— IISc Bangalore (@iiscbangalore) March 8, 2017
Indian Institute of Science Association of Alumni North America (IISc AANA) held its 3rd Conference on Emerging Themes in Science, Engineering and Technology on June 4th, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The conference featured plenary and invited talks on cognitive healthcare, space exploration, alternative careers, entrepreneurship, academic and industrial leadership, and a panel discussion on career options.
More than a hundred alumni attended the conference, including the present Director of IISc, Prof. Anurag Kumar. The alumni included those who graduated way back in the 1960s, several recent graduates and everyone in between. Motivation, ambition and eagerness to network, learn from each other, and dedication to make lasting contributions were palpable from each and every one attending the Conference.
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Dr. Sunil Kumar, Provost and Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs at John Hopkins University gave the introductory remarks.
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Three exceptional talks followed.
The first one was given by Dr. Eric Brown, Director of Foundational Intelligence for IBM Watson Health on “Watson in Healthcare”. Dr. Brown’s talk focussing on the role of IBM Watson in Healthcare neatly brought out the impact Watson will have on the availability of large curated data sets of patient records for clinical practice. The role could be similar to that played by Thomson Innovation that made curated Patent and patent application data sets available for IP professionals in a scale that was unprecedented.
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The second one was given by Dr. James Green, Director, Planetary Science Division, NASA on “Space exploration”. Dr. Green’s talk elegantly presented the advances NASA is making in understanding the solar system and evolution of planets. Introducing Dr. Green, Dr. Murthy Gudipathi from NASA compared the role played by Caltech and JPL in NASA’s pursuit of its goals to that of IISc in Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) pursuit of its ambitions. He also remarked about IISc’s effort to start a Center for Planetary Science, a welcome sign that India is preparing to play another lead role in space exploration.
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The third one was given by Dr. Katepalli Sreenivasan, Dean of NYU Tandon School of Engineering on “International Science”. The talks were followed by question and answer sessions.
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The IISc Director presented a brief history of the Institute and its present activities, notable among which were the expansion of infrastructure, academic and research activities within the present campus, the acquisition of a huge new campus (1500 acres) at Chelekkare, located around 225 kms from the Bangalore campus, and funding expansion beyond traditional government funding support.
— Tata Group (@TataCompanies) March 2, 2017
The latter included several industry tie-ups as well as support from other organizations and foundations as well as individuals for student fellowships, faculty support, travel support, research support and establishment of dedicated research centers such as the Center for Brain Research supported by Pratiksha Trust with a 20 million dollar endowment. The Director, Prof. Anurag Kumar, also discussed the activities of IISc’s Office of Development and Alumni Affairs with its stated aim to build a vibrant community of alumni, friends, partners and well-wishers who volunteer to support the Institute’s mission.
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ODAA has been successful in bringing in support worth several million dollars to various research programs such as Brain Research, Environmental Research and Cyber Physical Systems. The Director also talked about IISc’s Office of Career Counseling and Placement. The current Chairman of ODAA, Prof. Govindan Rangarajan, was in attendance.
— QS Asia (@QS_Asia) July 10, 2015
Dr. Sreenivasan, presented an engaging critique of IISc’s research activities as it relates to international science, focusing on the steps IISc management has to make to have the Institute get noticed as a leader in international scientific arena. He pointed out that the international stature of IISc is not commensurate with its national status and working on solutions to problems that India faces and focusing on a few Grand challenges will engage international collaborations at the highest levels. He noted and welcomed several new initiatives that the present Director presented earlier, specifically the new initiative of a tenure track program for IISc faculties and the efforts to shore up ODAA to seek and maintain funding outside traditional sources that IISc is familiar with. He encouraged the management to sort out a mandate for the institute from the many choices it had such as instructional and research. He wondered whether the IISc is spreading itself too thin with the breadth and nature of its current activities. He suggested that IISc focus its resources on a few research programs with Grand Challenges and also further develop ODAA to improve the perception of the Institute in other spheres. He suggested that the institute should aim to procure 20% of its funding from private sources as done by many of the leading research institutes/universities in the US. He also pointed out that IISc is yet to have a woman director.
The post-lunch session featured talks by Dr. Srikumar Chellappan (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, titled “Biology and Treatment of Human Cancer: New Insights and Old Challenges”), Dr. Girish Nallur (Connecticut Innovations, titled “Innovating in the age of disruption – spotting, seizing and internalizing emerging opportunities”), Dr. Jairaj Acharya (NCI, titled “What model organism studies have taught us about bioactive lipids”, and Dr. Sunil Kumar (Provost, Johns Hopkins University titled “Preparing to lead in the next decade”). Dr. Sunil Kumar in particular engaged the audience with his unique style and talents. Dr. Anand Swaroop from NIH introduced the speakers.
The Panelists and Participants
The Conference ended with a panel discussion on Career Options. The panelists, Dr. Syam Anand (Founder and US patent agent, Mainline Intellectual Property LLC, Philadelphia), Dr. Sankhavaram R. Panini (Professor of Biochemistry & Genetics, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Middletown, NY), Dr. Durga Paruchuri (MCCO Account Manager Genentech Inc.), Dr. Hiriyana, Kelaginamane (Patent Examiner, USPTO), and Dr. Haren Vasavada (VP, Optherion, Connecticut) were led by Dr. Rita Khanna (Legal Counsel and Business Development Professional at International Technology Transfer Management, Inc., Washington DC). The discussion evolved into a candid, vibrant, and engaging one with the young and the old in the panel as well as the audience sharing their experience and wisdom. The discussion covered the importance of individual initiative, passion to excel, understanding financial and legal challenges right at the beginning of becoming an entrepreneur, protecting intellectual property right from conception, the role of mentoring, and the role of networking.
IISc AANA’s senior alumni encouraged youngsters to take initiative and get engaged in AANA’s activities as it expands to the east coast.
Historically and Infographically speaking…..
& Humorously Laapataa on IISc Campus
Cartoon By Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti
About the author:
Authored by Dr Syam Anand, PhD (Indian Institute of Science, IISc; Post-Doctoral research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Faculty, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Founder and US Patent Agent, Mainline Intellectual Property LLC, Ardmore, Philadelphia USA). Syam has over 20 years experience in diverse areas of Science with domain knowledge in Life Sciences and Intellectual Property. Dr. Anand is also an inventor and budding entrepreneur. A rationalist, Dr. Anand enjoys science at all levels and advocates the use of scientific methods for answering all questions and solving all problems and make common people curious and interested in understanding their worlds.
Feature image source: Vikas Navratna
Blog design: Abhinav Dey
This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.