Amity University Haryana (AUH) organized the 90th annual meeting of The Society of Biological Chemists (SBC), under the theme “Metabolism to Drug Discovery: Where Chemistry and Biology Unite” in December 2021. The Society of Biological Chemists (SBC), India is one of the oldest scientific fraternities in India. The SBC (I) has more than 4000 members at present, including senior scientists in the field of life sciences, young researchers and students. SBC(I) headquarter is at IISc, Bangalore. The society also includes large numbers of local chapters across the country organizing local activities like seminars/workshops/conferences. Traditionally, the most significant activity of SBC(I) is its annual meeting hosted by different research labs/universities across the country.

The Amity Institute of Biotechnology (AIB), and Amity Institute of Integrative Sciences and Health (AIISH) worked hand in hand to successfully organize this year’s annual meeting. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held entirely on a virtual platform. The scientific sessions were spread over for four days which included 75 invited talks, 3 award lectures, as well as 4 plenary lectures from eminent scientific figures.  90thSBCI organising committee under the theme ‘Metabolism to Drug Discovery: Where Chemistry and biology Unite’ has decided to have not only thematic scientific sessions but also held very contemporary session dedicated on Covid-10: an Indian Perspective focusing on real perspective of Covid pandemic and vaccine development by the leading stakeholders.

Society of Biological Chemists – session in progress (Image: Amity)

The distinguished guest scientists from IISc Dr. D N Rao, President Elect of SBCI delivered a welcome address expressing the vision and mission of society along with Dr Utpal Nath, Secretary, SBCI and Dr Usha Vijayaraghavan, Vice President, SBCI in the inaugural session.

Chief Guest Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG, CSIR on “CSIR for New AtmaNirbhar Bharat” speaking on the occasion said, “Pandemics like SARS-Covid2 have been predicted for a long time in history. It was expected to be just around the corner for the last 25 years or so. In my own lab, what we realised in July or Aug 2020 that the mortality rate around the world appeared to have strange dichotomy. More died in richer countries than poorer countries. One of the reasons in richer countries could be age profile. Higher age group than poorer countries. Countries where autoimmune diseases prevalence higher correlation; Countries where infectious diseases were prevalent had inverse correlation.

“AtmaNirbhar Bharat: All components of a kit must be locally made. Everything you do, the basic thing that is required must be available in the closer geographical neighbourhood. The Atmanirbhar Bharat is a powerful concept. It is imperative we embrace the concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat” added Dr Mande.

Guest of Honor Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, Advisor, CSIR & Chairman, COVID Strategy Group of CSIR while expressing his thoughts on “COVID Mitigation Strategies of CSIR” said, “Pandemics of this nature comes once in 250 or 300 years. The real problem is not the current situation. The real problem is yet to come.Training of human resources is important. Huge gap in taking things from lab to market – translational centre is essential. Scientific, Medical and Industry community rose to the occasion remarkably in these challenging times.”

“The Scientific and Medical community in this country rose to the challenge remarkably well.The 38 CSIR National Institutes were well positioned to strengthen India’s preparedness and response to covid-19. Covid Strategy Group (CSG) was constituted with 5 Technology verticals to be led by the directors, added Dr Vishwakarma.

Dr. Ashok K. Chauhan, Founder President, Amity Education Group delivering his lecture on “Way Ahead and Future Roadmaps” said,This society SBCI together with Amity can do so much wonder. I was already thinking about 2031!When we will celebrate 100 years of the society with 50 years of my RBEF. We will work all these 10 years to show the power of Brahmastra, the power of hyper sonic missile which the society has. Bring out a synergy between the SBCI and Amity. There are so many valuable people in this society. We can do a lot of things together. I also appreciate my faculties, students, and staffs. Amity Science and Technology Thunder Force.” COVID means – Create Opportunities via Inspirational Determination will win.

Dr Aseem Chauhan, Chancellor, Amity University Haryana while delivering his lecture said, “One of the things I find very exciting is, tomorrow the world will change through a few different sectors; particularly in India. The other area I am particularly interested is precision medicine: ‘How can we develop drugs and pharmaceuticals that are not a cookie cutter, but are truly customized for the patient and the disease. The field of Biochemistry is very important in bringing about this progress.”

