Studying ant relocation amid environmental challenges to help humans adapt

Mohanpur (West Bengal), Jan 19 (IANS) Researchers at IISER-Kolkata’s Ant Lab here are exploring why ants take the risk and bear the cost of relocation, particularly in the face of environmental challenges such as rising temperatures and monsoon.

Analysing how Indian black ants communicate and facilitate cohesive action tells us of the importance of social living which may provide insights to help us adapt and survive in a changing world, says Snigdha Mukhopadhyay, Sumana Annagiri and S. Kolay of the Ant Lab.

Similarly, the Dog Lab at the institute studies strays to shed light on the evolution of the dog-human relationship in the natural habitat.

Lab-mates Manabi Paul, Shubhra Sau, Anjan.K. Nandi under the guidance of Anindita Bhadra have now shown how mothers matter in the early life of pups just as they do in humans.

These and other intriguing as well as socially and medically relevant findings were on display at the recently concluded three-day ‘Advances in Life Sciences’ conference here marking the institute’s 10th anniversary.

Organised by the institute’s Department of Biological Sciences (DBS), the conference hosted some of the best biologists as speakers (P. Balaram, Ira Levine) and provided a platform for budding scientists to engage in intense discussions and present their research to a larger audience.

Apart from the Dog Lab, some of the findings from the host institute that won awards were studies on protein dynamics (Kaustav Gangopadhyay and Rahul Das) and an analysis of factors that determine multiplication of the parasite Leishmania major (Mazharul Abbasi, Dhiman Sankar Pal, Dipon Kumar Mondal, Rupak Dutta).

The School of Biological Sciences from NISER, Bhubaneswar was praised for its work on tumour angiogenesis (formation of new capillaries from pre-existing vessels) while University of Calcutta’s department of physiology was honoured for its study on inflammation-associated pancreatic death.

Around 60 presentations were made by students from across the country, who also had scope to discuss future collaborations, said convenors Jayasri Das Sarma and Prakash Pandey.

The meeting focused on disease biology, genomics and evolution and interdisciplinary biology, said P. Bhadury, DBS head.



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