The Amrita School of Biotechnology organized its first ever international conference titled Biotechnology for Innovative Applications during August 11-14, 2013.
Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham recounted how the School had come into being.
“In 2004, Amrita received funding from DST’s Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) to start a Center of Excellence in Biotechnology. Within a short span of time, this Amrita Center emerged as the leading TIFAC center in India, among all disciplines. Within a span of three years, it was being nationally recognized as one of the best performing research centers in the nation.”
This TIFAC Center went on to become the Amrita School of Biotechnology, offering programs of study and research to bachelors, masters and doctoral students. It obtained the first ever US patent for Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham for the design of the insulin pump.
“Today for a country like India, biotechnology can potentially drive and deliver the next wave of technological change to propel employment generation, intellectual wealth creation, expansion of entrepreneurial opportunities and augmentation of industrial growth. All these provide compelling reasons that warrant a focus on this sector,” declared Dr. Bipin Nair, Dean, Amrita School of Biotechnology, at the inauguration.
Eminent scientist and scholar Dr. Suresh Subramani, Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs, University of California, San Diego, USA, echoed the same thoughts. “Among the greatest revolutions of the twentieth century is the medical revolution that embraces biotechnology and allows human beings to live longer and lead healthier and more prosperous lives.”
He called on the international research community gathered at Amrita for the 4-day conference to focus on making medical diagnosis and treatments more affordable for the common man.
Dr. P. R. Sudhakaran, Director, Kerala Biotechnology Commission, Government of Kerala also addressed the gathering. “The Indian biotechnology sector is one of the fastest growing knowledge-driven sectors; it can play a significant role in shaping the Indian economy,” he said.
Complimenting Amrita, he remarked, “I would consider this as one of the best colleges in our country India. Yours is a unique campus, and special in so many respects.”
Illustrating just why Amrita was special, during his benedictory address, Sampoojya Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri recalled an incident from one of Amma’s tours in Switzerland. Amma is the Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, and travels all over the world, conducting free programs.
“We were in Switzerland one year with Amma. We had a free day, which is a rare occasion. We all went for a stroll. At one point, we sat near an apple grove. The owner of the grove was also with us. It was a pleasant evening, clear and sunny. We spent about half an hour there just experiencing nature’s abundance and the pure air. When we were about to leave, Amma wanted to give something to everyone as prasad. The owner of the apple grove requested Amma to pick a few apples and distribute to everyone there. So Amma
walked to one of the apple trees, and gently and lovingly touched and caressed the tree first, then with her palms joined together, bowed down to the tree and asked the tree to allow her to pluck a few apples. Amma waited a few seconds, as if waiting to receive the tree’s permission, and then gently plucked the fruit. Before returning, Amma bowed down to the tree again. She sprinkled some water at its base and remarked, “It is your willingness to share everything with others that makes you so beautiful. May we, human beings become inspired by your example and remember it forever.”
September 12, 2013
School of Biotechnology, Amritapuri