Faculty

Senior College

LIFE SCIENCES

About the Subject

Life Sciences has become one of the most desirable options for students interested in pursuing higher education. The course offers an entry point to varied career options in industry and academics. The course is designed as an amalgamation of Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Ecology, Environmental Science, Biotechnology, Genetics, Immunology, Developmental Biology, Neurobiology, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics. A conscientious effort is undertaken to revise the course every now by incorporating the latest information. An interdisciplinary approach and an emphasis on project work is the novel method used in this course to make it more contemporary and relevant.

For those keen in further studies at Sophia College, the B.Sc. program in Life Sciences leads to the M.Sc. program with a specialization in Neuroscience. For more than four decades our department has been experimenting and developing a new paradigm of teaching – learning and addressing complex questions like basis of memory, cognition, neural development and degeneration using simple model organisms. In 2004, formal recognition for this novel method of teaching -learning was given by University Grants Commission (UGC) in the form of a substantial grant for `Innovative Teaching-Learning through Hands-on Research in Neurosciences’. This special post graduate program, one of its kind in the country, provides an opportunity to develop creative and responsible personalities, in addition to providing professional training in Neurosciences.

About the Department

The Department of Life Sciences was started in Sophia College in 1977 offering, for the first time an innovative integrated approach to biological sciences in the form of Broad Based Integrated Biology Undergraduate Program in Life Sciences. In 1980, the M.Sc. programme in Life Sciences was launched which over the years has evolved into one of the finest post graduate programmes in the country. Offering a unique and most contemporary specialization, it is Mumbai University's only Post Graduate Centre for M.Sc. Life Sciences (with a specialization in Neurosciences). In 2000, recognizing the potential, Department of Science and Technology (DST) funded the infrastructure development of the laboratory (2000-2005) leading to establishment of well-equipped facility for research. Further, recognition came from the UGC as they funded the Innovative Program in Neurosciences- First in the country. This was followed by the second DST-FIST grant in 2009 for a period of 5 years (2009-2014). Built slowly and steadily, the Life Science department has now been recognized for Ph.D. Program in Applied Biology of the University of Mumbai. The department is also supporting Junior Research Fellows for research projects in cell and molecular Neurosciences.

PG Recognized Teachers (Life Sciences)

Dr. Sree R Nair

Academic activities that foster independence and innovation:

  • Hands-on research projects- addressing questions in biology
  • Peer teaching workshops/ demonstrations conducted by seniors to induct the juniors into good lab practices, basic instrumentation and protocols
  • Seminars/causeries by students and regular lab meetings
  • Journal Club-discussion on recent scientific publications
  • Presentations/ participation by students at any National Level Conference/meeting
  • Summer vacation research programs for in house and students from other institutions
  • List-serve (yahoo group) to network students for resource mobilization

 

Annual events for unique teaching learning:

  • Annual Sophia Nobel Oration - Talk on the work of the Nobel Laureates of the year
  • Annual lecture workshop - Usually sponsored by National Science Academies
  • Annual Khandala Seminar - Two day program including presentations by students and a nature walk
  • Annual Experimental techniques/ Model Systems & frontiers Workshops- - Conducted by experts invited from various laboratories
  • Annual Industry-Academic interaction/ visit - with translational activity as focus.
  • Annual Academic Festival -Ananya - Creative interphase between Science and Society
  • Annual National Science Day Celebration –Quest, wider than the sky
  • - Annual Post Graduate meet
  • Spectrum- Scientific articles by students and teachers

 

Our Benchmarks: All our students will

  • Be conversant with all areas of biology to confidently form informed opinion.
  • Develop communication skills to articulate effectively.
  • Be computer literate.
  • Develop leadership qualities and team spirit.
  • Be able to analyze and take up clear position on controversial issues in biology / society.
  • Intervene in policy decisions, where ever possible.
  • Be familiar with the Nobel Prize work of the year.
  • Of course, get good marks in their University exams

Dr. Sree R Nair MSc, PhD 

Head of Department 

Ph.D. (2009) National Institute of Oceanography Coordinator of Quest-Wider than the sky, College Research Meet Received UGC Minor grant for the project entitled ”To investigate autophagy, a process implicated in neurodegeneration, using a novel model system, Dictyostelium strain AX 2”.

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Interested in……

  • Bench work – for setting up techniques never done before in the lab
  • Fund raising for student support – help writing projects
  • Reducing generation gap- sensitive and vocal about professional needs of the new generation
  • Research: Neuro-genomics provides some critical information for drug development. Identifying novel model systems to enhance perception and bridge the gap between molecules and various cellular processes and their connection to human health.

 

Dr. Bhavna Daswani

MSc., PhD.

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Ph.D. (Biochemistry) on ‘Study of proteins in monocytes relevant to osteoporosis’ from National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (ICMR), Mumbai (January 2017),
Recipient of BRNS- DAE fellowship (2012 – 2015), Cleared CSIR-UGC NET exam in Life Sciences (June 2011) with 17th rank in the Lectureship category. Has authored several research papers in peer-reviewed national and international journals.

  • Currently working as ‘DST Woman Scientist (WOS-A)’ on understanding the pathophysiology of gliomas using ‘proteomics’ under the mentorship of Dr. Yasmin Khan
  • Also ‘Guest Faculty’ in Life Sciences at Sophia College for UG and PG students.

Ph.D. scholars

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Nabila Sorathia is working on a thesis entitled ‘Hypoxia Response, Signaling and its modulation in Caenorhabditis elegans’ under guidance of Prof. Medha Rajadhyaksha and Dr. Yasmin Khan.

Divya Sinha is working on cognitive neuroscience by understanding and developing methods to regulate changes in mood and attention during stress under the guidance of Dr. Hemlatha Ramchandran