The School of Medical Sciences and School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad had the privilege of organizing this event -the launching golden jubilee celebration of IWSA over all the centers of IWSA in India through this webinar entitled “Advances in technology in health sector”. Over 145 participants registered for this event and the audience varied from 50-60 who were part of this remarkable virtual event held on 25th February 2022 at 2:00 pm.

Beginning of this remarkable event witnessed galaxy of eminent scientist from various fields. The introductory speech was delivered by Prof.Geeta K Vemuganti, Dean, School of medical sciences and the organizing secretory thanking VC, dignitaries and the participants as well as introducing the speakers of the session and delegating the inaugural session. This was followed by an informative introductory talk about IWSA presented by Dr Ratna K, IWSA convenor-Hyderabad chapter. She illustrated all the aspects and contributions of IWSA ranging from how it approaches the concepts such as science to society, common man to expert and so on providing platform for women scientists, community program, scholarships and working woman hostels. IWSA started with 12 women scientists in 1973 and today over 2000 scientists are a part of it from various discipline of science and technology. The session further witnessed a comprehensive talk delivered by Dr.Lalita Dhareshwar on  IWSA. She spoke about launching golden jubilee celebration of IWSA that will be held on 14th June 2022 and about how resilient it remained in COVID era with respect to its services. She also demonstrated the importance of the IWSA LOGO captioned as “LOOK BACK TO MOVE FORWARD AND SOAR” that was launched on 2nd Jan 2022.She also talked about the Mural competition for architectures conducted to integrate science and arts as well as health camps that are being organized.This session next witnessed the welcome address by Prof.B.J Rao, Vice Chancellor, UoH where he expressed his  idea of gender neutrality in science by quoting “No ceilings and we are all in same boat”. He welcomed and thanked all the invited speakers and the participants and wished the webinar a success.With this the inaugural session came to end.

Session 1 was chaired by Dr.Mahtab Bamji, Honourable INSA Scientist at Dangoria Charitable Trust. The invited speaker Dr.Anuradha Sekaran, Director and chief pathology, AIG hospitals delivered an informative talk on application of AI in health and disease. She provided an insight on artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning and stated its development in speech recognition, decision making and visual perception. She also insisted on breakthrough in deep learning, innovations in medical and biological engineering and pathology breakthrough with the introduction of IHC in pathology. She further talked about AI in healthcare benefits, radiology, and telemedicine and telepathy. Last but not the least she concluded the speech with a case study on prostate cancer and challenges in AI. Next talk was delivered by Prof.Geeta K Vemuganti throwing light on basics of stem cells and tissue engineering, type and features of stem cells. she also spoke about requirements of tissue engineering and reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent cells. Further she elucidated various stem cells that are being used in clinical practices or are on the way like stem cells from pancreas, skin, liver, brain etc. and in different fields like nephrology, orthopedics, dentistry and finally the tracheal tissue engineering using cadaver tissue. In the same session, elaborative talk on biosensors for healthcare applications was delivered by Dr.Shilpa N Sawant, Scientist, BARC. She talked about biosensors, types of biosensors- enzyme based, whole cell based and transducer based. She further spoke about transducer material and its characteristics. She also mentioned the portable electrochemical device and sensor they developed to detect cancer cells. This session ended with talk on Advances in robotic surgery by Dr.Roomi Sinha, consultant Gynecologist, Apollo hospitals. She talked about scope and challenges of laproscopy, benefits of robotic surgery and how the transition happened from surgeon friendly to patient friendly. She also shared the paper published in JMIG on 3D printing model they developed.

Session 2 was chaired by Dr.Jyothi, Retd.Director, Institute of genetics, Osmania University along with Prof.Kaiser Jamil, Head of Genetics, Mahavir Hospital and Research Centre. The session started with an informative talk on space research in health delivered by Dr.P.manjushree,Scientist SG & head, Flood developing division, NRSC/ISRO. She gave a brief introduction about ISRO and its credentials towards the Indian science. Further she explained her work and presented case reports on the mosquito geographical zones for malaria and dengue. She also spoke about some missions at ISRO like NAVIC and telemedicine. She explained about how telemedicine is being used during pandemic in India and also mentioned how ISRO organized the maps called “Bhuvan”- a geo-visualisation of COVID-19 patients. Next, talk was presented by Dr.Priya Abraham, Director, ICMR-NIV, Pune. She presented a wonderful talk on “Multidisciplinary approach to the pandemic”. She kept us captivated throughout the talk introducing NIV, how diligently it worked during the pandemic and how they were the first in the league to publish the first EM of Covid-19 virus, first genome sequence and first IF image of Covid-19. She also talked about the mission IRAN evacuating the Indian students and the screening. She also mentioned collaborative work of COVID 19 vaccine development. Last but not the least, she briefed about some projects taken up in India by NIV under pandemic like-translational research with companies to test anti-virulence compounds, environmental surveillance of Covid-19 virus and creation of repository for Covid-19.

