Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Today is World Refugee Day!

A group of rescued people on the deck of an Italian naval vessel as the sun sets in the Mediterranean. ©UNHCR/A. D'Amato
Each day war forces thousands of families to flee their homes.People like you, people like me. To escape the violence, they leave everything behind – everything except their hopes and dreams for a safer future. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency believes all refugees deserve to live in safety.

Take the case of Wafaa Tabra. She dreams of making her family whole again. She fled the war in Syria with her three children. Wafaa, 33, says: “I used to be a fashion designer in Syria. I studied sewing and fashion design at the Mamoun International Center in Damascus. Most of all, I loved making wedding dresses.”

“Then the war came. It destroyed everything. My husband left our home eleven months ago. I haven’t seen him since. He managed to reach Germany. I hoped to join him via the reunification program, but it was taking too long. Then, my children’s school was destroyed. My brother died in a bombing, and friends and relatives were killed. We lived in constant fear. Staying in Syria was too dangerous. Maybe I could have endured it, but they couldn’t [her children]. I decided I had to leave.”

“I’ve been in Greece for two months. We slept in a small tent in a gas station. For weeks, we hoped the border would open. Then, a month ago, we moved to another camp. We have a large tent to ourselves now. We draw, paint and play. Art helps us to forget our difficulties. But my children miss their father.”

“ Now, I dream. I dream of continuing my education, of making dresses again. I dream of my children returning to school. Most of all, I dream of making my family whole again.”

Wafaa fled her hometown of Aleppo, Syria, in February 2016. She had hoped to join her husband in Germany, who left their war-torn home one year ago. But her family’s flight from war came to a halt in Greece, after countries along the Balkans route tightened borders in March.

June 20 is the day the world commemorates the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees like Wafaa. Held every year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

In September 2016, global leaders agreed to work towards a Global Compact for refugees in 2018 where all parts of society stand together #WithRefugees and do their fair share instead of leaving individual states to bear the burden of mass forced displacement.

The UN Refugee Agency is working to ensure the following:

  • Every refugee child gets an education
  • Every refugee family has somewhere safe to live
  • Every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families.

In a world where one in every 113 people have been forced to flee their homes because of war or persecution it’s vital we demonstrate the global public stands #WithRefugees.

Please stand #WithRefugees!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Trends in biotech! The mapping of the human genome is just the beginning...

New tools and products developed by biotechnologists are transforming research, agriculture, industry & medicine. #TheSchoolOfLifesciences will be organizing popular lectures in biotechnology sponsored by #DBTIndia on Aug 3, 2017. Interested? Login to http://bit.ly/2tfTmbY​

​​The mapping of the human genome is just the beginning. Genomics, bioinformatics, Systems-Biology and Proteomics will transform biotech into an evolutionary design science affecting everything from health care to agriculture. Human performance enhancement will be the largest market in the 21st century.

Synthetic tissue and organisms, “friendly” biobots and bio-nanites, cybernetic enhancements, cellular “repair” systems and biochip implants . . . these are just a few of the applications already being developed.

Neural prosthetics, implantable biochips, cybernetic enhancement micro-devices . . . this was the stuff of science fiction even just a few years ago, but is already in production, and being provided in various forms to patients. The example shown here is from a line of products being developed and marketed by Medtronics. They are currently producing a variety of devices, including neural implants to treat the effects of epilpsy, and other neurological disorders.

Experts at the Institute Of Global Futures weigh in on the top ten biotech trends for the 21st Century
  • By 2020, we will decipher the human genome, the blueprint of our DNA.
  • Genetic solutions to human ills will be highly prized intellectual property.
  • New biotech drugs will save countless lives and eliminate many diseases.
  • We will create designer babies with altered genes to enhance their capabilities and eliminate unwanted characteristics.
  • We will learn to turn on and off certain genes to influence performance and health.
  • The convergence of biotech and computers will accelerate the genetic redesign of all living things.
  • We will learn to clone organs to enhance health and longevity.
  • Privacy issues about access to individuals’ genetic data will cause conflicts among people, business, and governments.
  • Careers, relationships, and opportunities will be influenced by genetic heritage.
  • Biotech for human enhancement will be the most profitable industry in the 21st century.

