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Amrita School of Ayurveda was established in 2004 under the guidance and inspiration of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. It began its journey equipped with 14 Departments for Undergraduate Education in Ayurveda. Stepping on the success of this venture, 9 Postgraduate Courses were also introduced in the year 2013. The School of Ayurveda also offers Ph.D. Program in Ayurveda and presently 18 scholars have been enrolled.
The ACARA Research Labs aim to create a platform for Ayurveda physicians, scientists, biologists and clinicians to come together and explore new paradigms and frontiers in human biology. We believe that such a trans- disciplinary approach can help to develop a multi-paradigmatic and systems biology approach to understanding life, health and disease.
The ground for research ideas at ACARA is created by the synthesis of text, tradition and current practice in Ayurveda, which is then integrated with advancements in modern science and modern medicine. A reverse approach in translational research is adopted here to derive biological insights based on clinical experiences in Ayurvedic clinical practice at the point of care.
The traditional approach to research in modern science is from the bench to the bedside. But in the case of Ayurveda we also need the reverse approach – from the bedside to the bench. The research labs at Ayurveda facilitate bidirectional research of translation and reverse translation. The science behind the clinical wisdom of Ayurveda is understood through biological mechanisms.
The Phytochemistry Lab unravels the complex chemistry of Ayurvedic formulations. The Microbiology Lab gives insights on how the phytochemicals in Ayurvedic formulations balance the microbiota even as antimicrobial activity as well as antimicrobial resistance is studied. The Cell Culture Lab looks at the complex interactions between phytochemicals and human cells. The Genetic Lab investigates the impact of Ayurveda lifestyle, diet and medicines in up regulating and down regulating gene expressions as well as triggering epigenetic influences. The Clinical Lab generates insights from clinical practice and also translates biological insights into applications at point of care.
The Phytochemistry Lab has facilities to study the phytochemistry of plant based formulations used in clinical practice of Ayurveda. UV Vis Spectrophotometer and High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography help in identifying various phytochemical components as well as chemical signatures/fingerprints of individual plants as well as formulations.
The Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICPMS) has the capability to detect a wide range of elements in the periodic table including heavy metals in medicinal plants and herbal as well as herbo-mineral formulations.
The Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Interface for Quantum Time of Flight Analysis (LC MS/ MS QTOF) will help to identify specific components of Ayurvedic formulations in medicinal samples as well as in human serum after biotransformation.
The Microbiology Lab has capabilities to do bacterial as well as fungal studies with separate labs for bacteria and fungus. Studies are being done to test for bacterial as well as fungal contamination of Ayurvedic medicines. Antibacterial and anti fungal properties of medicinal plants and formulations are also being studied.
A major focus of the microbiology lab is to unravel the mechanisms by which Ayurvedic medicines and interventions influence the microbiota that outnumber and nurture the existence of human cells.
The microbiology lab is also aiming to gain better understanding of antimicrobial resistance and explore herbal alternatives to manage microbial infections. Studies are also being initiated to explore whether Ayurvedic formulations can overcome microbial resistance and potentiate antibiotics to which microbes have developed resistance.
Beyond the film of the microbiota, are the human cells at the very core of our existence and the Cell Culture Lab aims to understand how the complex phytochemicals in the Ayurvedic formulations interact with different human cells. Apart from exploring how the components of Ayurvedic formulations influence human cells and elicit immunological and other therapeutic responses, attempts are also being made to understand how the metabolites in human serum after ingestion of Ayurvedic medicines interact with the human cells. Hepatotoxicity, Renal Toxicity, Anticancer activity are also being tested.
The Cell Culture Lab is also working on understanding herb drug interactions, especially how chemical drugs used in modern medicine interact with Ayurvedic formulations as this knowledge will facilitate the development of Integrative Medicine.
Instrumentation:Biosafety Cabinet Class II, Inverted Microscope, CO2 Incubator, Deep Freezers (-80 and -20), Liquid Nitrogen
The Microbiota envelops the human cells and inside the human cells are stored the most crucial biological information in the form of genes. Up regulation and Down regulation of gene expressions play a crucial role in health and disease.
The Genetics Lab focuses on understanding the effects of Ayurvedic medicines at the level of genes.
The Genetic Lab is also involved in genetic fingerprinting of Ayurvedic medicinal plants for purposes of identification.
There is growing evidence regarding the epigenetic influences of lifestyle interventions and dietary modifications apart from the effects of medications. One of the thrust areas for research in genetics at ACARA is to understand the epigenetic influences of the complex interventions of Ayurveda that includes, lifestyle, diet and medicine.
