Disruptive Innovation: When the past doesnot predict the future? DELSA India Workshop on Big Data and Collective Innovation @ Acharya Hall
Aug 11 @ 4:30 pm – 6:15 pm

Vural Özdemir Ph.D.

Sanjeeva Srivastava Ph.D.

Plenary Talk: Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes @ Amriteshwari Hall
Aug 13 @ 10:06 am – 10:49 am

NaderNader Pourmand, Ph.D.
Director, UCSC Genome Technology Center,University of California, Santa Cruz

Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes

Approaching sub-cellular biological problems from an engineering perspective begs for the incorporation of electronic readouts. With their high sensitivity and low invasiveness, nanotechnology-based tools hold great promise for biochemical sensing and single-cell manipulation. During my talk I will discuss the incorporation of electrical measurements into nanopipette technology and present results showing the rapid and reversible response of these subcellular sensors  to different analytes such as antigens, ions and carbohydrates. In addition, I will present the development of a single-cell manipulation platform that uses a nanopipette in a scanning ion-conductive microscopy technique. We use this newly developed technology to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision, and to inject and/or aspirate a minute amount of material to and from individual cells or organelle without comprising cell viability. Furthermore, if time permits, I will show our strategy for a new, single-cell DNA/ RNA sequencing technology that will potentially use nanopipette technology to analyze the minute amount of aspirated cellular material.

Invited Talk: Nanomaterials for ‘enzyme-free’ biosensing @ Amriteshwari Hall
Aug 13 @ 2:17 pm – 2:35 pm

SatheeshSatheesh Babu T. G., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Sciences, School of Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore, India

Nanomaterials for ‘enzyme-free’ biosensing

Enzyme based sensors have many draw backs such as poor storage stability, easily affected by the change in pH and temperature and involves complicated enzyme immobilization procedures.  To address this limitation, an alternative approach without the use of enzyme, “non-enzymatic” has been tried recently. Choosing the right catalyst for direct electrochemical oxidation / reduction of a target molecule is the key step in the fabrication of non-enzymatic sensors.

Non-enzymatic sensors for glucose, creatinine, vitamins and cholesterol are fabricated using different nanomaterials, such as nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles of copper oxide, titanium dioxide, tantalum oxide, platinum, gold and graphenes. These sensors selectively catalyse the targeted analyte with very high sensitivity. These nanomaterials based sensors combat the drawbacks of enzymatic sensors.


Delegate Talk: Novel Cell-Based Biosensors for High Throughput Toxin Detection and Drug Screening Applications @ Amriteshwari Hall
Aug 13 @ 4:08 pm – 4:23 pm
Delegate Talk:  Novel Cell-Based Biosensors for High Throughput Toxin Detection and Drug Screening Applications @ Amriteshwari Hall | Vallikavu | Kerala | India

Anupama Natarajan, James Hickman and Peter Molnar

Novel Cell-Based Biosensors for High Throughput Toxin Detection and Drug Screening Applications

Over the last decade there has been focus on the development of cellbased biosensors to detect environmental toxins or to combat the threats of biological warfare. These sensors have been shown to have multiple applications including understanding function and behaviour at the cellular and tissue levels, in cell electrophysiology and as drug screening tools that can eliminate animal testing. These factors make the development of cell-based biosensors into high throughput systems a priority in pharmacological, environmental and defence industries (Pancrazio J J et al. 1999, Kang G et al. 2009, Krinke D et al. 2009). We have developed a high through-put in vitro cell-silicon hybrid platform that could be used to analyze both cell function and response to various toxins and drugs. Our hypothesis was that by utilizing surface modification to provide external guidance cues as well as optimal growth conditions for different cell types (Cardiac and Neuronal), we could enhance the information output and content of such a system. An intrinsic part of this study was to create ordered or patterned functional networks of cells on Micro-electrode arrays (MEA). Such engineered networks had a two-fold purpose in that they not only aided in a more accurate analysis of cell response and cell and tissue behaviour, but also increased the efficiency of the system by increasing the connectivity and placement of the cells over the recording electrodes. Here we show the response of this system to various toxins and drugs and the measurement of several vital cardiac parameters like conduction velocity and refractory period (Natarajan A et al. 2011)

Plenary Address: Crowd-Funded Micro-Grants to Link Biotechnology and “Big Data” R&D to Life Sciences Innovation in India @ Acharya Hall
Aug 14 @ 9:20 am – 10:05 am

VuralVural Özdemir, MD, Ph.D., DABCP
Co-Founder, DELSA Global, Seattle, WA, USA

Crowd-Funded Micro-Grants to Link Biotechnology and “Big Data” R&D to Life Sciences Innovation in India

Vural Özdemir, MD, PhD, DABCP1,2*

  1. Data-Enabled Life Sciences Alliance International (DELSA Global), Seattle, WA 98101, USA;
  2. Faculty of Management and Medicine, McGill University, Canada;


Aims: This presentation proposes two innovative funding solutions for linking biotechnology and “Big Data” R&D in India with artisan small scale discovery science, and ultimately, with knowledge-based innovation:

  • crowd-funded micro-grants, and
  • citizen philanthropy

These two concepts are new, and inter-related, and can be game changing to achieve the vision of biotechnology innovation in India, and help bridge local innovation with global science.

