In an exclusive interaction, Prof Pawan Dhar, Head, Synthetic Biology Group, School of Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the organizing head of iBEM 2017 shared interesting insights into the need for such an event and much more. Read the excerpts from his conversation with the BioVoice News below:
What was the major objective behind organizing such a meeting in India? How is it unique?
The earlier two events organized by us helped to create a certain momentum and the community was sensitized towards emergence of a new field. Now our responsibility is to take it to a new level where we regularly have this kind of networking and knowledge sharing platform in India. And that is where we felt that we should now park it under an appropriate name. Hopefully, there will be big event every year now. Big challenge was to get the speakers of various expertise on a single platform but we were fortunate to be able to do that.
How much awareness exists currently at the academic level as far as this field is concerned?
Based on my experience in the outreach program, not even undergrads were aware. They had just heard about the word ‘synthetic biology’ but don’t understand the meaning. The worst thing is that at the faculty level, there is too much variation in the real understanding of the subject. It is very difficult to convince few that this is a new kind of science.
Event like these do reinforce the definition and help build awareness. We highlight the fascinating subject to bring out its uniqueness. There is an immediate need to build awareness about the subject.
“I can see that to the large extent we have met the objectives. Through this event, we are trying to build new excitement among the students so that they ask questions and leads to more interactions as a final step”