In Ayurveda, new scientific insights can be often be gained from clinical practice rather than research laboratories. The Clinical Lab at ACARA aims to capture data from the point of clinical care and then explore the biological mechanisms underlying these practices.
The Dermalab Combo is an instrument that can measure nine dermatological parameters giving valuable insights on how topical applications influence the skin as well as how the skin responds to oil application and massage.
The Lactate Scout Plus can estimate lactic acid levels in the serum and is being used to understand how Ayurvedic medicines can help enhance performance of sportsmen. It can also give insights on how oil application and massage helps recovery from muscle fatigue. Heart Rate Variability is an index to the influence of the autonomous nervous system in regulating the physiology of the body. HRV is being studied to gain insights on the concept of dosa as well as Prakrti in Ayurveda.
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry which is capable of detecting metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as one part in 1015 (part per quadrillion, ppq) on non-interfered low-background isotopes. Compared to atomic absorption spectroscopy, ICP-MS has greater speed, precision, and sensitivity. One of the largest volume uses for ICP-MS is in the medical and forensic field, specifically, toxicology. A physician may order a metal assay for a number of reasons, such as suspicion of heavy metal poisoning, metabolic concerns, and even hepatotoxicity.
Microwave digestion is a common technique used by elemental scientists to dissolve heavy metals in the presence of organic molecules prior to analysis by inductively coupled plasma, atomic absorption, or atomic emission measurements. Microwave digester is used to prepare samples for analysis using ICP MS.
A biosafety cabinet (BSC)—also called a biological safety cabinet or microbiological safety cabinet- is an enclosed, ventilated laboratory workspace for safely working with materials contaminated with (or potentially contaminated with) pathogens requiring a defined biosafety level. Class II cabinets provide both kinds of protection (of the samples and of the environment) since makeup air is also HEPA-filtered
Phase-contrast microscopy is an optical microscopy technique that converts phase shifts in light passing through a transparent specimen to brightness changes in the image. Phase shifts themselves are invisible, but become visible when shown as brightness variations. Phase-contrast microscopy is particularly important in biology. It reveals many cellular structures that are not visible with a simpler bright-field microscope, as exemplified in the figure. These structures were made visible to earlier microscopists by staining, but this required additional preparation and thus killing the cells. The phase-contrast microscope made it possible for biologists to study living cells and how they proliferate through cell division.
An inverted microscope is a microscope with its light source and condenser on the top, above the stage pointing down, while the objectives and turret are below the stage pointing up. Inverted microscopes are constructed with the tip of the objective pointing upward so as to view the specimen from below. The objective is underneath the stage and light is directed on the specimen from above. This type of microscope is suitable for viewing culture vessels such as Petri dishes.
A fume hood (sometimes called a fume cupboard or fume closet) is a type of local ventilation device that is designed to limit exposure to hazardous or toxic fumes, vapors or dusts. A fume hood is typically a large piece of equipment enclosing five sides of a work area, the bottom of which is most commonly located at a standing work height. Two main types exist, ducted and recirculating (ductless). The principle is the same for both types: air is drawn in from the front (open) side of the cabinet, and either expelled outside the building or made safe through filtration and fed back into the room.
Incubator is a device used to grow and maintain microbiological cultures. The incubator maintains optimal temperature, humidity and other conditions of the atmosphere inside. Incubators are essential for a lot of experimental work in cell biology, microbiology and molecular biology and are used to culture both bacterial as well as eukaryotic cells.
A microplate reader is a device that is used to detect chemical, biological or physical reactions by measuring emitted light. Scientists in the life sciences, and pharmaceutical industries strive to improve routine laboratory processes and efficiency by using products or instruments able to handle samples in minutes or even seconds. A microplate reader helps to minimize operational time and to save costs, allowing researchers to dedicate more time to data analysis and generation of actionable insights.
An incubator shaker (or thermal shaker) can be considered a mix of an incubator and a shaker. It has an ability to shake while maintaining optimal conditions for incubating microbes or DNA replications. This equipment is very useful since, in order for a cell to grow, it needs oxygen and nutrients that require shaking so that they can be distributed evenly around the culture.
A water bath is laboratory equipment made from a container filled with heated water. It is used to incubate samples in water at a constant temperature over a long period of time. All water baths have a digital or an analogue interface to allow users to set a desired temperature. Utilisations include warming of reagents, melting of substrates or incubation of cell cultures. It is also used to enable certain chemical reactions to occur at high temperature. Water bath is a preferred heat source for heating flammable chemicals instead of an open flame to prevent ignition.
