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April 2021

Dr. Pritam Sukul (DSc. Medical Sciences) in conversation with Tirtha, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Rover

The featured fundamental discovery of the April 2021 Special Issue of THE INDIAN ROVER:
Deficiency and absence of endogenous isoprene in adults, disqualified its putative origin (P. Sukul et
al. 2021, Cell-Press: https://www.cell.com/heliyon/fulltext/S2405-8440(21)00027-X)

Dr. P. Sukul.
Prof. Dr. J. Schubert
Dr. W. Miekisch.
Dr. A. Richter.

Scientists/Authors & Affiliation:

Dr. Pritam Sukul, Senior Medical Scientist, Dpt. of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University
Medicine Rostock, Germany.
Dr. Anna Richter, Medical Biotechnologist, Dept. of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative
Medicine, University Medicine Rostock, Germany.
Prof. Dr. Jochen K Schubert, Deputy Director, Dpt. of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care,
University Medicine Rostock, Germany.
Dr. Wolfram Miekisch, Head Analytical Chemist of ROMBAT group, Dpt. of Anesthesiology and
Intensive Care, University Medicine Rostock, German

Dr. Pritam Sukul (DSc. Medical Sciences) In Conversation With Tirtha, Editor-In-Chief, The Indian Rover

Tirtha: Jay Gour, Pritam da! Greetings from The Indian Rover! Although we share an invisible bond from spiritual fraternity, motherland and mother-tongue, today I am sent by the editorial board to conduct the interview, representing our magazine. So, I must admit it’s a double joy from my side as I congratulate you & your team on the excellent discovery in the field of medical science.

Pritam: Jay Gour, Tirtha! Good evening from Germany! Well, there’s certainly no doubt that The Indian Rover has summoned the correct person to greet and interview me. First of all, thanks to my motherland’s biggest literary magazine and to you for your kind interest in our recent research findings. We are truly honored to be featured in this special edition.

Tirtha: So, before embarking to the research segment, I am curious to know whether the life of a foodie Indian scientist in Germany is jovial or banal.

Pritam: Ha ha! Good one to start the conversation! In my humble opinion, your inquiry sounds rather Freudian. To be precise, I have been to many places on earth for study or research, and due to my incorrigible Indian food habit, it’s hard to assume a place abroad where I haven’t faced challenges. Missing Mom’s kitchen is not funny! Nonetheless, I haven’t witnessed a better place for independent and co-operative research than Germany. Notably, the ROMBAT research group (especially, my mentors, Jochen and Wolfram, and my colleague, Patricia) always stood by me as a family since my arrival. Despite many ups and downs in my personal and professional life, they never left me alone.
Now, it’s my second home and I love this country and its people. So, for me it’s undoubtedly jovial.

Tirtha: Well, talking of research: you have been awarded with the prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship, attained a hat-trick publication in the Nature Research, and you have just published the seven years long clinical study conducted upon more than 1000 humans in the esteemed Cell-Press & ELSEVIER-ScienceDirect. As you often say that science is a joint effort, I am willing to know what role have your colleagues, especially Dr. Schubert and Dr. Miekisch, played in establishing you as who you are today?

Pritam: Yes absolutely! As we are doing interdisciplinary research, involving physiology and medicine, with analytical chemistry and bio-technology, it must be a joint effort. Therefore, our ROMBAT group is composed of clinical and analytical scientists, physicians, chemists, biotechnologist, engineers etc. and Prof. Schubert and Dr. Miekisch are among the pioneers in the field with over 20 years of experience in basic, pre-clinical, and clinical investigations with regard to applications of Breathomics and volatile Metabolomics. As I have mentioned earlier, no matter what I am today or may become in the future, these two persons have always been my best supportive shields. They have trained me to conduct complex and cross-disciplinary research as well as supported me to balance a personal life in parallel. They took me from a ‘small town’ of India, when I had no experience in Breathomics except some basic knowledge, ideas and mainly motivation. This is not only in my case! Many a times, I have seen them selecting young individuals, depending upon their ‘research motivation and interest’ and not explicitly based on the academic CV or prior experiences or number of publications etc.

Tirtha: This paper, titled as ‘Deficiency and absence of endogenous isoprene in adults, disqualified its putative origin’, which you ascribe as a “fundamental discovery”, has caught our attention. I will be pleased to know the background and what it actually states for non-experts. It will be greatly appreciated if you can answer in a lucid way, avoiding scientific jargons as much as possible.

Pritam: As you have rightly mentioned, this is a fundamental discovery in medical Breathomics. At first, let me tell you a bit about Breath Analysis. A very tiny fraction, less than one percent, of the human breath is composed of thousands of volatile organic compounds called VOCs. VOCs are produced within our body due to biochemical pathways, metabolic processes (at cellular or organ level) as well as physiological and patho-physiological conditions or under certain administered therapy. Afterwards, these VOCs are transported via blood to the lung and exhaled through our breath. We are identifying and quantifying these organic substances in order to achieve non-invasive and rapid detection of diseases and monitoring of physiology and metabolism or therapy.
Among those VOCs, isoprene (C5H8) is the second most abundant, endogenous (i.e. produced within our body) and clinically the most important biomarker (concentration range in adults: around 100 – 300 ppbV). Until now we believed it to be the prominent by-product of the Mevalonate pathway (i.e. Cholesterol Biosynthesis), where mevalonic acid is deduced to non-sterol isoprenoid molecules. This endogenous metabolic origin was hypothesized by Deneris and colleagues in 1984 via pilot in vitro observation on rat liver cell cultures and since then it is theorized as the rule of thumb and is widely believed in clinical science, medical metabolomics and breathomics in order to interpret experimental data. Hundreds of clinical studies have repeatedly reported and published the differential expressions (i.e. observed between healthy and sick groups) of exhaled breath isoprene concentrations as promising non-invasive breath biomarker to detect/monitor diseases such as cancers, lung diseases (COPD, asthma, fibrosis etc.), myocardial infection, hypercholesterolemia, oxidative stress, chronic liver disease and many other health conditions. Moreover, relative changes in exhaled isoprene concentrations mirror various physiological and metabolic effects (P. Sukul et. al. 2016, 2018 & 2020. Nature Research Portfolio). According to published research in The New England Journal of Medicine, absence of non-sterol isoprene is attributed to inherited errors (e.g. hyper immunoglobulinemia D syndrome, auto-inflammatory periodic fever syndrome and mevalonic aciduria) in mevalonate pathway. Breath isoprene deficiency in Duchenne muscle dystrophy patients supports its storage and washout from the muscle compartments. Despite all those mind bobbling findings, isoprene couldn’t enter to routine clinical practice as a definitive diagnostic marker because many other experimental observations upon breath isoprene expression remained unrelated to the corresponding patho-physiological effects (i.e. well known) on its putative metabolic origin (i.e. Cholesterol biosynthesis). In spite of gradually growing doubts upon the conventional origin of isoprene, none could prove it wrong or find the truth. Therefore, such an excellent biomarker remained shrouded in mysteries until our present discovery.

Tirtha: So, what does it disqualify?

Pritam: We have disqualified an important theory in clinical metabolomics and breathomics, which was believed since last 36 years; I mean, the putative origin of isoprene from Cholesterol Biosynthesis as was hypothesized by Deneris et al; around a year before my birth.

Tirtha: So, what are your assumptions regarding how beneficial it can prove to medical science, and above all, human health?

Pritam: These findings will re-address our state-of-the-art knowledge and understanding upon the
effects of different types of cancers, cardio-pulmonary diseases, hyper-cholesteremia,
oxidative stress, neurodegenerative disorders as well as certain rare inborn genetic errors
onto this most important and omnipresent exhaled breath volatile- isoprene. This will redefine and rationalize the clinical interpretations of isoprene as biomarker towards the rapid, non-invasive assessment of various physiological, metabolic and pathological conditions in
real-time via breath analysis.

Tirtha: As medical science generally frames a hypothesis first and then examines it, when did you first conjectured the hypothesis of the paper?

Pritam: In May 2013, I was awarded with the esteemed Marie-Curie Fellowship on my ideas to conduct intensive research in Experimental Anesthesiology and Clinical Breathomics at the University of Rostock (Germany), under the eminent supervision of Prof. Dr. Schubert and Dr. Miekisch. In few months, I had recognized the fundamental problem with physiological and metabolic confounders, which often override the actual pathological information in breath biomarkers. Consequently, I stumbled upon the believed origin of isoprene, while explaining those effects. I came up with the initial idea that the key to this mystery is hidden in the healthy adult humans, who are at the lower extremities (i.e. significant deficiency) of exhaled isoprene concentrations.

Tirtha: What were the odds that were there in the path & how did you overcome it?

Pritam: Indeed, there were obvious challenges or odds. It is very unlikely to find healthy adults with isoprene deficiency (because it is already a characteristic of inborn metabolic disorders and diseases as mentioned above). According to statistical power test we need to investigate a sample size of at least 1000 humans which is almost a day-dream in academic research, especially the ones that are conducted in universities. To conduct such a clinical study, we need to invest at least 5 to 7 years of unprecedented efforts and huge expanses. The chance of failure is still almost 99% as we may not find any healthy adults with isoprene deficiency. Finally, I have to convince my mentors that I am crazy enough to do it.
To be honest, I did not have any good idea or plan to overcome those at the first place, but I was ready to confront. My mind simply relied upon the early teachings of my late grandfather from the Śrīmad Bhāgavad Gītā: “karmaṇye vādhikāraste mā faleṣu kadācana” – your rights are only on the deed, not on its rewards – Lord Kṛṣṇa’s advice to Arjuna, before the Kurukṣetra War. I know that may sound philosophical, but I do have no better response.