Meanwhile, advances in biotech offer great promise in the battle against the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease.The healthcare bills for dealing with it are astronomical—with one analysis estimating Alzheimer’s will gobble up one-fourth of Medicare spending in 2040. The pharmaceutical industry has had no effective response yet. Billions of dollars have been invested in targeted antibody drugs that are supposed to help clear out the buildup of amyloid-beta protein plaques that are thought to gum up memory and cognition as we age.

But we’re beginning to see some signs of support for alternative scientific approaches. Cambridge, Mass.-based Yumanity Therapeutics has created a new drug discovery engine for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. South San Francisco-based Annexon Biosciences, a Stanford University spinout, raised $44 million to build on research that suggests you can fight Alzheimer’s by stopping the immune system from removing synapses we need for neuronal functioning. EIP Pharma, another start-up, showed that an old anti-inflammatory drug improved cognition and memory in a small set of patients with mild Alzheimer’s. '

Where does current research and development go from here? Advanced sensory and neural enhancement devices, neural interconnect systems, micro and nano scale machines that patrol the human body constantly repairing and updating various organs, blood, tissue systems . . . this is just the beginning.

The ribosome, the nanofoundary of all living cells . . . here in its natural form, is being probed, and eventually will be hybrid engineered as the nanobiological machinery of creation.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Give blood. Give now. Give often

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

Blood is an important resource, both for planned treatments and urgent interventions. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.

A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. Ensuring safe and sufficient blood supplies requires the development of a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations. However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.

Focus of this year’s campaign

The lives and health of millions of people are affected by emergencies every year. In the last decade, disasters have caused more than 1 million deaths, with more than 250 million people being affected by emergencies every year. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and storms create considerable needs for emergency health care, while at the same time, often destroying vital health facilities as well. Man-made disasters such as road accidents and armed conflicts also generate substantial health care demands and the need for front-line treatment.

Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency health care. Emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and make its delivery challenging and complex. Adequate supply of blood during emergencies requires a well-organized blood service, and this can only be ensured by engaging the entire community and a blood donor population committed to voluntary unpaid blood donation throughout the year.

What can you do? ​​Give blood. Give now. Give often

This year’s campaign will focus on blood donation in emergencies. In crisis or emergency situation, the natural human response is “What can I do? How can I help?”. Therefore, the slogan for the 2017 campaign is: What can you do?, with the secondary message: Give blood. Give now. Give often.

The campaign underlines the role every single person can play in helping others in emergency situations, by giving the valuable gift of blood. It also focuses on the fact that it is important to give blood regularly, so that the blood stock is sufficient before an emergency arises.

The objectives of this year’s campaign:

  • to encourage all people to strengthen the emergency preparedness of health services in their community by donating blood;
  • to engage authorities in the establishment of effective national blood donor programmes with the capacity to respond promptly to the increase in blood demand during emergencies;
  • to promote the inclusion of blood transfusion services in national emergency preparedness and response activities;
  • to build wider public awareness of the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve a national self-sufficiency of blood;
  • to celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood regularly and to encourage young people to become new donors as well;
  • to promote international collaboration and to ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability.

The host country for the global event of World Blood Donor Day 2017 is Viet Nam through its National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT). ​

Monday, 12 June 2017

Apple CEO Tim Cook struck a worried but hopeful tone in his recent commencement speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Science is worthless if it isn't motivated by basic human values and the desire to help people, Cook told the graduates of MIT, urging them to use their powers for good.

He called on the graduates, likely including plenty of future tech leaders, to find purpose in their work by putting human needs front and center. But he also acknowledged society's struggles with technology's downsides.

Cook began his 20-minute speech on an upbeat note, describing the common ground between his company and the venerable university.

“MIT and Apple share so much. We both love hard problems. We love the search for new ideas, and we especially love finding those ideas, the really big ones, the ones that could change the world.”

But Cook suggested that while MIT grads could expect to accomplish great things, a deep sense of meaning may be the hardest thing to achieve in the end. He described his own long struggle to answer the big questions: “Where’s all this going . . . What is my purpose?”

