The meeting had the twin objectives of examining these disciplines from the point of view of nucleating a knowledge-based Bioinformatics industry in Kerala, as well as to consider the formation of an entity that could advise different groups such as universities & the academia; the government; the IT Industry; and civil society at large, on opportunities and challenges in the domain of Bioinformatics.
Among those who attended was Dr. Achuthsankar S. Nair, Director, Centre for Bioinformatics, University of Kerala, Dr. Anoop Kumar Thekkuveetil, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Dr. Roschen Sasikumar, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIST), Mr. Ramkumar H & Ms. Reshmi.G, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) and Mr. Srijith V.M, Mr. Lijo Anto M.A & Mr. Vipin Thomas, of Suryakiran Bioinformatics. Various other dignitaries from engineering colleges also attended the session.
Satish Babu, President, Amarnath Raja, CEO, Rakesh Puri, Founding Partner, Sreekanth Krishnan, VP, Bijoy Krishnan, Project Manager, Ms. Anjana C.N, Project Manager and Ms. Rubina Mary Thomas, Quality Manager, from InApp, played host.
Dr. Achuthsankar S. Nair spoke on inter-relations between Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Systems Biology, and highlighted the major opportunities in these domains. He also elucidated more details of the basic premises in molecular biology.
Amarnath Raja, Chair, IEEE Kerala Section & CEO, InApp, made a presentation on the fundamental propositions of Bioinformatics including basic definitions and the central dogma of bioinformatics. Srijith of Suryakiran Bioinformatics (SKB) made a presentation on SKB, its origins, current work, and future plans.
Dr. Anoop of SCTIMST spoke about the overall contours of these domains starting from genomics, and transitioning through published bibliography, to proteomics. He also spoke about the ethical challenges in these disciplines.
Dr. Roschen Sasikumar, NIST, spoke about the need for modeling of cellular aggregations and studying the emergent properties of these systems. She mentioned that it would be possible to explore the causative factors of conditions such as cancer through these studies. Mr. Ramkumar, RGCB, talked about the challenges that users of Bioinformatics software face, including the commercial-free software gap and the Unix-Windows gap, and also mentioned the opportunities in bridging these gaps.
As an ending note, Dr. Achuthsankar suggested that this initiative be carried forward in the form of a more permanent entity that would bring together individuals who were associated with these disciplines. The name proposed for the entity was “Kerala Bioinformatics Society”, which would be a not-for-profit entity with the aim of advancing the discourse of bioinformatics.
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