Turmeric is a ubiquitous ingredient in home remedies for ailments ranging from infections to arthritis. A mixture of turmeric and milk (haldi-doodh) has been used as a traditional cure for bone fractures. Modern science has shown that curcumin, the primary component of turmeric, possesses anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. In recent times, researchers in the field of bone tissue engineering, who seek to engineer novel strategies for bone tissue regeneration, are exploring the documented benefits of curcumin on bone growth. Now, a new study by Prof. Kaushik Chatterjee and his group at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, shows that encapsulating curcumin in a restorable ‘scaffold’ enables sustained release of the chemical, and enhances bone repair. The study is an attempt to highlight the promise of phytochemicals, a class of molecules found in Indian spices, in bone tissue engineering.
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In a recently published study, scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, are addressing one of the biggest challenges faced by many appliances - wear and friction due to usage. Wear and friction affects the lifetime of industrial equipment, which directly correlates with the profitability of the business. The teams of researchers, led by Prof. M.S. Bobji at the Department of Mechanical Engineering are now experimenting with alumina based nanocomposite coating for wear resistance.
When our body’s defensive immune responses end up injuring our own tissues and organs while fighting infections, it results in a clinical condition called sepsis. It is one of the leading causes of global mortality, with an estimated 90,000 deaths every year in India alone. Once it kicks off, sepsis or “septic shock”, commonly results in tissue damage, multiple organ failure and eventually death in high-risk patients. Fungal, viral and parasitic infections can all cause sepsis, with bacteria being the most common culprits. Conventionally, sepsis is treated using expensive antibiotics with poor shelf lives. Now, a new study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has proposed a cost-effective treatment for sepsis.
In a society dominated by people who can independently carry out daily activities, the challenges faced by differently abled individuals are rarely acknowledged. With thoughtful design approaches, simple day-to-day activities could be made easier for such individuals. A great example of this is a novel hygiene product designed by Master students Shubham Pudke and Suyog Dhanawade under the guidance of Prof. Dibakar Sen at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore to aid disabled women with just one functional hand. The newly designed sanitary napkin wearing aid not only meets the hygienic demands, but also enables its use without relying on a caregiver. “Activities of daily lives are primary activities for everyone for their dignity and independence from physical support of others. It enables other family members to explore sources of earnings when the primary bread earner becomes disabled due to any circumstances”, says Prof. Sen, elaborating on the motivation for the study.
In an effort to make water resources sustainable, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK have funded a new project “Upscaling Catchment Processes for Sustainable Water Management in Peninsular India” (UPSCAPE). It is a 3-year £2 million research project that is one of the three projects in India initiated under the ambitious Newton-Bhabha Sustaining Water Resources Programme. Six institutes have come together as partners in this project, of which the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, is the lead Institute from India. “The motivating factor of the Newton-Bhabha project is to ensure science reaches the society and benefits it”, says Prof. Pradeep Mujumdar, Chairman at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research, Indian Institute of Science. He also leads the team of Indian scientists working on the UPSCAPE project in the Cauvery river basin.
Ferroelectric materials carry a spontaneously polarized charge within their crystalline structure that can be reversed by the application of an electric field. As scientists try to shrink them to nanometre sizes, these materials often lose their polarization. Now, a collaborative research team from India and Germany has observed an unexpected effect in the ferroelectric alloy of bismuth ferrite and lead titanate (BiFeO3-PbTiO3). They have found that mechanically grinding this material to smaller sizes actually leads to a different atomic arrangement - a new structural phase that retains the polarization with slight alteration. This discovery opens up interesting possibilities for using this ferroelectric material in a variety of miniaturised devices - computer memory, RFIDs, sensors and actuators.
Nanotechonology, the field of science that manipulates objects at atomic or molecular level, is tout to be the science of the future. Researchers across the globe are working rigorously to tapthe potential this possesses. In a recent multinational collaborative study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science(IISc), Bangalore, the Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK, and the Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany, have tried exploring the biomedical applicability of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructures. The results of this study have opened up novel possibilities in nanoscience research, especially pertaining to the field of biomedicine.
The traditional Asian chewing package used in marriages for symbolising heavenly love, is no longer having its heavenly charm according to a new research. Areca nut, packed with betel leaves and slaked lime, is an important chewing dessert in many Asian cultures. Its usage to cure indigestion and impotence dates back to first century AD and it is still being consumed by around 700 million people in the tropics for its psychoactive and brain stimulating properties. However, studies have indicated that several chemical compounds present in areca nut are carcinogens and its usage has been linked to oral cancers. Now a new study points at a detailed pathway on how chewing areca nut causes a precancerous condition.
Solar power has the potential to reverse the environmental challenges faced by the world today. With solar panels becoming economically viable and efficient by the day, solar energy may soon become the prime source of electricity. However, there are a few challenges faced in the process of electricity production through solar energy. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have addressed one such challenge while converting the Direct Current (DC) output of solar panels into Alternating Current (AC) required to run our appliances. Dr. Abhijit Kulkarni and Prof. Vinod John from the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new start-up method for a compact and efficient photovoltaic inverter that works with solar panels to convert DC to AC.
In a multinational collaborative study, researchers have designed a novel mobile app that can help novice designers in converting existing artifacts or mechanical objects into abstract representations. Prof. Amaresh Chakrabarti from the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and his team, consisting of researchers from Taiwan, have used Augmented Reality to build this tool that can aid design innovation.