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IICB uncovers molecular mechanism of stress-induced gastric ulcer

Damage caused to the stomach by mental stress can be reduced by targeting the mitochondria present in the stomach, says Uday Bandyopadhyay (centre).

The link between mitochondria in the stomach and the brain was found using rats

Researchers at Kolkata’s CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB) have for the first time identified the molecular mechanism by which acute mental stress affects the stomach causing gastric ulcer or stress-related mucosal disease. Using a rat model subjected to cold-restrained stress, the research team led by Uday Bandyopadhyay from the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at IICB has used drugs that can act specifically on mitochondria present in the stomach to prevent gastric ulcer caused by stress.

When subjected to stress, the mitochondrial respiratory capacity was disrupted, ATP production was reduced and oxidative stress increased. Stress also causes morphological changes to the mitochondria such as increased fragmentation. The results of the study were published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

“Due to oxidative stress and fragmentation, the mitochondria in the gastric mucosal lining cannot behave in a normal fashion and ATP production gets further compromised. In the absence of ATP production, cells cannot proliferate and the gastric lining gets thinner due to mucosal cell death. All these cause stress-induced gastric ulcer,” explains Dr. Bandyopadhyay. “This is the first time we could find a link between the mind and mitochondria in the stomach. It is very exciting and fascinating.”

Second brain

The stomach is one of the organs most severely affected by stress and this is due to the link between the stomach and the brain. Moreover, the stomach is also known as the body’s second brain with a specialised neural network, repository of neurotransmitters and different kinds of nerve cells innervating the organ, though fewer in number.

Plenty of corticosterone was released into the blood when the animals were subjected to stress. Once corticosterone gets inside mitochondria it reduces ATP production and respiration capacity. By using a drug that prevents corticosterone from binding to the receptor found inside the cell, the researchers were able to significantly prevent stomach injury in the animals.

Interestingly, some common psychoactive drugs used in the study helped in preventing the pathological manifestations — gastric ulcer. “So we can say that it is indeed the acute mental stress which is causing gastric complications,” says Rudranil De from IICB and first author of the paper.

Role of mitochondria

“We delved deeper to find out the involvement of mitochondria in stress-induced gastric damage,” says De. A compound that scavenges harmful free radicals released from the malfunctioning mitochondria and another compound that inhibits mitochondrial fragmentation significantly prevented the injury and intra-gastric bleeding; although the drugs don’t reportedly act on the brain.

“Although stress is present, we could still prevent the damage caused to the stomach by targeting the mitochondria,” says De. “The use of these two compounds acting directly on the mitochondria confirmed that acute mental stress damages the mitochondria of the stomach ultimately leading to tissue injury and haemorrhage.”

The use of tranquilisers and barbiturates, often prescribed to patients suffering from mental stress and disorders, are associated with inherent problems including withdrawal effects and long-term side effects. “Our study proposes an alternative line of therapeutic strategy which relies on salvaging mitochondrial damage, thereby providing significant protection from stress. This will help avoid the use of existing psychoactive drugs while keeping the subjects alert,” says Somnath Mazumder from IICB, one of the authors.

If further research and human trials confirm the results seen in animal studies, it would lead to a new generation of anti-stress medications with minimal side effects which would aim at targeting the mitochondrial pathology to take care of a bigger psychosomatic health complication.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech / by R. Prasad / January 06th, 2018

Jhargram-born scientist discovers low cost material to build anti-landmine vehicle

Kolkata :

Aerospace Engineering researcher Professor Santanu Bhowmick, who hails from Jhargram district of West Bengal, has discovered a unique raw material to manufacture light weight anti landmine-vehicles.

The anti-landmine vehicles used by the defence organisations in India usually weigh 10-15 tonnes. Whereas vehicles manufactured using raw material discovered by Profesor Bhowmick will weigh only 5 tonnes, resulting in faster spped and greater mobility, especially in hilly terrains. The new material is also capable of withstanding heat upto 2400 degrees celcius. Usually, heat generated during a landmine blast measures upto 2000 degrees celcius.

