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    Bengaluru :

    City scientists have found a new molecule that can enhance the efficiency of the autophagy process in brain cells, that can significantly reduce their degeneration, which is the cause of diseases like Parkinson’s.

    The scientists have initiated procedures to patent the process of discovery and the molecule itself -a potential drug -both of which have already been peer reviewed by international scientists.

    Autophagy is our body’s housekeeping mechanism: a process where healthy cells clean up toxic proteins, preventing them from aggregating and killing the cells. While research on autophagy first emerged in the 1960s, a lot of serious work has happened in the past decade or so. In fact, the 2016 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine went to Japan’s Yoshinori Ohsumi for his work in autophagy.

    A major reason for diseases like Parkinson’s -which don’t have a cure yet -is aggregation of toxic proteins and inefficient autophagy or the complete lack of it, thereby resulting in the death of brain cells (neurodegeneration).

    The new molecule, 6-Bio, discovered by scientists from the molecular biology and genetics unit (MBGU) at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), acts an autophagy modulator.”It (6-Bio) is capable of restoring autophagy and aid clearance of toxic protein aggregates, which otherwise form clumps and kill neu rons (brain cells),” said Ravi Manjithaya from MBGU.

    Lead author of the paper S N Suresh

    Lead author of the paper S N Suresh

    Unlike most other cells in the body, neurons aren’t easily replaceable, which means that once they are lost, they cannot be recovered. The research was led by Manjithaya and the lead author of the scientific paper was S N Suresh, a PhD student at MBGU under Manjithaya. Aravinda Chavalmane and Shashank Rai also contributed to the research.

    What does 6-BIO do ?

    The molecule enables neuroprotection by autophagy. It augments the efficiency of the autophagy process by enhancing the basal level (the speed at which autophagy happens). “Simply put, it quickens the process of cells taking bad proteins, which have formed clumps, to the cleanroom,” Manjithaya said. The research found a popular protein called GSK-3 Beta (a glycogen synthase protein) doesn’t allow autophagy to take place at a fast pace in brains cells affected by Parkinson’s and other similar diseases. “Our molecule removes this and quickens the process of autophagy,” he said.

    Tests and publishing

    The findings were published in Autophagy, a scientific journal edited by autophagy scientist Daniel J Klionsky.”Before sending them for peer review and publishing, we conducted tests in our lab, which were positive,” Manjithaya said.
    Bad proteins which were found to cause neurodegenerative diseases were produced in yeast, which reacted in the same way as our brain cells. “The proteins began to form clumps and kill the yeast. We then introduced 6-Bio into the yeast and saw if it could prevent the death of the cells. It worked,” Manjithaya explained. A large part of Nobel laureate Ohsumi’s work on autophagy involved experiments on yeast.

    Following this, the team tested 6-Bio on a mouse whose brain cells behaved like those of patients with Parkinson’s, and the results were positive again.

    They teamed up with James Chelliah and Abhik Paul from JNCASR’s Chelliah Lab and Phalguni Alladi, Vidyadhara DJ and Yarreiphang Haorei from Nimhans. Researchers said the discovery is not a magical cure for Parkinson’s but a breakthrough that can help find a therapeutic solution.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / Chethan Kumar / TNN / May 23rd, 2017

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    Gangadhara Hiregutti to get Mohare Hanumantha Rao award

    Noted journalist Nagesh Hegde, who writes extensively on environment and science issues, has been chosen for the prestigious TSR Memorial Award by the government for 2016.

    Gangadhara Hiregutti, editor, Munjavu daily, has been selected for the Mohare Hanumantha Rao Memorial Award.

    An expert committee, headed by former judge Indrakala, announced the award on Monday. The awards carries a purse of Rs.1 lakh each and a citation. The awards will be conferred on these two journalists at a function to be organised shortly, according to a release.

    Mr. Hegde served as Assistant Editor, Prajavani, and was also with Sudha, a weekly magazine. With a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the Jawaharlal University (JNU), he taught Environmental Geo-Science at Kumaon University, Nainital.

    Environmental issues

    He wrote extensively on environmental issues during his tenure as feature editor at Sudha.

    He has delivered lectures on environmental issues in various parts of the world. He has also worked towards popularising science among rural communities.

    Mr. Hegde is the recipient of many awards, including the Karnataka Rajyotsava and that of the Karnataka Sahitya Academy. He has written over a dozen books in Kannada on science, environment and development.