Tirtha: Well, Bhāgavad Gītā, is undeniably the biggest source of motivation any human being can find! So, what happened then when you proposed this idea?

Pritam: On a fine Friday morning lab-meeting, I presented the cumulative ideas to Prof. Schubert and Dr. Meikisch. After a span of absolute silence in the room, I heard the most awaited response from Prof. Schubert: “Go ahead! We are with you. No risk, no science”. Dr. Miekisch with a similar response added, “Let’s do this. Even if we fail, that would still be a substantial contribution to science”. On the same day, three of us conceptualized and designed the large study(s) to investigate a series of physio-metabolic effects and with the hope to address that fundamental problem of isoprene origin. We started the experiments soon after having the ethical approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) of University Medicine Rostock.
Since 2013, I have identified and quantified hundreds of VOCs via high-resolution mass-spectrometry based clinical breathomics within the exhaled breaths of human subjects, who belong to different age, gender, health conditions and ethnicity. We applied various physiological manoeuvres — respiratory and hemodynamic – to observe immediate effects on isoprene and other VOCs. We used the advanced Proton-Transfer-Reaction-Time-of-Flight-Mass-Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) to monitor the instant behaviour of isoprene, breath-by-breath in real-time. Nevertheless, until 2015, we had no luck upon the occurrence of any isoprene deficient adult.
But in October 2015, I have received “The Gift of Mother Nature”.

Tirtha: “No risk, no science” — what a boisterous prophecy in what brief words! I’m compelled to admire Dr. Schubert’s genius!

Pritam: I actually regard him as my ‘Guru’ in science. He is the Deputy Director of the Dept. of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care of our University Medicine Rostock (UMR). Prof. Schubert is a senior anesthesiologist and chemist with unparalleled knowledge and understanding of Breathomics. He is our group leader and I have rarely seen a wise person as he is. For me, he is a father figure. During this afternoon, I had informed him regarding this tentative interview and asked if he wants to be present. His immediate reply was, “you are the first author and it’s your work so go ahead”.

Tirtha: That’s so generous of him! Please do also enlighten us about Dr. Miekisch’s visions as well about the contribution of Dr. Richter.

Pritam: Dr. Miekisch is the Head of the Mass-Spectrometry Laboratories at the UMR. He is an analytical chemist with over 20 years of experience in applied bio-analytical research he is the principal analytical chemist of the ROMBAT group and is leading all bio-analytical research activities involving pre-clinical and clinical breathomics. He is responsible for analytical setups in our clinical studies such as studies on severe lung diseases, cancer, metabolic changes or drug monitoring. He has contributed to the present state-of-the-art in breath sampling and analysis with around 100 publications. Currently he is the chairperson of the International Association of Breath Research (IABR) and leader of the IABR task force for sampling and standardization.
We are also utterly grateful to Dr. Richter as she had performed the tedious genetic analysis for this study. She is an excellent and enthusiastic young woman in medical science, who collaborated with us in this study and helped us to obtain all the genetic data and corresponding interpretations on time.

Tirtha: As you told me that you have received “The Gift of Mother Nature”, what do you imply?

Pritam: I call it, an important life event! On a Wednesday morning at around 10:30 am, a young and healthy lady walked into our lab to participate in the ongoing study. As soon as she started breathing into our instrument, the exhaled isoprene signal completely vanished from the monitor and the isoprene curve at the mass scale was flattened to zero. I was surprised and worried as I thought that I have somehow crashed the expensive mass-spectrometer. I must rapier that as soon as possible. I rebooted the instrument, recalibrated the entire mass scale and I immediately breathed into the sampler, myself. Thank god! The isoprene signal and its mass-scale curve were resumed. But, as soon as she re-breathes into the instrument, isoprene signal and mass completely disappeared once again.
Eventually, I realized that Mother Nature has just gifted me with the key to a fundamental problem. We have found a healthy adult not only with long-anticipated deficiency but complete absence of breath isoprene. She is living a normal life without any acute or chronic diseases. That’s utterly astonishing!

Tirtha: Very interesting and intriguing! What happened next? What have you done with this wonder?

Pritam: I had an exciting meeting on the same afternoon with my mentors. They told me that colleagues in the UK and Innsbruck had encountered 2 to 3 such cases (with very low isoprene) during the last decade but no down-stream investigation was performed to date. Thus, we decided to call upon the immediate blood-related family members of our ‘subject without isoprene’. Both of her parents and sibling sister turned out to have significant isoprene deficiency. Nevertheless, all of them are also healthy and do not suffer from any known consequence of this pathological phenotype.

Tirtha: What are the eventual findings, the thing that science is always hungry for? Which actions did you take?

Pritam: In my humble opinion, anything that is fundamental, philanthropic and substantial do strive science. In this case, we had few key questions. Do they have a different/rare kind blood cholesterol and/or lipid-profile? Is any of the regulating genes of the Mevalonate and Cholesterol pathway enzymes not expressed in this family? Is there any over or under expression of those regulating genes? If nothing is abnormal, – is the putative origin of isoprene in human is misunderstood? Therefore, we performed blood analysis for cholesterol and lipid profiling, hemodynamic monitoring and genetic analysis of the subject without isoprene and her isoprene deficient family members. All genes of the mevalonate pathway enzymes were analyzed. In parallel, we included other healthy unrelated adults with normal breath isoprene levels to our experiment. As menstrual cycle in women is known to affect exhaled isoprene concentration (P. Sukul et al. 2018. Nature Research Portfolio), we had measured the ‘lady without isoprene’ throughout her monthly cycle. In 2018, while she was pregnant and we measured her breath throughout her pregnancy and after child birth in search any accidental or incidental appearance of isoprene in her breath. We measured her young and healthy husband (not-blood related individual and with normal isoprene levels (i.e. >100 ppbV) and her new-born daughter (also without traceable isoprene).

Tirtha: I’ll be glad if you can briefly narrate the outcomes of the research for our readers.

Pritam: The outcome was astonishing. In contrast to conventional concept, we witnessed that adults can live healthy without exhaling isoprene or with significant deficiency. This rare phenotype represents a recessive genetic inheritance. Despite physio-metabolic changes during menstrual cycle are well-known to profoundly affect isoprene exhalation, profoundly increased plasma cholesterol during pregnancy and after childbirth, isoprene remained absent. All genes of mevalonate pathway enzymes were normally expressed in all participants, without any down-regulation or compensatory up-regulation. The putative metabolic origin of isoprene turned out to be misleading. Till date all published studies (including our own) in clinical breathomics have misinterpreted this important biomarker due to a wrong fundamental concept. Absence/suppression of true isoprene production process in our healthy subject and family have summoned further studies to track the possible presence of any compensatory mechanism in such individuals. Clinical translation of our basic findings will offer an unexplored frontier towards the limited clinical understanding of certain ultra-rare and inborn genetic diseases e.g. Mevalonic Aciduria, Muscle Dystrophy etc. Our upcoming study will address the correct metabolic origin of isoprene and will trail-blaze the rational clinical interpretations of isoprene exhalation under various health conditions such as cancer, cardio-pulmonary and liver diseases, neuro-degenerative disorders, as well as, in viral infections and viro-bacterial co-infections. Our present findings have refined and optimized the clinical interpretation of isoprene as biomarker in medical Breathomics.

Tirtha: Now, as science is rooted in its fight against stagnancy, what have you planned about your future endeavours?

Pritam: Well, science is not a one-day cricket or a football match. Science runs slow but steady. I have eventually learnt to live and grow with it. I have dedicated myself to science and will do so until I breathe my last. My future goal is to build trans-national networks of research between India and Europe and bring young minds and talents into action.

Tirtha: You have been a seminal figure in the present Indo-German ties on medical research. What future so you envisage for these two countries that are built by the āryas?

Pritam: I don’t know, if I am so seminal but I do enjoy working in trans-national research and innovation frameworks. I have gained our two precedent. It is not hard to imagine that the future of science demands the bilateral cooperation between the land of ideas, science and innovation (Germany) with the land of philosophy and spirituality (India). Personally, I regard philosophy as the soul of science and thus, a cordial culmination of both will unequivocally foster the advancement in search of truth towards the betterment of mankind.

Tirtha: Whom do you wish to thank for all these trail-blazing discoveries? Whose whispers of love solace the dry heart of a scientist?

Pritam: I must thank Jochen and Wolfram along with my parents (Maa & Baba) and immediate family members (Babi, Jethu & Kaka), teachers and friends for their trust, teaching, love and support. I do dedicate this to my Maa, Motherland, Mentors, Margaret, and Mahāprabhu.
Now, I must be very careful to answer your second question, in order to avoid any minimal chance of domestic violence.. Ha ha! In Sanātana dharma, the equal importance is given to women (or wife) in relation to the success and even spiritual enlightenment– the Śiva-Śakti embodiment. I am blessed to have Margaret who has been the quantum of energy and the oasis of love on the sands of my time.

Tirtha: What role does the Indian culture, especially the tenets of Sanātana dharma, play in your research & life?

Pritam: Given the fact that I took birth in a Brāhmaṇa family at the very birthplace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, dhārmik acts and spiritual practices have been obligatory attributes of my life. As I had mentioned earlier, Bhāgavad Gītā empowers and leads my mind during chaotic situations. Similarly, daily practice of meditation and ritual gestures help me to control my thought process and enrich concentration, which are indispensable pre-requisites for science and research.

