Prez Kovind to present AWSAR award for science writing to 8 scientists

New Delhi: National Science Day (NSD) will be celebrated at Vigyan Bhawan on 28 February with women in science as the focal theme of the program. President Ram Nath Kovind will present several awards for science communication and popularization as well as for women scientists. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Health & Family Welfare and Earth Sciences, and Smriti Irani, Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development will also grace the occasion.

A total of 21 awards will be given which will include National Science and Technology and Communication Awards, Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) awards, SERB (Science and Engineering Research Board) Women Excellence Awards and National Award for Young Woman Showing Excellence through Application of Technology for Societal Benefits.

Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulatory Research (AWSAR) award is a new initiative conceptualised and supported by National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST) which is actively engaged in developing various outreach programs for scientific fraternity.

The PhD scholars receiving the awards are S Chris Felshia, from CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai; Anand Abhishek, from the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) at CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute, Pilani; Sayantan Sur, from Department of Zoology, University of Delhi; Chitrang Dani, from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research; and M L Bhavya, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysuru, India. The postdoctoral fellows receiving the awards are Dr Chandran Rethnaraj from Marine Biology Regional Station, Zoological Survey of India, Chennai, and Dr Joyita Sarkar, from the Department of Physics, Savitribai Phule Pune University.

S Chris Felshia, PhD scholar from the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai, is pursuing her research on ‘Microbial Mediated Management of Phenol and its Derivatives in Aqueous and soil phase: An approach using free and encapsulated cells’. Her science story titled ‘Baci-The Fight For Our Planet’ has been selected for the AWSAR Award.

Anand Abhishek is a PhD scholar under the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) at CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute, Pilani. He has worked in the field of high-frequency converter design, digital control design, and embedded solutions for renewable resources-based power generation. He has published more than ten research papers in various National and journals. His science story titled ‘Empowering Rural India with Decentralized Energy Systems’ narrates the problems of access to electricity in rural India and a possible solution through DC microgrid. During a usual train journey, he found a striking insight into the crisis of electricity in the countryside. He then started dwelling on the possible causes and solutions for rural electrification. This led him to develop renewable energy-based DC microgrid with power-sharing capability among houses for extra-power demand.

Sayantan Sur is a PhD scholar at the Department of Zoology, University of Delhi. His primary research focus is to unravel and understand the mechanistic details of temperature modulated changes in the physiology of migratory finches. He has published two papers in peer-reviewed journals, participated in national and international conferences, and has worked at Salk Institute under the Indo-US exchange program. His science story titled ‘A Century of Global Warming and its Impact on Bird Migration’ recounts how the changes in ambient temperature might affect the general physiology of birds. His published article highlighted the involvement of a key temperature sensing the molecule, TRPM8, in altering the seasonal reproduction. Another published article showed for the first time how temperature might affect metabolism at the gene level in a migratory finch.

Anirban Sarkar, a PhD scholar at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), Kolkata, is pursuing his research on ‘Immunometabolism in cancer and its modulation by Neem leaf glycoprotein (NLGP)’. He has one research paper in an international journal to his credit. His science story titled ‘Guardian of the Malady’ is a conversation between him and his curious teenage cousin brother, discussing cancer, how it initiates and progresses, and different approaches to counteract the disease. It details the immunotherapeutic approach to treat cancer by using a naturally derived product named Neem leaf glycoprotein (NLGP), a promising, economic, nontoxic, immunomodulator in simple language.

Chitrang Dani is a PhD research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru. He is an aspiring chronobiologist, studying the evolution of circadian rhythms of fruit-flies Drosophila melanogaster in natural conditions. Apart from his academic work, he is interested in science and nature photography and in popularising circadian biology and scientific thinking among common people. His science story titled ‘Out of the Lab: a Clock Conversation’ is an informal dialogue between him and his cousin, which is an amalgamation of a few real conversations.

M L Bhavya is a PhD scholar at CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysuru, India. She is passionate about taking up challenging research problems and tasks associated with food science and technology in particular. She has research experience in the field of food safety and food processing by exploring the effects and efficiency of non-thermal preservation technology. She has also published seven research papers in peer-reviewed international journals and presented her research work in various National and International conferences. Her science story titled ‘Lights! Sound! Action! – Germ killer light and sound make food safe’ is a story which narrates how we can inactivate disease-causing microorganisms in food using cold techniques. In the story, two bacteria discuss strategies to avoid the dangers of novel decontamination techniques, namely the use of light and ultrasound for food decontamination.

Dr Chandran Rethnaraj, is a Post Doctoral Fellow from Marine Biology Regional Station, Zoological Survey of India, Chennai, pursuing his research on ‘Resilience Assessment and Identifying Local Stock Reefs – a novel Proactive Management Approach on India’s Coral Reefs Conservation in Response to the Ever Increasing Global Warming’. He has 19 years of experience in research on coral reefs of India. He has published more than 28 research papers on national and international journals and books. With opportunities to study the status of all the coral reef regions along the mainland coasts of India, he is keen to conserve the coral reefs’ wealth of our country. His science story titled ‘Save Coral Reefs, The Paradise on Earth to Save Ourselves’ describes a science-based novel and systematic approach which can save our coral reef resources for forthcoming generations.

Joyita Sarkar, a post-doctoral fellow from Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, Maharashtra, is pursuing her research on ‘Development of Novel Strategy for Stem Cell Differentiation to Hepatocyte Using Combined Approach of Epigenetic Modification and 3D Cell Culture Scaffold for Applications in Pharmaco-Toxicological Studies’. Her science story titled ‘Coming Soon: Animal Model-Free System for Pharmaceutical Testing’ has been selected for AWSAR Award.

This information was provided by the Communications Team at the Dept. of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology.

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