Tag Archives: JNCASR

Technology Transfer: A Pathway of Commercializing Research

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TechTransfer!

In the world of academic research, in order to be regarded as ‘productive’, paradoxically speaking, one needs to publish or perish. Although this idea has been floating around since ages, in the current era it does not seem to be enough just to publish and expect your work to get noticed. Beyond the scholarly publications, there is a whole new cosmos where some one not just notices the discovery but also channelizes it to develop into a tangible product that ultimately reaches the consumer. This entire process in which the knowledge is passed on from an academic institution to an industry is known as Technology Transfer. It is a pathway through which findings from fundamental and application-based research are advanced to commercially relevant applications via industries. Research from the lab desk to the market is made possible with the bridging provided by a team of experts who manage the commercialization aspect of research by identifying and evaluating suitable technological developments, file patents, negotiate license agreements along with routine review of similar on-going projects. This coordination is a vital aspect of technology transfer to ensure efficient and smooth exchange of intellect between researchers and potential manufacturers. This academic-industry partnership therefore requires a team that could function as a link between the two to promote the flow of work from laboratories to successful business enterprises.

With an esteemed team of leading scientists and growing scientific community, JNCASR over the last couple of years has been accelerating its progress w.r.t. commercialization of academic research. Having said that, for equipping this scientific community not just with financial support but with technological and legal assistance as well, JNCASR established its Technical Research Centre (TRC) in 2016. TRC, by design identifies such projects and teams at the institute that possess the caliber to translate their research ideas and experiments to sustainable and palpable products and technologies that aims to improve public health, environment and economy.

Prof. K.S. Narayan, TRC Coordinator, Dean R&D, JNCASR
Prof. K.S. Narayan, TRC Coordinator, Dean R&D, JNCASR
Dr. Kripa Jalapthy
Dr. Kripa Jalapthy
Sourabh Gargav
Sourabh Gargav

Through several formal and informal cooperation between technology developers (as in the researchers) at the institute and the technology seekers (as in the entrepreneurs/manufacturers/industrialists either in public or private sector); this team of TRC marches towards bringing the two platforms together in order to tunnel in the science done at the desk to reach out to the common man. Recognition of such areas is extremely relevant for they need proper guidance, counseling and financial support to scale-up the emerging technology at the lab to being innovative and ultimately an established technology. TRC team encourages such research at the institute and primarily manages this interface work through building contacts with potential companies, arranging formal meetings between scientists and company personnel and most importantly protects the intellectual property through patenting/copyrighting and licensing the novelty of research. The later is done during formal transfer of rights to companies/industries to use and commercialize the research product. In simple words, TRC encourages, guides and supports researchers, actively bolsters their work to find suitable collaborations with industries to use and commercialize new technologies developed at JNCASR to eventually benefit the society.

Exercising this process in years to come shall aid the progress of the institute via gaining recognition and reputation for its innovative research potential.  Moreover, building a path for research to reach out for greater benefits of the society in terms of health, environment and economy is the primary motive behind formation of this department. In particular, the team plays a pivotal role in helping researchers realize the potential of transferring their new discoveries or technologies out of the lab benches to the hands of industries/companies to test the mass scale production and aim to market their innovation. This process otherwise would be in a precarious state for taking a step ahead both by scientists and industrialists to come to a decision of examining lab research outcome at an industrial level.

Currently the team of TRC is headed by Prof. K.S.Narayan, Dean R&D and is run by Sourabh Gargav and Dr. Kripa Jalapathy who strive to make academic research and industry shake hands. Feel free to reach out to this team if you have some interesting results that is unique and significant to have a commercial value or a fantastic innovation that is directed towards answering or dealing with major concerns of the society.

This is first among a series of articles about the importance and reach of Technology Transfer through TRC at JNCASR. Keep reading to know more!

The article is authored by Manaswini Sarangi, Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, EIBU, JNCASR.

Cover Art by: Manaswini Sarangi.

If you were to function as a cell, what type would you be?

Insight from work on Rudhira
Insight from work on Rudhira

Imagine having the supreme ability of transforming yourself to any other functional being of your choice with impeccable precision, just like Mystic from X-men (Marvel fans would get the hint)! Setting aside Sci-Fi, in fact if we take a look inside us, each of us do have such remarkable cells in our body that carries immense potential (although choice is not conscious) to develop into a variety of structurally and functionally diverse cell types, especially in the early stages of life (embryonic stage) as well as during the growth phase. These gems are called Stem Cells; literally living up to their name – being the stem from which several types of cells branch out. Not just that, these cell types even take up the responsibility of replacing damaged cells in certain body parts of adult organisms. Be it understanding how an entire organism develops from a single cell or exploring its regenerative abilities for treating certain chronic diseases, worldwide research on stem cells has progressed appreciably over the last 40 years.