“I kept convincing myself that it was just over the horizon, around the next corner,” he said. But through 15 years of career advancement, meditation, and religious and philosophical quests, Cook said, “nothing worked, and it was really tearing me apart.”

Cook found his answer when he joined Apple in 1998 under CEO Steve Jobs. He connected instantly with the company’s uniquely clear and decisive mission.

“It was just that simple: serve humanity. It was in that moment, after 15 years of searching, something clicked,” Cook said. To illustrate that mission and its challenges, he told a more recent story about rebuffing a shareholder who objected to Apple’s unprofitable environmental initiatives. According to Cook, he ultimately told the critic that he "shouldn’t own Apple stock.”

Cook called on the new MIT grads to marshal their skills to help tackle issues from cancer to inequality to climate change. But he cautioned that “technology alone isn’t the solution. And sometimes it’s even part of the problem.” Among the problems bred by technology, Cook cited were “threats to our security, threats to our privacy, fake news, and social media that becomes anti-social."

He continued that, "Sometimes the very technology that is meant to connect us, divides us.”

As an alternative, Cook reiterated Jobs’ frequent dictum that technology should be guided by the insights of the humanities and liberal arts. “If science is a search in the darkness,” said Cook, “then the humanities are a candle that shows us where we’ve been, and the danger that lies ahead.”

Though the road ahead is fraught, Cook said he is “optimistic, because I believe in your generation, your passion, your journey.”Cook’s speech wasn’t all grim warnings and grand challenges. He also worked in mild jabs at both Windows computers and President Donald Trump, applauding MIT pranksters who had “obviously . . . taken over the President’s Twitter account. I can tell college students are behind it because most of the tweets happen at 3 a.m.”

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Clouds gather over the Paris accord on climate change

US President Trump has announced that he will withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change. The US now joins only two countries — Nicaragua and Syria — in opposing the climate agreement that all other nations reached in 2015.

“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”

Trump's announcement will weaken efforts to combat global warming and embrace isolationist voices in his White House who argued that the agreement was a pernicious threat to the economy and American sovereignty.

Trump said the landmark 2015 pact imposed wildly unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers. He vowed to stand with the people of the United States against what he called a “draconian” international deal.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said, drawing support from members of his Republican Party but widespread condemnation from political leaders, business executives and environmentalists around the globe.

Looking back, one of the biggest headlines to come out of the G20 summit in China last year was the announcement that both China and the US had ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The announcement was significant, because the US and China are the world’s two biggest polluters. China is responsible for 20.09% of global emissions, while the US is responsible for 17.89%. With

What is the Paris agreement?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. It is responsible for the increase in extreme weather events, as well as an unbroken series of hottest years on record. Indeed, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016 named it as one of biggest risks we face.

In recognition of this, 179 countries and the EU spent two weeks in Paris last December hammering out the final wording of an agreement to keep global temperature increase well below 2C and if possible, below 1.5C. The reduction in temperature can only be achieved through a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. Known as COP21, (The 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), it was one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever seen.

Everyone who attended COP21 made emission-cutting pledges. These are known as “intended nationally determined contributions”, or INDCs for short. The US, for example, pledged to cut U.S. climate pollution by 26-28% from 2005 levels. China’s target is to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest, lower the carbon intensity of GDP by 60% to 65% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to increase the share of non-fossil energy carriers of the total primary energy supply to around 20%.

The EU plans to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 on 1990 levels.

What will make the agreement come into force?

For the agreement to come into effect, at least 55 countries have to join it, and those countries have to represent 55% of global emissions. Once this is achieved, everyone will be obliged to meet their emissions-cutting pledges.

There are three steps that a country or party has to take before officially joining the agreement.

1. Adopt the agreement

This is what the meeting in December 2015 was all about. All the parties who attended the meeting agreed to - “adopted” - the text of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

2. Sign the agreement

On April 22, 2016, the Paris Agreement was opened for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This step indicates a commitment by that country to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Agreement. The Agreement will remain open for signature until April 2017.

3. Join the agreement

Each party has to ratify the agreement, i.e. go back to their domestic governments in order to gain domestic approval or, in some cases, have it passed by domestic law. China, for instance, voted to adopt "the proposal to review and ratify the Paris Agreement," at the closing meeting of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. The US used a presidential executive agreement. Once the Agreement is ratified the parties submit an “instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval” to the UN to prove that they are ready to join.

