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Seminar/ Colloquium

Home  »  Colloquium   »   Microbiome: A new age health-descriptor for health and wellness

Microbiome: A new age health-descriptor for health and wellness

Date & Time: 5th April (Friday), 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Venue: UG lab Lecture Hall at Permanent Campus

Speaker: Prof Sharmila Mande, PhD, FNA, FNAE,

              Advisor to Life Sciences R&D at TCS Research

              Ayush Distinguished Scientist Chair, Ministry of Ayush

              Visiting Guest Professor, IIT-Gandhinagar & IIT-Kanpur

Title: Microbiome: A new age health-descriptor for health and wellness


Recent advances in science and technology have enabled studying the innumerable microbes that are present in various environmental niches. The diverse as well as complex microbial communities (called ‘microbiomes’) inhabiting within and around us play a significant role in our well-being and represent a rich resource for discovering the hitherto unknown functional potential of various microbes. The ‘human microbiome’ outnumbers our own cells and plays an important role in our health and wellbeing. The emerging field of ‘metagenomics’ is rapidly becoming the method of choice for studying the microbiomes present in various environments. The sequencing data obtained from the microbiome studies are not only voluminous, fragmented and noisy but also complex in terms of taxonomic composition. In order to obtain biologically meaningful insights from the enormous volume of complex data, it is necessary to have appropriate analytics approaches. An imbalance in this microbial community has been associated with several diseases and metabolic disorders. Can this imbalance be captured and utilized as diagnostic markers for identifying potential driver microbes as well as predicting the presence and/or stage of diseases? ‘Microbiome-based’ biomarkers hold a lot of promise, especially for early diagnosis of ‘asymptomatic’ diseases. I will discuss various paths which can be followed to identify signatures from microbiome data that are correlated with phenotypes and will also exemplify them with some of the exciting outcomes from a select few microbiome studies by my group.

 About the speaker:

Sharmila Mande received her PhD in Physics from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, in 1991. She had her postdoctoral training at the University of Groningen, Netherlands and the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. She started TCS’ Bioinformatics and Computational Biology R&D group in 2001. Post her superannuation, she continues as an advisor to Life Sciences Research at TCS. She is presenting holding an ‘Ayush Distinguished Scientist Chair’ position from the Ministry of Ayush. She is also a Visiting Professor at IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Gandhinagar. She is a pioneer in initiating cutting-edge research in the niche ‘Microbiome’/‘Metagenomics’ field in India and has developed algorithms and solutions having huge translational potential. These innovations include novel methods for disease diagnostics, therapy, health monitoring and other industrial applications. She has 65 granted patents and more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed international journals. She is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE).