Dec 28, 2009
Amritapuri and Kochi Campuses
Dr. Natalia Maltsev from the University of Chicago was in Amrita recently to explore opportunities for collaboration. As Research Professor at the Department of Human Genetics, Dr. Natalia represented one of the best research universities in the world.
“On the one hand, I had an opportunity to visit with several doctors and faculty members at Amrita,” Dr. Natalia later stated. “We had several fruitful discussions. On the other hand, I enjoyed very much the hospitality I received at Amritapuri.” “Nowhere else in the world have I experienced such a feeling,” she emphasized.
An expert in the area of Bioinformatics, Dr. Natalia has made a database called GEDI. GEDI is used to develop an integrated bioinformatics platform that aids in making networks-based disease models for discovery, identification and characterization of genes and gene networks involved in complex multi-gene disorders.
“My main research focus is in the understanding of multifactorial and multigene disorders,” Dr. Natalia said. “These disorders lead to many diseases such as autism, schizophrenia, epilepsy, unipolar and bi-polar disorders, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.” Dr. Natalia presented her research work at Amrita.
Through WebEx, Dr. Natalia interacted with the faculty of the Amrita School of Biotechnology, some of whom are based in the US. She also spoke to the students, and shared her views with them about the scope of systems biology and current trends in bioinformatics.
Dr. Natalia visited Amrita’s Health Sciences campus in Kochi and participated in discussions with faculty about diabetes, neurology and pediatrics. She also gave a presentation about central nervous system diseases, GEDI and molecular biology and nano-bio technology.
How had Dr. Natalia learned about Amrita? At the University of Chicago, Dr. Natalia was impressed with bioinformatics related work of Ms. Sandhya Balasubramanian. Currently Scientific Applications Programmer at the University of Chicago, Sandhya was previously faculty at the Amrita School of Biotechnology and Dr. Natalia had first learned about Amrita from her.
“I was amazed by the work that Amrita has undertaken at all levels,” she said, upon the conclusion of her visit. “I visited the ashram’s Ecology Unit and was impressed with the recycling and bioorganic waste utilization methods.”
“I am back in Chicago now and have presented my findings to the Dr. T. Conrad Gilliam, Professor and Chair, Department of Human Genetics. I am excited to see how collaborative efforts between our two universities will shape up.”
Incidentally, the University of Chicago has 85 Nobel Laureates on their faculty list. The University also has several Fields Medalists, considered the equivalent of Nobel Laureates in Mathematics. Amrita would be honored to collaborate with such a distinguished body of experts.