    Award for U.R. Rao

    U.R. Rao, space scientist, has been chosen for the Bhaskaracharya Award, instituted by Sri Channaveera Swamiji Foundation of Saranga Math in Vijayapura district. This was disclosed by Arun Shahpur, MLC, to presspersons here on Monday.

    source:  / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – May 16th, 2017

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    Cancer specialist US Vishal Rao of Bengaluru has been honoured with the 2017 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence, for his role in combating tobacco use in the country. Dr. Rao was presented the award on Wednesday at an event organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington D.C.

    Dr. Rao’s efforts led to a ban on gutka, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes in Karnataka. However, the State government recently overturned the ban on chewing tobacco. Dr. Rao is a member of the High-powered Committee on Tobacco Control instituted by he Government of Karnataka. He is also the inventor of a Rs. 50 voice box prosthetic for throat cancer patients whose larynx has been removed.

    “With strong government commitment and advocates willing to champion the cause, we can greatly reduce the burden of tobacco use in India,” he added.

    “The committee gave the award in recognition of the steps taken towards implementing the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition) Act, and how Karnataka led the way in this,” said Dr. Rao, speaking over telephone from Washigton. “Another was the implementation of the ban on gutka and chewing tobacco by the Government of Karnataka,” he added.

    Dr. Rao said that the battle continued with the recent order from the Food Safety Commissionerate reversing the ban on chewing tobacco. “We have written to the State government that the order contravenes its commitment made to the Supreme Court to ban chewing tobacco and gutka,” said Dr. Rao.

    The Wilkenfeld Award was established in honour of Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program. Dr. Rao is the second Indian to receive the award, the first being Pankaj Chaturvedi of Tata Memorial Hospital in 2013.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter , Cinthya Anand / Bengaluru – May 12th, 2017

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    An equestrian statue of Maratha King Shivaji, which was eagerly awaited by the Maratha community of Hubballi-Dharwad, has finally reached Hubballi from the artist’s studio in Indore.

    The 12-ft bronze statue of Shivaji Maharaj riding a horse, weighing approximately 2,500 kg, was made by sculptor from Indore Mahendra Kodwani. Mr. Kodwani has earlier made other statues of historical personalities for installation at various junctions in Hubballi.

    It took nearly a year for Mr. Kodwani to complete the bronze statue.

    It was only after approval from the former Mayor and Municipal Commissioner of Hubballi-Dharwad that the work on the statue began. The Mayor and the Commissioner, who had visited the artist’s studio at Indore, had inspected the clay model and after their approval, Mr. Kodwani began fabrication work.

    The statue reached Hubballi on a truck on Monday. It will be kept wrapped till its installation at the Mahatma Gandhi Park.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Hubballi – May 09th, 2017

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    May 9th, 2017adminRecords, All, Science & Technology

    Bengaluru :

    Hyperloop India has tied up with a city-based Workbench Projects to build the prototype pod that will feature in the global design competition for the super fast transportation system using magnetic levitation technology.



    1. Hyperloop India and Workbench Projects brace up for a design competition for the super fast transportation system.
    2. Hyperloop India’s scaled down pod prototype ‘OrcaPod’ has been selected for the final stage of SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Design competition.


    “Hyperloop India team has partnered with us to build the prototype pod in Bengaluru by the end of July. The building work will start from May 22. This will mark India’s entry into the international Hyperloop race,” Workbench Projects founder and CEO Pavan Kumar said today.

    Hyperloop India comprises more than 80 students from BITS Pilani, Indian School of Business and IIM-Ahmedabad, and their scaled down pod prototype  ‘OrcaPod’ has been selected for the final stage of SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Design competition, he told PTI.

    OrcaPod, being developed by Hyperloop India — one of the five teams shortlisted for Hyperloop One Global Challenge — can reach speeds up to 460 kmph.

    Hyperloop envisages transporting passengers or goods inside capsules put inside vacuum created in special tunnels above the ground at speeds of over 1,000 kmph.

    On the funding, Kumar said Rs 75 lakh was required to build the pod and so far he had been able to raise Rs 20 lakh through sponsorship.

    “As much as Rs 75 lakh is required to build the pod, and so far, I have raised Rs 20 lakh through sponsorship. I have raised this money from corporates, and I am confident I will be able to reach the target before the work begins,” he said.

    Hyperloop India signed the partnership with Workbench Projects three days ago for building the 4X2 metre pod.