A centrifuge is a piece of equipment that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis (spins it in a circle), applying a force perpendicular to the axis of spin (outward) that can be very strong. The centrifuge works using the sedimentation principle, where the centrifugal acceleration causes denser substances and particles to move outward in the radial direction. At the same time, objects that are less dense are displaced and move to the center. In a laboratory centrifuge that uses sample tubes, the radial acceleration causes denser particles to settle to the bottom of the tube, while low-density substances rise to the top.
In the laboratory, high-performance ultrasonic baths are used not only for the thorough cleaning of laboratory glass but also for the effective homogenization of samples.Ultrasonic cleaning uses cavitation bubbles induced by high frequency pressure (sound) waves to agitate a liquid. The agitation produces high forces on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber, and ceramics. This action also penetrates blind holes, cracks, and recesses.
LC MS/MS QTOF (Liquid Chromatography in tandem with Mass Spectrometry for Quantum Time of Flight Analysis)
Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is an analytical chemistry technique that combines the physical separation capabilities of liquid chromatography (or HPLC) with the mass analysis capabilities of mass spectrometry (MS). MS/MS is the combination of two mass analyzers in one mass spec instrument. The first MS filters for the precursor ion followed by a fragmentation of the precursor ion with high energy and e.g. nitrogen gas. A second mass analyzer is then filtering for the product ions, generated by the fragmentation. The advantages of MS/MS is the increased sensitivity and we can gain more structural information on the analyte (QTOF) based on the fragmentation pattern.
Sonication is the act of applying sound energy to agitate particles in a sample, for various purposes such as the extraction of multiple compounds from plants, microalgae and seaweeds. Ultrasonic frequencies (>20 kHz) are usually used, leading to the process also being known as ultrasonication or ultra-sonication.
A vortex mixer, or vortexer, is a simple device used commonly in laboratories to mix small vials of liquid. It consists of an electric motor with the drive shaft oriented vertically and attached to a cupped rubber piece mounted slightly off-center. As the motor runs the rubber piece oscillates rapidly in a circular motion. When a test tube or other appropriate container is pressed into the rubber cup (or touched to its edge) the motion is transmitted to the liquid inside and a vortex is created.
UV/Vis spectroscopy is routinely used in analytical chemistry for the quantitative determination of different analytes, such as transition metal ions, highly conjugated organic compounds, and biological macromolecules
The Applied Biosystems® QuantStudio® 3 Real-Time PCR System is designed for users who need an affordable, easy-to-use real-time PCR system that doesn’t compromise performance and quality. The simplified Design and Analysis software is ideal for both first-time and experienced users. Using proven OptiFlex® technology (featuring 4 coupled channels and white LED) and featuring three independent Veriflex® temperature zones, the QuantStudio® 3 system enables improved data accuracy and sensitivity for a broad range of genomic applications.
The ChemiDoc MP Imaging System is a full-feature instrument for imaging and analyzing gels and western blots. It is designed to address multiplex fluorescent western blotting, chemiluminescence detection, general gel documentation applications, and stain-free technology imaging needs. All-in-one flexible imaging — get precise, reproducible fluorescence, chemiluminescence, and colorimetric gel and blot detection, analysis and documentation in a single system.
A magnetic stirrer or magnetic mixer is a laboratory device that employs a rotating magnetic field to cause a stir bar (or flea) immersed in a liquid to spin very quickly, thus stirring it. The rotating field may be created either by a rotating magnet or a set of stationary electromagnets, placed beneath the vessel with the liquid. Magnetic stirrers are often used in chemistry and biology, where they can be used inside hermetically closed vessels or systems, without the need for complicated rotary seals.
Intuitive interfaces, an ergonomic design and an easy-to-read display ideal for performing many simple, routine weighing tasks. A variety of built-in applications simplify specific weighing tasks, saving valuable time and increasing the reliability of the results.
Refrigerator for maintaining a temperature of up to minus 20 degrees celsius.In laboratory and clinical environments, it is important to keep perishable samples at a consistent temperature well below freezing. Minus 20 degrees Celsius is a commonly accepted baseline temperature at which to store perishable, flammable, or hazardous material.
Refrigerator for maintaining a temperature of up to minus 80 degrees celsius. Often referred to as a minus 80 freezer, these ultra low temperature freezers typically have a temperature range of -45C to -86C. Minus 80 freezers are used in research, in medical and clinical applications, and in industrial settings for the storage of samples that require ultra low storage temperatures. Minus 80 freezers usually come in two designs: upright models that allow easy access and chest freezers that allow safe and reliable long term storage. Most models are equipped with an audible alarm that signals when the temperature has risen too high or a power failure has occurred.
