Research Highlights

How to Beat Anti-Incumbency

A A more realistic mathematical model has been developed by Mrinal Ghosh and his collaborators, one which considers inflation as having a fluctuating value, given by a stochastic differential equation. In this model, besides inflation, the other macroeconomic variable of importance is the unemployment rate. But these two variables are not independent. “Suppose you curb unemployment too much, inflation will go up—because people will have more money. And then…

Beating HIV at its own Game

ANarendra Dixit and his team have been studying the process of infection caused by HIV and its evolution using stochastic simulation models. These models allow them to closely track the fitness levels of the genetically diverse populations within a host and the factors that contribute to it. A recent study by Dixit and his student, Vipul Gupta, has demonstrated that if the mutation rate of HIV is increased over six times its natural mutation rate then the virus can be rendered inactive against its host.*

FBG Devices: Solving Real-World Problems

A Sundarrajan Asokan’s team works on a sensor technology known as Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) which has found a wide range of applications in optical sensing. An FBG consists of an optical fibre core surrounded by a glass cladding. This core is fabricated such that its refractive index varies in a sinusoidal pattern across its length, with a periodicity called the pitch. For a particular pitch, the FBG reflects a specific wavelength of light, while transmitting all the other wavelengths. …

A Significant Step in Understanding Climate Change

AIn a new study, Govindasamy Bala—one of India’s most well-known climate scientists—and his student, Angshuman  Modak, addressed the issue of the efficacy of the incident solar radiation relative to CO2.* Using amodelling approach, they considered climate system responses during three different time periods: a week, four months and a century.
“What we found was that the Sun is less effective than CO2 in causing climate change,” says…

Pacemaker Channels Regulate the Brains Local Field Potential

AA recent study by Manisha Sinha and Rishikesh Narayanan furthers our understanding of LFPs by showing that these electrical signals are not mere reflections of neuronal inputs, but are critically regulated regulated by “subthreshold ion channels” that are present in neuronal dendrites.*Ion channels are pores in the neuronal membrane that regulate the flow of ions between the exterior and interior of neurons, thus mediating the generation of neuronal spikes. “Our studystudy uncovers a distinct role for …

Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Signalling

Sandhya VisweswariahIn order to survive, the cells in our body need to track their environment closely and respond quickly to changes. To achieve this, they use signalling pathways which help a cell tune in to the outside world. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying cell signalling is the focus of research in Sandhya Visweswariah’s lab. Errors in cell signalling pathways can have serious consequences, including causing diseases. One such disease that has attracted Visweswariah’s attention is called congenital secretory diarrhoea (CSD), …

Paper Discs For Detecting Enzymes

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Uday Maitra’s lab specializes in developing such paper biosensors. Recently Maitra and his student, TumpaGorai, fabricated a low-cost paper biosensor that rapidly detects the presence of lipase, a pancreatic enzyme that breaks down fats into smaller molecules called fatty acids and glycerol during the process of digestion.* While a certain amount of lipase is important for …

Going for Gold

AUsing advanced microscopy techniques like transmission electron microscopy, N Ravishankar and his team study nanostructures, especially how they form, grow and attain specific shapes.
Ravishankar has a special interest in “growing” nanowires, one-dimensional wires which promise to revolutionize many fields. His group was …

Modulating Power

A“If you use black boxes for your research, you will have power electronics students who cannot handle power electronics devices themselves,” says G Narayanan, as we walk around the lab, filled with instruments built by students over the years—including Narayanan himself, …

Making Machines Learn Better

Shalabh BhatnagarShalabh Bhatnagar and his group work on the theory and applications of reinforcement learning (RL), an area of machine learning used in optimization problems. They are particularly interested in traffichandling—the vehicular kind on our roads, and the digital kind in our wireless networks. In RL, …

A High-Throughput Device For Cell Culture

AG. K. Ananthasuresh and his team investigate the mechanical response of biological cells to biochemical and physical stimuli. As part of their research, they have developed a miniature bioreactor system that mimics in vivo conditions in cell culture.*e.* The custom-designed system,

