CEO of the Academy wins 50 Education Innovative Leaders Award


We are delighted to announce that, Prof. Murali Sastry, our CEO, is the recipient of the 50 Education Innovative Leaders award, as a thought leader in Healthcare Industry and a contributor of value. This award has been declared by the Worl Innovation Congress. The World Innovation Congress is a not for profit body that attempts to organise the annual meet with the objective of Learning & Development, Networking & Recognizing Leaders who have contributed value to the profession or their organization and make a difference. Such value contributors are influencers who have influenced positively.

Some of the Jury Members are:

  • Professor Indira Parikh, Ex Dean of IIM Ahmedabad & President – Antardisha (Directions from Within)
  • Dr. Harish Mehta, Chairman & MD – Onward Technologies Ltd.; Emeritus Chairman – World HRD Congress & Founder Member – NASSCOM
  • Dr. Arun Arora, Ex President and CEO, the Economic Times; Chairman, Edvance Pre-schools Pvt. Ltd. & Emeritus Chairman, World HRD Congress
  • Dr. Prasad Medury, Partner , Amrop India Consultants Private Limited
  • Nina E. Woodard, President & Chief “N” Sights Officer , Nina E. Woodard & Associates, a division of NDPendence, Inc.
  • Dr. R L Bhatia, Founder of World CSR & World Sustainability Congress

The Juries & Research cell have carefully worked towards architecting the program in recognition of the talent that rightly deserves to be recognized, our approach is towards thought leadership. The “50 Education Innovative Leaders ” is a reflection of the winner’s professional achievement & a belief that they are thought leaders in Healthcare Industry & a contributor of value.

The award ceremony is scheduled on 12th Feb. 2019 at 9.00 am & the venue is The Taj Lands End, Mumbai, an iconic venue that is overlooking the Arabian Sea,

‘Expert Speak’ Series- Prof. Pankaj Sekhsaria

Title of Talk: The A&N Islands – At the tri-junction of fragility and vulnerability

Date: 4th February 2019

Time: 16:15 p.m.
Venue: IITB-Monash Research Academy Seminar Room 1 and 2

Duration: 60 minutes plus Discussion
Description: Speaker will share his journey as a trained researcher. Topic will be of general importance, all branches of student most welcome to attend.

Objective: To provide students with a concise report on his recent book on A&N.
Resource person: Prof Pankaj Sekhsaria, Member, Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands constitute an unique system in the Indian context that is also one of the least understood. The islands have no parallels on multiple grounds – geological, ecological and socio-cultural – and put together these form a unit that is complex and needs special attention and care.

The islands are extremely rich from an ecological point of view – rich tropical forests, a diverse coastline comprising beaches, rocky coasts and mangroves and oceans that are thriving with coral reefs and marine life. The islands are home at the same time to a number of indigenous communities who have been here for thousands of years but are today among the most marginalised and vulnerable. And very importantly, the islands are located in Seismic Zone V, the most seismically active zone on the planet. Earthquakes here are a regular occurrence and the 9.3 richter scale earthquake that caused the giant tsunami of December 2004 had its epicenter not very far from the Nicobar islands.

The presentation will dwell on these three distinctly different but complexly inter-related aspects of these islands to argue for a larger and a more holistic understanding of the place. It will present a range of examples of how recent developmental interventions in the islands – for infrastructure development, defence installations and tourism promotion – are wilfully ignoring the dynamic and sensitive social, ecological and geological realities of this remote island chain and increasing manifold the vulnerability of the islands and its human and non-human residents.
Pankaj Sekhsaria’s research interests lie at the intersection of environment, science, technology and society. He has worked extensively in the A&N islands and is the author/editor of four books on various issues of the islands. These include ‘Islands in Flux – the Andaman and Nicobar Story’ (Harper Litmus 2017) and ‘The Last Wave’ (HarperCollins India 2014) his debut novel that is a deeply ecological story based in the Andamans.

He is currently Associate Professor, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (C-TARA), IIT Bombay, and also a long time member of the environmental action group, Kalpavriksh. He has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from the Maastricht University, Netherlands and his latest book based on his doctoral research is ‘Instrumental Lives – an intimate biography of an Indian laboratory (Routledge, 2019).


Understanding chromatin folding through computer simulations

Imagine how difficult it is to fold a 20km long rope into a tennis ball. And, even if you succeed, imagine you are asked to locate a specific section of the rope in the ball which may be 5km from one end. Phew!

