Exactly ten years ago this centre was truly the inspiration of the University’s Chancellor, lovingly known as Amma (mother). Amma felt that advanced research in new materials, including nanomaterials and advanced composites could contribute significantly towards new and affordable healthcare products. Amma is always fond of giving the example of how so many poor in South India die of heart valve disease because they cannot afford costly imported valves. The dream of the Centre was to develop innovative products using advanced materials that can be both indigenous and affordable. Ten years later the centre is proud of its many products in the pipeline towards fulfilling this vision of Amma.
Quality science and social responsibility evolved in the Centre as two sides of the same coin. The state of the art facility set up in picturesque Kochi, Kerala, (God’s own country, is the motto of the state) can be the envy of any scientist. Transmission Electron Microscope, 7 Tesla Animal MRI, Mass Spec, XPS surface analytical tool, Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope, Confocal Raman Microscope, among a host of other instruments, provide the scientists with all the tools to probe materials and biology at the molecular and nanoscale levels. The facilities are highly interdisciplinary harboring both the facilities for biologists, such as, cell culture clean rooms, animal facility, microbiology ,biochemistry , genomic and molecular biology labs and for materials scientists, such as materials characterization and testing facilities, have encouraged the integration of biology, medicine, materials and engineering.
The Centre is now moving to a truly translational stage of product-oriented research. A GLP animal laboratory for preclinical research and a GMP processing lab for six manufacturing lines are in the process of being set up to research prototypes made under full regulatory guidelines. Both Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India agencies, are contributing financially to the setting up of the GMP labs. The Centre invites enquiries for collaborative use of these translational facilities.
Soon after the initiation of the Centre, in keeping with Amma’s vision, the Centre started specialized research oriented courses at the post graduate level to train young scientist to carry the inspiration forward into the future. This included Master of Technology in Nanomedical Science, Molecular Medicine and Nanotechnology and Renewable Energy.
In recognition of these advances and contributions the Centre has now been recognized as the best Centre in India that integrates materials and biology at all scales. Some of the awards include Thematic Unit of Excellence in Medical Bio Nanotechnology, Unit of Excellence for projects at the Frontiers of Nanotechnology and Centre for Translational Nanomedicine.
Dr. A. P. J. Abdulkalam, the President of India visited the Centre in 2014.
Today the Centre has become truly international with collaborations in many countries, including, USA, England, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Japan, Korea, Australia, Singapore and Russia.