Large Impact Through Small Devices

AFor decades, silicon transistors have been shrinking in size. But silicon is no longer a suitable material when transistors become smaller than 10 nanometres.
Navakanta Bhat is interested in semiconductors that could replace silicon, especially 2D materials …

Rearranging carbon atoms for a better world

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Heading a very productive research group, many recognitions have already come Abha Misra’s way. She is a recipient of the Indian National Science Academy Medal for Young Scientists and an Associate of the Indian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, India. Her research revolves …

Glass, graphene and collective behaviour

res-ajaysood-1In recognition of his significant contributions to diverse areas of physics, Ajay Sood was recently elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society, the most prestigious scientific body in the world. Much like his previous work, Sood’s recent research—ranging from flocking behavior to the formation of glass…

Research in large-scale mimo systems

res-rajanchock-2More recently, recognizing the value and importance of translating their research output into practice, Chockalingam and Sundar Rajan, jointly with DRDO and partners from industry, have developed a large-scale MIMO system that uses 16 transmit antennas and 20 receive antennas in the 2.5 GHz band. The basic design and implementation approach for . …

Developing robust database management systems

res-jayant-2Jayant Haritsa leads the Database Systems Lab (DSL) at the Institute which has, over the past two years, solved this classical problem by designing a radically different query execution mechanism called plan bouquets. This game-changing …

Helping develop new drugs

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G Mugesh’s laboratory works on developing new therapeutic agents to battle diverse diseases. For instance, cancer, renal disease, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are all associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS)—chemically reactive molecules…

A pioneer in crystal engineering

res-gautam-1Gautam Radhakrishna Desiraju – one of India’s most eminent chemists – joined the Indian Institute of Science in 2009 after 30 years at the University of Hyderabad. It was he who, in his 1989 book, coined the term “crystal engineering”, which he defined as “the understanding of intermolecular interactions…

Visualizing data

res-natarajan-2Scientific data─such as those arising from imaging devices and computational experiments in science and engineering disciplines─is increasingly becoming larger in size and richer in its features. A deeper understanding of such data plays a fundamental role in the d …

Design inspired by nature

res-kamanio-1Kamonio Chattopadhyay, a materials engineer who has done pioneering work in the field of crystal structures, and Debiprosad Roy Mahapatra, an aeronautical engineer who works on engineering mechanics, were brought together by a mutual interest in designing futuristic materials inspired by nature…

Earthquake mechanisms, recurrence and hazard evaluation

res-kusala-1The Himalaya-formed by the India-Eurasia collision about 40 million years ago-is the northern boundary of the Indian subcontinent, and Burma-Andaman arc is its eastern boundary. Both of these are active tectonic boundaries which have made parts of the Indian subcontinent exceptionally vulnerable…

Towards cleaner, cheaper and more efficient power generation

res-pramod-2Today’s thermal power plants use steam to carry heat away from the source and turn a turbine to generate power. However, one could generate more power if, instead of steam, supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) is used. The term “supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature …

How nanoengineering is changing our world

res-rudra-4Rudra Pratap studies structures that are so small that they have properties very different from those in the macro-world. The current focus of his group is to understand the dynamics of micro and nanoscale mechanical structures, such as beams, plates, membranes etc, commonly used in Microelectromechanical Systems…

Studying dna repair, genomic instability and cancer therapeutics

res-sathees-4Sathees C Raghavan and his group work in the field of DNA repair, chromosomal translocations, altered DNA forms, the biochemistry of antibody diversity generation and cancer therapeutics.     Recently, they have designed, synthesized and identified a novel inhibitor─SCR7─of Ligase IV, an enzyme involved …

Combating tuberculosis

  res-nagaraja-3Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an ancient pathogen that causes the disease tuberculosis (TB), infecting millions of people every year; the disease has a very high rate of mortality and morbidity. The TB challenge has only grown with the emergence of drug-resistant strains of this bacterium. To combat the disease …

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