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IISER Kolkata achieves breakthrough in Cancer Drug Delivery

Targeted delivery of anticancer drugs exclusively to cancer cells and controlled release of the drugs in a sustained manner inside cancer cells has been achieved by a group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata. 
●    Porous carbon nanospheres about 150 nm in diameter and packed with drugs inside the pores has been designed in such a way that they cannot get inside normal cells and kill them. 
●    The results were published in the journal Carbon.
●    A team led by Dr. Sayan Bhattacharyya from the Department of Chemical Sciences, IISER Kolkata, used the commonly available lemon grass to synthesise the porous carbon nanospheres, which act as drug carriers. 
●    The anticancer drug doxorubicin is covalently bound both inside the 3.6-3.8 nm diameter pores and also on the surface of the nanospheres. 
●    To make the targeted delivery nearly fail-proof, the researchers attached folic acid to the nanospheres. 


 

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Bizarre millipede species with 414 legs discovered

A group of researchers discovered a tiny threadlike millipede in the unexplored dark marble caves in Sequoia National Park in California.
●    The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
●    The millipede is named Illacme tobini after cave biologist Ben Tobin of the National Park Service.
●    It was discovered along with many spiders, pseudoscorpions and flies in Sequoia National Park.
●    According to diplopodologists, the new species may possess 414 legs, compared to its relative’s 750 legs.
●    It has peculiar anatomical features, including a body armed with 200 poison glands, silk-secreting hairs, and four penises.
●    The millipede’s closest relative lives under giant sandstone boulders outside of San Juan Bautista, California.


 

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Indo-Italy Scientific and Technological Cooperation Re-Launched

The Indo-Italian Joint Committee established under the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement re-launch cooperation in the sectors of science, technology and innovation. The original agreement was signed between Italy and India in 2003.
●    The Indian delegation led by Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, while the Italian delegation was led by Vincenzo De Luca, Director General for Cultural and Economic Promotion and Innovation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
●    On 19 October 2016, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome hosted a meeting of the Joint Committee which approved several initiatives in bilateral scientific R&D projects of significance with the aim of facilitating the mobility of researchers who will be jointly selected and co-financed within the framework of the 2017-2019 Indo-Italy Executive Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation.
●    Information and Communication Technology, energy, environment and sustainable agriculture, health care, biotechnology and medicine, nanotechnology and advanced materials, physics and astrophysics and technology applied to the cultural and natural heritage, are the areas agreed upon by the two countries for joint projects.
●    The Committee expressed appreciation for the launch of the next phase of cooperation established between Italian and Indian researchers in the India-Trento Programme for Advanced Research (ITPAR).  Secretary, DST will also inaugurate two Indian experimental beamlines at the Synchrotron facility in Trieste for the ELETTRA ‘XRD2’ and ‘XPRESS’ accelerators which is funded by DST at a cost of 6 million Euros.
●    The Committee further discussed a new scientific and technological cooperation programme on applied science, aimed at developing technologies and processes to be applied in industry. Joint workshops are to be alternatively held in Italy and India, starting from 2017. An Indo-Italian Innovation Forum will be established to promote and connect the world of research with the world of business and investment.
 

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Environment Minister Constitutes Monitoring Committee to Oversee Outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza

Acting swiftly on the reports of mortality among the birds in National Zoological Park, Delhi NCR and other parts of the country due to H5 Avian Influenza Virus, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave, has directed to constitute a monitoring committee for overseeing outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza in the country. 
●    The composition of committee is as follows:
            1.  Member Secretary Central Zoo Authority Chairman
            2.  Director National Zoological Park Member Convenor
            3.  Deputy Inspector General of Forest (WL) Member       
●    The committee will oversee the daily incidences of H5 Avian Influenza in National Zoological Park and other Zoos of the country and submit a daily report to the Environment Minister. 
●    There has been no mortality among the free-ranging birds of the National   Zoological Park today. However, to control the disease following actions are being taken :-
●    Active surveillance continues in the zoo;
●    Zoo is being screened regularly for any dead bird;
●    Bio-security measures continue;
●    Zoo remains closed for the safety of visitors and to control the disease;
●    A team of doctors from Animal Husbandry Department visited Delhi Zoo for monitoring ;
●    A team of medical doctors visited and examined exposed employees of the zoo and medication was provided.
 