Tirtha: Thank you, Pritam da, for such a candid & enlightening talk. I have always opined, just like the sages and ṛṣis of the past, that Sanātana is Science, and Science is Sanātana. It is indeed bewildering to observe that you are carrying forward the legacy of the great sons Bhārata Mātā has produced. May thy name be immortalized like Caraka and Suśruta and may Lord Dhanvantari lead you to more astonishing discoveries in the field of medical science. To imitate you with a little inclusion of mine: ‘Cheers to the Sanātana Science for Life!’

Tirtha (Editor-in-Chief)

Words of the editorial board on Dr. Pritam Sukul et al.:

Based on independent nominations, recommendations and community comments from the national and international scientific experts, journal editors and forums (Government and Public Bodies), we have decided to feature a latest fundamental finding in clinical science, entitled as ‘Deficiency and absence of endogenous isoprene in adults, disqualified its putative origin’, contributed by a young NRI scientist named Dr. Pritam Sukul and his German workmates (viz. Dr. Anna Richter, Prof. Dr. Jochen K. Schubert, and Dr. Wolfram Miekisch of the Rostock University Medical Centre, Germany).
Our editorial team has studied the aforementioned article, which is published in the prestigious Cell Press, Science Direct, Elsevier and Research Square (pre-print server) along with Dr. Sukul’s other original works in the field of medical Breathomics & volatile Metabolomics (available at the Nature Research, IOP-Science, MDPI etc.). We have found those as a remarkable stack of contributions, depicting continuous advances.

The featured research article links:
Cell-Press: https://www.cell.com/heliyon/fulltext/S2405-8440(21)00027-X 
ELSEVIER ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S240584402100027X
Research Square: https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-140360/v2

Living with a Man of Science – Ambiguity in Imbibe!

Living with a Man of Science – Ambiguity in Imbibe! Margaret (his fiancée)

Pritam and Margaret
Pritam and Margaret

Young fair-maids often ask; “How fancy is that to live with a scientist? Is it fascinating or rather challenging?” Well, if you also have similar ques in mind, following lines may address you –
Trust me Ladies! – One must be damn careful (if not desperate), before choosing a companion as the one I have at home. Men of his kind are unique in their own ways – and can’t be generalized.
Nonetheless, living with Pritam is never-ever boring as each passing day brings a new challenge. Although it’s hard to define him in one sentence, I might be able to add some suitable adjectives – disorganized, messy and lazy at home, loving, unusually talented/gifted and is passionately living in his own world (aka. Science) – still irresistibly lovable (!). Well, at times, I find myself kinda obligatorily adventurous. Let me pen a few exemplary past events:
Upon my arrival to Rostock from Cambridge (England), I wanted to learn native German. And, we accidentally (in his words – ‘an actual incident’) met at an evening language course – was his final day and my first. Believe it or not, he did literally annoy me by staring at continuously. He wasn’t even hiding and thereafter, came and sat beside me with a ‘go and get her’ attitude. Inside – I got a bit curious!
He didn’t quit the course and gradually, we became buddies – precisely, we were into each other. Aha! my curiosity turned into confusion – soon as he expressed his inner feelings – Pritam has an incorrigibly bizarre way of expressing his insight. At one of our first dates he said, “Margaret, when I saw you at the first time, I think my cardiac output increased at least by 20% and it still does. I can prove it, if you visit my lab someday”.
I mean; who does so?! Consequently, I realized that due such strange self-expressions (despite honest/correct/exact), this man has failed to maintain a personal life and I decided to give him a chance.
Other day, he took me to his breathomics laboratory at the University Hospital. But instead of showing his cardiac functions (as was claimed), he measured the volatile biomarkers in my breath. Moreover, he was making fun that he could write a new article to explain my results. Goodness! I was so nervous, confused and I couldn’t realize, – why the hell has he taken me to such a strange place – shouldn’t/couldn’t it be a candlelight dinner or similar?
Guess what! – according to him that’s ‘significantly romantic (i.e. supported by a P-value <0.05)’ and all those acts were to diligently impress me. Whereas, I perceived that if he finds  something wrong in my breath data, – he might kick me out and say – NEXT PLEASE!
Meanwhile, I did fortunately meet his colleagues from many scientific disciplines, from many countries and I recognized that such abnormal expressions aren’t totally outliers. There is a bunch of similar nerds/freaks/genius (aka. Scientists) with such common characters – living around/with us.
Well, beyond all those major demerits, Pritam is gifted with a few minor features, which ‘ring my bell’.
First on my list is his never-ending spirit and dedication to science for life. That’s what motivates him to do such complex and tedious research – in his words ‘Cheers to Science for Life’. In parallel, I am utterly fascinated by his simple philosophy of life, daily spiritual practice and meditation, non-adherence to earthly wealth and above all, by his patriotism. His random talents include – painting, singing, cooking (somewhat experimental!), unusual percussion, martial art and magic etc. IMHO, these versatilities are somehow derived from his origin from India – an incredible country of diversity, pristine knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment.
Although he has an unparalleled thought process, innovative ideas and a quick decision-making (/problem-solving) capability in science; that’s considerably missing in his personal life. Here, he mostly struggles and he needs time to realize the presence of a day-to-day problem. The problem of such problems is that these are not problematic (/complex) enough to trigger him. Thus, I often get impatient and eventually take over the situation. Nonetheless, at times, I let him struggle or give small push/clues towards the solution. But mostly he fails to listen, follow or react.


Finally, I am grateful to The Indian Rover for the opportunity to nail him publicly. Hope, I have utilized it well. So, did I choose the perfect partner to live with, remains as an open question – ‘ain’t matter’. All I know is that living with him is no less than a full-time job (keeping him in a normal/domestic order) and am simply addicted to him. No matter what lies in the future, I want to see him EVER by my side.
As in the infamous words of ‘Maria’ – on her beloved ‘Pirate’ :–

“My heart is pierced by Cupid – I disdain all glittering gold

There is nothing can console me – But my jolly sailor bold”

An Untold Story: A Fascinating and Successful Journey in Chemical Research – from India to Germany

An Untold Story: A Fascinating and Successful Journey in Chemical Research - From India to Germany - Dr. Jagadeesh Rajenahally

