A 5 day International Webinar on ‘Science and Technology: Mitigating Current Challenges’ was successfully conducted during 7th to 11th September 2020 using Zoom Video Communications platform organised by the Department of Botany, with the keen support and encouragement from the Principal Mr PC Lalremsiama, and the Webinar organising team. 424 participants registered for this event, and the whole event was streamed live in the College Official YouTube channel. Positive feedbacks from participants ensured the success of this event, and e-certificates were provided to the active participants.
The main objective of this Webinar was to help interpret how Science and Technology is engaging in situations met with crisis hindering human welfare. The Webinar topics included vast areas in Science and Technology, and resource persons from various backgrounds were invited. We are extremely thankful to our esteemed resource persons for their lucid presentations where they shared their research experiences which widened our views in dealing with covid-19 as well as the manifestation of diseases altogether be it human or animal, and also acknowledged us in the use of online tools for communication and collaboration, an emergent requirement in the covid- 19 era.
Mr. C. Laldintluanga, Associate Professor, Department of Economics commenced the event with a welcome speech on the first day. The event was hosted by Dr. Lalremsiami Hrahsel, Organizing Secretary and by Dr. K. Lalhmingsangi, Co-ordinator of the event, with active participation from participants resulting in successful interaction round which occurred every day after each presentation. The entire event was taken up by the active participation and co- operation of the Botany department faculty members. A vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Lalhmangaihzuali Ralte, Head of Department, Botany on the last day.
Day 1 (7 Sept, 2020)
Resource person- DR. N.SENTHIL KUMAR, PhD Professor, Department of Biotechnology,
Mizoram University (A Central University), India.
Topic: Intervention of Science and Technology for Human Health
Highlights: Epidemiology, Genomics
To understand these changes or variations that exists globally, few databases have developed by cataloguing and interpreting them to apprehend their roles in disease manifestation and also to have better treatment regime through precision medicine. Here we report some of the research finding on those changes in human diseases like Cancer: gastric, breast, colorectal and pediatric leukemia, Diabetes and Tuberculosis in Mizo population. There are certain variants that might confers a diagnostic or prognostic implication from our study which ultimately merits for large scale genetic association studies and subsequent functional validation.
Day 2 (8 Sept, 2020)
Resource person- MR. C. VANLALCHHANHIMA, MTech CSE IIT GAU
Assistant Manager (S ystems)
SBI Global IT Centre, Mumbai, India.
Topic: Collaboration and Communication in the time of Coronavirus
Highlights: Online teaching tools, Online security
The prevalence of fast and affordable internet has resulted in more and more people using the internet. This is accelerated by the Covid pandemic which results in the adoption of the internet in record number. The disruptive nature or the pandemic also necessitates the use of online tools for communication and collaboration unlike any time in history. More people online means more security risks due to negligence and risks from sinister forces. The talk focuses on the various online tools available to ease the communication and collaboration activities with emphasis on learning and teaching tools and highlights several cyber security risks and safety measures against such risks.
Day 3 (9th Sept, 2020)
Resource person- DR. RITA ZOMUANPUII, PhD
Research Associate, Department of Environmental Science, Mizoram University (A Central University), India.
Topic: Different Covid-19 Tests used in Mizoram
Highlights: RT-PCR, RAT Tests
The presentation focused mainly on the different diagnostic test for Covid-19 in Mizoram. A brief summary on the structure of SARS-CoV2, its environmental and characteristics of infection progression was made. The diagnostic tests for Covid-19 includes: firstly, the molecular confirmatory test via real time PCR, which utilises the Taq Man assay. Second, the Rapid Antigen test (RAgT), which is an immunochromatographic test through antibodies coated on nitrocellulose membrane. It utilizes the monoclonal anti-SARS antibody extracted from mouse in the Test line and IgY antibody extracted from chicken on the control line. Third, Truenat machine employed in different districts of Mizoram, excluding Aizawl District, also utilizes the TagMan assay. However, both molecular and RAgT test had been described to have their limitations on their efficacy, quality control and accuracy. Rapid Antibody Test kit, previously discarded as diagnostic test, is not employed currently in the state.
Day 4 (10h Sept, 2020)
Resource person- DR. C.LALREMRUATA, PhD
Subject Matter Specialist (Animal Science), Krishi Vigyan Kendra – Lunglei, Hnahthial, Department of Agriculture, Govemment of Mizoram, India.
Topic: Animal husbandry practices during disease outbreak with special reference to Mizoram
Highlights: Recent pig diseases, Biosecurity
There is an increased protein demand which could be met from Animal products. Recent outbreak of Covid19 led to reduction in the supply of eggs, meat, dairy coming from outside Mizoram. If this continues, it could lead to deficiency in eggs, milk and meat products. Therefore, proper and scientific management using good technology plays an important role for sustaining livelihood of people. Farmers must know how to formulate animal rations by searching the non-conventional feed stuff, locally available feedstuff in order to feed balanced rations for sustaining the productivity. Since pig industry is one of the most popular and profitable income source in Mizoram, people should be aware against recent pig diseases and their methods to prevent the diseases will prevent huge loss of pigs in the state. Efforts must continue to check border areas to prevent animal entry. At the same time, the local breeders must emphasize in the field of Animal Husbandry practices for meeting the demand.
Day 5 (11 Sept, 2020
Resource person- DR. RAVENDRAN VASUDEVAN, PhD
Department of Plant Science, University of Cambridge, UK.
Topic: Synthetic Biology and its Applications in Plant Biology
Highlights: Advanced Bioengineering
Current advances in synthetic biology research have been underpinned by the exponential increase in available genomic information and proliferation of advanced DNA assembly tools. The subsequent adoption of vector assembly standards and parts libraries has greatly enhanced the reproducibility of research and exchange of parts between different biological systems. Development of an easy-to-use system called CyanoGate that unites cyanobacteria with plant systems, by building on the established Golden Gate MoClo syntax and assembly library for plants that has been adopted by the OpenPlant initiative (www.openplant.org) and iGEM competitions as “Phytobricks”.
Firstly, the toolkit has novel genetic parts (level 0) for use in cyanobacteria, chloroplast and mitochondrial research, including 43 promoters, 21 transcriptional terminators, 4 different markers. The toolkit also included the current gene knockout tools such as CRISPR/Cas9, CRISPR/Cpf1, the transcriptional gene silencing tool CRISPRi/dCas9, and translational gene silencing tool srRNA System. Secondly, there are additional level of acceptor vectors (level T) to facilitate integrative or replicative transformation. Within this toolkit, presence of another system that uses promoter Ptrc10 and BBa_231 19 series of promoters truncated to the transcriptional start site (TSS) with different strength of Ribosomal Binding Site (RBS) to modulate the gene expression based on the strength of RBS. Further, using this system, operon system was developed that drives multiple operons using single promoter. Finally, system to generate multiple gene knockout/knockin (homologous recombination) in cyanobacteria, chloroplast and mitochondria. Current works on construction of SynPLASTome (Synthetic Plastid Genome) with gene foundry will enable us to achieve this goal in a very short period of time. The synplastomes are expected to result in an extremely high expression platform for desired genes of interest and will lack of transgene positional effects, meaning impro ved consistency of trait expression. Synplastome will be generated with several feature standard CRISPR based genome editing sites and will allow for further modification. Current synthetic biology could significantly advance the field of plant metabolic engineering and help produce a path toward more economical, sustainable bio-based products.