Professor Bhowmick has already discovered a light weight bulletproof jacket which has been approved by the empowered committee of the Ministry of Defence. The jacket is made from indigenous ultra modern lightweight thermoplastic technology. It has been included in the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ project.

Anti-landmine vehicles used in India are made of steel which tends to melt by the heat generated by landmine blasts, resulting in the death of its occupants -namely security personnel and jawans.

According to Professor Bhowmick, “Primarily the new vehicle will be provided with a heat withstanding ceramic and steel plate fitted to its base. The other portions of the vehicle will be made of steel. Later the entire vehicle can be made entirely of this material which will make it lighter. The material remains unchnged even at the highest temperature limit of 2400 degrees celcius.”

The vehicle base will be made of three layers of heat resistant ceramic plates of 60mm thickness.

Professor Bhowmick claims that the new anti-landmine vehicle will be made by the Tata group at their Jamshedpur workshop. On January 4, a meeting was held between him and the representatives of Tata group. According to Bhowmick, “Tata will supply high quality steel. The vehicle will be entirely made by Indian technology.”

The newly discovered material’s patent has been secured by Bhowmick. The new series of vehicles will be ready by 2020, confirms the scientist.

On Monday, the professor delivered a presentation about the newly discovered technology at the Army Technology Seminar 2018 using slide shows to illustrate his findings. According to him, “In the future this raw material may be used in building army bunkers, tanks, missiles and space research centres too.”

Bhowmick has been assisted in the research by three other scientists – Govindraju M, G Ajesh and V Shivakumar.

Monday’s presentation was attended by the Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat and many top ranking Army officers. DRDO director S Christopher was also present at the show together with scientists from the Chennai and Gandhinagar IITs.

Professor Bhowmick’s discovery is considered an important progress towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India project especially in the Defence sector.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> News> City News> Kolkata News / by El Samay / January 09th, 2018

CM to give awards to nine at fest


The chief minister will present Banga Ratna to nine persons from north Bengal for their contribution in different fields at the inauguration of the Uttar Banga Utsav here on Monday.

Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to launch the eight-day cultural fest at Kanchenjungha Stadium here.

Official sources have said among the recipients of the Banga Ratna are Manas Dasgupta (economist from Darjeeling), Dinesh Chandra Roy (researcher on folk culture of the region from Jalpaiguri), Prem Kumar Bhutia (social worker of Kalimpong) and Debkumar Mukherjee (educationist from Cooch Behar).

The others are Malin Das (folk music instrumentalist of Cooch Behar), Dilip Kumar Roy (writer from Alipurduar), Prem Bihari Thakur (retired teacher from North Dinajpur), Tapas Kundu (researcher on Molecular Biology from South Dinajpur) and Radhagobinda Roy (social worker of Malda).

“Each award will carry a prize of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and a certificate.

Apart from the awards, a total of 54 meritorious students from eight districts of north Bengal will get Rs 10,000 each from the chief minister.

Thirteen of them will get the assistance at the inaugural and the rest will be provided with the amounts by the administrations of their respective districts,” an official of the organising committee of the festival said.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Bireswar Banerjee / January 08th, 2018

Bird fest takes wing

Ravikant Sinha inaugurates the bird festival by lighting a lamp on Saturday. (Anirban Choudhury)


The second edition of the annual bird festival was inaugurated at the Buxa Tiger Reserve on Saturday.

The state forest department and Siliguri-based Himalayan Nature & Adventure Foundation (HNAF) are jointly organising the event.

Forty bird lovers and experts from different parts of Bengal and even from Delhi are participating at the four-day fest.

The Buxa Tiger Reserve is rich in avifauna and the fest is unique as it aims to bring together eminent ornithologists, researchers and bird enthusiasts from the region. “It (the fest) offers an opportunity to explore nature’s avifauna in this region alongside the rich biodiversity and wilderness of BTR,” Ravikant Sinha, the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) of the state, said after inaugurating the fest.