The biological cells are like the tennis-ball, and the rope here is the DNA in our cells. DNA — the genetic material in our cells — is a two-metre long polymer folded and packed inside a micro-meter sized compartment known as cell nucleus. This kind of folding of DNA occurs in each cell of every living organism.

Figure 1: Model developed in this work converts 2D contact probability into meaningful 3D model.

In our cells, the folding is achieved by a number of machines known as proteins, and the folded DNA-protein complex together is known as chromatin. How proteins achieve this high packing within a limited time is an unresolved puzzle in this field.

Any organism, like human beings, have different types of cells — skin cells, brain cells, bone cells, to name just a few. Even though these cells have exactly the same DNA content, they function very differently. This diversity in cell function is achieved by packaging the same in DNA in different manner — the chromatin organization inside the cell dictate the function of the cell.

One way to quantify the 3D organization of chromatin is to examine how different parts of the DNA polymer are in contact with each other. Advances in experimental techniques have helped us to measure the contact frequency between any two parts (segments) of the long DNA polymer, after freezing the whole chromatin in time. This experimental technique — chromosome confirmation capture method — gives the frequency with which any two segments will be in contact in a population of cells.

This information is 2-dimensional, which is static in time. We need a model which can predict the 3-dimensional configuration and dynamics of DNA based on the contact frequency information investigated through experiments.

Kiran Kumari, a research scholar with the IITB-Monash Research Academy, intends to put together such a model in the course of her PhD project titled, ‘Computing the dynamics of Chromatin folding’.

Using concepts from polymer physics, she proposes a method to obtain the 3D configuration from a given 2D contact probability heat map. This method can not only predict the steady-state 3D configuration but can also study the dynamics around the steady state. Using this method, she studies 3D configurations and dynamics of chromatin in a length scale of a gene. In particular, her model can predict the interaction profile which is required to produce the contact probability.

The Academy is a collaboration between India and Australia that endeavours to strengthen scientific relationships between the two countries. Graduate research scholars study for a dually-badged PhD from both IIT and Monash University, spending time at both institutions to enrich their research experience.

Prof Murali Sastry, CEO of the IITB-Monash Research Academy, is watching Kiran’s progress keenly. “This project will enhance our ability to understand mechanisms in biological systems such as biological cells. It will also help us understand the fundamental molecular aspects of biodiversity — all of which are essential to harness biomolecular processes, whether in health care or biotechnology,” he says.

Research scholar: Kiran Kumari, IITB-Monash Research Academy
Project title: Computing the dynamics of chromatin folding
Supervisors: Prof. Ranjith Padinhateeri and Prof. Ravi Jagadeeshan
Contact details:


The above story is based on inputs from the research student, her supervisors, and IITB-Monash Research Academy. Copyright IITB-Monash Research Academy.

Shubham Dalvi

Shubham Dalvi

Shubham completed his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune in 2016. Thereafter, He joined VNIT Nagpur and completed his Master’s Thesis on “Conjugate Heat Transfer in a Radial Heat Sink using OpenFOAM” in 2018. At the Academy, he would be working on the project entitled “Improved Techniques for High Resolution Urban Flood Modelling” under the supervision of Dr. Shivasubramanian Gopalakrishnan (IIT B) and Dr. Murray Rudman (Monash University). Apart from research, he loves to write Shayari’s, listen to classical music and play table tennis.

Link to student’s project: IMURA 0725

Rafath Alikkal

Rafath Alikkal

Rafath hails from Kerala, a tropical state in Southern India. From a young age, he showed much interest in the field of Physics and Mathematics which eventually brought him to the domain of Aerospace Engineering. He completed his Bachelor’s from Visvesvarayah Technological University and went on to pursue Master’s degree from IIT Bombay. He graduated with a specialization in Aerodynamics. His Master’s thesis was in the “Modeling and Simulation of Plasma Actuators”. He utilized an open source API, OpenFOAM, to generate the numerical simulations. With this work, he was better able to study the effectiveness of an active flow control device. His craving for knowledge has brought him to the exciting area of life sciences. During his tenure at IITB-Monash Research Academy, Rafath will be researching the role of flow physics in micro-cellular entities. His project is titled “Modeling and simulations of propulsion and swimming in microorganisms”. He will be guided by Prof. Sameer Jadhav from IIT Bombay as well as by Prof. Prabhakar Ranganathan from Monash University.
Apart from research, he endeavors upon writing short stories and poems. Also, he is a polyglot.

