BANGALORE: Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) was set up by the Government of Karnataka’s Department of IT, BT and S&T, with the help of ICICI Bank. Its governing body consists of leaders such as Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and the Directors of NCBS, IIM-Bangalore, IIIT-Bangalore etc. Dr Gayatri Saberwal, Faculty Scientist of the institute speaks to Vyas Sivanand about the facility, the programmes and plans.
What makes IBAB unique?
IBAB provides an excellent education comprising not only subject matter but also soft skills. For this reason it has a uniquely high placement record, where about 75 per cent of students go to industry and about 25 per cent for higher studies, in India or abroad. The placement record of each student is available at www.ibab.ac.in/bioinformatics_alumni. Its research-oriented faculty ensure that the students have a modern and relevant syllabus, and get experience on live research projects.
Biotechnology and Bioinformatics have seen immense growth in the last few years. But what is your view in terms of quality academics and how has IBAB addressed the concern?
This is an area that requires immense investment and highly qualified faculty. The Government of Karnataka has been immensely supportive and has enabled the best of facilities. Highly qualified faculty with various backgrounds are attracted to an institute that also provide a research ambience, which IBAB provides. All our faculty members have PhDs and have received either doctoral or post-doctoral training from other countries.
What are the distinct features of the programmes in IBAB?
The curriculum (available at www.ibab.ac.in/MSc.html) is truly unique. Students spend extensive time in the lab, whether for programming, for statistics or for wet lab work.
Faculty provide hands-on guidance, whether for lab work or for presentations or other group work. The institute also hosts a multi-crore centre, GANIT Labs, where students get hands-on training in Next Generation Sequencing technologies.
Do you have any affiliations?
Our MSc programme is recognised by the Indira Gandhi National Open University. It is a unique programme, enabling students both in the biology portion as well as in programming, statistics, etc., which are skills required to analyse biological data.
R&D is one of the main pillars of Biotechnology. How has IBAB encouraged research among its faculties and students?
IBAB faculty publish their research in the best of international journals like Nature Biotechnology, BMC Genomics, Nucleic Acids Research, PLoS One, etc. Our website has a long list of research publications on varied topics. The research activities involve both computational, experimental and data-analytical approaches. Collaborative and contract research projects are also being considered.
What are your plans of expansion to other cities in the country?
Our MSc programme is relatively new. We may expand in other directions, but that will have to wait a while. We have only one campus, and have no current plans to expand to other cities as expanding to other cities will dilute our focus.