    “My firm will assist Hyperloop India team to connect with fabricators and experts from Peenya and Electronic City for this build,” he said.

    The pod will be raced inside a mile-long vacuum tube built by SpaceX at Hawthorne in California, the official said.

    Hyperloop Transport Technologies had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several others, including chief ministers of various states, expressing interest in starting the project in India.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / PTI / May 09th, 2017

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    The Centre for Information Education Development Studies (CIEDS) Collective will soon organise a memorial event to pay tributes to Chalam Bennurkar, a pioneer of documentary film making in Karnataka, who passed away recently.

    Film societies are also planning to hold a festival of documentaries made by him. The 62-year-old filmmaker was found dead at a pond in Bagur, Chitradurga district.

    He had gone missing for a few days and his wife Kalpana had filed a missing person complaint.

    Chalam’s Kutty Japanin Kuzhandaigal (Children of Mini Japan), a Tamil documentary on labour conditions in Sivakashi, had won Golden Dove award at International Leipzig Festival of Documentary and Animation Film (Germany) and Citizen’s Prize and Prize of Encouragement at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Japan in in 1991. “Through this documentary Chalam took images of land to different platforms across the world. He brought value to the serious documentary films in Karnataka,” says Kesari Harvoo, filmmaker.

    Chalam had taken up various social issues, especially about women, through his films. He was instrumental in organising film festival on women’s issues in Bengaluru Film societies in 70s.

    He was also known as the voice of trangenders because of his documentary All About Our Famila.

    He also worked with Amitabh Chakraborty for Bishar Blues about Bengali Fakirs which undertakes a journey to understand Marfat, indigenous form of Islam in Sufi tradition.

    He also made documentary on Kunde Habba, a unique festival of the tribal people in Kodagu and Naave Yeravara on the Yerava community.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – May 08th, 2017

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    May 7th, 2017adminAmazing Feats, Education, Records, All


    Narayana Nayak briefing students about scholarships and other facilities that they are entitled to, at Balmatta First Grade College for Women in Mangaluru |Rajesh Shetty Ballalbagh

    Narayana Nayak briefing students about scholarships and other facilities that they are entitled to, at Balmatta First Grade College for Women in Mangaluru |Rajesh Shetty Ballalbagh

    Mangaluru :

    The clock strikes 8 at Karpe house in Bantwal taluk and sprightly 75-year-old K Narayana Naik is already at the gate, ready to begin his day. Clad in a pant and shirt and a cotton bag on his shoulder, his appearance is unassuming but Naik is the reason countless students have achieved higher education.

    Naik’s routine has remained the same since his retirement as school inspector in 2001. He starts his day by travelling to government-run schools and colleges in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, paying all the travel expenses from his pockets.

    At these schools and colleges, he helps deserving students avail scholarships.Naik says that there are several scholarships available for students. “But there is lack of awareness among students.”

    Nisham, a BCom student at Balmatta First Grade College, told Express, “Our ‘scholarship master’ (as Naik is known to students) not only creates awareness about new scholarships launched by government and private entities, but also helps students in completing the application and submitting it.” He even takes the trouble of hand delivering cheques to students who have passed out from college, she says.
    Nisham is just one of the hundreds of students who Naik has helped. In 2016, Naik had visited 130 government schools and colleges to help students, especially children of daily wage labourers, avail scholarships. “Many workers are aware of the schemes available for their children. I encourage workers to register with the labour welfare department to make them eligible for the benefits,” says Naik.

    Naik himself battled all odds to complete his Master’s degree in Kannada and Hindi and therefore believes he should help poor students have a fair chance at a better future.
    His efforts to help students does not stop at finding the best scholarships for those who deserve it. He has even encouraged others to support students’ education.

    When a student from Neerumarga in Mangaluru’s outskirts told Naik that she and her sisters would be forced to discontinue their studies owing to financial problems, he immediately approached a couple. The husband and wife were teachers and did not have children of their own. Naik encouraged them to support the three childen.
    Naik lives on a pension of `25,000 but he has generously spent at least 90 per cent of it paying fees. “Some students return the money, some don’t,” he says. He adds with a smile, “Being in the midst of students and teachers, I have never experienced post-retirement blues.”

    Corpus fund at school
    Apart from helping students, his efforts have permeated to helping educational institutions as well. He has helped set up a corpus fund of `26,000 in Koila school in Bantwal. His efforts have earned government colleges in Balmatta and Car Street receive scholarship aid worth `50 lakh to 60 lakh annually.

