Research Highlights from India

When I was young, there was a spate of Indian scientists committing suicide. It had made the cover story of some distinguished magazines. It made me think of how scientists are a relatively ignored lot in our primarily religious and superstitious country. I never could do much for their cause, and hence use my blog to give whatever little publicity I can to deserving Indian scientists.

Energy Conservation

Prof. D. D. Sarma, at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is working on developing white-light LEDs to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting to save energy:

If half of all lighting is based on LEDs by 2025, the world would use 120 gigawatts less electricity, saving $100 billion a year and cutting the carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants by 350 megatons annually.

Single-color LEDs are already in common use, such as traffic lights. White-light LEDs are a challenge, because current methods do not yield desired results for white lighting in building interiors. Sarma’s approach is just at a proof-of-concept stage, and there’s a long way to go, but it looks promising so far.


G Mugesh Livemint reported that scientists at IISc may hold the key to taming the diabetes enzyme. Instead of targeting the PTP 1B enzyme that is responsible for Type 2 diabetes, G. Mugesh and his team focused on the sulfenyl-amides that it produces. Their research was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Most treatment approaches for diabetes type 2 involve direct targeting of the enzyme in question,” said G. Mugesh, assistant professor, department of inorganic and physical chemistry, IISc, adding that such an approach affects other enzymes, causing side effects.

Research highlights are available here (PDF). Mugesh’s homepage is here. Just yesterday, a team of Australian scientists claimed another breakthrough using a different approach showing how competitive this field is. Worldwide sales for diabetes drugs may bring in as much as $21.7 billion for their makers!

Disclaimer: I’m not knowledgeable about medicine at all and cannot understand the implications or minutiae of such research. I’m not sure if this is just media hype of somebody building castles in the air.

Thought to Action

MIT AlgorithmI’m not sure if Laxminarayan Srinivasan is an Indian, but his name sounds of Indian origin. Anyways, his research is so interesting that I’m including it this post. Science Daily reports that MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm to help create prosthetic devices that convert brain signals into action in patients who have been paralyzed or had limbs amputated. What is unique about their research that distinguishes it from the numerous other approaches so far?

Over the past decade, efforts at prototyping these devices have divided along various boundaries related to brain regions, recording modalities, and applications. The MIT technique provides a common framework that underlies all these various efforts.

Until now, researchers working on brain prosthetics have used different algorithms depending on what method they were using to measure brain activity. The new model is applicable no matter what measurement technique is used, according to Srinivasan. “We don’t need to reinvent a new paradigm for each modality or brain region,” he said.


An unpredictable blogger like me, understandably never gets suggestions for posts, unlike focused bloggers. So it came as a surprise when Rambodoc sent me the news about the white-light LED research asking if I might want to write about it. So, I’m grateful to Rambodoc for inspiring this post. I like Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Death of a Doctor) as a film, but I hate it if it becomes reality.

(Photos linked to original sources)

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7 thoughts on “Research Highlights from India

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  3. Thanks, VBR.

    Here’s what I could find:

    The Guardian says white light LEDs use around eight times less energy than a traditional filament bulb.

    EETimes describes a specific white-light LED product that reduces energy usage by almost 90% compared to incandescent bulbs, and 50% compared to fluorescent lighting.

  4. This is a very unusual and interesting post mahendra. Informative. I think the media should write more of this stuff coz I heard that youngsters nowadays are not as interested into going into the research field. But imagine inventing something and living in a nation’s memory forever!

  5. Pingback: The Great Indian Mutiny » Research Highlights from India

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