The fest will also help foresters to make a checklist of the birds available in the reserve, generate awareness among people about conservation of birds and study their habitat, said foresters.

Last year, 127 species of birds were sighted during the fest. They included rare birds like the mountain imperial pigeon, Rufous-bellied hawk eagle, Silver-eared mesia, Jerdon’s baza, Sultan tit, Brown dipper and wreathed hornbill.

“We want to highlight the avian population in Buxa, which is no less attractive (than the animals) . We have plans to make it a state-level festival in the coming years. The Buxa Hills are comparatively undisturbed and we hope more species will be sighted this year,” said Sinha.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Anirban Choudhury / January 07th, 2018

Focus French connection

French consul general Damien Syed during an earlier visit to the Registry Building in Chandernagore, accompanied by Metro


Registry Building, a derelict colonnaded structure with louvered screens, caught in the clasp of myriad tree roots at the corner of the Strand, declared as condemned by the civic body, is the focal point of an initiative in Chandernagore for the former French colony to reconnect with its built architectural heritage.

Friday will see the launch of Know Your Indo-French Heritage, a week-long multidisciplinary workshop that is taking place within the ambit of Bonjour India, a celebration of Indo-French partnership in innovation and creativity across the country, organised by the French Embassy and Institut Francais.

“It is a collaborative workshop designed for the restoration of French-built heritage which will not survive unless people are proud of the town’s assets and realise that this can be a source of economic growth,” said French consul general Damien Syed, who reiterated his distress at the state of dereliction of the French heritage structures.

Students from Jadavpur University, Chandernagore College and The Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, Lyon, will meet at Chandernagore College on Friday. “They are expected to come up with innovative design solutions as to how public spaces in the town can be better utilised. One of the outcomes of the workshop would be a sustainable business model for the reuse of the Registry Building. IIM Nagpur will collaborate on that,” said Aishwariya Tipnis, a conservation architect who has worked to identify the heritage buildings in Chandernagore. Seven buildings from her list, including the Registry Building, have recently been selected for notification as heritage structures by the state heritage commission.

All ideas from the workshop will be exhibited on the Strand as part of the closing ceremony on January 12 for the public as well as French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler to see. “We will also launch a crowd-funding initiative which will possibly be a first in India for restoration of a building,” she said.

Four heritage adda sessions will take place involving eminent residents like lighting wizard Sridhar Das and representatives of heritage businesses like confectioner Surya Kumar Modak.

Beyond Chandernagore

France will be the partner country this year at the state government’s Bengal Global Business Summit. “For the first time, we will have a delegation of nine or 10 companies,” said Syed. This is a significant development after the pullout of a French joint venture from the Haldia port which was blamed on strong-arm tactics by an entrenched lobby close to the ruling establishment. The then ambassador Francois Richier had raised the matter with the state government during his city visit in 2014.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Special Correspondent / January 05th, 2018

It’s Bach to the cemetery for a musical feast in Kolkata

One of the city’s oldest Christian cemeteries will host an evening of Baroque music to celebrate its 250th birth anniversary
Come Saturday, Kolkatans, both the living and the dead, can look forward to a grand musical feast as the South Park Street Cemetery, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries, will celebrate its 250th birthday by holding a concert on its premises.

In a clearing amid small and giant sepulchres, ageing plaques, and 300 varieties of trees, its sprawling, leafy compound will host a performance by a string quartet and a pianist on January 6.

The performances, according to the programme booklet, will mainly be of “17th and early 18th century Baroque composers” such as Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel. Some of the finest musicians of the city, including some who are based abroad, such as the violinist Prosanto Dutt, will perform. “He will also talk about the music,” said Ranajoy Bose, the architect of the two-hour show and a managing member of the Christian Burial Board, which manages the cemetery. The tickets are priced at a modest ₹20.

