsored National Conference on “Modern Analytical Techniques in Microbiology” conducted by the Department of Microbiology, Fergusson College, Pune. ISBN number 011-2617-9675

Oral presentations:

  • Aakanksha Sawant, Akanksha Mhatre, Arokia Rani, Krupa Vyas, Mayuri Mhatre, Rachana Vaidya, Sayali Jadhav, Sheena Varghese, Norine D’Souza, Vivien Amonkar presented onUsing Biowastes for Enhancing PHB Production by a Soil Isolate, at the DBT sponsored National seminar on “Trends in Environmental Biotechnology and its Applications”, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, in December 2013.
  • Aakanksha Sawant, Akanksha Mhatre, Arokia Rani, Krupa Vyas, Mayuri Mhatre, Rachana Vaidya, Sayali Jadhav, Sheena Varghese, Norine D’Souza, Vivien Amonkar presented on Optimising the Production of Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) by a Soil Isolate and Analysing its Properties, at the International Conference on Chemistry “Cutting Edge: Nano, Green and Beyond”, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in January 2014.
  • Nikhil Bardeskar, Nikhil Thangiah, Sharang Kolwalkar, Norine D’Souza, John Cyriac, Vivien Amonkar presented on Quantification of cadmium tolerance of soil isolates by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), at the DBT sponsored National Conference on “Modern Analytical Techniques in Microbiology”, Fergusson college, Pune in January 2014.
  • Gulshanara Shaikh, Norine Dsouza, Hoshang Master, Madhuri Hambarde presented on Cytotoxic evaluation of few novel 2 –Pyrazoline Derivatives at the International Conference on Chemistry “Cutting Edge: Nano, Green and Beyond”, St. Xavier’s College , Mumbai in January 2014.

Poster presentations:

  • Anju James, Cristabelle De’souza, Josna Jacob, Jyoti Rawat, Jyoti Bharti, Varsha Bodke,Yamini Nair, Norine Dsouza, John Cyriac presented on Green synthesis of pigments using microflora in biocompost samples and their industrial applications at the Sajjan Gupta Konark memorial award, S.I.E.S College, Mumbai in December 2013.
  • Aakanksha Sawant, Akanksha Mhatre, Arokia, Krupa Vyas, Mayuri Mhatre, Rachana Vaidya, Sayali Jadhav, Sheena Varghese, Norine D’Souza, Vivien Amonkar presented on The use of biowaste medium for microbial production of Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a constituent of Eco-friendly Plastic at the Sajjan Gupta Konark memorial award, S.I.E.S College, Mumbai in December 2013.
  • Anju James, Cristabelle De’souza, Josna Jacob, Jyoti Rawat, Jyoti Bharti, Sayal Jadhav  Varsha Bodke,Yamini Nair, Vivien Amonkar, Norine Dsouza presented on Analytical inter-relation between saturation levels, storage and deep frying of household oils using Iodometry and UV absorption as a public health benefit at the International Conference on Chemistry “Cutting Edge: Nano, Green and Beyond”, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in January 2014.

Students’ achievements in intercollegiate fests

  • Event name: “Genaces” (Held on 31st August, 2013)

Annual festival organised by Jai Hind College, Department of Biotechnology.

Prizes won are as follows:

  • o Keerthana Shrinivasan and Madhumitha Vasan- 1st place in Quiz.
  • o Oscar Peter and Durmi Shah- 2nd place in Quiz.
  • o Manasi Agrawal and Vaidehi Karekar- 1st place in Black Taboo.
  • o Kahaan Parikh and Keerthana Srinivasan- 1st place in DNA Dating.
  • o Kahaan Parikh, Keerthana Srinivasan, Sonali Kokate and Trinkle Kothari- 1st place in Treasure Hunt.

    Maximum Participation and Overall “Genaces - 2013” trophy won by St. Xavier’s   

    College, M.Sc. Biotech.

  • Event name: “Biozest” (Held on 14th December, 2013)

     Annual festival organised by S.S and L.S Patkar College, Department of     Biotechnology and Microbiology.

Prizes won are as follows:

  • o Oscar Peter and Durmi Shah- 1st place in Quiz.
  • o Pranita Kambli and Jenevieve Dsouza- 2nd place in Quiz.
  • o Keerthana Srinivasan and Madhumitha Vasan- 3rd place in Quiz.
  • o Sonali Kokate, Trinkle Kothari, Alfiya Firfire and Deepthy Hanna Poly- Consolation Prize in Spin-a-luck.
  • Event Name: “Chimera” (Held on 7th January, 2014)

 Annual festival organised by Ramnarian Ruia College, Department of Biotechnology.

Prizes won are as follows:

  • o Pranita Kambli and Jenevieve Dsouza- 1st place in Quiz.
  • o Pranita Kambli and Jenevieve Dsouza- 2nd place in T-shirt Painting.
  • o Pranita Kambli and Jenevieve Dsouza- 2nd place in Game On.
  • o Kahaan Parikh- 1st place in Slogan Writing.

Maximum Participation and Overall “Chimera-2014” trophy won by St. Xavier’s College, M.Sc. Biotech.

Students attended:

  • The Indian Science Academies’ Lecture Workshop on “Biowaves: The Pulse of Biology” organised by the Department of Life Science and Biochemistry on November 29th and 30th, 2013 at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
  • National Seminar at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Radiation Medicine Centre which was organised by BARC for student exposure and understanding in the current delves of radiation medicine being used for treatment of cancer.

Faculty Attended

Prof. Shiney Peter

  • 2 day Symposium and Workshop on Pluripotent Stem Cells in Adult Mammalian Gonads at the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH), Mumbai in September 2013.

Prof. Norine Dsouza

  • 2 day DBT sponsored National seminar on “Trends in Environmental Biotechnology and its Applications”, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore in December 2013.
  • 2 day International Conference on Chemistry “Cutting Edge: Nano, Green and Beyond”, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in January 2014.
  • 2 day DBT sponsored National Conference on “Modern Analytical Techniques in Microbiology”, Fergusson college, Pune in January 2014.

Guest Lectures organised:

  1. Dr. Jos V.M. Welie, Professor, Center for Health Policy and Ethics, Creighton University, USA gave a lecture on ‘Biomedical Technologies, Human Nature, and the Sanctity of Life– an  Ethical Analysis’ for Postgraduate Bioscience Students on 25th November, 2013.
  2. RichardNoronha, Food Safety Officer, TUV India, Pune gave a lecture on ‘Quality Control and Assurance and Career options in Food Technology’ in January 2014.

Dr. Vivien Amonkar,

Head, Biotechnology