Why was the news about the US and China so significant?

Before the announcement by the US and China, only 24 countries – responsible for about 1% of global emissions – had ratified the agreement, while 180 had signed it.

The global emissions target of 55% had been significantly boosted by China and the US, who between them represent 37.98% of global emissions. This brings the total parties who have joined the Agreement to 26, and the percentage of global emissions to 39.06%.

Their announcement puts pressure on other participants – such as the EU – to speed up their ratifying process. Some of the world’s other large polluters, such as Japan, Brazil and Canada have all publicly said that they intend to ratify the agreement by the end of the year.

What happens if a party changes its mind?

Interestingly, however, once a party has joined the agreement, they cannot begin the process of withdrawal for three years.

The Paris Agreement signifies years of work in trying to combat climate change. In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2005, the Kyoto Protocol became a legally binding treaty. It committed its parties to internationally binding emission reduction targets. It ends in 2020, and COP21 is designed to take its place.

It remains to be seen how Trump's statements will affect the Paris accord.

LabView certification course from Crescent University's Dept of Electronics & communication Engineering

Crescent University's Dept of Electronics & communication Engineering is offering a great opportunity and exciting learning platform for UG & PG students, engineers from academia and R&D institutions keen on learning and mastering the LabView environment. The training programme will be from June 5 to June 10, 2017.

This certification will reflect the level of your programming skills and can be helpful when applying for a software developer position requiring LabVIEW skills.

The goal of this training is to give intense training on LabVIEW and turn the participants into NI certified CLAD engineers.

NI certified LabVIEW Associate Developer CLAD exam will be conducted by National Instruments and Crescent University at the end of the training. Recently six of our faculty and 16 students were certified as CLAD engineers.

For details on the training: bit.ly/2qMjgXS

LabVIEW programs are called virtual instruments, or VIs, because their appearance and operation often imitate physical instruments, such as oscilloscopes and multimeters. LabVIEW contains a comprehensive set of tools for acquiring, analyzing, displaying, and storing data, as well as tools to help you troubleshoot the code you write.

Basics of LabView is a prerequisite for attending the training. The convener is Dr C Tharini, HOD/ECE. The NI certified LabVIEW Associate Developer (CLAD) is the first step in the three-part NI LabVIEW certification process. More than 200 companies including Honeywell, BOSCH, National SemiConductors and Indian Air Force have benefitted from NI training programmes. And companies like Siemens, GE, Delphi are keen to recruit candidates with experince in LabVIEW.

The ECE Department was established in 1994 and offers under graduate program B. Tech- Electronics and Communication Engineering and 2 Post Graduate programmes - M. Tech Communication Systems and M. Tech –VLSI & Embedded Systems. The department has an optimum blend of staff members with Research & Development, Industrial and Academic experience. The department has excellent infrastructure with 14 labs all with industry standard hardware & software tools.

The dept envisions to be a leader in providing state of the art education through excellence in teaching, training, and research in contemporary areas of Electronics and Communication Engineering and aspires to meet the global and socio economic challenges of the country.

The following opportunities await students from our ECE dept.

Students can take up positions in Research, Design, Analysis, Development, Production, Testing, Installation and Commissioning in the areas of Electronics and Communication Engineering.

Students can play an active role in all endeavors and advancement in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering which transform the way humans communicate and enhance their life styles.

They can take up positions as Software Solution Developers, Hardware Engineers, Networking Engineers, Network Programmers and Product Engineers and Marketing of Technological Products & Systems.

Crescent University felicitates winners of SARVASASTRA 2017

Crescent University congratulates its students and budding scientists who presented papers and won awards at the 8th National conference on advances in biotechnology and health science “SARVASASTRA 2017”.

SARVASASTRA is a Sanskrit word meaning "Knowing Every Science". It is a National Level Conference organised by the Department of Biotechnology of Dr.M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute University. The theme for the Conference this year was Advances In Biotechnology And Health Sciences.

The main objective of the Conference was to provide a platform for discussing and exchanging views on various areas of ‘Advances In Biotechnology And Health Sciences’ and their applications by Academicians, Researchers and Practitioners.