Link to student’s project: IMURA 0733

Haritha Joseph

Haritha Joseph

I have completed my bachelors from Union Christian College, Aluva, Kerala, and masters from IIT Madras. My masters’ project was to design, fabricate and characterize metamaterial absorber in the microwave region. Here I have joined under Prof. Shobha Shukla and Prof. Sumit Saxena for the project titled ‘development of plasmonic metamaterials for SERS application’. I love listening to music, hanging out with friends and watching movies.

Link to student’s project: IMURA 0748

Cresha Gracy Nadar

Cresha Gracy Nadar

Gracy completed her Masters in Biotechnology from DY Patil University, School of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Navi Mumbai in May 2018. For her MTech dissertation, she joined IIT Bombay and worked on a project “Purification of Hemicellulose oligomers Xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) using Membrane separation techniques” during which she carried out production and purification of prebiotic oligosaccharides from various agricultural waste residues. At IITB-Monash Research Academy, she will be working on project “Development of green biorefinery technologies from food processing waste” under the supervision of  Dr. Amit Arora (IIT Bombay), Co-supervisor: Dr. Yogendra Shastri (IIT Bombay), Prof. Antonio Patti (Monash University), Co-supervisor: Prof Victoria Haritos (Monash University). Her hobbies include nature photography, drawing, crafts and helping in church activities.

Link to student’s project: IMURA 0823

Arkasubhro Chatterjee

Arkasubhro Chatterjee

Arkasubhro Chatterjee completed his B. Tech in Pharmaceutical Science and Technology from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai in 2016. He will be completing his M. Tech in Pharmaceutical Technology from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai as well. His B.Tech. project thesis was titled “Calcium Phosphate Nanospheres and Nanotubes for drug delivery” and was completed under the supervision of Dr. Prajakta Dandekar Jain. His M.Tech. thesis, titled “Ethyl Cellulose nanodispersion for pharmaceutical applications” was completed under the supervision of Dr. Vandana Patravale. Recently,

he was a part of a three-month training program at the Tata Memorial Advanced Center for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) under Dr. Abhijit De. He has also presented his research “Nanoengineered polymer Dispersion for coating applications” at the Nanobioteck 2017 Conference by Indian Society of Nanomedicine and at the Controlled Release Society, Indian Chapter, 2018 Symposium. At the IITB-Monash Research Academy, he will be working on the project titled “Pectin Based films/gels for antibiotic/antifungal applications” under the guidance of Professors Amit Arora (IIT-B), Antonio Patti (Monash University) and Andrew Phil (Monash University). His hobbies include reading and playing the guitar.

Link to student’s project: IMURA 0822

Apoorva Nambiar

Apoorva Nambiar

Apoorva Nambiar has completed her Bachelors in Mathematics (Honours) from Gargi College, University of Delhi. Then she proceeded with her Masters in Population Studies from International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai. Her thesis work was on “Spousal violence against women in India: Does economic status and autonomy reduce the vulnerability”. During her masters, she did a summer internship at the National Institute of Medical Statistics, ICMR, where she has co-authored three journal articles on Maternal and Child health, and Ceasarian deliveries in Northeastern states of India and has also presented these papers at national level conferences. She has also interned at the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India in their Statistics Bureau. Her research interests include Gender Issues, Maternal and Child Health, Public Health, Reproductive Health, and Population Ageing. She joined the IITB-Monash Research Academy for the Ph.D. program in January 2019 where she will be working on “Where does the shoe pinch mapping the contours of child malnutrition to plan its elimination” under the supervision of Prof. Satish B Agnihotri (IITB) and Prof. Dharma Arunachalam (Monash University). Apart from these, she is very passionate about dance and is a professional Bharatanatyam dancer and holds a Diploma in it. She has been a dance faculty at Ganesa Natyalaya, Delhi and has traveled and performed at various forums and national dance festivals across India. Her other interests include music and sports.

Link to student’s project: HSS0818

Anup Kumar Prasad

Anup Kumar Prasad

Anup Kumar has done his B.Tech in Biochemical Engineering from Kumaon Engineering College, Dwarahat (Uttrakhand) and M.Tech in Biotechnology from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad. His master’s dissertation thesis was “Effect of YBX1 gene silencing on the expression of Alzheimer disease-related genes in HT-29 cell line“. He has attended various conference and events. He is currently pursuing the IITB-Monash joint Ph.D. programme on the topic of “Amyloid formation in frog peptides: Exploring peptide-lipid interactions” under the supervision of Prof. Ajay S Panwar (IIT Bombay) and Prof. Lisandra Martin (Monash). His hobbies are playing cricket, sketching and watching movies.

Link to student’s project: IMURA 0781