Refrigerator for maintaining a temperature of 4 degrees celsius. The 4 degrees is the logical minimum for a refrigerator because below that ice crystals start forming which many time destroy the texture and taste of substances. Laboratory refrigerators are designed for storing critical materials that demand constant temperature and security.
Laboratory incubators provide a controlled, contaminant-free environment for safe, reliable work with cell and tissue cultures by regulating conditions such as temperature, humidity, and CO2. Experiments that imitate processes in living organisms are called in vitro. In these, cells and tissue cultures are grown in the laboratory, often over several weeks, in an environment that is as natural as possible.Cultivation takes place in a CO2 incubator, in which not only the temperature, but also the humidity and carbon dioxide content, must be controllable.
Autoclave sterilizer with programmable functions, alarm notifications and safety and an ergonomic design. Autoclaves are steam sterilisation systems for laboratory and medical use.
The arium® mini UV is a compact ultrapure water system developed to provied ASTM Type 1 water quality. The system is ideal for general/ analytical applications and is suitable for a daily need < 10 liters. For critical analysis the integrated UV lamp allows an organic reduction down to < 5 ppb TOC*.
Lactate Scout Plus Analyser is used by performance and sports clinics around the world for its easy and reliable lactate measurement. Lactate Scout Plus is a hand-held lactate analyzer that requires just 0.2 μl of capillary blood and returns results in 10 seconds. Up to 250 results can be stored on the device which also features stopwatch and count down timers for performance measurement. An integrated step test function and Bluetooth connectivity makes Lactate Scout Plus the most advanced lactate meter in the market. Lactate Scout Plus has been designed to be used ‘in the field’ as a training companion for individuals or sports teams. Because lactate is an important measurement for many different types of athlete the Lactate Scout Plus operates in temperatures from 5-45 centigrade and in up to 85% humidity.
Flake Ice offers the best solution for maintaining refrigerated perishables where long-lasting freshness and natural appearance need to be guaranteed. The Ice Flaker Machine make small soft pieces of ice with 73% ice to water ratio.
A pH meter is a scientific instrument that measures the hydrogen-ion activity in water-based solutions, indicating its acidity or alkalinity expressed as pH. The pH meter measures the difference in electrical potential between a pH electrode and a reference electrode, and so the pH meter is sometimes referred to as a “potentiometric pH meter”. The difference in electrical potential relates to the acidity or pH of the solution.The pH meter is used in many applications ranging from laboratory experimentation to quality control.
Glassware Washer / Laboratory Glassware Washer. Laboratory glassware washers are a central piece of laboratory equipment; without clean glassware, experiments can be delayed or contaminated.
Jeio Tech laboratory ovens with gravity convection technology are specifically designed for applications requiring gentle airflow. These ovens are ideal for all sterilization, drying and hightemperature storage tasks that do not require high drying performance or special time requirements but cannot be affected by strong airflow such as powders and foils.
Electrophoresis is used to separate macromolecules like DNA, RNA and proteins. DNA fragments are separated according to their size. Proteins can be separated according to their size and their charge (different proteins have different charges). Vertical and Horizontal Electrophoresis instruments are available.
The DermaLab Combo features up to nine skin parameters in one instrument, as well as intuitive application software wirelessly controlled by the included tablet.
This is an instrument, which for the first time offers high frequency ultrasound for instant skin assessment in combination with more traditional skin parameters such as elasticity, hydration, sebum, TEWL etc.
The DermaLab Combo is well suited for scientific skin analysis, is ideal for product testing, as well as research work. Operation of the instrument is highly intuitive, fully touch-screen controlled, and the gathered data may easily be exported for further processing.
High Performance Thin Layer Liquid Chromatography (HPTLC) system for quantitative analyses including evaluation with TLC Scanner 4 and image documentation, including visionCATS software for control of instruments. Suitable for laboratories with high sample throughput.
visionCATS stands for ease of use and intuitive simplicity. The software organizes the workflow of HPTLC, controls the involved CAMAG instruments, and manages data. The easy to navigate user interface effectively guides the user through the chromatographic process – from definition of samples and substances to reporting of results.
TLC Visualizer 2
Professional imaging and documentation system for TLC/HPTLC chromatograms with a new digital CCD camera, connected by USB 3.0
TLC Scanner 4
The CAMAG TLC Scanner 4 is the most advanced workstation for densitometric evaluation of TLC/ HPTLC chromatograms and other planar objects Automatic Developing Chamber 2 (ADC 2) The CAMAG Automatic Developing Chamber 2 (ADC 2) offers convenience, safety and reproducibility for isocratic developments of TLC/ HPTLC plates and foils with the format 20 x 10 cm.