In the movie “Terminator: The Rise of Machines”, the character Terminatrix manipulates the Cyborgs tweaking them to work against humans and to her own advantage. Now, scientists have discovered that some strains of bacteria could do the same to some of our cells. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, is one such. It manipulates the macrophages, a type of white blood cell that hunts and engulfs invading pathogens, to act as bacterial reservoirs and provide a survival niche. This niche not only provides the bacteria with nutrients, but also helps evade the normal immune response. In a recent study, a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has explored the mechanism behind the manipulation of macrophages by this bacteria.
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The Nobel Prize Series India 2017, in the last leg of its program, witnessed Nobel Laureates Prof. David Gross and Prof. Randy Schekman actively engage in a Q&A session at ITC Gardenia this morning. After attending the grand inauguration of the Nobel Exhibition by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at Science City, Ahmedabad on 9th January, the visiting laureates engaged in the Nobel Dialogue, held as a part of Vibrant Gujarat Summit at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
The world is definitely getting hotter, thanks to climate change – the topic that is hottest at the moment! What responsibilities do scientific institutes and businesses have, to make this world a cooler place, quite literally? Who can explain this better than Ms. Gilbert, Head of Policy at the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London! Ms. Gilbert is engaged in connecting relevant research across universities with policy-makers and businesses. In a candid interview during her visit to the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science, she opens up on her role and its challenges, the opportunities this situation presents, and her opinions on actions that need to be taken in tackling climate change.
The frog was first chanced upon by a citizen scientist thinking it was a bird call.
A team of frog enthusiasts including citizens, freelance researchers and scientists have discovered a new species of skittering frog (Euphlyctis karaavali) from coastal plains of Karnataka, India. This frog, measuring up to 11 cm in length and was first recorded in 2015 from a sleepy coastal village named Sanikatta in Kumta Taluk, Karnataka.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world, affecting 9.6 million people worldwide in 2015, of which 2.2 million were in India. Although tuberculosis is curable through antibiotics, the increasing prevalence of multi-drug resistant forms of TB has become a major concern. A new study from the lab of Prof. Krishnamurthy Natarajan at the University of Delhi, uncovers new mechanisms through which the TB microbe interacts with cells of the host immune system, hijacking their function and preventing them from doing their job properly. The findings of the study point to new ways of treating patients afflicted with drug-resistant TB.
A team of frog enthusiasts, including scientists from Gubbi Labs, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) - Bengaluru and the National University of Singapore (NUS), have uncovered a widespread population of the endangered Sholiga Narrow Mouthed Frog (Microhyla sholigari) along the west coast of India. Rtd, Prof. Sushil Kumar Dutta of the Utkal University, Orissa and P. Ray of the Zoological Survey of India had originally described this tiny frog, measuring up to 1.7 cm, from the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRTTR) in the year 2000.
Imagine you call a taxi using one of the numerous cab aggregating apps and you find a “ghost” driver - well actually, no driver at all! If you think it is a page out of a science fiction, think again as Autonomous Vehicles (AV) or self-driving vehicles are already in operation in some cities of the world on a small scale. Nutonomy, a Singapore-based startup, became the world’s first company to test a self-driving taxi service in Singapore on August 25, 2016. Just a few weeks later, on September 14, 2016, Uber, the biggest cab aggregator service, launched its first self-driving taxi fleet in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. You will hear more such news in the days to come as AVs are expected to replace conventional driver-driven vehicles by 2020 or sooner. A study by Business Insider estimates about 10 million self-driving cars to be on roads by 2020.
In a collaborative study between the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and the University of Twente, The Netherlands, researchers have designed a new algorithm for image recovery in Photoacoustic Tomography (PAT). PAT is an important non-invasive biomedical imaging technique where the optical contrast rendered by laser beams and the superior resolution of ultrasound waves are used to study biological tissues. The new algorithm works better with higher accuracy as compared to the conventional ones in use today.
In 2013, melting of the Chorabari glacier led to heavy floods in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, causing massive loss of life and property. Glacier lake outburst floods (GLOF) like this, have become a major safety concern in the Himalayas and other mountainous regions across the world. A group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru has now developed a unique model that can help prevent massive damages. Led by Prof. Anil Kulkarni at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, the model serves as a tool for safe planning and timely monitoring of glaciers.
“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw something, it must go somewhere”, said Annie Leonard, a famous critic of consumerism. But what happens around “somewhere” when we throw out our wastes? A recent study by a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has analyzed the composition of the water that passes through landfills and has dissolved and suspended matter from it, called leachate, from the infamous Mavallipura landfill and has examined its effects on the nearby lakes and wells. Prof. T. V. Ramachandra from the Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) and his team have also highlighted the resulting ill effects and suggested some steps to minimize the same.