Prof. Maneesha S. Inamdar’s laboratory at the Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit of JNCASR, carries out fundamental research in stem cell and developmental biology using mouse and Drosophila as the model organisms. One of the long-term ongoing research at her lab is on a gene named ‘Rudhira’ that is fundamental to the formation and functioning of new blood vessels during mouse embryonic stage. The gene Rudhira (meaning blood-red) at first, was found to be expressed in the red blood cell lineage of mouse embryonic stem cells and subsequently has been shown to be conserved between Drosophila, mouse and human! The discovery of this novel gene was quite a turning point since the expressed protein has 98% similarity to a protein from the gene overexpressed in human breast cancer cells (human BCAS3). The later has been shown to have expression even in the embryonic stem cells, most importantly detected to have abnormal expression levels in malignant tumors and blood vessels.

Baseline findings
Further in-depth experiments revealed a vital role of Rudhira in directing movement of cells to particular locations required for the process of wound healing. During development in multicellular organisms, errors during the movement of cells to destined locations often result in serious diseases like formation of tumor or vascular defects. On this axis, Prof. Inamdar’s team established that the gene Rudhira codes for a protein that rearranges and promotes cell division control protein (a protein involved in regulation of cell cycle) during the process of wound healing. Lack of this protein was shown to have severe consequences on cell’s cytoskeletal structure (even though cells are microscopic, they have a skeletal structure too that holds them, aids their movement, plays substantial role in cell division) and orientation that ultimately affect the elemental process through which new blood vessels develop.

Current breakthrough
After establishing and functionally characterizing the role of Rudhira in-vitro, it was then time to replicate the results in-vivo. Ronak Shetty and Divyesh Joshi, two of the current graduate students from Prof. Inamdar’s lab involved in this project, continuing work initiated by former graduate student Dr. Mamta Jain, accomplished in generating the first Rudhira knockout mouse (Knockout literally translates to removal; in genetics it is the process through which an existing gene of interest is inactivated or replaced by an artificial piece of DNA with the aim to study what the gene normally function as).

These images depict normal vascular patterning in the control embryo (left) and irregular and discontinuous vasculature in the Rudhira knockout embryo (right) at day 10.5 of embryonic stage.
These images depict normal vascular patterning in the control embryo (left) and irregular and discontinuous vasculature in the Rudhira knockout embryo (right) at day 10.5 of embryonic stage.

In their recently published paper in Scientific Reports, the team details systematic experiments to show major developmental defects in mouse embryos lacking Rudhira. Rudhira knockout mice embryos were unable to survive beyond 9 days of their embryonic stage and were detected by decline in growth and significantly affected patterning in the dorsal aorta of heart. Through immunostaining and subsequent microscopic structure analysis of relevant tissues, the team was able to show that even if the developmental rate was not affected, severe defects in shape and structure of blood vessels in the head and heart of Rudhira knockout embryos were detected (these embryos had shrunken heart chambers and abrupt dorsal aorta among other structural defects in the development). Expression of this gene was further shown to be crucial for normal structuring and functioning in the inner layers of blood vessels.

Dr. Ronak Shetty (left), Prof. Maneesha S. Inamdar and Divyesh Joshi (right) at Vascular biology Laboratory, MBGU, JNCASR.
Dr. Ronak Shetty (left), Prof. Maneesha S. Inamdar (center) and Divyesh Joshi (right) at Vascular Biology Laboratory, MBGU, JNCASR.

This piece of work led by Prof. Inamdar not only reaffirmed the pivotal role of Rudhira in blood vessel development through in-vitro and in-vivo studies, but has also contributed to the field of developmental biology by establishing a mouse model for future studies in stem cell and medical research in cardiovascular development. For more studies from Vascular Biology Laboratory, click here.

Reference
Shetty, R., Joshi, D., Jain, M., Vasudevan, M., Paul, J.C., Bhat, G., Banerjee, P., Abe, T., Kiyonari, H., VijayRaghavan, K. and Inamdar, M.S., 2018. Rudhira/BCAS3 is essential for mouse development and cardiovascular patterning. Scientific reports, 8(1), p.5632.

The article is authored by Manaswini Sarangi, Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, EIBU, JNCASR.

Cover Art by: Manaswini Sarangi.