P.hd in Microbiology:Threat of BioterrorismSardar Bhagwan Singh PG Institute of Biomedical Science
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P.hd in Microbiology:Threat of Bioterrorism
This Discipline with emphasis on multi-disciplinary approach, pursues courses in Biochemistry, Biotechnology & Microbiology. Highly qualified faculty drawn from reputed universities & premier research institutes, the performance & placement of the students has assigned a distinct status to this division. Department of Life Sciences is spread over an area of 30,000 sq. ft.
Besides teaching, the department of life sciences is also engaged in quality research work and has marked considerable progress. Different teachers are engaged in investigations in the field of Bioprospecting, Biodegradation, Molecular Biology, Antibiotics, Proteomics, Immunology and Protein Biochemistry.
The decomposition of organic matter in sewage, production of methane gas, conversion of cane sugar and maize into biofuel, fixation of atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogenous compounds, degradation of cellulose into monosaccharides by bacteria in the stomach of ruminants, fermentation of milk into yoghurt, use of fungi in cheese-making , production of distinctive flavours and industrial enzymes (amylases for producing chocolates, fruit juices and syrups; cellulases for softening vegetables; proteases for tenderising meat and for removing biological stains) by microorganisms, use of yeast in brewing and bread-making, oxidation of alcohol to produce vinegar, use of mold Fusarium as a mycoprotein, prevention and curing of diseases by vaccination and use of antibiotics produced by microorganisms are some examples of uses of a few of the 160000 microbial species known today, which constitutes just 5% of the microorganisms that are believed to exist in this universe.
As per syllabus of H. N. Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar (U. K.), the various subjects covered in two years are Bacteriology, Virology, Mycology & Phycology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Microbial Physiology, Food Microbiology, Cellular Microbiology, Medical Microbiology, Recombinant DNA Technology, Microbial Technology, Soil Microbiology, Genetic Engineering, Environmental Microbiology and Bistatistics and Computer Applications. To develop an aptitude for research the curriculum also includes Project Work whereby a student is required to work on a project under the supervision of a faculty member and submit report on the research conducted in partial fulfillment for the award of degree of M. Sc. in Microbiology. During two years of M. Sc. programme the students undergo rigorous training in microbiological methods, research skills, interpretation and presentation of the research data. The training is designed in a manner that makes them competitive enough to pursue their carrier independently in industry, research or teaching. The emphasis is also given on the development and improvement of communication skills through seminars and discussions for all round development of the students. The students are also encouraged to participate in Science Day Celebration, Scientific Model Competitions, Poster Presentation and Educational tours to premier research institutes and industries.
Microbiology isn't a single subject but it is an umbrella, which offers a range of specializations. A microbiologist has much more opportunities today than at any time in the history of microbiology. Today microbiologists are employed in Institutes of higher education, Research and Development in academic institutes and industry. A biotechnologist employs microorganisms in a number of ways such as applications in the genetic engineering of crops and gene therapy. It is intimately connected with microbiology and thus calls for the skills of a microbiologist to execute the work that holds the potential to improve the quality of human life. Without a profound grasp of microbiology much of biotechnology is not possible. Bioterrorism has defined a need for new and improved infrastructures to address issues related to national security world over. Study of microbiology is the key to proper execution of these new security measures and the opportunities are abundant and diverse. To fulfill the demands of environmentalists, industry is bound to reformulate many of its traditional chemically-catalyzed processes into more environment friendly alternatives and products through biocatalysis, both for biosynthesis of value added molecules or for biodegradation and removal of pollutant. The emerging interfaces between chemical engineering and microbial genetics/metabolism will create countless job opportunities for those who seize the right training early enough in the process. Today the threat of microbial resistance to antibiotics looms large and demands for newer broad spectrum antibiotics. This is where the skills of a trained microbiologist are vital in the field of pharmaceutical sciences. Green chemistry, in which microorganisms are employed to carry out industrial processes in eco-friendly manner, is an increasingly effective strategy for tackling issues of safety and sustainability in chemical related industries and mining. This relatively new field will thus offer a chance for microbiologists to work at the forefront of developing sustainable technologies in the field of metallurgy and mining. Microorganisms have been used to control crop pests as early as in the 18th century. Today Bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi, the primary groups of microorganisms are known to reduce insect populations. These organisms often occur naturally in fields and function as a component of biological control. Research on these microorganisms as "biopesticides" has resulted in the ability to isolate culture and formulate some for use in integrated pest management .Another, however controversial way to deliver these insect-specific toxins to the target pest is through genetically modified plants, such as those modified to express Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins. Avenues in institutes of learning are enormous and one can opt for teaching, one of the noble and most dignified professions.
Microbiology, the science that deals with the tiny creatures invisible to naked eye is considered to be the mother and microorganisms as the backbone for research in all biological sciences including biochemistry, genetics, evolution, biotechnology, genetic engineering, molecular biology and pharmaceutical sciences. Life not only began with microorganisms, the continued existence of life on earth totally relies on these otherwise inconspicuous microbes. According to one of the estimates there are around 5x1031 microbial cells, weighing more than 500 trillion metric tons exist on this planet that affect all life and the physical and chemical make-up of our planet. They have done so since the origin of life. No other group of organisms can make such a claim. LIFE WITHOUT ALL OTHER CREATURES IS POSSIBLE, BUT LIFE WITHOUT MICROBES IS NOT. Consequently, it is believed that one cannot carry out in-depth studies of any branch of biology or geology without taking into account the activities of microbes. As such it is difficult to ignore their importance to the biosphere.
Microorganisms have a central importance in carrying out the cycles of gases and nutrients that sustain all life and thus affect conditions on this planet. By recycling of elements they not only provide essential nutrients for the growth of plants but also scavenge garbage that otherwise will accumulate and make human living miserable on the Earth planet. Microorganisms are also determinants of human health and the source of critical materials for medical and industrial use. Pharmaceutical research depends heavily on microbes and microbiology for discovery and production of new drugs. Biotechnology, too, relies on microbial technologies and microbial genes for the improvement of crops, breeds of livestock, and synthetic feed stocks. In agriculture, microbes and microbial products are used in probiotic therapies, antibiotics, and pest control measures.
Advancements in food microbiology have improved the safety of the food we buy in our supermarkets and restaurants, doubtlessly saving lives every single day. At hazardous waste sites, microbes have been put to work digesting noxious chemicals metabolizing them into harmless materials, thereby preventing further contamination of soil and water. Bio-terrorism and disease are frightening, but progress in microbiology and advancements in applying microbes to solve seemingly intractable human problems should be kept in mind. Hence, the study of microbes is pivotal to the study of all living things, and microbiology is essential for the study and understanding of all life on this planet. One must remember that microbiology is the CORE and not a branch of biology. Today, microbiology is in the headlines more than ever before. Therefore educating young people about microorganisms and their activities is critical.