On being asked about the low price of the tickets, Mr. Bose said, “This is a strange cemetery. For instance, there are no crosses here. Instead, the tomb designs carry the architectural imprint of many civilisations, including Greek, Roman, Turkish and Mughal influences, and some are even shaped liked Hindu temples. We would like school children to know something about these eclectic designs created by Indian masons, besides some Western classical music.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Other States / by Suvojit Bagchi / Kolkata – January 03rd, 2017

Gratitude to genius behind Boson

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to S.N. Bose (below) on his 125th birth anniversary
via video-conferencing from New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)


Physics was his calling but he could play a complex classical raga on the esraj with as much dexterity as he could read out a French novel in impromptu English translation.

Stories highlighting the multifaceted genius of Satyendra Nath Bose, after whom the Boson particle is named, on Monday filled the curtain-raiser to a yearlong commemoration of his 125th birth anniversary.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the event from Delhi through video-conferencing, reminding the audience at the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences in Salt Lake that “just as a quantum particle does not exist in isolation, we should also get out of isolation”.

Modi said the scientific ecosystem needed to connect with innovators, entrepreneurs and technocrats to work on artificial intelligence, big data analytics, machine learning, genomics and electrical vehicles. “These are some of the rising technologies on which we need to get ahead,” he pointed out, holding up Bose as the inspiration to test new frontiers.

Born on January 1, 1894, Bose had collaborated with Albert Einstein to create what came to be called the “Bose-Einstein Condensation”. Physicist and author Partha Ghose, who did his PhD under Bose, recounted one among many instances of how humble he could be despite his brilliance.

“He was in a reflective mood one day and spoke about the ‘photon spin’ aspect in his derivation of Planck’s law. But then, with a mischievous smile, he said, “But the old man (Einstein) struck it off”.

Ghose said the anecdote left him flabbergasted because Nobel laureate C.V. Raman’s research later vindicated Bose’s derivation.

“When I asked him why he didn’t claim credit for his discovery, he said, ” Ki ba eshe gelo? Ke baar korechhilo tatey ki eshe jaye? Baar to hoyechhilo (How does it matter? Who discovered it is not the main thing, is it? At least it was discovered)’,” he reminisced.

Planck’s law is the basis of quantum theory.

In his speech, the Prime Minister said many Nobel prizes had been won for work based on Bose’s research.

Union science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan also paid tribute to Bose.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Anasuya Basu / January 02nd, 2018

Girl who refused to bow before ordeals – Archer from Bengal shines

Salt Lake:

An archer once hailed as a child prodigy but forced to move out of Bengal for want of opportunities was part of the Indian women’s trio that struck gold in last month’s Asian Championship in Dhaka.

Trisha Deb, 26, has seen several ups and downs in her 17-year-old career. Daughter of an errand runner and a tuition teacher, Trina’s first sophisticated bow came in 2004 as part of a scheme for budding players.

Her journey began at the Baranagar Archery Club, the cradle of such archers as Banerjee siblings Dola and Rahul. “The club is right next to my maternal grandparents’ home, where my mother would leave me when she went to give private tuitions,” Trisha told Metro.

The first laurel came in 2004 when Trisha won gold in the sub-junior national championships in Delhi. An encore followed in Ajmer the next year. It was her bronze in the senior nationals at age 14 that turned heads.

But Trisha’s performance graph took a sudden plunge thereon. “Archery is an expensive sport. A standard bow needs refurbishment every couple of years. My parents tried their best but it was too much for them,” she said.

Trisha had applied for admission to the famed Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur, in 2006 but was rejected because of her height.

The next few years were the worst in Trisha’s career. “I was not even selected for the nationals from the state. I was shattered mentally,” she said.

Fortune smiled on Trisha in the form of a residential programme for archers at Punjabi University, Patiala, in 2011. Her mother was jittery about letting her shift base but Trisha was determined not to give up sports.

In Patiala, Trisha met Jiwanjot Singh Teja, a coach at Punjabi University. Teja advised her to shift to compound archery from recurve because of her short height.

A recurve bow gets its name from reverse curves at the end. Compound bows, on the other hand, use a pulley system that takes strain off of the bow, making it easier to shoot.