Being born as the 3rd child of my parents, within a farmer family in a small village, Rajenahally (Kolar district), I was raised at Karnataka State in India. At present, I am working as a Group Leader at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (LIKAT) in Rostock, Germany. LIKAT is one of the largest publicly funded research institutes in Europe in the area of applied catalysis and is internationally famous. My father, Venkataswamy gowda is a farmer and my mother Chinnamma is a housewife. I did primary schooling at Rajenahally village, and attended high school along with college up to the Bachelor’s degree (BSc) in our district city, Kolar. In every science student’s life, PUC (+2) is explicitly important turning point to determine future studies and career perspectives. After this class majority of science students opt to study either engineering or medicine. However, I have chosen to study basic science (BSc, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics). Many of my friends and relatives were surprised and commented critically about my decision to study basic science. Fortunately, the destiny took me to study Chemistry and to perform research in Chemical Science. At that time, I had no answer or clarification other than the point that I would like to study Chemistry and to perform research. Conveniently, today I became more saucerful in chemical science research career. I am quite sure I would not be this much successful if I would have been studied engineering or medicine. My father, a great friend, and an excellent teacher to me. He supported my decision to study chemistry and inspired and guided me often, that made me very attracted to research and to achieve my goal. Parallelly, my brother, Dr. Mahendra Gowda, who studied his MTech and PhD in IIT Delhi and is presently a Principal of an Engineering College, inspired and supported me a lot. In fact, my brother is a role model to me and in every step of my life, I followed him on standpoints of education, character, and lifestyle. Since my Bachelor’s studies, I am very captivating towards chemistry and as a result, I undertook Master degree and thereafter, a PhD in chemistry and finally selected chemical research as my career. Why am I so fascinated and what attracts me to study chemistry and to perform research in chemical science? The principal reasons are following: Chemistry is a fundamental science and crucial to our world. Chemistry plays a key role in everyone’s life and touches almost every aspect of our existence in some way. Majority of daily life products, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and materials are made via chemical reactions. In addition, energy, environment and engineering related technologies are based on chemistry. Chemistry is essential for meeting our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, health, energy, and clean air, water, and soil. Chemical research and technologies enrich our quality of life in numerous ways by providing new solutions to problems in health, energy, and environment. Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because it joins together medicine, biology, physics, materials, energy, engineering and environmental sciences. Thus, the chemical research play deceive role in the advancement of sustainable society and human life. After completion of BSc, I moved to Department of Chemistry, Bangalore University, Central College Campus, Bangalore, where I finished MSc in Chemistry. After MSc I had a plan to pursue PhD. So, where to study and in which field to do research? This is a common question to the students who want to do a PhD. Majority of science students wish to have a Master and/or PhD form IITs or IISc (prestigious institutes in India) or from the USA or European countries. However, I did not have such dreams. I simply joined the same Department of Chemistry, Bangalore University, where I did my Master, to perform Doctoral research under the supervisor of Prof. Puttaswamy. I completed PhD research work and submitted my thesis in May 2006. Thereafter, I started to apply for Post-Doctoral to carry out further research, especially in the USA. I submitted my applications to few Professors in the USA and luckily, I got positive reply from Prof. David E. Richardson from the University of Florida, and he offered me a Post-Doc position. In the same year, after defending my thesis I went to the University of Florida to perform research until 2008. I would like to mention that my Doctoral research supervisor, Prof. Puttaswamy is a nice person, who constantly guided and supported me to finish my PhD successfully as well as insisted and suggest me to perform Post-Doc. In the same day, after I submitted PhD thesis, both me and my supervisor, Prof. Puttaswamy planned a research proposal and applied for Post-Doc. He took out few professor names, to whom he had applied previously. Prof. Richardson was one among them. We prepared the CV and proposal letter and applied first to Prof. Richardson and then to others. Next day morning, I got the positive reply from Prof. Richardson and then he offered me a Post-Doc position. What I would like to mention here that, it is not so easy for Indian PhD fellows to get a Post-Doc at USA immediately after submitting thesis. Sometimes it is difficult for Indian PhD fellows to obtain Post-Doc at USA immediately after submitting PhD thesis. In particular, it is too hard for the ones, who did PhD in Indian state Universities. Generally, the state university research students are used to work as Post-Docs or Research Associates for few years at IISc or IITs or CSIR Labs or IISERs after their PhD and then they try for a Post-Doc in the USA or Europe. Fortunately, this was not in my case. After me other PhD researchers from the Department of Chemistry, Bangalore University, followed my path and few of them are successfully got Post-Docs in the USA and Europe. After completing my first postdoc in the USA, I applied to Prof. Matthias Beller, LIKAT, Germany to do another Post-Doc. Fortunately, Prof. Beller accepted my application and he offered me position, but he asked me to wait for at least 6 months to join his group. Meanwhile, I have joined as Assistant Professor at the VIT University and I worked there for few months. In 2010, I joined Prof. Beller’s Research Group at LIKAT – initially as postdoctoral fellow and then promoted to a Scientist, Project Leader and finally as the Group Leader. My ‘real research’ perspective and success started form LIKAT. At LIKAT in the subgroup of Dr. Henrik Junge, I started to work on the development of heterogeneous catalysts for fuel cell applications under the supervision of Prof. Beller in cooperation with Dr. Annette-Enrica Surkus. To be frank, the heterogeneous catalysis field was very new to me at that time and previously I had not worked on this area. Also, I was not so interested to work on fuel cells. After having worked for 2-3 months on the development of fuel cell catalysts, I went to Prof. Beller and mentioned him about my plans to test heterogeneous catalysts, which were prepared for fuel cell applications, for organic reactions. He was very pleased, accepted my proposal and suggested to test the heterogeneous catalysts for the hydrogenation of nitro compounds, an industrially important reaction. Accordingly, with the cooperation of other Group Leader, Dr. Kathrin Junge’s group by the support of my Group Leader Dr. Henrik Junge, we started to test our heterogeneous catalysts for the hydrogenation of nitro compounds and for other organic reactions. Remarkably, we obtained excellent results and that was the turning point in my research career. Based on these results, first we published work related to cobalt catalyst in Nature Chemistry (2013, 5, 537) and then published another work on the development of nanoscale Fe2O3-based catalysts for hydrogenous of nitroarenes in Science (2013, 342, 1073). Notably, this work has also been featured on the Cover of Science (November 29 issue). Publishing a research paper in Science or Nature or Cell is impressive and that to featuring on the Cover of these notable journals is prestigious. Such a great opportunity came to me to publish research papers in Science twice and one time our research work being featured on the Cover of Science. I do not know how many researchers originated from India have made this achievement by publishing their works to feature on the Cover of Science or Nature or Cell. I think very less researchers might have done this accomplishment. Next in 2007 other interesting work, MOF-derived cobalt nanoparticles catalyze a general synthesis of amines, has been published in Science. We have very good success in the development of nanostructured catalysts for organic synthesis. Until now, I have authored to >75 publications. Among these, two papers are published in Science, 8 papers in Nature Publishing Journals and several papers in reputed journals. Also key of our works have been highlighted in Nature, Science, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), Chemistry world and other scientific news. Presently my research group at LIKAT working on the development of essential catalysts by combining homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis concepts for sustainable chemical processes to synthesize fine and bulk chemicals and life science molecules as well as valorization of renewable resource/feedstocks. I would like to thank our institute director Prof. Matthias Beller; a great person both, personality-wise and scientifically. He offered me a great opportunity to work at LIKAT and he identified my research capabilities and contribution. Accordingly, he promoted me as a Leader to lead an independent research group at LIKA, an internationally reputed research institute. He is a great mentor, who always inspires and supports young researchers and scientists. Overall, I am very happy and successful in my chemical research career. This success is not only based on my efforts, but also due to the support of my mentors, group members and present and former colleagues. I gratefully thank and acknowledge their support. My family members such as my parents, brother, sister, and wife played crucial role in this success. My special thanks to my wife, Manjula Jagadeesh, her patience, constant support, inspiration that propelled me to focus completely on research. My wife is my best friend. In fact, she was my primary school classmate and childhood friend. Also, thanks to my son Vaibhav Gowda Jagadeesh, a 14-year child, who never complains me that his father has not spent / is not spending enough time with him. Besides my professional career, I am also very happy and successful in my personal life. Without the support of all the above-mentioned people and almighty GOD, my journey in chemistry and chemical research would not been so fascinating and successful.

Bio :

Dr. Jagadeesh Rajenahally
Group Leader
Synergy between Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis
https://www.catalysis.de/en/people/rajenahally-jagadeesh/
Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (LIKAT-Rostock)
Albert-Einstein-Straße 29A, 18059 Rostock, Germany
E-mails: jagadeesh.rajenahally@catalysis.de ; rvjdeesh@gmail.com
Phone : +49(381)1281-210; Fax : +49(381)1281-51210

April 2021: Art

Benzaiten  &  Om  – Dr. Srilatha Bhargava

Benzaiten The Indian Rover
Benzaiten
Om The Indian Rover
Om

About Artist :

Dr. Srilatha Bhargava, a qualified Dental Surgeon from India has completed her PhD from Tokyo Medical and Dental University. Being a creative personality and passionate about Bharath, she loves to bring alive its traditions and culture by means of artistic doodling, dot painting and acrylic canvas painting. Covid times has energized her and given ample time to explore this creativity by experimenting on various themes and genres. Based on the outcome of this creative pursuit and encouraged by family, she is now undertaking commissioned orders based on various concepts and themes.

 Residential Address: 3-7-180, Nishi-Mizue, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 1320015, Japan

  Mobile number (WhatsApp): +81-80-56895963

Pandemic 2020 – Perspectives

Pandemic 2020 - Perspectives - Pankaj Kalra & Dr. Vandana

Pandemic – the most sought-after word in 2020, impacted the humankind in no other way it had been affected since 1919. With globalized and connected world, every day of the year, talks surrounded this word.

Unfortunate were those who lost their lives to the then unknown virus spreading thick and fast and became a known entity across all sectors of society. It did bring a grinding halt to never ending rat race, pom pom and for once world did turn upside down. There was an immediate impact on economy, society and healthcare infrastructure. Suddenly, the most advanced social species Homo sapiens sapiens were forced to live in isolation with another buzzed term Lockdowns!

At family level, the impact was huge. Grandparents were cut-off from their grand kids, parents from their working children, suddenly schools shut, kids are home, and families are home. There is a saying in Mumbai specifically (but applies to all metro cities of India) that house helps are more influential for a family than anything else, and that was proved true when nannies and helpers were gone and families had to manage on their own. Imagine for first time families were seeing each other 24*7. Some enjoyed it and many learnt a practical lesson on human behaviors as it was the first time being together literally! Many learnt how to communicate with their own family. There were certainly challenges. Not everyone in our country has access to the luxury of home office, good internet connection or even multiple air conditioners! In Asian countries, where joint families are a common occurrence, some families did have the advantage of grandparents being around to help with kids and some other chores while parents slogged away at their now remote jobs. In the end, it all seemed to work out!

Talking of economy, the pandemic saw a fall on key industries- travel being one, while sales-based fields job and street corner economy are the others. It also put huge burden on another one- insurance and real estate. According to a report, 60 percent of rentable homes are lying vacant as companies gave employees flexibility to work from anywhere and many decided to relocateback to their native places.
In between, it did expose more advanced economies where despite having access to the infrastructure, the death toll was high. Country leaderships across the globe scrambled to put their
resources in no less way than Pearl Harbor!
Scientific community faced enormous challenges to respond back, with never ending battle between viruses and human scientific endeavors. Public at large wished for vaccine to appear like magic out of nowhere, but for the un-initiated, Vaccines, unlike pharma drugs (excluding biologics), takes longer time to develop due to its complex manufacturing process and inherent limitations to scale up the batch, and understandably the most stringent regulatory norms. So is the case that at a global scale only a handful of vaccines innovators are available. But, as it happened, the scientific community with their knowledge and learning from past experiments and with a quest for pan-earth solutions, saw it as an opportunity. New mRNA-based vaccines which were touted impossible in vaccines world for many years, come as ray of hope with breakthrough announcement of first COVID-19 vaccine targeting current pandemic. It is the triumph of science in its purest sense. When humanity is in danger, brilliant humans come forward to provide key of survival in same way as all the stories and folklore of ‘good’ prevailing over ‘bad. It is also worth mentioning about more Vaccines which are now approved in different markets to aid humankind develop immunity against this virus. To the delight of many, India emerged as a super-power saving the world with its unmatched technology and scalability for developing and manufacturing the life-saving vaccines at large scale!