Background and Context: Biomedical science in the 21(st) century is embedded in, and draws from, a digital commons and “Big Data” created by high-throughput Omics technologies such as genomics. Classic Edisonian metaphors of science and scientists (i.e., “the lone genius” or other narrow definitions of expertise) are ill equipped to harness the vast promises of the 21(st) century digital commons. Moreover, in medicine and life sciences, experts often under-appreciate the important contributions made by citizen scholars and lead users of innovations to design innovative products and co-create new knowledge. We believe there are a large number of users waiting to be mobilized so as to engage with Big Data as citizen scientists-only if some funding were available. Yet many of these scholars may not meet the meta-criteria used to judge expertise, such as a track record in obtaining large research grants or a traditional academic curriculum vitae. This presentation will describe a novel idea and action framework: micro-grants, each worth $1000, for genomics and Big Data. Though a relatively small amount at first glance, this far exceeds the annual income of the “bottom one billion” – the 1.4 billion people living below the extreme poverty level defined by the World Bank ($1.25/day).

We will present two types of micro-grants. Type 1 micro-grants can be awarded through established funding agencies and philanthropies that create micro-granting programs to fund a broad and highly diverse array of small artisan labs and citizen scholars to connect genomics and Big Data with new models of discovery such as open user innovation. Type 2 micro-grants can be funded by existing or new science observatories and citizen think tanks through crowd-funding mechanisms described herein. Type 2 micro-grants would also facilitate global health diplomacy by co-creating crowd-funded micro-granting programs across nation-states in regions facing political and financial instability, while sharing similar disease burdens, therapeutics, and diagnostic needs. We report the creation of ten Type 2 micro-grants for citizen science and artisan labs to be administered by the nonprofit Data-Enabled Life Sciences Alliance International (DELSA Global, Seattle: Our hope is that these micro-grants will spur novel forms of disruptive innovation and life sciences translation by artisan scientists and citizen scholars alike.

Address Correspondence to:

Vural Özdemir, MD, PhD, DABCP
Senior Scholar and Associate Professor
Faculty of Management and Medicine, McGill University
1001 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Canada H3A 1G5


Vural (1) Vural (2) Vural-Ramani

Plenary Talk: Combined Crystallography and SAXS Methods for Studying Macromolecular Complexes @ Amriteshwari Hall
Aug 14 @ 9:38 am – 10:19 am

JeffPerryJeff Perry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside

Combined Crystallography and SAXS Methods for Studying Macromolecular Complexes

Recent developments in small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) are rapidly providing new insights into protein interactions, complexes and conformational states in solution, allowing for detailed biophysical quantification of samples of interest1. Initial analyses provide a judgment of sample quality, revealing the potential presence of aggregation, the overall extent of folding or disorder, the radius of gyration, maximum particle dimensions and oligomerization state. Structural characterizations may include ab initio approaches from SAXS data alone, or enhance structural solutions when combined with previously determined crystal/NMR domains. This combination can provide definitions of architectures, spatial organizations of the protein domains within a complex, including those not yet determined by crystallography or NMR, as well as defining key conformational states. Advantageously, SAXS is not generally constrained by macromolecule size, and rapid collection of data in a 96-well plate format provides methods to screen sample conditions. Such screens include co-factors, substrates, differing protein or nucleotide partners or small molecule inhibitors, to more fully characterize the variations within assembly states and key conformational changes. These analyses are also useful for screening constructs and conditions that are most likely to promote crystal growth. Moreover, these high throughput structural determinations can be leveraged to define how polymorphisms affect assembly formations and activities. Also, SAXS-based technologies may be potentially used for novel structure-based screening, for compounds inducing shape changes or associations/diassociations. This is addition to defining architectural characterizations of complexes and interactions for systems biology-based research, and distinctions in assemblies and interactions in comparative genomics. Thus, SAXS combined with crystallography/NMR and computation provides a unique set of tools that should be considered as being part of one’s repertoire of biophysical analyses, when conducting characterizations of protein and other macromolecular interactions.

1 Perry JJ & Tainer JA. Developing advanced X-ray scattering methods combined with crystallography and computation. Methods. 2013 Mar;59(3):363-71.

Jeff (1)