New Research Labs at ASBT
During the Amrita School of Biotechnology’s 7th Annual Day Celebrations, three state-of-the-art research laboratories were inaugurated in the presence of Sampoojya Swami Amritaswarupanda Puri, President of Managing Board of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.Among these were the Amrita-Agilent Analytical Research Lab, the Molecular Biology Lab and the Lentiviral Research Lab.
The first lab was set up in partnership with Agilent Technologies that is headquartered in Germany. Agilent is considered a world leader in advanced chemical and bioanalytical instrumentation systems.
The lab has an advanced LC-MS system, that is a high pressure liquid chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer.
“The system uses analytical techniques to separate and identify components in liquid solutions by their molecular masses,” explained Dr. Walter Schrenk, Associate Professor at the Amrita School of Biotechnology.
“The solutions can be plant extracts, metabolic samples, peptides or even proteins,” he added.
Dr. Walter worked in the Research and Development division of Hewlett-Packard/Agilent as a research scientist for nearly three decades.
During the past several months, together with his wife Priya, he painstakingly took care of the smallest details in order to ensure that a world class lab was set up.
“Both Amrita and Agilent are devoted to excellence in research, scientific methods and instrumentation; as such this is a perfect match,” he shared, with obvious pride.
Dr. Tobias Preckel, Manager, Life Sciences Center, Agilent Technologies, Bangalore, came especially to attend the inauguration and the Annual Day celebrations.
“Agilent is honored to be working with a distinguished organization such as Amrita and looks forward to a very successful and constructive partnership in the years ahead,” he remarked.
The Molecular Biology Lab and the Lentiviral Research Lab were also inaugurated that day.These labs are equipped with advanced instrumentation including a real-time PCR machine, an ultra-centrifuge, a fluorescence microscope and a flow cytometer.
“Both units will help our work in understanding biological functions of genes, their association with diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and help build or engineer cell lines for the identification of compounds or natural products capable of alleviating these disease conditions,” explained Dr. Ayyappan Nair, Associate Professor at the Amrita School of Biotechnology.
Dr. Nair’s primary area of research is Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering.
“We will further research areas such as stem cell biology and its applications. The new facilities will greatly enhance our capabilities to perform research in wound healing,” he added.
Explaining how all three labs promote new research synergies, he said, “For example, after analyzing natural products, identifying their various components, using the Agilent LC-MS, we could test these components using biological assays relevant for disease indication that my group can develop.”
“All in all, the new labs will add tremendous research potential to existing advanced capabilities of the Amrita School of Biotechnology through flow cytometry, FTIR, FPLC and HPLC instrumentation systems. This will create opportunities to foster research collaborations not only within the institute, but also with other national and international laboratories,” he concluded.
September 15, 2011
School of Biotechnology, Amritapuri
Bio Pulse ’11 at ASBT