What another buzzword came out of this Covid aftermath? Immunity!! I have been exposed to the health industry on both sides, ‘sickness’ – which is life saving industry and a person who falls sick gets treated by specialized doctors available and another is ‘wellness’ – which means adopting certain practices which keep lifestyle holistically balanced and away from disease. Traditionally, people have not paid much attention to wellness part, as being considered a nonprofessional industry and doctors (sans nutritionists) never majored in nutritional science. Based on WHO guidelines and many government health bodies, taking care of immunity was believed to be instrumental in negating severe effects of Corona Virus infection. This is nothing but plain truth, as in many studies this has been proven that more control on wellness pillars (I will enlist those subsequently) lead to even negating certain types of cancer triggers in human body.The four wellness pillars of health which we need to EARN

E Exercise daily, in any form. While we are aware of this, it was impacted negatively during pandemic as gyms were closed but still people have control on most of these activities at home.
AAttitude (PMA- positive mental attitude). Pandemic has spiraled this to another level. With all the loss of lives, loss of jobs, uncertainty all around, a chaos prevailed. This can be negated by tightly uniting with your loved ones and have a circle of positive influencers.
RRest, or we say 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep which went for a toss, given that most people were on their own, managing everything. This has caused lot of stress not only on human bodies but human relations as well. Controlling this factor will augur well for natural immunity. Above three pillars are purely in your control
Nnutrition this pillar is very important for keeping ourselves healthy and it’s not in an individual control. Learning how to source or supplement your diet with vitamin, minerals and immunity boosters makes human body resilient in many ways.
While EARNing the health by following the above will give us a strong immunity in the long term, it by no means indicates that we do not need a Vaccine. Getting the Vaccine (as per guidance in your respective country) is an absolute must to acquire specific immunity against the novel coronavirus in near term. Masks are now way of life forever and adopting ‘Sanatani’ practices will ensure a hygienic and healthy life.
Concluding on a positive note, an unexpected balance was reinstituted during this pandemic. It was not only a visual treat to wake up to chirping of birds in metropolitans, the clean air was a call from our very own Mother Nature to reduce, if not remove the interference from mankind.
Will this be a trigger for better parity of humans with nature or will it continue to be plundered irresponsibly? Only time will tell!

Bio:

Pankaj Kalra & Dr. Vandana are health care professionals with over decade long experience in health care analytics specifically to pharmaceutical industry. Currently, Pankaj is supporting Global
Commercial Vaccine Tender Operations for Vaccines MNC and Dr Vandana is supporting health care consultants with IP data-based products for Global Consulting MNC. Academically, Pankaj is
Qualified Pharmacist, with PG in Pharmaceutical Management and Clinical Research, whilst Dr.
Vandana is a Qualified Dentist and majors in Clinical Research. Both are wellness enthusiast as well.

Yoga: The Health Manager

Yoga : The Health Manager - Nilima Roy Chowdhury

The first impression about the ‘Yoga’ word comes into the majority people’s mind is ‘ASANA ‘ but  is  it  the  truth!

No, actually Yoga is like a stool with three legs: Asana or physical postures, Dhyan or meditation and Pranayama or conscious breathing control.

In 1947 the World Health Organization defined health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being’. Do most folks take that expansive view? No,  normally our impression about health is only physical health. 

Everything is happening in this world twice, first in our mind and then in action. But the irony is that the majority of us never think to keep ourselves mentally healthy. We people generally do try to keep ourselves healthy by physically only and some of us even don’t think about this. That means even those who are doing physical exercises and doing timely health checkups, are partly healthy not completely healthy. 

So by practicing asana we can keep ourselves physically healthy. Similarly by practicing meditation we can keep ourselves mentally healthy. Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply and focusing one’s mind for a period of time. While there are many forms of meditation but the ultimate goal is a feeling of relaxation and inner peace, which can improve mental health and can control our emotions & thoughts. 

According to a Harvard University meta analysis of two hundred articles in 2012, optimism might correlate with cardiovascular health and even may decrease the rate of the disease progression. The proper breathing technique is crucial for optimal health and most of us still aren’t getting it right. The breathing techniques and patterns are regularly advocated for the relaxation, stress management, control of psycho physiological states and also to improve the organ function. The brain represents only 2% of our body weight, it receives only 15% of the cardiac output and consumes 20% of the total body oxygen. 

So by adopting the proper breathing pattern, we can enhance the oxygen supply to our brain. Roger Federer’s breathing technique is one of the greatest example.  Yoga is the only instrument that can balance the mind and body both. By doing yoga anyone can control their mind & body and can become healthy mentally as well as physically. As mentioned if we are mentally healtl1y, we will become automatically physically healthy. By practicing yoga anyone can become the manager of their own mental and physical health. So we 1st should love ourselves, do yoga and think positive and contribute to the society; with the combination of all these things we can become fully healthy by mentally, physically and socially forever.

Remember a magical world is waiting for you!!

Bio:

Nilima Roy Chowdhury  is an Assistant Professor, Clinical Research  in Institute of Clinical Research India (ICRI) , Mumbai.She has worked as Product and Quality Manager in Fineotex Chemical Limited , Mumbai , as Quality Assurance Manager in Khanna Engineers, New Delhi , as  Clinical Research Associates in Max Neeman International , New Delhi and as Clinical Research Coordinator in Dharamshila Hospital Research Centre , New Delhi .  She is also a certified yoga teacher , Yoga Alliance USA . 

Address: A-602, NG Complex,  Ashok Nagar , Marol, Andheri -E ,Mumbai -400072                                                                                                                      contact: 9911829490                                                                                                       email: crmamp@gmail.com

Promising role of artificial intelligence in clinical research

Promising Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Clinical Research - Nidhi Sharma

We are living in the new reality where things are moving rapidly and adapting fast to the new technology. From
speech recognition to driving direction to the smart reply to emails, artificial intelligence (AI) has made our lives
much easier. We all have experienced that phase when hospitals were closed for months due to pandemic and in
the race of developing the effective vaccine, there has been a huge focus on clinical trials in a ways that was never
seen before. In the recent past, AI techniques have brought the largest paradigm shift to healthcare particularly in
the field of clinical research. Machine learning (ML), a rapidly growing field of AI that allows super computers to act
as a guide for clinical diagnosis of a patient with specific indication or disease through fine image analysis has
brought a huge revolution in the clinical trial industry.

Two major factors that have made AI-ML so impactful are: firstly, due to high availability of medical data in the
form of medical history at the healthcare settings and secondly, the introduction of complex algorithms in order to
process and analyze data consisting of vast attributes. There is an enormous opportunity in clinical research
though emphasizing on some of the key focus areas of AI Application in clinical trials like Patient recruitment,
Patient compliance, AI-ML based software as medical device, and drug discovery.

Achieving subject recruitment targets and patient compliance are the major contributors of clinical trial success
and most often, clinical trials fail due to inadequate subject enrollment and/or due to non-adherence observed
from the subject’s side. AI systems built through vast amount of electronic and medical record data as well as the
protocol of interest, quickly identify patients that would be eligible for the protocol thereby, vastly improving
patient recruitment time. Likewise, the potential clinical trial patients can share their digital data with the
investigators with help of technology. Sensor evolution in pills to track adherence to medication taken by the
patient and electronic devices help coach trial participants effectively during the course of clinical trial project.

One of the finest benefit of AI-ML software exists in its ability to auto-learn from real-world practice and
experience, and its capability to expand its performance. From the identification of diabetic retinopathy on fundus
screening images to simplifying the complex MRI scans analysis, AI/ML has taken a center stage. There are many AI
based wearable health trackers (EKG, Heart rate, sleep cycle, breathing rate, activity level, blood pressure) that are
being used in the clinical trials to monitor health of trial participant. Emotional state / mental health and vitals
monitoring at home really make new ways in crowdsourcing of the data. Virtual health care assistants just like Siri
& Alexa are helping out trial subjects in Self-care, basic clinical advice and scheduling a medical appointment.
Home based or decentralized clinical trials have been the means the clinical research industry has responded to be
able to meet patient safety and continuity on trial medication during pandemic.

AI is also being used in different domains of Drug discovery including drug design and screening to discover ligands
of special interest in order to identify treatment that are targeted to specific biologics of different diseases. AI/ML
beyond thinking of just disease identification to subset diseases at molecular and other levels will be helpful. It is a
well-known fact that several biopharma players have collaborated with the software companies to advance better
drug candidates into the clinic, validate targets better, and improve patient recruitment and progress how clinical
trials were conducted conventionally. However, responsible data sharing could avoid duplication of efforts in
collecting the data and could also bring down the cost of running a clinical trial. Data sharing will also strengthen
the collaboration between institutions & the scientific community leading to reshaping of the future directions in
the improved patient health outcomes. Although data transfer laws need to be more stringent in order to refrain
from any legal liabilities and obligations.

There has been an overestimation about the fact that the AI machines will be soon replacing the human
component. We should not be skeptical about that fact since role of physician can never go away because of the
human element and moreover doctor’s empathy for their patients is not something that an algorithm can
replicate. However, we should not forget the fact that certain tasks that are currently performed by highly
specialized physicians can be completely replaced by super computers that run AI systems but only to an extent
where the time-consuming & repetitive cognitive functions could be automated. Medical diagnosis without human
interpretation is quite unrealistic as the treating physician has to take the ultimate responsibility of validating a
clinical decision or the risk forecasting. With the robust AI-ML systems, Physicians partnering with AI as a decision
making aid in their medical practice will see their healing power enhancing to ten folds in the coming times.
Futuristic AI-ML aims to identify drug faster, patients faster and getting through the clinical trial in less time & less
cost.
However, like other emerging technologies, AI systems for automated risk detection require robust evaluation for
clinical effectiveness before broad adoption. In the beginning of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
issued its long-awaited action plan concerning the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
(ML)-based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) when intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent medical
condition. In short, this plan is a reflection of FDA’s commitment to encourage and harmonize the development of
Good Machine learning Practice (GMLP) and providing guidance to clinical scientists, data scientists, machine
learning researchers & the software engineers. The new considerations will largely support AI researchers to foster
highly collaborative and inter-disciplinary robust model in delivering highly effective clinical trial outcomes. Indeed,
AI-ML based technology platform hold an incredible promise by catering the research innovations for several
medical specialties and has so far commendably improved the quality and value of care one can offer to the clinical
trial participants.