Prof. P.B. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Amity University Haryana while explaining the importance of ‘Life Tech’ said, “The Vedic Rishis of the ancient Indian Civilization always regarded peace and harmony with nature as an essential condition for a happy and healthy habitat on planet Mother Earth and acknowledged the power of nature in its forces of nature that showered both the bliss and when required the vice, if the nature became furious about our activities and harm inflicted to environment. That is why, a great attention had been paid by the founding fathers of Indian Civilization on Body Tech (Yoga and Fitness), Food Tech (Indian cuisine), Herbal Tech (Ayurveda) and finally Mind Tech (Meditation). All these were developed as the “Science of Life” that provided a highly developed and time-tested system of “Lifetech” that assured human existence for a good 100 years of life span.

Prof Rajendra Prasad, President SBCI & Convenor, Dean Faculty of Engineering, Science & Technology, Director, AIB & AIISH presented the Scientific, Technological, Engineering Research and Innovation Excellence of Amity University Haryana.

The more than 75 invited speakers from all over the country participated in the four day meeting with a special session on COVID 19 – An Indian Perspective was chaired by Dr. Sudhanshu Vrati, Executive Director, Regional Centre of Biotechnology (RCB), Faridabad, the first speaker Dr Anurag Agrawal,Director CSIR – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi delivered a very informative talk on COVID19: Genome Surveillance; Dr Sanjay Singh, CEO Gennova Biopharma expressed the insight on the Development of mRNA vaccine against Covid-19: A paradigm shift in vaccinology, Dr. R. Varadarajan, IISc, covered the  Immunogen design for COVID-19 along with Dr. Lalith Kishore, CCAMP, Bangalore described the  Indigenization of Diagnostics-CCAMP- InDx Journey in India. The session focused on the recent scientific updates and strategies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in society at large.

As session of the History of Biochemistry was chaired by Prof. Umesh Varshney, IISc, Bangalore. The stalwart speakers were Prof. GP Talwar, Talwar Research Foundation, New Delhi on Evolution of Biochemistry in Medical Institution, Prof. G Padmanabhan, CUTN, IISc., Bangalore on Known Molecules: New Applications Stand on Shoulders of Giants and Prof. D.J. Chattopadhyay, SNU, Kolkatatalkd on the History of Biochemistry-Eastern India. The four plenary speakers in the meeting wereDr Partha Pratim Majumder, NIBMG, Kolkata; Dr V. Nagaraja, IISc, Bangalore; Dr R. Sankarnarayanan, CCMB, Hyderabad and Dr. Gaiti Hasan, NCBS, Pune. The three award lectures presented were P. B. Rama Rao Memorial Award to Dr. Samir K. Maji, IIT Bombay on Prion-like p53 amyloids in cancer pathogenesis; Dr. M Shadaksharaswamy Endowment Lecture Award to Dr. Suman K. Dhar, JNU, New Delhi on Unique biology and possible interventions for therapy against human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and C. R. Krishna Murti Lecture Award to Dr. Kausik Chattopadhyay, IISER Mohali on The (w)hole story of the b-barrel pore-formation mechanism of Vibrio cholerae cytolysin.

Dr. Ujjaini Dasgupta, and Dr Kaustav Bandyopadhyay were Program Coordinator and was the master of ceremony was Dr Ujjaini Dasgupta along with Dr Nitai Debnath was Treasurer of the meeting. The following were present in the session Maj. Gen. B.S. Suhag, Pro Vice Chancellor AUH Prof. Padmakali Banerjee, President ASTIF Dr. W. Selvamurthy; Director General, Amity Foundation for Science, Technology & Innovation Alliances (AFSTIA) Dr. Rajiv Sharma; Dy Pro Vice Chancellor Dr. Vikas Madhukar, Director Dr. A Chakraborty, Registrar Dr Ravi Manuja, Director Admin. Squadron Leader S K Singh, Director HR. Rear Admiral K K. Pandey along with faculty, scientists, research scholars, students, delegates from universities, research institutes and industrial partners joined online.

Dr. Machiavelli Singh, Organizing Secretary, 90th SBC (I) delivered the vote of thanks to all the distinguished dignitaries, delegates, participants, and team members who participating in the four day long scientific meeting. He added that the online session like this will broaden the horizon of scientific knowledge and breakthrough in research and develop a synergistic platform among chemist and biologist to serve the society at large.

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