Rank 10 - MS Baroda University, Baroda
10 - MS Baroda University, Baroda
Microbiology and Biotechnology
excellent training ground
department specializes in research-oriented courses in
biotechnology and allied areas. With full-fledged infrastructure and
experienced faculties the university provides an excellent training
ground for budding researchers.
Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda’s
microbiology and biotechnology was started in 1964.
1985-86, it started MSc (biotechnology) course in addition to the
master’s course in microbiology. The biotechnology
program was started with NBTB (DBT) and UGC’s
By the year 2003, the department had produced 90 PhD holders. A large
number of research papers are regularly published in journals of
international repute. This department was funded by
under which new equipments have been purchased and other infrastructure
facilities are being strengthened. Earlier too, it
support from UGC-DRS, UGC-DSA and COSIST programs.
The program begins with the fundamental courses in biochemistry,
genetics, microbiology and molecular biology. After the
fundamental courses, students proceed to a thorough study of their
selected areas of specialization. They are also given basic training in
developmental biology, genetic engineering, biochemical engineering and
some aspects of biophysics, biostatistics, environmental biology. A
distinct feature of this department is that students are made to
undertake a research project, for the duration of their entire course
work as a part of the practical training. Prof.
Chattoo, coordinator, biotechnology program, MS Baroda University,
said, “The aim is to make students work independently
enable them to carry out independent research. Projects are assigned
according to the individual interests of students and are carried out
in our own labs.”
Students are also required to give major seminars during their course
work and submit a project proposal including the term paper.
Academic year 2008-09 saw the introduction of new courses
the department. “Last year, we started a post-MSc program and
this is supported by DBT. It is a program on intellectual property
rights and regulatory affairs. We take 10 students and doing it in
collaboration with faculty of law who help us in the legal aspects of
the course,” added Prof. Chattoo. The local
also involved in this course and MSc students are sent in
internships in companies. “Last year, we sent students to
Intas, Torrent and the National Innovation Foundation where
spent a little more than two months to get hands-on
said Prof. Chattoo.
The broad areas of research in which the department is engaged are
molecular biology and genetic engineering, microbiology
bioprocess engineering. Some of the ongoing research projects at the
moment include NMITLI project on development of novel funficide funded
by CSIR, New Delhi; microarray facility under the Center of Excellence
in Agri-Biotech, funded by GSBTM, Gandhinagar; plant SUMO conjugates -
its role in biotic stress funded by DST, New Delhi; and molecular
analysis of disease resistance signaling funded by DBT, New Delhi.
The department houses centers like the Center for Genome Research and
Bioinformatics Center. The Center for Genome Research was established
in 1999 with initial support from GSFC Science Foundation, Baroda,
under a research project sanctioned to Prof. Chattoo. Since
it has created and updated the facilities and extension of the
laboratory from various research projects funded by DBT, CSIR,
Rockefeller Foundation and Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology.
The Bioinformatics Center was started in 1989 as a distributed
information sub-center (Sub-DIC) under Biotechnology Information System
network (BTISnet) of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of
Science and Technology, Government of India. As recognition
the training activities, the center was upgraded to a distributed
information center (DIC) in 2004. The main function of the center is to
provide information on topics pertaining to the relevant areas of
biotechnology, especially genome analysis. The center also serves as
the regional node under the ICCB-net in collaboration with the Weizmann
Institute of Science, Israel.
industry does not offer challenging projects to students”
—Prof. BB Chattoo,
coordinator, biotechnology program, and director, Genome Research
Center, MS Baroda University
What makes MS Baroda
University’s department of biotechnology distinct from other
institutes offering biotech courses?
The most important aspect is the hands-on training which we give to
students and officially we spend about 50 percent of time on practical
training but in reality spend more than that time. Again,
students have to work on their research project or dissertation
throughout the course. Students are given a topic so that
can carry out the research project at their own pace and go
an indepth analysis of the subject. Apart from this, they are
also asked to write a project from the point of view of an investigator
and hence, made to work independently. We have a continuous evaluation
system wherein we have an exam every week and at the end of the year
choose the two best performances. The same applies for practicals.
What initiatives is
the department taking to foster an industry-academia relationship?
We are taking initiatives in that area, like in our board of
study, we always have a representative from the industry. Even in our
course like the post M Sc diploma in genetic engineering, we have left
50 percent of the seats to be sponsored by the industry. Other than
that, we do small consultancy projects in collaboration with the
The industry claims
that biotech colleges churn out quantity and not quality students. Your
There has been mushrooming of biotech colleges in the country and also
a major rush of commercialization of a number of professional
colleges. We have to encourage students to pursue research in basic
sciences rather than go into professional courses. Mainly after
BSc, students are lost to other industries. The talent is
dwindling out because of this huge growth in pharma and engineering
colleges. When the DBT started, the MSc courses were only five places,
now there maybe 500 colleges.