CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras is partnering with the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, to organize a major event on the indigenous system of medicine in India.
The Institute aims to provide a forum for the AYUSH scientists and researchers to hear from the experts in academia and industry, and to get an overview of the expanding field of AYUSH sciences. It was also a platform to network, share and showcase one’s research findings among the peers in the field from industry and academia including technical institutes, Industry, AYUSH colleges and medical hospitals for prospective collaborations.
IIT Madras Department of Biotechnology is organizing a six-day continuing Medical Education (CME) program on ‘Technological interventions to standardize the indigenous system of medicine in India’ called AYURTECH 2022-CME, from 20th to 25th June 2022. This CME program is being sponsored by the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India.
This includes lectures by experts from Academia and Industry across the country followed by a hands-on workshop exclusively designed for the CME participants, who are nominees from the nodal research and academic centres under the Ministry of AYUSH.
In parallel, the Department of Biotechnology is also organizing a lecture series open to students, academicians and Industry working on AYUSH sciences and natural products to create increased awareness and promote interest for interdisciplinary research and education in the field of AYUSH.
Addressing the inaugural session of the combined inaugural event of AYURTECH 2022-CME and the IITM AYURTECH 2022-Lecture series, Dr. Manoj Nesari, Advisor, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, said, “The Ministry of Ayush is working keenly to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the National Health Policy, 2017. Hence, there is a huge scope to integrate technology and AYUSH.”
Speaking earlier, Dr. Tanuja Nesari, Director, AII India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, and CEO, National Medicinal Plant Board, Government of India, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that Indian traditional medicines are as relevant in treating the virus as other medicines. If we integrate technology with AYUSH, then India can lead the world.”
The hands-on workshop will focus on four relevant areas:
1. Applied plant biotechnology for sustainable production of uniform and high-quality medicinal plant biomass at a large scale
2. Qualitative and quantitative characterization of phytochemicals in medicinal plant extracts
3. Bioactivity analysis of medicinal plant extracts for targeted therapeutic applications with underlying mechanism of action.
4. Application of bioinformatics to study the pleiotropic effects of medicinal plant extracts (phytochemicals)
Sharing her thoughts on the need for such events, Dr. Meenakumari, Director, NationaI Institute of Siddha, Chennai, said,“I request the start-ups and young researchers to focus on scientifically explaining the Indian traditional medicines to the entire world, which is currently lacking.”
Dignitaries from the Industry partners/sponsors of IITM AYURTECH 2022-Lecture series including Dr. Ranganathan Raghavan, General Manager – Research, Cytiva, and Dr. U V Babu, Head (R&D), Himalaya Drug Company, were also present on this occasion among other Industry delegates.
The interactive lecture series broadly covered the areas of applied plant biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, bioinformatics and biological sciences. Eminent scientists, faculty and researchers actively working in allied areas, who are affiliated to various national-level Institutes of repute and Industry, were speakers for the two events.
Addressing the Participants, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said,“There is a huge need for Indian medicines to have the technological support to take them to the next level. This will provide empirical and scientific evidence for Indian medicines. There is a need to focus on research that will lead to filing more patents for Indian medicines.”
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, President, IIT Madras Research Park, said, “IIT Madras strongly believes that indigenous medicines and modern science must be integrated for better outcomes.”
The IITM AYURTECH 2022-Lecture series received an overwhelming response from over 350 applicants within a short span of registration opening. Nearly 200 people gathered for this event after final selections.
Highlighting the Unique aspects and key outcomes expected from this event, Event Coordinator Dr. Smita Srivastava, Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, IIT Madras, said, “The aim was to bring together academicians, government agencies, and industries working in different complementary domains to brainstorm and share their experiences to enable standardization and globalization of the Indian traditional system of medicine. These programs were a stepping stone toward outreach and awareness creation about the need and scope of collaborative and interdisciplinary research between students and researchers of various technical and medical schools/colleges and those in AYUSH colleges and hospitals. The interactive lectures from the experts broadly covered the areas of applied plant biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, bioinformatics and biological sciences.”
Dr. Smita Srivastava added, “We hope that such events would motivate the researchers in IITs and AYUSH affiliated Institutes and Natural product Industry to promote interdisciplinary research and innovation through effective research and academic collaborations. This can lead to subsequent initiatives like joint academic degree and research programs among AYUSH colleges, technical institutes like IITs, and relevant Industries.”
The outcomes can facilitate globalization via joint international publications, patents, innovations, start-up initiatives and the generation of specialized manpower in the domain for future contributions.