Though agriculture and healthcare are major areas of DBT’s projects in the North Eastern Region of India, there are substantial programmes and projects in other key areas as well, such as Environmental Biotechnology.
NER-BPMC (DBT) has constituted a network programme titled “Impact assessment of Jhumming on native plants and soil microbiota and restoration of sustainable Jhum agro-ecosystem in Northeast India” with implementing partners from NEHU, Shillong; CAU, Umiam; Mizoram University, Mizoram; Nagaland University, Medziphema, Nagaland; RARS, Diphu, Assam; Dept. of Biotechnology, AAU, ICAR-RC, Tripura & IBSD, Imphal. The project activities have been initiated at respective institutes.
NER-BPMC of DBT has instituted another research network titled “Biotech Intervention on Selected Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (MAP) of NER for their effective utilisation” on four medicinal & aromatic plants (MAP) in October, 2011; this programme involves three partner institutions (a) AAU, Jorhat (Agric.) (b) AAU, Khanapara (Veterinary Campus and (c) NEIST, Jorhat (CSIR Institute) with the following objectives:
DBT’s NER-BPMC is poised to launch a new collaborative and interdisciplinary programme in Chemical Ecology between institutions in NER and partners in Bangalore. A major focus of this integrated programme will be on the chemistry of interactions among plants, animals and microbes. Such interactions and their understanding will impact many fields of biology, including agriculture (through their influence on pollination, crop size, and pest borne diseases), medicine (e.g. understanding the chemical basis of traditional medicine or how insect disease-vectors identify their mammalian hosts) and biotechnology (designing strategies for better crops through facilitating pollination, pest and disease transmission control). This platform is expected to provide a strong stimulus to ongoing research in the NER, while building enduring research and training links between NER institutions such as IBSD-Imphal (Manipur), IBSD-Gangtok (Sikkim), NEHU-Shillong (Meghalaya), Rajiv Gandhi University-Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Nagaland State Science & Technology Council, Kohima (Nagaland), Mizoram University- Aizawl (Mizoram), Manipur University- Imphal (Manipur) and partner institutions in Bangalore such as NCBS, IISc, C-CAMP, etc. The program has the following unique characteristics:
In addition to building research capacity in the NER and the rest of India, the multidisciplinary nature of this programme also guarantees that it will considerably enhance the quality and international impact of each component discipline, all of which lie within the purview of the DBT. This platform will also provide a firm base for new innovative research projects or twinning programs involving NER and Bangalore PIs over the coming years.
Dr T Madhan Mohan, Adviser,
Department of Biotechnology,
Ministry of Science and Technology, New Delhi