CSIR-CCMB Celebrates “One Week, One Lab” Programme

The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB), Hyderabad, celebrated the “One Week, One Lab” campaign from 1 to 5 August 2023. The programme was inaugurated on 1 August 2023 by Dr N Kalaiselvi, Director General, CSIR wherein she said, “Sustainability is the call of the nation today, and it requires different labs, scientists, entrepreneurs and industry to collaborate together. COVID-19 brought many of these stakeholders together, and it is now important to maintain the momentum and solve the many problems in our society.” 

The event was also addressed by Dr Madhusudhana Rao, CEO, Atal Incubation Centre-CCMB, emphasising the importance of bridging the gap between academia and entrepreneurship. This was followed by a brainstorming session between scientists and policymakers on how wastewater surveillance can be used effectively in Indian cities to track and curb infectious diseases.

“During the week-long celebration, CCMB scientists will discuss how the cutting-edge tools in life sciences help us in not only understanding living systems but also address problems in infectious diseases, wildlife conservation, agriculture, to name a few,” said Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB. “We are looking forward to interacting with various stakeholders on these different aspects,” he added.

The institute was open to college students, educators, industry, farmers, wildlife officials and policymakers from 1-5 August 2023, as a part of the celebrations. 

On 2 August 2023, the programme included PhD students sharing their research stories. In parallel, a “Workshop with High School Teachers to popularise the educational kits developed at CCMB” was also organised during which teachers were trained in the educational kits developed by CCMB. The kits were commercialised to Thinktac.

An awareness programme for FPOs and farmers regarding improved rice varieties developed at CCMB was conducted on 3 August 2023 during which students in research talks & booths and also the farmers and farmer produce organisations learned about the improved rice varieties developed by the institute.

On 4 August 2023 a public lecture on "Status of Wildlife Crimes in India" by Dr MKirupasankar, IFS, RDD (SR), WCCB, India, was also organised as part of the programme.

On the last day of the “One Week, One Lab” programme, CSIR-CCMB organised a one-day consultative meeting on “Collaborative strategies for managing aquatic biological invasions”, on 5 August 2023 at the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES-CCMB). The purpose of the consultation meeting was to bring together experts, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders from India to exchange knowledge, discuss challenges, and explore effective strategies for managing and mitigating the impacts of aquatic invasive species.

Dr Umapathy, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-CCMB, and the key organiser of the meeting commented, “Studies say that invasive species have cost the Indian economy at least 120-180 billion Indian rupees. Our own studies show the widespread nature of some of the catfish species in India. But there is no comprehensive study bringing together data on aquatic invasive species in India.”

Dr Rajat Kumar, IAS, Special Chief Secretary to Govt of Telangana, Irrigation and Environment and Science and Technology & Chairman of Telangana Biodiversity Board was the Chief Guest, along with Dr L Narasimha Murthy, ARS, Chief Executive In-charge, National Fisheries Development Board, Govt of India, who was the Guest of Honour. Dr Kumar said, “The documentation of invasive species, the mechanism of their spread, their impact on the environment, food security and health are lacking today. It is very timely to bring out this information.”

During the sessions, experts highlighted the various aspects of aquatic biological invasions. This included the aquatic biodiversity of Telangana, aquatic invasive species of India, the role of the aquarium pet industry in invasions, ecological impacts, aquatic invasions in islands and marine ecosystems, tools and techniques to combat aquatic invasions and carbon sequestration of invasive species. There were also brainstorming sessions addressing the research gaps in biological invasions, ecological and economic impacts of aquatic species, and policies and regulatory frameworks for effective management of aquatic invasions.

A total of around 60 people including officials from the Fisheries and Forest Departments, Telangana Biodiversity Board, NGOs working towards environmental issues, World Wildlife Fund, senior research scholars, post-doctoral fellows and scientists from various institutes such as University of Kerala, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Wildlife Institute of India Dehradun, National Institute of Oceanography Goa, ATREE Bengaluru, SACON Coimbatore, Osmania University Hyderabad. 

Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB said, “This meeting has helped us to bring collective thoughts on the issues, management solutions, ground-level interventions to monitor and eradicate aquatic invasive species, and also to protect the native biodiversity, safeguard the rural economy and improve sustainable aquaculture practices. In addition, this meeting has aided in forming a network of stakeholders from various sectors who are committed towards mitigating one of the biggest biodiversity threats.”