Molecular Biosciences Research – RIC

  • DrShilpa

    Name: Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar
    Designation: Head
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    Name: Joseph Davis
    Designation: Professor 
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    Name: Dr. Pushpa C. Tomar
    Designation: Associate Professor
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    Name: Dr. Soma Patnaik
    Designation: Assistant Professor
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    Name: Dr. Kapila Kumar
    Designation: Assistant Professor
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    Name: Dr. Rajesh Ghangal
    Designation: Assistant Professor
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  • Vision

    To promote Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies (formerly MRIU) amongst World’s top Research Institutes through excellence in scientific research.


    • To generate new knowledge by engaging in cutting-edge research.
    • To identify areas of specialization upon which the institute can concentrate relevant to the needs of India and world.
    • To undertake collaborative projects which offer opportunities for engaging academia and industry on a sustainable basis.
    • To develop research acumen in graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Molecular Biosciences Research Cluster Members are people from diverse fields which have motivated research in various areas of biosciences. Moreover the modern laboratory facility created for the research group has attracted the attention of researchers from other engineering for collaborative efforts to develop innovative technologies. The group is presently collaborating with industries such as SeqIndia Co Ltd., Core Diagnostics, SRL Diagnostics and Hilleman Laboratories for development of translational technologies.  The cluster as a whole is concentrating its efforts particularly in the three domains

    1. Drug Discovery
    2. Industrial Biotechnology
    3. Plant Biotechnology

    A brief of the different research areas of present focus member specific:

    Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar
    Broad Research Area: Industrial Biotechnology
    Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar is a Bioprocess and Enzyme Technology expert with rich experience of over 10 years in the field from industry as well as academia.  Bioprocess Technology which is a field of immense possibilities lies at the confluence of diverse fields. The novel technologies developed in laboratories are enabled to be translated to the industry through bioprocess technology only. Particularly, development of efficient bioprocesses for generic biopharmaceuticals and established products is the need of hour for biotechnology industry in India. Enzymes, the most efficient catalysts can be used in development of disruptive technologies that could bring about white biotechnology revolution. She is presently working in the field of enzyme technology for conversion of biomass waste to biofuel. Her group is also engaged in development of technologies for the production of high value biopharmaceuticals.

    Dr. Joseph Davis
    Broad area of research
    Therapeutics for diabetes, cancer and infectious diseases, Diagnostics, Immunology, In vitro Screening for compound Screening.

    The main objective of Dr. Joseph Davis is to develop R&D research programs in emerging therapeutic domains like diabetes, cancer and infectious diseases involving small molecules, biologics and phytomedical approaches. To set up facility for screening of compounds against battery of assays (both cell-based and cell-free) for consultation and collaboration with Industries and Academia; To set up facility for bioassay-guided fractionation for Phytomedicine research; To set up facility for new or generic enzymes/protein research involving cloning, expression, purification and characterization.

    Dr. Pushpa C. Tomar
    Broad Research Interests: Plant Stress Physiology & Molecular Biology
    Dr. Pushpa C. Tomar is an Associate Professor at MRIIRS. She has 12 years of experience in research and teaching. Her research mainly focuses on abiotic stresses that modulate plants physiology. Her research team is actively involved in exploring different molecular mechanisms underlying abiotic stress induced signaling pathways in plants. She aspires in investigating the effect of polyamines such as Cadaverine in mitigation stress conditions in higher plants. Her labs are well equipped to maintain plant tissue cultures and conduct molecular studies. She has more than 20 national and international publications in reputed journals; participated in 45 conferences, conducted and attended 20 workshops. She has received Best Paper presenter award in International conference conducted by ISC-2017, Bhutan and GRDS, Malaysia. She has also received the certificate of appreciation for dedicated services from Manav Rachna Educational Institutions.               

    Dr. Rajesh Ghangal
    Research Area: Plant Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
    Dr. Rajesh Ghangal is work focuses on transcriptome analysis of medicinally important plants using next generation sequencing technologies and various bioinformatics tools. His objective is  to generate useful genomic resources for the scientific community for further genetic enhancement. Exploration of genes and gene families that have a potential to be harnessed for crop improvement that enable the plants to sustain abiotic stresses is another area of interest. He is an expert in gene library construction, sequencing and its analysis using bioinformatics tools.

