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Bengaluru | Jan 21, 2020
Machine Learning for Faster Drug Discovery

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) approaches are the present-day buzzwords finding applications in a host of domains affecting our lives. These approaches use known datasets to train and build models that can predict, or sometimes, make decisions about a task. In one such case, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), Mumbai, have in a recent study, developed ML approaches using molecular descriptors for certain types of catalysis that could find use in several therapeutic applications.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 20, 2020
Study cautions about the use of designer receptors to control the brain

Chemogenetics is a technique that uses chemicals to understand how neurons are activated. It manipulates genes to place the neurons under the control of special receptors called DREADDS. Short for Designer Receptors Activated by Designer Drugs, these receptors only bind to an inert chemical called Clozapine-N-Oxide (CNO). In a recent study, researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, and Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, point out specific flaws in this technique.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 15, 2020
IISc researchers show that Indian monsoon has a 67-year cycle, link it to the global sea surface temperature cycle

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune; and Florida State University, USA; have mathematically computed a multidecadal variability in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall and the global sea surface temperature. They have established that Indian monsoon rainfall exhibits a 67-year oscillation and is closely linked to the sea surface temperature cycle, which also shows a similar 67-year swing. The study also shows that 80% of all droughts have occurred in the rainfall cycle’s ‘negative phase’, associated with a below-average rainfall; whereas 60% of all floods have occurred in the positive phase, marked with above-average precipitation. Their findings have been published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 13, 2020
New blood-based test to diagnose TB within an hour

An international study, led by researchers from the USA, which also included researchers from India, have designed a point-of-care testing approach for individuals suffering from TB. The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, proposes a rapid, cost-effective, and readily accessible triage test kit that can be used at the site of patient care.

General, Science, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 9, 2020
Friendly neighbours? Study shows crop yield increases when biodiverse environments surround farms

As winter sets in over Punjab, one can hear the humdrum of hundreds of machines harvesting rice across lakhs of hectares of paddy fields. In Maharashtra, villages in Vidarbha lug their snowy cotton harvest to the market. Years ago, these landscapes were a sprawling array of forests, grasslands, wetlands and multiple crops cultivated on a shifting basis.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 8, 2020
Seawater intrusion threatens drinking water source along India's coast

The impacts of climate change on coastal areas are severe than inland as they are vulnerable to flooding and extreme weather phenomena like cyclones, tornadoes etc. As the climate crisis deepens, a quarter of India's population, who live along the coasts, have another issue to worry about – availability of freshwater. Due to unchecked pumping of groundwater for daily use and rainfall variation, freshwater sources are being depleted. Besides, saltwater from the sea is unwittingly finding its way into local aquifers through a process called seawater intrusion. Although many independent studies, conducted at different locations, have observed depletion in freshwater sources along India's coasts, there is no comprehensive study yet. Now, researchers at Anna University, Chennai, have tried to address the extent of seawater intrusion in the Indian coastal regions in a study published in journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. The study was funded by the National Centre for Earth Sciences Studies, Earth System Science Organisation, and the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 7, 2020
Scientists investigate the taxonomy and evolution of pipeworts

In a recent study, researchers from Pune's Agharkar Research Institute and Savitribai Phule University, and China's Zhejiang University have turned their attention towards Xyrids to gain a holistic understanding of the evolution of pipeworts.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 6, 2020
IISER Mohali hosts mini-symposium on ecology and evolution

How many bird calls can you recognise? Crows and pigeons, for sure! But have you ever come across an app that can recognise bird calls for you? With apps like eBird and India Biodiversity Portal, identifying and collecting data has become an activity that not just researchers can take part in. Rather, these technological advancements provide a push to scientific research as a whole! A mini-symposium was organised in IISER Mohali to discuss just that.

General, Science, News
Bengaluru | Jan 6, 2020
An Inexpensive Approach to Patterning Cells in a Lab

Researchers from IIT Bombay propose cost-effective techniques of making microcontact printing stamps to print protein and grow cells.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 3, 2020

In a recent study, Dr Sachdev and an international team of researchers have shown that India’s mortality rate due to severe acute malnutrition is a fraction of the WHO estimates. This study is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
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