Infectious diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are major health concerns not only in India but also across the globe. Major goals of our division are to carry out cutting edge research towards improved knowledge on diseases by infectious diseases. Additionally, we are involved in academic programs of the institute, which includes under-graduate, post-graduate and Ph.D. teaching programs in bio-medical science, food safety and biotechnology, and marine microbiology and biotechnology. The faculty members of the division are involved in the research related to the diagnosis, prevalence, prevention and control of causative agents of various infectious diseases and implementation of intervention strategies. Our research group has major strength in the genome sciences, microbial diversity, development of novel diagnostics, understanding of drug resistance mechanisms, disease transmission, and virulence mechanisms of disease etc. This promotes biomedical and technological advancement that translates the knowledge to develop novel drugs, vaccines, diagnostic reagents and disease control strategies.
Infectious diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are major health concerns not only in The major thrust areas for Bioinformatics and Comparative Genomics are analysis of infectious diseases including parasitic, viral or bacterial diseases. With the ever-increasing availability of whole genome sequences, the doors to knowledge and discovery are always open. Our endeavors are focused on contribution to the global knowledge pool and providing skilled manpower. With the emergence of new diseases, the bioinformatics facilities would serve as watch dogs and provide improved and novel strategies for disease control and prevention. A few other important areas of research in the division are evolutionary bioinformatics, environmental bioinformatics, and clinical bioinformatics.
Research activities in this division are focused on seeking answers for treatment and management of complex human diseases such as cancer and rare bone marrow failure syndromes and hematological disorders. The division is equipped with state-of-art research instruments and highly competent faculty with vast experience in the fields of genetics and cancer. Some of the thrust areas include genomics and epigenetics of rare genetic diseases and cancers, role of small RNAs and noncoding RNAs in cell signaling pathways, role of ribosomes in human diseases, nucleolar proteins and their role in tumorigenesis, and stem cell deregulation in cancer. The division also focuses on discovery and development of small molecule anti-cancer drugs through the whole animal small molecule screening or high throughput screening of chemicals using the zebrafish model system. Recently, zebrafish has emerged as a powerful cancer model system because they develop tumors that are histologically similar to human tumors and many human cancer genes are conserved structurally and functionally in zebrafish. In addition, this fish is amenable to pharmacological testing which makes them useful for screening anti-cancer agents. Apart from fish models, the division also houses mice models, which provide exceptional insights into the biology and genetics of human cancer. They are easy to handle and have disease manifestations consistent to humans. In addition to the research activities, the division is dedicated to educate and train the next generation of cancer investigators and human geneticists. The division has been established with a vision of bringing research scientists and clinicians together in order to effectively translate research findings into new ways to detect and treat cancer and genetic disorders.
Microbial contamination of food can result in major illnesses and in some occasions even deaths. Thus, knowledge about foodborne pathogens is extremely important for creating awareness among the public regarding the potential health hazards associated with food borne pathogens. The Division of Food Safety and Nutrition focuses on research related to fundamental and applied aspects of pathogen biology, understanding their mode of action, the molecular mechanisms involved and developing rapid and sensitive molecular detection techniques for major foodborne infectious agents. The division encourages the concept of transfer of technology, enabling the scientists to develop techniques and tools with potential commercial applications. The division is also involved in educating and training of undergraduate and graduate students in various molecular, immunologic, epidemiologic, and biologic aspects of foodborne microbial pathogenesis, as well as monitoring, control and prevention of such diseases. The division is also committed to training health professionals through the various outreach programs.
Research activities in this division are focused on innovative and high-end research emphasizing on efficient utilization of marine aquatic resources for development of effective and alternative therapeutics against agents affecting human health. Apart from supporting an enormous biodiversity, marine ecosystem is a source to many bioactive compounds with anticancer and antimicrobial properties. It also serves as alternative source of energy (biofuel from microalgae). However, despite the potential, marine exosystems and marine organisms remain largely unexplored, understudied, and underutilized. Research areas include: understanding various aspects of marine ecosystems and bioresources, exploring the marine microbes and their potential in different bioprocesses, the marine plants and animals and their products as future drugs for humans, and aspects of marine environmental health management through integrated and multidisciplinary approaches.
The main research focus of DEHT is to understand the effects of contaminants and environmental stressors on human health and ecosystem function. The division pursues research on a broad range of topics such as biodegradation of toxic pollutants, developing novel molecular tools for the detection of pathogenic bacteria, microbial ecology of contaminated ecosystems, geo-microbiology, soil nutrient cycling and developing sustainable waste management and agriculture practices. Conventional microbiological tools along with most advanced molecular tools (metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) are being employed to understand the diversity, distribution and ecophysiology of archaea in the environment and their implications for public health. The research mission and goals of DEHT possibly identify and understand the key processes that affect public health and environment, and help the government agencies to evaluate the risk assessment of pollutants. Faculty and students of DEHT seek practical solutions to complex environmental problems by interdisciplinary and integrative approaches