Next, Dr.Gita Sharma, Retd., Professor, Department of microbiology and Biotech consultant presented a comprehensive talk on Vaccine Development: Past, Present, and Future. She began her talk introducing origin of vaccine, evolution of vaccine during the timeline, types of vaccines and also discussed about different vaccine strategies (DNA, mRNA, and subunit, etc.). Further she also discussed the development of first-generation, second-generation vaccines until the development of third-generation vaccines such as DNA, and mRNA. Moreover, last but least she also discussed the future of DNA vaccines and viral vector vaccines (Covid 19-Oxford vaccine trial). Next talk was delivered by Dr. Annie Hassan Sr. Consultant & HOD, Department of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Kamineni Hospital, Hyderabad on Cytogenetics to Genomics: Molecules advances in technology. She started with a brief discussion about gene, chromosome and cytogenetics and various techniques for the identification of specific regions in the chromosomes such as fluorescence insitu hybridization (FISH). In, addition she also introduced molecular methods, RFLP, Sanger sequence for single gene variant studies. Lastly, she discussed MLPA, Cell-free DNA testing, DNA methylation, imprinting disorders and recommended the genetic counsellors to suggest tests identifying particular disease.

This was followed by an interesting talk by Dr Sudha Murthy, Director (Clinical Support) Datar cancer Genetics, India, where she discussed about ‘Liquid Biopsy: Diagnosis to Management’ in a seminar on ‘Advances in Health Care Sector’. With an extensive experience in molecular pathology, diagnostics and immune-oncology, gynec pathology and soft tissue sarcoma, she furthered on how tissue sequencing and analysis remain the “gold-standard” for diagnosis and molecular profiling. However, she stressed upon how liquid biopsy has gained a lot of attraction during the coronavirus pandemic since patients were not able to reach doctors. She restricted her discussion to oncology and talked about the high costs associated with the validation of the non-invasive samples of liquid biopsy.  She mentioned the numerous elements of liquid biopsy which encompasses CTC or Circulating Tumor Cells, cfDNA, Exosome, miRNA, Extracellular Vesicles and Methylation Studies. She noted the importance of CTC and ctDNA, which couldn’t be used due to the absence of sensitive techniques, even though these were discovered much before. She used the article from Nature to show how various subclones are responsible for such heterogeneities and discussed briefly about Intra-tumoral and Inter-metastatic Clonal Heterogeneity. She then talked about the associated challenges and differences between Tissue Biopsy Molecular Profiling and ctDNA. Dr Murthy delineated that ‘quality’ remains the critical theme for ctDNA/RNA testing which can be otherwise impacted by various factors. She talked about CTCs in detail and various indications for non-invasive CTC based testing. Liquid vs Tissue Biopsies in Cancer Interception was one of the key themes for this. However, Technical and implementation challenges, Gaps in Education, Awareness and Training and paying little attention towards “Patient’s voice” are some of the crucial challenges that hamper the widespread implementation of Liquid Biopsy.

Last but not the least, last talk was precluded by the Keynote lecture by Dr. Rita Mukhopadhyay, President, IWSA. Last talk was delivered by Dr Sharmila Bhattacharya, a renowned scientist at NASA, California, U.S.A. and Subject Expert at U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation was moderated and chaired by deliberated on “Space Station Research for Health Applications”. She began her interesting talk by speaking on numerous “stressors” associated with space flights and how different they are from the exposure of earth-based living organisms. She further talked about her research on “Increased Chromosomal Aberrations Previously Seen in Blood Lymphocytes in Astronauts (in-vivo) after Spaceflight” and delineated her observations. This was followed by another research experiment, named “Bio Sentinel” to anticipate the extent of DNA damage when living biological systems are exposed to radiations in space for an extended period of time beyond the Van Allen Belt. She discussed in detail about the complexity of the experiment to assess growth rates and quantify the rate of DNA damage in deep space. Dr Bhattacharya delineated numerous research studies that she has done in the field of Space Biology namely: “Drosophila Show Immune Changes After Space Flight”, “Known Pathogenic Bacteria Flown on the ISS become More Virulent”, “Neutrophile to Lymphocyte Ration (NLR): A Biomarker to Monitor the Immune Status of Astronauts” and “Prolonged Exposure to Microgravity Reduces Cardiac Contractility and Initiates Remodelling in Drosophila”. She talked about the importance of developing the technology to do “science in space”. She said that there are many instruments such as PCR machines, Bone Densitometry instruments, Radiation sensors, Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Monitors are developed and highly automated and miniaturised in order to do critical science in space.  She further talked about 3D tissues and micro-physiological systems, consumable plant material in space among other ongoing observations. This was followed an interactive question and answer session between the dignitaries and Dr. Bhattacharya.

The event ended with the valedictory session wheren in Dr Sunita Mahajan from IWSA H quarters congratulated the organizers and the speakers. She conveyed her special thanks to all the senior member who attended the program very enthusiastically. This was followed by vote of gratitude by Prof Lalitha Guruprasad who thanked the VC, PRO office, speakers, participants, SoMS office staff and the scholars for their support.