    Dr. Kapila Kumar
    Research Interests: Infectious Diseases, Therapeutics and Functional Genomics
    Dr. Kapila Kumar joined Department of Biotechnology, FET, MRIIRS, as Assistant Professor in 2015. She has worked on DBT and DST funded research projects in collaboration with Delhi University with focus on the interaction studies for Chandipura and Chikungunya viruses.

    Viruses are like hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This can kill, damage, or change the cells. For most viral infections, treatments can only help with symptoms while waiting for immune system to fight off the virus. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are antiviral medicines to treat some viral infections.  Some of the most serious communicable diseases known to medical science are viral in origin. My research areas include exploring the molecular mechanism of infectious diseases, developing therapeutics and understanding the functional genomics playing underneath. My focus is to better understand the virus-host protein interactions, identify host proteins or pathways required by emerging and reemerging viruses. Some proteomic approaches with molecular virology, genomics, and bioinformatics based approaches can be combined to achieve these goals.

    Dr. Soma Patnaik
    Broad area of research: Drug delivery, Gene delivery, nanoparticles, microparticles
    The advances made in the field of polymer chemistry and its application in the biomedical research has garnered the attention of scientists and industrialists worldwide. More specifically, the biodegradable particles (micro and nano) for drug/gene delivery have opened up new vistas for treatment of different diseases. Nanoparticles owing to their small size easily traverse across the cellular membrane. For enhancing the bioavailability of the entrapped molecules and also to achieve the desired therapeutic response of the molecules, the nanoparticulate size of the matrix is desired. Nanoparticulate systems are attractive methods of delivery owing to the versatility, ease of preparation, and protection conferred to encapsulated gene of interest or drug. These carrier systems provide protection to the entrapped drug or gene during transit in the systemic circulation. Nanoparticles usually have a high surface area to volume ratio and thus, are able to efficiently encapsulate nucleic acids or drugs efficiently. These particles can be made to reach a target site by attaching cell-specific ligands, thereby making these vectors reach specific tissues and cells in the body.

  • Drug discovery facility

    The Molecular Biosciences Research Cluster Drug discovery group is spearheaded by Dr. Joseph a seasoned researcher who has a rich experience in industries such as Daiichi and Ranbaxy. The group is motivated to discover future therapies that would eradicate diseases like diabetes, cancer and infectious diseases with use of novel small molecules, biologics and phytomedicinal approaches. Dr. Kapila Kumar of the group is involved in investigation of the molecular mechanisms of virus host-protein interactions or pathways of infection by emerging and reemerging viruses.  The MBRC Drug Discovery Facility is equipped with a state of art BSL-2 mammalian tissue culture facility, cell based and cell free assay system.

    • CO2 incubator
    • Fluorescence inverted Microscope
    • Biosafety cabinets
    • Refreigerated Centrifuge
    • PCR Machine
    • Gel Documentation units
    • Electrophoresis units
    • Elisa reader

    Industrial Fermentations Facility

    The MBRC Fermentation Facility has been designed with a vision for developing technologies to improve the production economy and ease of operation for industrially relevant chemicals, fine chemicals, enzymes and biopharmaceuticals. The industrial fermentation group is headed by Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar a doctorate from IIT Delhi and Post graduate from ICT Mumbai has rich experience in upstream processing, bioseparations and enzyme technology. Dr. Soma Patnaik is an enthusiastic researcher with prior experience from India’s premiere research institutes like National Institute of Immunology and Institute of Genomics and integrative biology. The group works in the exciting field of bio-nanotechnology especially in different approaches for drug or gene delivery using nano/ microparticles. 

    Key equipment

    • Biosafety Cabinets
    • BOD Incubators
    • Bioreactor
    • Spectrophotometer

    Plant Biotechnology facility

    The Plant Biotechnology laboratory is a state of art facility for plant tissue culture and in vitro propagation of plants. The facilities for studies involving microscopic, molecular and microbiological techniques are available.  The research group is led by Dr. Pushpa C. Tomar a seasoned faculty member with a rich experience in plant stress physiology, genomics and gene expression. The other group is working for over production of plant secondary metabolites especially those of commercial value.

    Key equipment

    • Biosafety cabinet
    • Plant Growth Chamber
    • Tissue culture racks

    General equipment facility in the MBRC laboratory

    • Analytical Weighing Balance
    • -80°C Freezer
    • -20°C Freezer
    • pH meter
    • Autoclave
    • Fume hood
    • Water bath
    • Spectrophotometer
  • MoU Signed

    A MoU has been signed on 23rd April 2018 between SeqIndia Labs Private Limited, represented by Dr. Sukrit Silas (Director) and Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies (MRIIRS) represented by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Varshney, Director MRIIC in association with Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar, Cluster head- Molecular Biosciences Research Cluster.

    SeqIndia Labs Private Limited is a privately funded startup which is collaborating with MRIIRS for developing and commercializing their novel non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for Down’s syndrome. Present methods of prenatal diagnosis for Down’s syndrome are invasive and pose a high risk for pregnancy. This novel technique would enable the diagnosis of Down’s syndrome in 10th week of pregnancy as compared to the routine test that is carried out after completion of 15-16 weeks of pregnancy. This test would empower parents and clinicians to take decisions about invasive clinical testing only when it is necessary.

    MRIIRS and SeqIndia Labs Private Limited have agreed to collaborate in the research activities, by sharing technical expertise, technology, and equipment. The lab space and infrastructure shall be provided by MRIIRS. The collaboration is aimed to catalyze research that can be directly translated to the industry. 

  • Projects & Competitions
    1. Anveshan 2018
      Organised by Association of Indian Universities and MRIIRS at the Zonal Level on 26-27th February’18 and co-ordinated by Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar for the technical category ‘Agriculture’. Dr. Pushpa,  internal coordinator for the same category. Following students under the guidance of their Research Mentors participated-

    (i) Shivani Khare (B.Tech Biotech IV Semester) and Sanchit Sood (B.Tech Biotech VI Semester) under the supervision of Dr. Kapila Kumar

    (ii) S. Maneesha (M.Tech Biotech II semester) under the supervision of Mrs. Richa Yadav

    (iii) Mrs. Girisha Malhotra (Ph.D Student) under the supervision of Dr. Shilpa S. Chapadgaonkar

    Ms. Shivani Khare, student of B.Tech Biotechnology Batch 2016-20  and Mr. Sanchit Sood, student of B.Tech Biotechnology Batch 2015-19  under supervision of Dr. Kapila Kumar, AP, BT, won 2nd prize for their project entitled “ Sunlight in spotlight,

    Deficient or sufficient!” in Social Sciences Theme in Anveshan-2018 North Zone Student Research Convention held on 26-27 February at MRIIRS campus. They qualified to present their project work and represent the Institute at the National level of Anveshan 2018.

    1.  ‘Advances in Biosciences and Biotechnology – ICABB-2018’
      Students of B.Tech Biotechnology attended International Conference entitled ‘Advances in Biosciences and Biotechnology – ICABB-2018’ held at Department of Biotechnology, JIIT, Noida from February 1-3 2018. Two posters by two student teams under the supervision of Dr. Kapila Kumar were. The team of Shivani Khare ((B.Tech Biotech IV Semester) and Priyanka Chauhan (B.Tech Biotech VI Semester)  won “Best Poster Award” for the poster entitled “Emerging and Resurging Encephalitis Viruses: The Indian Scenario”. Both the teams were highly appreciated.
    1. INNOSKILL 2018
      INNOSKILL 2018 Mr. Sanchit Sood (B.Tech Biotech VI Semester) and Ms. Shivani Khare (B.Tech Biotech IV Semester) under the guidance of Dr. Kapila Kumar had participated in INNOSKILL 2018 the annual technical fest of MRIIRS and won 1st prize for the project entitled- “Detection and estimation of Vitamin D using Yeast Based Sensor” and were awarded with cash prize of Rs. 6000/-. They competed against 20 teams from different colleges and universities across Delhi NCR. The event was judged and evaluated by eminent personalities from industries.
    1. Solution for Pollution- Focus NCR region- Essay writing competition
      Solution for Pollution-Focus NCR region Club Environ and Molecular Biosciences Research Cluster organized an online competition wherein essay cum proposals were invited from students on the topic “Solution for Pollution-Focus NCR region”. The proposals were to be submitted by 25.4.18. The idea was to motivate the students to look for solution which can be taken up in future as a stepping stone for pollution free NCR region. Students across UG and PG participated in the competition as a team with two members in each team. Professor Joseph Alexanand Davis was the judge for the competition who meticulously evaluated the proposals based on the purpose, scientific argument, content, effectiveness and structure. Ms. Akansha Kanujia of M.Sc Biotech II Semester bagged the first position and Ms. Priyanshi Batra, B.Tech Biotech IV Semester won the second position. Certificate of participation were given to all the participants and volunteers and prizes were distributed to the winners.
    1. Teaching Model Competition
      Teaching Model Competition-14.3.2018 National Science Day is celebrated on 28th February every year to commemorate the discovery of Raman effects by Indian physicist Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman on 28 February. Sir C.V. Raman was awarded Noble Prize in Physics in 1930 for the discovery of Raman effects. To celebrate National Science Day, Club Biotechnea and Molecular Biosciences Research Cluster organized “Teaching Model Competition” on 14th March 2018. The theme of the event was to design a teaching model in such a way so that the students can understand the basics of science. This was a team event where the number of participants was limited to three. In total, seven teams from B.Tech Biotech participated in the event. The event was judged by Dr. Joseph (Department of Biotechnology, MRIIRS), Dr. Kalpana Varshney (Department of Chemistry, MRIIRS) and Mr. Vinay (Department of Mechanical Engineering. MRIIRS). The competition was tough to be judged as the judges were in a dilemma whether to assess a model on its teaching or research ability. The Team of Drishti and Muskaan from B.Tech Biotech 2nd Sem bagged the first prize. Students of fourth semester viz., Taruna Dhingra, Tanmaya and Simran Verma were the runner’s up. Certificate of participation were given to all the participants and volunteers and prizes were distributed to the winners.

