Common fruitfly at the centre of global meet in Pune in modern biology
PUNE National and international experts from various streams of biology, cancer and DNA damage, immunology and memory formation in the brain have gathered in Pune to discuss deep research into the common fruitfly at the 5th Asia Pacific Drosophila Research Conference (APDRC5) and Indian Drosophila Research Conference that began here today.
Two Nobel laureates, Eric Wieschaus and Michael Rosbash, renowned for their work in development biology and chronobiology respectively, are among the 100 international and 330 Indian participants in this five-day conference, being held in the country for the first time.
Organised by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, IISER’s Professor (Biology) Sutirth Dey said, “This meeting is special for us because the Indian scientific community is very strong in Drosophila. This is one of those meetings in which, absolutely, the who’s who of drosophoila biology from all over the world are coming. They are not only going to meet other scientists but also the post-doctoral, PhD students and under-graduates,” he said.
Dey, who is using Drosophila for research in Ecology and Evolution said this common fruitfly has a very different kind of immune system from humans and yet, some pathways are common.
It has been one of the most widely-used model organism in the world for research in life sciences over the last 100 years because its genome has been entirely sequenced and there is enormous information available about its biochemistry, physiology and behaviour, he said.
“The entire process of development from a cell to a full-fledged organism has been studied in Drosophila. Scientists have found that many similarities exist between Drosophila and higher organisms and therefore this research is very useful,” said Dey.
One of the highlights of the Pune conference is the participation of under-graduate, post-graduate and PhD students from top institutes across the country. Fifty six under-graduate students from nine institutes across India and 13 students from nine foreign institutes in the US, Japan, China and Taiwan are participating in this conference.
Drosophila brings together a range of experts such as developmental biologists, neurobiologists, evolutionary biologists, molecular biologists and others, all of who discuss their insights into the drosophila system.
Some of the top scientists participating are K Vijayaraghavan, developmental biologist and principal scientific advisor to Government of India, Developmental biologist LS Shashidhara; evolutionary biologist Amitabh Joshi; Subhash Lakhotia, a specialist in Chromosome Biology and Rakesh Mishra, an expert in Genomics and Epigenetics.
Trudi Schupbach, an expert on cancer and DNA damage from Princeton University; Gines Morata, an expert on formation of body patterns and gene functions from Spain; Kenji Matsuno, from Osaka University, and Ann Shyn Chiang, an expert on memory formation in brain from the National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, are among those participating at the event.