A year later, Trisha won the All-India Inter-University Archery Championship and in 2013 she made it to the Indian team for compound archery.

Trisha was part of the Indian team that won bronze at the World Cup in 2013 in Shanghai. Her best came the year after with a bronze in the compound women’s individual event at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. It also bagged her a railway job.

Now the sole earning member of her family after her father’s death last year, Trisha refuses to give up her passion.

Her reward came when she, along with Parveena and Jyothi Surekha, won gold in Dhaka by beating the team from Korea. She was on the verge of tears when she heard the national anthem playing as she took the podium.

“I am not growing younger. But I am in good shape and want to carry on as long as I can,” said Trisha, who has set her sights on the Asian Games 2018, to be held in Jakarta.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / by Debraj Mitra / December 30th, 2017

CSIR develops ‘solar tree’ that can light 5 houses

A CSIR laboratory in West Bengal has designed a ‘solar power tree’ that takes up only four square feet of space and produces about three kilowatts (kW) of power, enough to power about five households.

“The challenge was to come up with a design so as to generate more solar power in less land space,” Sibnath Maity, chief scientist at the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in Durgapur, which developed the “tree”, told IANS.

“For one mW of power, one needs five acres of land. To generate 10,000 mW we would need 50,000 acres. Now this poses a dilemma in states like West Bengal and Bihar,” Mr. Maity said.

The “solar tree” was inaugurated on Tuesday by Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan during his maiden visit to the CMERI, which is a constituent of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Mr. Maity said one conventional solar photovoltaic system of five kW requires 400 square feet of area.

The three kW solar power tree resembles a tree with branches at different tiers and could be squeezed on rooftops and highways with a space requirement of around four square feet.

“The branches hold up the 30 photovoltaic panels and the system costs around Rs.3 lakh with battery back-up,” Mr. Maity said.

Two solar power trees would be installed at the office at Harsh Vardhan’s bungalow according to the Minister’s request, said Mr. Maity.

Harsh Vardhan also inaugurated the ‘Control Container’ developed by the CMERI for lake and sea trial of ‘Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)’.

“I happily took part in live demonstration of the tractors developed by CSIR-CMERI by being literally in the driver’s seat and actually driving one vehicle,” the Minister posted on his official facebook page.

“I lauded the contribution of the institute in Green Revolution with its immensely successful technological achievements — the ‘Swaraj Tractor’ followed by the ‘Sonalika’ and the ‘Krishi Shakti’ I also drove the ‘e-rickshaw’ developed by the institute with great enthusiasm,” Harsh Vardhan added. – IANS

“Challenge was to come up with a design to generate more solar power in less land space”

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / IANS / Kolkata – May 21st, 2016

Kolkata artist’s paintings stamp their authority in Germany

Kolkata :

German postal service Deutsche Post AG has issued two postage stamps featuring paintings by an artist from Kolkata.

Sudip Chatterjee, who passed out of the Indian College of Art & Draftsmanship in 1986 after graduating in science from University of Calcutta, was pleasantly surprised when he received a mail from the Deutsche Post headquarters in Bonn, seeking his approval to use two of his paintings in postal stamps. Each stamp is priced 1.45 euro.

Awarded senior fellowship by HRD ministry for 2016-18, Chatterjee was in Germany for an exhibition at Galerie Sabine Neubuhr from May 30 to June 19. He is again due to visit Germany next year for an exhibition at Gallerie Stauferland at Goppingen near Stuttgart from May 31 to June 17.

Chatterjee association with Germany goes back two decades. In 1998-99, he was an artist in residence at the Kuntseminar Freie Hochschule in Metzingen, Germany, and has done several shows in Stuttgart and Berlin, apart from Paris, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

His Paintings are part of the collection at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Roopankar Museum, Bharat Bhawan and other private and public collections in India, Germany, France, UK, Finland, Austria, Canada and the US.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / TNN / December 28th, 2017