Nidhi Sharma (MBA, MSc, PGDPM)

The author is trained clinical research professional with extensive project management experience. She has
successfully led sites through several regulatory audits and has been associated with training the research teams. Formerly working with Thumbay Research Institute of Precision Medicine at the Gulf Medical University, Ajman (UAE) in the capacity of Associate manager – Clinical Research Operations, she has demonstrated ability to deliver administrative and research support and direction to the clinical and academic research operations. She has also served as Member secretary for Institutional Review Board/ IEC. She is passionate about application of artificial intelligence in clinical research and quality assurance.

Residence address: Apartment 207 – Silicon Residence 2, block C, Dubai Silicon Oasis- Silicon Heights II,        Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Email: nidhihoney@gmail.com
LinkedIn address: www.linkedin.com/in/nidhi-sharma-ab287618

ETHICS, MISCONDUCT AND VIOLATION OF GOOD SCIENTIFIC PRACTICE

Ethics, Misconduct And Violation Of Good Scientific Practice: Research Impact VS Journal Impact Factors - Dharmender Singh

 

While science is an integral part of our society and environment, a definitive and unarguable indicator of progress and development not just limited to biomedical science but in every known dimension that exists in the universe, its defined set of laws though ought to be practiced uniformly, yet across the globe, there is a raging debate on ethics of scientific research and academics on how to “avoid” (using the term because minor violations in scientific practice are bound to happen) misconduct & violations. 

Across scientific communities, we (scientists, corporations, institutions) are mostly governed and judged by adherence to some defined set of rules & codes to differentiate “Good” from “Bad” but with my experience & opinion (may be close to general belief), it is seen that in a scientific community, in the end, judgment is often made by an individual practicing science with one’s own ethical orientation & interpretation of rules off course. 

It is pertinent to mention that we all acquire ethical standards be at home, school, institutions, or in social environment and it’s a continuous process throughout the life. It is important therefore for researchers to learn how they interpret, analyze and apply various ethical rules & norms to make informed decisions and act ethically in all the situations. 

The judgment can be affected by many factors including academic pressure (ex: publishing specific number of papers for obtaining higher academic degrees), extrapolation & exaggeration of results from a particular research paper without recognizing the kind of research one has published (if it’s a new research, new science or not) just for the sake of getting awards and recognition, promotion, all that forms the basis that researchers do take short-cuts for success in quest of scientific research. 

Misuse of ideas (even when occurred during informal discussions also), plagiarism, non-adherence to Good Laboratory Practice, falsification (incomplete research and generalizing the data based on half cooked results), fabrication, fraud, inappropriate authorship (without any consent, without benefit sharing in case of multi-authored paper, without proper citation) is some of the common scientific misconducts which needs to be discussed frequently & loudly at various forums to perform root cause analysis & take corrective and preventive actions.  

Data integrity is another issue and I believe is the key contributor in affecting one’s scientific judgement in the present time. In the absence of any key regulations especially in developing nations for controlling data sharing, its control and protection, it is seen that scientific data (patient data in a research study or published literature) is misused in every sphere of scientific research prompting researchers to eat out on the available platter of data conveniently rather than focusing on quality of research. It’s a fact that researchers do manipulate, exaggerate results of any published study as per their requirements. 

Every research site (hospital, research institution, academic institutions) should have data protection officer, an ethics advisor and safety staff to control data, advise and train scientific personnel on basic principles of good scientific practice and to report any misconduct to an established scientific board to look after such misconducts. Scientific boards should not act like a ghost but must be very vigil and be seen frequently and at every required forum while the research is going on. There must be some sort of government control on these institutions with respect to maintaining standards of good scientific practice. Also, conflict of Interest should be properly addressed in a scientific research. It is often mis-used as per the convenience of the researchers.

While in Europe, there is a strictly implemented General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 to protect data and privacy in European Union. In India on the other hand, after long debates and various legal challenges, Personal Data Protection Bill was introduced in the parliament in 2019 and a law is yet to be passed for its enforcement. This should be expedited. 

“Informed Consent” is a big issue in a scientific research in human beings. It is seen that in many institutions, in the name of taking “informed consent”, a blank paper is asked to be signed by the patient/Legal acceptable representative/impartial witness on behalf of patient participating in a research study without informing the risks and benefits of taking part in research study in detail and in person by the scientists undertaking the study.  

Willingness of a patient to participate in a research study is heavily influenced by the hope to receive a better treatment or in some cases undue influence to take part in a study in the name of compensation for subjects’ participation. This is not an example of Good Scientific Practice. 

Not to limit the importance of adherence to ethics in scientific practice but it’s a bigger responsibility in order to endorse the aim of any research (to pass on the knowledge, calibrated & validated evidence). Research often involves teamwork and collaborative efforts, thus, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, accountability, benefit sharing is expected to achieve a good scientific practice. 

Various ethical norms like guidelines for copyright, patent polices are established worldwide but one’s affected “judgment” due to many factors as mentioned above should not outweigh the importance of application of basic principles & codes of ethics (honesty, respect, integrity, transparency, accountability, confidentiality) in scientific practice. . Then only one can achieve the true purpose of science, innovative research will blossom for the sake of betterment of the human being and surrounding environment.

Note: All the comments & opinion above are purely personal and not copied from anywhere.

About Author :

Dharmender Singh is  a drug regulatory affair professional with over 13 years of industry experience working with various biopharmaceutical companies in India. After completion of his graduation in science from University of Delhi,  he completed master’s in clinical research and was awarded degree from Cranfield University, UK. There after that he worked with companies   like  Max Healthcare Group (Max Neeman Medical International), Syngene International Limited (A Biocon company). Successfully running a proprietorship of his own and working as a channel partner for one of the “Maharatna” companies of Government of India since past three years.                                                                                                                                                                              His hobbies includes writing at the appropriate forums/audience, to advise, suggest and write to the Government of India for the social causes in the society for the refinement of policies to achieve ultimately the goal to make common lives better.                                                                                                                                      Loves travelling and meeting new people with an aim to find a different mindset, not the like ones, yearn to learn new things, always prompt in helping others who are in real need. Firm believer in “Be Kind and humble always”.

Dharmender Singh                                                                                                                                                               Age: 39 years                                                                                                                                                                  Address: House no. 15, street no.2, Garhi Mendu, P.O. Bhajanpura, Delhi-110053                                                   Contact: 8373907777 

Science & Technology in Sanātana Dharma (Hinduism), Sāstras and other Spiritual Texts

Science & Technology in Sanātana Dharma (Hinduism), Sāstras and other Spiritual Texts - Krishnendu Sinha

While reading educational news and the new education policy, which hopefully is getting implemented from coming academic session. One article, which got stuck in my mind, is that AICTE has announced that Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics are not compulsory for engineering entrance, but they will provide the special classes to encourage the student intake. Like others, I was also shocked, then I decided to back them up based on my small research on ancient India, where, we neither had CBSE or ICSE or state board for the exams and neither mathematics or biology is required to be an engineer or doctor.

As the topic suggests Science & Technology in Sanātana Dharma (Hinduism), Sāstras and other Spiritual Texts, there are many discoveries and inventions by Sanātanis who are setting example to the world in modern day sciences.

We are Bharatiya and we are one of the oldest civilizations, ever existed in the map of the World. We have been the flag bearer in the development of socio-economic-scientific societies across the Globe. India and its history are un-parallel in many aspects, while giving meaning to the life. All our inventions, many of which the modern science follow is derived from our religion, which is known and Sanātana and the duty to perform the rituals and follow the stream is called as SANATAN DHARMA.

To start with the definition of Bharata: “Bha” stands for light or Knowledge and “Rata” means to Relish, so the Bharata states as “Land of the people who Relish the Knowledge”.

Following this, we will hereby highlight various subjects/topics that became the source of Information and inspiration for the Modern Science:

SCIENCE

Rishi Kanad:   A sixth century rishi, whose original name was Akulya, god his name as Kanad, because he was very much interested in “Kana, mean Atom,. According to Kanad, material universe is made up of kanas, (anu/atom) which cannot be seen through any human organ. These cannot be further subdivided. Thus, they are indivisible and indestructible. This was later stated by John Dalton in early 1800s.

Varahamihira: One of the major contributions that Varah Mihira is Astrology, where his calculations were so accurate, that the king Vikramaditya, had rewarded him as one of the 9 gems. He also wrote, Brhat Samhita, which states, earthquake cloud theory where he tried to relate earthquakes to the influence of planets, undersea activities, underground water, unusual cloud formation and abnormal behaviour of animals. 

Atom Bomb: the concept of Atom Bomb came into existence during the Second World War by J. Robert Oppenheimer who words from the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita: “Now I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds” after the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico, which clearly shows the influence and acceptance of Sanātana dharma in Science and Technology. 

Batteries:There is an ancient Indian text written by Sage Agastya, called the Agastya Samhita, composed in Sanskrit language. Sage Agastya was a revered sage of the Vedic times. He is mentioned in texts as ancient as Rig-Veda and Ramayana. Now, Rig-Veda is said to be composed at the least around 1200 BCE. This means, Sage Agastya lived at the least some 3000 years before Volta.