    Naik, an inspiration
    Naik’s motto to help others in any manner possible seems to have inspired others too. Five to six construction workers who received help from Naik are now building a house for  a widow  at a cost of  K7 lakh.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Karnataka / by Express News Service / May 07th, 2017

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    Drug-resistant E. coli become sensitive to antibiotics when H2S synthesis is inhibited

    Make them vulnerable: (From left) Dr. Saurabh Mishra, Dr. Amit Singh, Prashant Shukla and Dr Harinath have been able to reverse antibiotic resistance in E. coli.

    Make them vulnerable: (From left) Dr. Saurabh Mishra, Dr. Amit Singh, Prashant Shukla and Dr Harinath have been able to reverse antibiotic resistance in E. coli.

    Indian researchers have unravelled the mechanism by which hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas produced by bacteria protects them from antibiotics and plays a key role in helping bacteria develop drug resistance. And by blocking/disabling the enzyme that triggers the biosynthesis of hydrogen sulphide in bacteria, the researchers from Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, have been able to reverse antibiotic resistance in E. coli bacteria; E. coli bacteria were isolated from patients suffering from urinary tract infection. The results were published in the journal Chemical Science.

    Antibiotics kill by increasing the levels of reactive oxygen species (oxidative stress) inside bacterial cells. So any mechanism that detoxifies or counters reactive oxygen species generated by antibiotics will reduce the efficacy of antibiotics. “Hydrogen sulphide does this to nullify the effect of antibiotics,” says Dr. Amit Singh from the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at IISc and one of the corresponding authors of the paper. “When bacteria face reactive oxygen species a protective mechanism in the bacteria kicks in and more hydrogen sulphide is produced.” Hydrogen sulphide successfully counters reactive oxygen species and reduces the efficacy of antibiotics.

    The researchers carried out simple experiments to establish this. They first ascertained that regardless of the mode of action of antibiotics, the drugs uniformly induce reactive oxygen species formation inside E. coli bacteria. Then to test if increased levels of hydrogen sulphide gas inside bacteria counter reactive oxygen species produced upon treatment with antibiotics, a small molecule that produces hydrogen sulphide in a controlled manner inside the bacteria was used. “Hydrogen sulphide released by the molecule was able to counter reactive oxygen species and reduce the ability of antibiotics to kill bacteria,” says Dr. Singh.

    The small molecule was synthesised by a team led by Prof. Harinath Chakrapani from the Department of Chemistry, IISER, Pune; he is one of the corresponding authors of the paper. “We designed the small molecule keeping in mind that synthesis should be easy, efficiency in producing hydrogen sulphide should be high and the molecule should release hydrogen sulphide only inside bacteria and not mammalian cells,” says Vinayak S. Khodade from the Department of Chemistry, IISER, Pune and one of the authors of the paper who contributed equally like the first author. The researchers were able to selectively increase hydrogen sulphide levels inside a wide variety of bacteria.

    To reconfirm hydrogen sulphide’s role in countering reactive oxygen species, the team took multidrug-resistant, pathogenic strains of E. coli from patients suffering from urinary tract infection and measured the hydrogen sulphide levels in these strains. “We found the drug-resistant strains were naturally producing more hydrogen sulphide compared with drug-sensitive E. coli,” says Prashant Shukla from the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at IISc and the first author of the paper. So the team used a chemical compound that inhibits an enzyme responsible for hydrogen sulphide production. “There was nearly 50% reduction in drug-resistance when hydrogen sulphide production was blocked,” Dr. Singh says.

    “Bacteria that are genetically resistant to antibiotics actually become sensitive to antibiotics when hydrogen sulphide synthesis is inhibited,” says Prof. Chakrapani. The multidrug-resistant E. coli regained its ability to survive antibiotics when hydrogen sulphide was once again supplied by introducing the small molecule synthesised by Prof. Chakrapani.

    “As a result of our study, we have a found new mechanism to develop a new class of drug candidates that specifically target multidrug-resistant bacteria,” says Prof. Chakrapani. The researchers already have a few inhibitors that seem capable of blocking hydrogen sulphide production. But efforts are on to develop a library of inhibitors to increase the chances of success.

    How H2S acts

    The researchers identified that E. coli has two modes of respiration involving two different enzymes. The hydrogen sulphide gas produced shuts down E. coli’s aerobic respiration by targeting the main enzyme (cytochrome bo oxidase (CyoA)) responsible for it. E. coli then switches over to an alternative mode of respiration by relying on a different enzyme — cytochrome bd oxidase (Cydb). Besides enabling respiration, the Cydb enzyme detoxifies the reactive oxygen species produced by antibiotics and blunts the action of antibiotics.