We are delighted to announce the names of the Third year B.Tech Biotechnology and cancer biotechnology students who won awards at “SARVASASTRA 2017”.

Vinodhini under the guidance of Dr. Neesar Ahmed won “Best Revolutionary project award” for the paper titled” Binding effect of diclofenac to BSA at different PH.

Sugirdhana under the guidance of Dr. M.K. Sangeetha won Best Science & Technology project award for the paper titled "The magical micro RNA” miR-15 as a potential therapeutic target for cancer”.

Here's the complete list of our students who presented papers at “SARVASASTRA 2017”.

Vinodhini - Binding effect of diclofenac to BSA at different PH

Suryaharitha - Gene bombs to blast cancer cells

Adithya S G - Hire or fire considering mutation cells

Ashwini - CANCER “the disease of altered genes” for which the cure is also at the gene level

Sugirdhana - The magical micro RNA” miR-15 as a potential therapeutic target for cancer

Janani - The Combined Radio-Gene Therapy kills cancer!!!

Karthiga. - CRISPR: molecular tool for gene therapy to target genome and epigenome in the treatment of lung cancer

Among deemed Universities, Crescent University hosts one of the very few broad "Life Sciences School" in the country, providing students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to learn and perform research in a highly integrative and interactive setting. Our newly established Crescent School of Life Sciences & Technology hosts over 12 active faculty research laboratories studying areas spanning biotechnology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, and genetics.

School of Life Sciences, B. S. Abdur Rahman University has been offering B. Tech. in Biotechnology from 2014 apart from M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. The course trains the students in theory and laboratory techniques of national and international importance. The program provides a firm foundation in the principles underlying modern biotechnology techniques, and integrates this theoretical understanding with intensive training in a variety of laboratory skills and in computer applications to biotechnology.

To key goal is to attain new heights in biotechnology education and research, shaping life sciences into a premier precision tool for the future for creation of wealth and ensuring social justice-specially for the welfare of the poor. The dept is keen to maximize the benefits of Biotechnology to the University, the nation and the globe by being an excellent quality, comprehensive, multi disciplinary school that supports and advances biotechnology in the areas of social welfare and entrepreneurship.

Click this link to view the ongoing collaborations the dept has with organizations and universities around the world: bit.ly/2sBaYPh

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

World Environment Day 2017: Connecting People to Nature

It’s time! Once again UN Environment seeks to make the biggest global call and mobilization for action on 5 June, World Environment Day (WED).

Yes, World Environment Day is the largest annual event for positive environmental action.

World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. It was inaugurated in 1972 following the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden on 5-16 June – the first international conference on environmental issues.

Since its first celebration on 5 June 1974, millions of people across the world have taken part in thousands of events to raise awareness and generate political momentum around growing concerns such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming.

Events range from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

Closer home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Central Government along with state governments and municipal representatives of cities have decided to launch a massive and important campaign of waste management.

"On the occasion of World Environment Day, there are going to be litter bins made available to collect solid waste and liquid waste in 4000 towns of the country," he said.

"Connecting with nature means nurturing a better planet. And, who can explain this in a better way than Mahatma Gandhi? Mahatma Gandhi often used to say, “One must care about a world one will not see”. This means that it is our duty to be concerned about the world which we shall not see and to care for that," Modi noted.

The Day has developed into a global platform for taking action on urgent environmental issues, driving change in our consumption habits as well as influencing national and international policy.

The host country for this year’s celebration is Canada, succeeding 2016 host Angola.

Canada has chosen the theme “Connecting People to Nature” for 2017, which invites people to enjoy the outdoors and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said: “It reminds us of what a treasure nature is, and encourages us all to protect and appreciate our environment.”

Countries around the world will host events and introduce initiatives to celebrate the largest annual event for positive environmental action.

This year the citizens of Mumbai, India are taking part in a mass beach clean-up, while Canada is offering free entry to its national parks and marine conservation areas.

To get involved you can join the global album by sharing a photo or video of your favourite place in nature using #WorldEnvironmentDay or #WithNature on the Crescent FB page.​

You can also join over 1,000 events taking place across the globe, or even organise your own.