Heredity, Genetic Information & Its Manipulation – Dr. Sohan Modak – 16 March

InnoVidya and IUCAA invite everyone to a lecture on Heredity, Genetic Information and Its Manipulation, By Dr. Sohan Modak


Living cells require proteins, fats, carbohydrates and nucleic acids for their structure and function. DNA, the master molecule, is embedded in chromosomes
and contains a linear array of thousands of Genes that encode information for proteins. Each Gene represents an informational unit for one protein. Before a
cell divides, DNA is duplicated so that the each of two daughter cells receives identical sets of Genes. Many chemical and physical agents damage DNA, and a
faulty repair changes the informational quality or even loss, which can be lethal or cause carcinogenesis, metabolic disorders or reduced life-span. Genes
can be modified in a test tube, or inside a cell. Genetic manipulation involves deletion of a gene or insertion of a new Gene. Gene insertion may be
beneficial or disrupt the Gene order leading to as yet unknown dangers.

About the Speaker – Dr. Sohan Modak

Sohan Modak has a doctorate from the University of Geneva and did post-doctoral work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Kentucky, Lexington
(USA). He served as staff scientist at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (1970-77), Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University and
Scientist-Engineer at French Center for Nuclear Energy Grenoble(1978-79). In 1979, he joined  the University of Poona as Professor. He founded the
Biotechnology Training Programme, NCCS, Bioinformatics-DIS. Sohan was Professor Emeritus at the Karnatak University, Dharwad (2001-03) and G.N.
Ramachandran Sr. Res.Fellow at the IGIB Delhi (2005-2008). He published research in Developmental Neurobiology, Molecular Biology and Genomics. He now
mentors studies on Molecular Evolution.

About InnoVidya

InnoVidya is a group of educators and industry professionals who want to reach out to students, teachers, trainers and working professionals and catalyze significant improvements in their learning ecosystems. In addition to the InnoVidya website and the InnoVidya mailing list, we also hold public lectures on the 4th Saturday of every month. Lectures usually involve talks by senior educators, industry visionaries, or social and/or for-profit entrepreneurs working in the space of higher education.

We are currently based in Pune, but we expect that this initiative will expand all over India.

If you’re interested in the state of education in India, please subscribe to email/RSS updates at:

Event Details

The event is on Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 11am, at the Chandrashekhar Auditorium, IUCAA, at University of Pune campus.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. There is no need to register. There is ample parking space at the venue.

The Promise of Bio-Tech remains Unfulfilled

LiveMint has recently published an article by Gouri Agtey Athale titled Pune newsletter | The promise of biotech remains unfulfilled, which argues that although Bio-Technology was touted as the next big thing in India, and was expected to produce another transformation similar to the information technology wave that swept the country, but this has not really happened.

The article extensively quotes InnoVidya member [Sohan Modak][], who was one of the pioneers of Biotech in the country, and initiated the first biotech course at Pune University.

What went wrong? The article quotes Sohan Modak thus:

“That’s what happened—biotech became an interesting proposition and universities wanted to do their own courses. Private universities, run or backed largely by politicians which had been running MBA courses till then, got into the act seeing the market opportunity. They offered a two-year course with training of some kind leading to a degree. There was no quality control either on the students taken in or on the faculty. Now the country has over-produced biotech students who have not learned technology, not been taught much, and there are no jobs”

Opportunities still exist, though.

Opportunities in biotech exist in the agriculture and floriculture sectors, covering so-called exotic vegetables such as coloured bell peppers, mushrooms, or cut flowers for the overseas market. As one grower explained, the cost of production of one coloured bell pepper is Rs.0.50, which retails at Rs.5-10. And the cost of production falls as the farm gets bigger.

There are more interesting points made in the article, including the promise shown by the creation of high-quality science education institutes like IISER in Pune. You can read the full article here