Two-Day Webinar on BIOCOM 2021 Organised by CSIR-CGCRI

In continuation with the last year’s BIOCOM 2020, this year too, BIOCOM 2021 was organised, for two days on May 27 and 28, with an attempt to have wider participation and an exchange of knowledgebase among the multifaceted expertise of the biomaterials researchers in the country covering the vast areas of biomaterials and implants. Unlike last year, this year the webinar theme was based on the most recent research/technology developments in the area under discussion in the country.

The webinar was inaugurated by Director, CSIR-CGCRI, Dr Suman Kumari Mishra. In her welcome address, she had discussed in detail the pros and cons of the whole gamut of biomaterials science and its adaptation among the biomaterials researchers in the country. Following the welcome address, Dr Vamsi Krishna Balla, Scientist G of the organising division elaborated upon the theme of the webinar and the inaugural session was concluded by ‘Vote of Thanks’, delivered by Dr Jui Chakraborty, Convener of the webinar.

Shri Sitendu Mandal, Head, Speciality Glass division, Dr K. Annapurna and Dr Sunirmal Jana of the same division, Dr Vamsi K. Balla, Dr Sumana Ghosh, Dr Pradyot Datta and Dr Subhadip Bodhak, active biomaterials scientist of Bioceramics and Coating Division, all played a key role to efficiently moderate, chair and manage the technical sessions of the programme.

Prof. Bikramjit Basu, a renowned Biomaterials researcher and Professor, IISC, Bangalore, had outlined the latest scenario of biomaterials research in the country, in a wide spectrum of clinical application of biomaterials to 3D bioprinting of implantable biomaterials, unique magnetic and DC electric field induced antimicrobial strategies, delivery of electric stimuli in stem cell culture for programmed regenerative engineering. He also expressed his recommendations to build up clinical context-driven translational research, strengthen industry collaboration and sustain incubator setups, revamp medical education and innovation ecosystem in medical institutes for a mission of ‘Healthy India’. 

Prof. T.S. Sampath Kumar, another doyen of biomaterials research of the country had spoken on multifunctional CaP nanocarriers based ‘magic bullets’, a perfect drug delivery system to cure diseases without side effects. He also emphasised upon the waste to wealth concept of egg and sea shell derived apatiticnano carriers for drug delivery application, as imaging contrast agent, etc.

Another esteemed expert in the area, Prof. Biswajit Mukherjee of Jadavpur University, illustrated the importance of targeted drug delivery systems in cancer treatment, through his group’s research results, using the latest techniques. Prof. K. Kyotsu, of the same University, had spoken about the superiority of the pulsatile drug delivery system over the conventional settings. 

Prof. P. Karmakar, an expert microbiologist from Jadavpur University elaborated on the need for an efficient drug delivery system, in breast cancer treatment, whereas Prof. Piyali Basak, Jadavpur University, discussed in detail about novel wound dressings, developed at her lab. Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty, a well-known Periodontist had shared some of the case studies using nanobiomaterials e.g. CaP, bioactive glass, etc. for periodontal regeneration.

The promising work of Prof. K. Chatterjee of IISC, Bangalore, with regard to the electrospun polymeric/polymer-ceramic composite nanofibre architecture for tissue engineering applications in various disease models, needs special mention. Prof. K. Mukherjee of IIT, Delhi, in his intriguing deliberation, had appraised the fact that our bone is a ‘live’ material and it responds to the load experienced by it. He also indicated a fine correlation between the mechanics of human bone with the implant design.

The working Scientists from CSIR-CGCRI, Dr Sunirmal Jana, Dr Jui Chakraborty, Dr Atasi Pal and Dr Somenath Royhad elaborated upon their varied ongoing research programmes: (a) superhydrophobic, antimicrobial coatings for PPE kits, hospital surroundings (b) bioactive glass-based wound dressings, hemostatic dressings, bioactive, injectable bone cements, antimicrobial coatings on catheter tubes, hygiene products (c) superiority of Thulium fibre laser in lithotripsy, over the conventional tools in practice and (d) possibility of unique PCR free detection of nucleic acid biomarkers, based on biosensors and futuristic molecular electronics approach.

In the CSIR fraternity, CSIR-CSIO scientist Dr V.K. Meenahad demonstrated the significance of Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques for the medical sector to design implants with matching mechanical properties of the human body, using lattice structures reducing stress shielding, aiding biological fixation aiding bone ingrowth.

The only speaker from the industry, Dr Tapan Dash, R&D Manager, M/S Fibroheal elaborated in detail about the fabrication of silk fibroin based wound dressing, with the incorporation of antibacterial component, for the first time in the country.

The programme had a participation of the student researchers in good number. There was an E poster competition in the title area of the webinar, both on 27 and 28 of May 2021. On both days, there were three numbers of prizes, conferring cash awards and E certificates, based on the unanimous decision of the judges comprising a balanced number from internal and external experts. The programme was concluded with an excellent interactive valedictory session, with a high-end hope of continuing the BIOCOM sequel in years to come, focussing different orientations in the subject area.