Below is a verse we find in Agastya Samhita.

संस्थाप्य मृण्मये पात्रे ताम्रपत्रं सुसंस्कृतम्

छादयेच्छिखिग्रीवेन चार्दाभि: काष्ठापांसुभि:

दस्तालोष्टो निधात्वय: पारदाच्छादितस्तत:

संयोगाज्जायते तेजो मित्रावरुणसंज्ञितम्

Please refer to the translation below.

Place (संस्थाप्य – sansthaapya) a clean (मृण्मये – susanskritam) copper plate (ताम्रपत्रं – taamrapatram) in an earthen pot (मृण्मये पात्रे – mrinamaye paatre).

Cover (छादये – chhaadye) it with copper sulphate (शिखिग्रीवा – shikigreeva) and then add (चार्दाभि – chaardhaabhih) moist sawdust (काष्ठापांसु – Kaashtapaamsu) on top of it.

Next, deposit (निधात्वय: – nidhaatavya) a mercury-amalgamated (पारदाच्छादितस्तत: – paardaachhaditastatah) zinc (दस्तालोष्टो – dastaaloshto).

This combination will create (संयोगाज्जायते – sanyogajjayte) a glorious energy (तेजो – tejo) called (संज्ञितम्‌ – sangyitam) Mitra-Varuna (मित्रावरुण – mitravaruna).

Astronomical measurement (Sun-Earth Distance): Where Tulsidas ji (1543 to 1623) had quoted जुग सहस्र जोजन पर भानू in Hanuman Chalisa, in 16th Century, which says the distance of Sun from the Earth which was significant, in the 17th century; scientists Giovanni Kasani and Jean Reicher calculated the distance between the sun and the earth. According to their estimates, this distance is around 149.6 million kilometers i.e. 14, 96, 00,000 kilometers. 

According to Hindu Vedic literature, if it is tested, 1 Jug (Yuga) means 12 thousand, Sahastra means 1000 and one Yojana can be considered 8 miles. Now if it is converted to kilometers 

12000 x 1000 x 8 = 96,000,000 miles 

1 mile = 1.6 km

96,000,000 x 1.6 = 15,36,00,000 km

MATHEMATICS

Indian mathematics emerged in the Indian subcontinent from 1200 BC until the end of the 18th century. In the classical period of Indian mathematics (400 AD to 1200 AD), important contributions were made by scholars like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Bhaskara II, and Varāhamihira. The decimal number system in use today was first recorded in Indian mathematics. Indian mathematicians made early contributions to the study of the concept of zero as a number, negative numbers, arithmetic, and algebra.

Samhitas and Brahmanas: The time of the Yajurvedasahitā (1200–900 BCE), numbers as high as 1012 were being included in the texts and though each power of ten was represented with a name rather than a set of symbols. This representation using powers of ten played a crucial role in the development of the decimal-place value system in India. 

Pingala (300 BCE – 200 BCE): Pingala was among the scholars during post-Vedic period whose contribution to mathematics can never be ignored, the most notable is (piṅgalá), a music theorist. Pingala stumbled upon both Pascal’s triangle and binomial coefficients.

Kātyāyana: Kātyāyana (c. 3rd century BCE) is notable for being the last of the Vedic mathematicians. He wrote the Katyayana Sulba Sutra, which presented much geometry, including the general Pythagorean Theorem and a computation of the square root of 2 correct to five decimal places.

The Concept Of Zero:Zero itself has a much longer history. The recently dated first recorded zeros, in what is known as the Bakhshali manuscript, were simple placeholders – a tool to distinguish 100 from 10. Similar marks had already been seen in the Babylonian and Mayan cultures in the early centuries AD and arguably in Sumerian mathematics as early as 3000-2000 BC. Although Aryabhata did not use a symbol for zero, the French mathematician Georges Ifrah argues that knowledge of zero was implicit in Aryabhata’s place-value system as a place holder for the powers of ten with null coefficients which Aryabhata

Approximation of π: Aryabhata worked on the approximation for pi (π), and may have come to the conclusion that π is irrational. In the second part of the Aryabhatiyam (gaitapāda 10), he writes: 

caturadhika śatamaṣṭagua dvāaṣṭistathā sahasrāām
ayutadvayavikambhasyāsanno vttapariāha.

“Add four to 100, multiply by eight, and then add 62,000. By this rule the circumference of a circle with a diameter of 20,000 can be approached.

This implies that for a circle whose diameter is 20000, the circumference will be 62832

i.e, 

π = 62832/20000 =3.1416, which is accurate to three decimal places.

Algebra: Indian mathematician Bhāskara had already discovered many of the modern day mathematics ideas over 500 years earlier. Bhaskara II in his book, Bijaganita (which contains Twelve Chapters) mentioned that a positive number has two square roots (a positive and negative square root).

Bhaskara derived a cyclic, chakravala method for solving indeterminate quadratic equations of the form 

ax2 + bx + c = y.

Bhāskara method for finding the solutions of the problem Nx2 + 1 = y2 (the so-called “Pell’s equation”) is of considerable importance.

Apart from this Bhaskara have also proved his theorems in:

  • Arithmetic (Lilavati)
  • Calculus (Siddhanta Shiromani)
  • Trigonometry (Siddhanta Shiromani)
  • Intermediate Equations (Kuttaka Algorithm)

TREATMENT IN ANCIENT INDIA

Test Tube Baby & Stem Cell: Dr. B.G. Matapurkar a surgeon with the Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi told a conference on stem cell research that the Kauravas “were products of technology that modern science has not even developed yet”. He continued, “they not only knew about test-tube babies and embryo splitting but also had the technology to grow human fetuses outside the body of woman, something that is not known to modern science”. The incident was applied by Gandhari, when she wished for sons. The Rishi Krupacharya had given her 100 pots which were earthen and after a certain period those were taken out in the form of babies.

Ayurveda: Vedic period laid the foundation for a more rational and methodical system of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda (the Science of Life) beginning from 600 BCE. The golden age of Indian medicine, from 800 BCE until about 1000 CE, was marked especially by the production of the medical treatises known as the Charaka-samhita and Sushruta-samhita, attributed respectively to Charaka, a physician, and Sushruta, a surgeon. Both Charaka and Sushruta state the existence of a large number of diseases (Sushruta says 1,120). 

स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणं, आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनं। (चरक संहित सूत्र ३०।२६​)

svāsthya svāsthya rakaa, āturasya vikāra praśamana (Caraka Sahita Sūtra 3026​)

Ayurveda Shāstra aims at keeping a healthy person healthy and managing or curing diseases (mind, body or both) that manifest in a person.

Plastic Surgery: Skin grafts entail transplanting pieces of skin from one part of the body to another. Sushruta’s notable work provides the first written record of a forehead flap rhinoplasty; a technique still used today, which a full-thickness piece of skin from the forehead is used to reconstruct a nose. This entire miracle happened in 600BCE and we give credit to West Countries for the plastic surgeries.

ECONOMICS

The Arthaśāstra is an ancient Indian Sanskrit treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. Kautilya, also identified as Vishnugupta and Chanakya, is traditionally credited as the author of the text. Kautilya wrote about the way the state’s economy is organized, how ministers should be chosen, how war should be conducted, and how taxation should be arranged and distributed. 

तस्मात् स्वधर्म भूतानां राजा व्यभिचारयेत्।

स्वधर्म सन्दधानो हि, प्रेत्य चेह नन्दति।।

It means- Do not let the king leave your religion. The king should conduct his religion. The king who conducts his religion in this proper way remains happy in this world along with the people.

DUTY

Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र) is a genre of Sanskrit theological texts, and refers to the treatises (śāstras) of Hinduism on dharma. There are many Dharmashastras, variously estimated to be 18 to about 100, with different and conflicting points of view. Dharmaśāstras played an influential role in modern era colonial India history, when they were used as the basis for the law of the land for all non-Muslims (Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs).

The shastras, including the Dharmashastra, are classified as smriti, a word indicating “what is remembered,” as distinct from the Vedas and the Upanishads [q.v.], which are shruti, “what is heard.”

The Gautama Dharmasutra, the oldest of the texts of the Dharmashastra, probably composed sometime between 600 and 400 B.C., concerns the sources of dharma, standards for both students and the uninitiated, the four stages of life, dietary rules, penance, rules concerning impurity, and many other regulations and rituals for Hindu life.

We have been delivering in all the aspects of life when it comes to survival and language is just a mediator to deliver. Many notable physicists & Scientists either from west or from our own country gave the example of our ancient texts in their research.

I would like here to conclude by saying, what world does tomorrow, we did centuries ago. There are lots and lots of inventions Sanātana Dharma have done since the beginning of life on earth. It gave me huge satisfaction to understand that the New Education Policy 2020 have mentioned certain names who have left imprints in all the sectors. As it is rightly mentioned in the NEP that our “Indian culture and philosophy have had a strong influence on the world. These rich legacies to world heritage must not only be nurtured and preserved for posterity but also researched, enhanced, and put to new uses through our education system.”

Bio:

Experienced & seasoned professional with more than 12 years of experience in Client Acquisition, Training, Recruitment & Admin in Industries such as Skill Development, Education, Healthcare, Real Estate etc. With experience in education sector, it motivates him to learn new every day and understand the link between the modern science and our ancient glorious past. There are lots of things in the past which we have ignored and today while writing the article, he
had understood one thing “In Search of Gold, We have Lost the Diamond”.
With the modern education policy, we have lost the essence of ancient Gurukuls.