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Protein Enriched Rice Variety Developed at IGKV Chattisgarh

Researchers from Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV),Chattisgarh have developed a protein-enriched rice variety. 
●    The new developed rice variety has over 10% protein content, which is 3% more than what is found in any popular variety and has 30 PPM zinc content. 
●    The protein-enriched rice variety was developed by researchers from IGKV’s Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. 
●    They had worked for seven years to develop the variety of rice that is rich in protein along with high zinc content. 
●    This protein rice variety will play a crucial role in addressing issues of protein deficiencies. 
●    Zinc-enriched variety of rice Earlier in May 2015, scientists from Indira Gandhi Agriculture University (IGAU), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) had developed a high zinc-enriched called “Chhattisgarh Zinc Rice-1”.
●    It was the first zinc biofortified rice variety developed in India.

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Indian origin Scientist Creates Real 3D Hands in Lab

An Indian-American researcher Anil Jain and his team have created life-size 3D hand models, complete with fingerprints, using a high-resolution 3D printer.
●    Like any optical device, fingerprint and hand scanners need to be calibrated, but currently there is no standard method for doing so.
●    This is the first time a whole hand 3D target has been created to calibrate fingerprint scanners.
●    Jain and his biometrics team were studying how to test and calibrate fingerprint scanners commonly used across the globe at police departments, airport immigration counters, banks and even amusement parks.
●    To test the scanners, they created life-size 3D hand models complete with all five fingerprints.
●    The FBI, CIA, military and manufacturers will all be interested in this project.
 

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NASA develops electroactive bandage

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed a high-tech electroactive bandage. 
●    The bandage creates an electric charge to help promote the healing process of wounds.
●    Electroactive material is so sensitive that a push or even a blow on it can create an electric charge.
●    The fibres of the guaze are made of electroactive material Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF).
●    The bandage is stimulated by the heat of the body and the pressure of cell growth. 
●    Therefore, no external power source is required in order for the bandage to promote wound healing.
●    The device uses electrical activity to facilitate the wound healing process while protecting the wound.
●    The bandage also minimises infection and related complications such as illness or amputation.

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Stable Perovskite Nanocrystal Solar Cell Produced by Indian

A researcher from Pune’s Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) has successfully produced a stable, high-efficiency, all-inorganic perovskite nanocrystal solar cells. 
●    The new material has 10.77% efficiency to convert sunlight to electricity.
●    The results were published on October 7 in the journal Science.
●    Traditional research has been around a hybrid organic-inorganic halide perovskite material.
●    The researchers assembled the nanocrystals as a thin film. 
●    The thin film was used for making both solar cells and red LEDs. 
●    Solar cells made using the nanocrystal thin film has 10.77 per cent efficiency to convert sunlight to electricity and produce a high voltage of 1.23 volts.

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New Material used to Manufacture World's Smallest Transistor

Scientists have succeeded in creating the world's smallest transistor, producing a switch with a working 1-nanometre gate. 
●    Unlike regular transistors, the researchers' new prototype isn't made out of silicon – and the smaller size means we can still improve performance in integrated circuits by populating them with greater amounts of incredibly small components.
●    And it could help us keep Moore's Law alive too.
●    Named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, Moore's Law predicts that the amount of transistors in an integrated circuit will double approximately every two years, enabling more complex and powerful computer processors.
●    ‘ Unfortunately, transistors have already gotten so small, we're running out of ways to make them smaller. But now, thanks to a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, we've gotten past the 5-nanometre threshold that was previously considered to be the peak of transistor miniaturization.’
 

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GSAT 18 successfully launched

India on 6 October 2016 successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-18. The satellite was launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
●    The European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 injected GSAT-18 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) shortly after orbiting co-passenger Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator, National Broadband Network.
●    After its injection into GTO, ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan took control of GSAT-18 and performed the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) of the satellite, placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit.
●    GSAT-18 is designed to provide continuity of services on operational satellites in C-band, Extended C-band and Ku-bands.
●    Weighing 3404 kilograms at lift-off and having a mission life of about 15 years, GSAT-18 will strengthen ISRO's current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.

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