    “BIOQUEST, unlocking knowledge at the speed of thought”- A quiz competition

    Molecular Biosciences Cluster, MRIIC in coordination with Department of Biotechnology, FET, MRIU organised a quiz competition “BIOQUEST, unlocking knowledge at the speed of thought” on 31st Jan 2017. Theme of the competition was Biosciences and questions were all related to general biosciences and biotechnology. In total, 29 teams participated, of which only six teams were selected on the basis of their performance in elimination round. In elimination round, participating teams were given 15 minutes to attempt MCQ based question paper comprising of 20 question. Two teams from each, B. Tech Biotech 2nd Semester, B. Tech Biotech 4th Semester and M. Sc. Biotechnology 2nd Semester were selected for the final round. The quiz was conducted by the volunteering students of the Biotechnology department. The quiz had four rounds named, General Round (Round 1), Picto-word Round (2nd Round), Buzzer Round (3rd Round) and Rapid-fire Round (4th Round). On the basis of performance in all the four rounds, Team A (Shivani Khare and Dipansh Srivastava of B. Tech Biotech 2ndSem) stood first, Team B (Manovrit and Meenal SianiB. Tech Biotech 2ndSem) stood 2nd and Team E (Leena and Gargi of M. Sc. Biotech 2ndSem) stood 3rd in the competition.

    The students in the audience also enjoyed thoroughly as few question were open to audience to answer.Winning teams were then awarded with a Certificate of Achievement and a Trophy (to each member of the team). The volunteer students were also facilitated with the Certificate of Appreciation by Dr. Abhilasha Shourie, Associate Professor and Head – Department of Biotechnology and Dr. Shilpa S Chapadgaonkar, Head of Molecular Biosciences Cluster.

    It was a nice, informative quiz with everyone participating enthusiastically.

    Debate- Genetically Modified Organisms
    The Molecular Biosciences Research Cluster, Department of Biotechnology, organized the Debate competition on 1st March 2017 in the spirit of National Science Day. The topic of the debate was “Genetically Modified Organisms” (GMOs). It was graced by Dr. Nilanjan Das, Research Coordinator, Accendere Knowledge Management Services and Dr. Lakhwinder Kaur, Assistant Professor Department of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dr.Shilpa Chapadgaonkar, Head of Molecular biosciences Cluster. The participants were divided into teams of two persons, each speaking against and for the motion. Both the aspects of using genetically modified organisms were discussed with good presentation skills and great affirmation. The better digestibility, long shelf life, better taste and use of fewer toxic chemicals were among the most discussed advantages of using GMOs and on the other side playing with nature without conscious efforts for the betterment of human life and serious effects on environment were discussed discouraging the use of GMOs. The point that nature and technology should not contradict each other rather complement each other was emphasized. The event witnessed the various aspects of genetic engineering.  A total of 11 teams participated in the event.

    It was an informative and interesting event and participants were thoroughly motivated to know about novel techniques and to take advantage to improve the quality of living.

    We hope such competitions are conducted on regular basis on diverse topics like this so that the students get to know the potentials that the field of Biotechnology holds.

    The programme was concluded by thanks-giving to the speakers, judges and research cluster team members with the hope to conduct such beneficial programmes again in future.