Krishnendu Sinha

The importance of multi-omic studies in fighting COVID-19

The importance of multi-omic studies in fighting COVID-19 - Dr. Susmita Bhattacharya

COVID-19 continues to pose an unprecedented challenge to healthcare systems around the world. The enormity of the challenge is manifest by its spread across 221 countries or territories with more than 135 million confirmed cases of infection and almost 3 million deaths so far.1 In India alone, more than 13 million cases have been reported with 168436 deaths so far.2 On the other hand, it is heartening that vaccines have been developed and deployed at unprecedented speed. However, it is understandable that it will take quite some time before enough people are vaccinated to achieve ‘herd immunity’. In fact, it is now even being debated if vaccination of 60-70% of the population would be enough to achieve herd-immunity.3 Meanwhile, it is alarming that the virus has already been mutating as recent results show that some vaccines may be quite ineffective against emerging variants.4 Moreover, cases of re-infection are also on the rise and some of the emerging variants such as the Brazil variant pose elevated risk of re-infection.5 The recent surge in infection has been attributed mostly to new variants. Emergence of variants refractory to antibodies raised by older strain or vaccine may significant derail the plan to bring the pandemic under control. The other approaches to get hold of the situation are to minimize transmission and to develop an effective therapeutic regimen against the disease. 

Development of effective therapeutic regimen warrants detailed understanding of how the virus infects and hijacks cellular machinery to propagate itself, how our immune system responds to the challenge as well as how the interaction between virus and target cells affects different organs. This remains a work in progress. One of the major foci of ongoing research has been the interaction between the virus and cells of the respiratory system. However, the virus has actually been detected in several organs beyond the respiratory system. In fact, it has been found to directly infect lung as well as liver, kidney, immune cells and cells of the central nervous system.6-9 Thus, understanding of the underlying pathogenesis would require local as well as system-wide effect of SARS-COV-2 infection. It is interesting to note that while pre-existing conditions like COPD, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, has been found to be risk factors in COVID-19 affecting different organs, the disease course and outcome shows significant inter-individual differences. While many with these vulnerabilities did not develop severe disease, several others who are relatively young and with no such pre-existing conditions showed sudden deterioration and adverse outcome.10 The response to therapy also remains very heterogeneous. In fact, the existing tools like EWS score for patient stratification has often been found to be inadequate for prognostic evaluation and making therapeutic choices. The viral load has also not been found to predict with disease manifestation and outcome. The first thing that comes to mind in the context of inter-individual differences is genome. Inter-individual differences in our genome contribute not only towards our differences in appearance and behaviours, but also prime us towards differences in response to external perturbation such as infection. In fact, recent studies have revealed genetic factors including polymorphism in ACE2 receptor and ABO antigen type to be associated vulnerability to SARS-COV-2 infection.11, 12 It should be noted that there are several factors (epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, lipidome, metabolome and volatome) involved in the information cascade starting from genome to physiological function. In addition to genetic code, extrinsic factors including, food, drugs, life-style, habitat, psychosocial atmosphere as well as earlier exposure to same or other infectious agents can influence the biochemical machinery comprising these factors during response to SARS-COV-2 infection. Thus, only a simultaneous analysis of the system-wide changes in multi-omic signature can help to identify key molecular events and determinants of response to and outcome of SARS-COV-2 infection. While several studies have reported on individual -omic signatures, signatures associated SARS-COV-2 infection and outcome,11-15 no study has so far been reported on pan-omic investigation. This is essential not only to identify targets for therapeutic interventions, but also in making appropriate therapeutic choices for an individual.  Limiting transmission requires detailed understanding of modes of transmission. It is now widely accepted that the virus spreads mostly through airborne droplets generated during coughing, sneezing, laughing, talking and even breathing. Thus, a potent strategy to minimize transmission is universal use of mask and other COVID-appropriate practices including use of sanitizers and maintaining a minimum distance of two metres. The last thing is easier said than done and hardly ever adhered in a highly populated country like India, unless there is a near-total ban on mobility. So, use of mask and sanitizer are must. Unfortunately, there is significant tendency of laxity in their use when there is no ‘known’ COVID-positive person or someone with COVID-like symptoms is around. It is important to note that a large number of infected people may never develop any symptom and unless there is a known COVID-positive contact, people would undergo test only when they become symptomatic. It has been shown that even asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people can spread infection.16, 17 Consequently; many studies have revealed that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people contribute significantly in SARS-COV-2 transmission. Thus, identification of COVID-positive individuals without symptoms is of key importance to isolate them and prevent transmission. However, it needs to be kept in mind that the putative application would involve screening of large number of subjects. It also needs to be rapid so that subjects can be quarantined swiftly. Studies have indicated that the novel SARS-COV-2 variant may arise in hospitalized immune-compromised patients. Under the pandemic situation, such variants may spread quickly through healthcare workers. A rapid high-throughput approach would help to detect such silently evolving infection cluster and escalate sequencing to identify the variant of concern. However, there are not many reliable methods currently available for identification of asymptomatic carriers, other than those based on RT-PCR,18 which is time consuming. Recent studies indicated that the breath volatile signature of COVID-19 patients may be distinct.19, 20 Breath sampling is non-invasive and can be done in real-time allowing rapid high-throughput diagnosis. However, the challenge with breath analysis is that our knowledge of biochemical origin of these volatile molecules remains limited as has been demonstrated by the recent work by Dr. Sukul et al. In addition, the mechanistic connection between changes in breath volatile and underlying pathology remain even more opaque. In fact, as mentioned above, understanding of the mechanism of pathogenesis of COVID-19 itself is far from complete. Thus, a tandem analysis of system-wide changes in biochemical landscape and breath volatiles would be required to identify breath biomarkers mechanistically connected to COVID-19 pathogenesis. This may then also be useful in repeated non-invasive assessment of therapeutic response in patients. Eventually, this could also lead to methods for stratification of patients for appropriate therapeutic intervention. It is a pleasure to share that we have developed partnership with scientists at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (Kolkata), Indian Statistical Institute (Kolkata), Regional Centre for Biotechnology (Faridabad) and the breath analysis team including Dr. Jochen Schubert and Dr. Pritam Sukul at the University of Rostock (Germany) to embark on a multi-omic study to develop deeper understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis as well as to identify signatures that might help in diagnosis and monitoring of COVID-positive individuals irrespective of disease manifestation.

References: 

  1. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
  2. https://www.mohfw.gov.in/
  3. Aschwanden C. Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is probably impossible. Nature. 2021 Mar;591(7851):520-522.
  4. Madhi SA, et al. Efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.351 Variant. N Engl J Med. 2021 Mar 16;NEJMoa2102214.
  5. Sabino EC, et al. Resurgence of COVID-19 in Manaus, Brazil, despite high seroprevalence. Lancet. 2021 Feb 6;397(10273):452-455.
  6. Wang Y, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infection of the liver directly contributes to hepatic impairment in patients with COVID-19. J Hepatol. 2020 Oct; 73(4): 807–816.
  7. Khan S, et al. Does SARS-CoV-2 Infect the Kidney? J Am Soc Nephrol. 2020.
  8. Brosa M and Mazet JM. Attacking the defence: SARS-CoV-2 can infect immune cells. Nat Rev Immunol. 2020 Oct;20(10):592.
  9. Crunfli F, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infects brain astrocytes of COVID-19 patients and impairs neuronal viability. biorXiv 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.09.20207464
  10. https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/AIIMSeICUsFAQs01SEP.pdf
  11. Hou Y, et al.  New insights into genetic susceptibility of COVID-19: an ACE2 and TMPRSS2 polymorphism analysis. BMC Med. 2020;18(1):216.
  12. Ellinghaus D, et al.  Genomewide Association Study of Severe Covid-19 with Respiratory Failure . N Engl J Med. 2020;NEJMoa2020283.
  13. Daamen AR, et al. Comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of COVID-19 blood, lung, and airway. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 29;11(1):7052.
  14. Shen B et al. Proteomic and Metabolomic Characterization of COVID-19 Patient Sera. Cell. 2020 Jul 9;182(1):59-72.e15
  15. Thomas T, et al. COVID-19 infection alters kynurenine and fatty acid metabolism, correlating with IL-6 levels and renal status. JCI Insight. 2020 Jul 23;5(14):e140327.
  16. Johansson MA, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Transmission From People Without COVID-19 Symptoms. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jan 4;4(1):e2035057. 
  17. Rivett L, et al. Screening of healthcare workers forSARS-CoV-2 highlights the role ofasymptomatic carriage in COVID-19transmission. Elife. 2020 May 11;9:e58728
  18. Shental M, et al. Efficient high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 testing to detect asymptomatic carriers. Sci Adv. 2020 Sep 11;6(37):eabc5961.
  19. Grassin-Delyle S et al. Metabolomics of exhaled breath in critically ill COVID-19 patients: A pilot study. EBioMedicine. 2021 Jan;63:103154.
  20. Berna AZ , et al. Breath biomarkers of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection: a pilot study. medRxiv 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.04.20230755

Bio:-

Professor Susmita Bhattacharya is the Head of the Department of Microbiology in the College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital, which is a designated COVID-19 hospital of West Bengal Government. She received her MBBS and MD (Microbiology) from Calcutta University. She also received her Ph.D. from the “The West Bengal University of Health Sciences” in Bacteriology. She has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals on infectious diseases. She is spearheading RTPCR-based COVID-19 diagnosis at the hospital and is involved in a number of studies on risk and outcome of COVID-19.  She is also actively involved in teaching and thesis supervision.