    “So we found that hydrogen sulphide activates the Cydb enzyme, which, in turn, is responsible for increasing resistance towards antibiotics,” says Dr. Singh. “If we have a drug-like molecule(s) that blocks hydrogen sulphide production and inhibits Cydb enzyme activity then the combination will be highly lethal against multidrug-resistant bacteria.”

    This combination can also be used along with antibiotics to effectively treat difficult-to-cure bacterial infections.

    The link between hydrogen sulphide and Cydb enzyme in the emergence of drug resistance is another key finding of the study.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R. Prasad / May 06th, 2017

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    The Indian patent office has granted patent to the invention of Raghunath Manohar of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University

    The Indian patent office has granted patent to the invention of Raghunath Manohar of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University

    Manipal :

    The Indian patent office has granted patent to the invention of Raghunath Manohar of  Manipal Institute of Technology , Manipal University. His invention – a multi lens system which is a microscope and a component of a telescope – was approved recently. He had applied for it in 2009, and is the only inventor of the device. Earlier, he had received a US patent for ‘Marking Gauge’, for which too, he was the sole inventor.

    Giving details about the invention Manohar, deputy engineer (lab), department of Mechanical and Manufacturing MIT said that the telescope has nine lens which form the erecting lens system using nine biconvex lenses of same focal length and diameter 10 cm and 50 mm respectively. The optical system in the apparatus has eight PVC tubes of the required size. This is called the distance tube pieces. The above are slid into a slightly larger PVC container pipe having a collar at one end with a hole at the centre to view the image.

    This housing tube has external screw threads cut on it in order to focus and see distant objects clearly. This container tube is now the erecting eyepiece cum compound microscope. To use this as a telescope another bigger tube was used as an objective lens with larger diameter and focal length of 110 mm and 210 cms. This is called the objective tube. This objective tube is fixed to the container tube housing the 9 lens erecting lens system. Thus this now functions as a telescope.

    Manohar says that this invention of his has certain advantages over existing microscopes and telescopes: It has a wider field of view about 3 times of existing ones; It can be used as a compound microscope of 80X while some existing ones in addition to giving inverted image give 10X magnification only when used as a simple microscope; This can be made using locally available lenses and PVC pipes; Color free image is obtained due to achromatism of the equivalent lenses which is the characteristic of the optical system.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Mangalore News / by Kevin Mendonsa / TNN / May 02nd, 2016

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    A measure of history: The museum in Davangere has 3,000 varieties of weighing scales and measures.

    A measure of history: The museum in Davangere has 3,000 varieties of weighing scales and measures.

    In the heart of Karnataka, one man’s obsession has resulted in the first collection of weights and measures

    The first museum of weights and measures in the country sits in the Chamarajpeth market area of Davangere, Karnataka. Called Tula Bhavan, its exhibits include more than 3,000 varieties of weighing and measuring devices, some dating back at least three centuries.

    A visitor can see, for example, wire gauges and a depth-measuring tape made in Germany and folding scales from America and England. The bulk of the collection, though, originates in India, and includes devices from almost every part of the country, including from the times of the Nizams of Hyderabad, the Mysore Wadiyars, the Adil Shahis, and the Keladis. Among the prize pieces are wooden beam scales from Mysore, and weighing stones used during the Adil Shah period.

    The museum is the creation of a family which makes its living in the trade.

    Chennaveerappa Yalamalli had been in the business of selling weights and measures for 45 years. His son Basavaraj joined the family business in 1982. In 1997, he decided he wanted to set up a museum to create awareness of varieties of measuring devices. He began travelling across the country to collect information and models for his project. In 2006, he had enough to start the museum.

    When his father died in 2012, he took over the running of the business; two years later, in 2014, he set up the Chennaveerappa Yalamalli Memorial Trust to run and grow the museum.

    The museum entered the Limca Book of Records in 2016, and in January this year, the Department of Posts declared it the ‘first of its kind’ in the country in its in-house magazine.

    Mr. Yalamalli told The Hindu that he is sad that he has had little help from local authorities or the government, but he is happy that his son, Sriraj, has joined him, not just in the business but also in the mission of developing the museum.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Pradeepkumar Kadkol / Davangere – May 02nd, 2017

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