The National Biodesign Alliance (NBA) is a multi-institutional partnership program in Biodesign and in-vitro diagnostics, anchored through a coordination secretariat at THSTI, which was initiated by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India on September 24, 2010. It is a network of biologists, engineers, clinicians and medical technology experts who work to promote an effective route for translation of basic findings into routine applications of major clinical importance in India using a multidisciplinary approach. They do this by combining new biomarkers, novel technological concepts and clinical expertise.
A Strategy Group of experts has been nominated by the Department of Biotechnology to draft a Vision Document for The National Biodesign Alliance.
The objectives of the Alliance are met with the help of national and international partnerships that support its various initiatives and programs.
Translational Health Science & Technology Institute (THSTI),
Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB),
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB),
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi,
IIT Chennai and Ramachandra Hospital
Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore
University of Turku (UT), Finland
A formal MoU was signed between the National Biodesign Alliance and University of Turku(UT) under the DBT Indo-Finnish program on January 28, 2011 in order to establish a program of cooperation between the UT and the National Biodesign Alliance for collaborating in research, innovation, higher education, training and capacity building in the area of diagnostics related to human health. Turku is an internationally recognized stronghold in research on in-vitro diagnostic technologies. The diagnostics program within the framework of BioCity Turku is actively engaged in the development and coordination of higher education of researchers in this field. It promotes interactions within the research community and the innovating segments of Finnish biotechnology industry.
Indo-Finn Post-doctoral fellowships
To create a sizable pool of researchers who specialize in development of diagnostics in India, the Department of Biotechnology has instituted five postdoctoral fellowships for training in various Finnish Institutes for a period of two years. After this fellowship, a mechanism that will allow them to join any of the institutions under NBA, while maintaining collaborations with the Finnish partner organizations, is being thought through. This would enable them to not only establish laboratories in institutions and industry but also act as trainers for developing capacity for diagnostics in India.
Indo-Finnish Diagnostic Research Centre
The goal of the Indo-Finnish Diagnostic Research Centre (IFDRC) is to complement and enhance the research capabilities of Indian and Finnish scientific networks from academia and industry in the area of diagnostics. Through the IFDRC, the intention is to stimulate the exchange of both junior and advanced students and researchers between the countries around common collaborative endeavors and research topics. The other goal of the center is to stimulate and promote interaction between Indian and Finnish companies and will facilitate creation of bilateral joint ventures to address the need for indigenous and affordable diagnostics. This will be achieved using various options ranging from incubator services facilitation of Indo-Finnish start-up ventures and creation of shared database of discovery-phase ideas for new diagnostic innovations.
The two countries, through THSTI and University of Turku, Finland have agreed that the centre should have two coordinating units: one at THSTI and another at the University of Turku.
Dr. Kalervo Väänänen, Rector, University of Turku and Dr. G.B Nair, Director THSTI affirmed their commitments towards development of the centre, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions on March 20, 2013.
Sandwich Ph.D. program between the NBA and University of Turku
A sandwich Ph.D. program between the NBA and University of Turku is being discussed. The Ph.D. students of the Indian partner institutions of NBA, who choose to work on problems under already sanctioned Indo- Finnish projects, will have an option for training at University of Turku for a period not exceeding three months. Similar training will also be made available for Finnish students working in Indo-Finnish projects to work in India for a similar duration. This exchange will initiate a relationship between the “diagnostics community” of the two countries, to further understanding of each other’s needs, processes and expertise.
Images: Technology transfer of the celiac disease diagnostic kit by NBA to J Mitra Pvt. Ltd.
People behind the initiative
The program is coordinated by
Dr. Shinjini Bhatnagar,THSTI, shinjini.bhatnagar [at] thsti [dot] res [dot] in
Dr. Navin Khanna (Adjunct Faculty, THSTI)