#TOOD (The Opposites Of Dry, October 06, 2018):

Are bones dry? Is blood sticky? Are cells ‘rough’? Do dead cells dry up? Are stiffer (cancer) tumours more dangerous? Would stickiness on another planet be a tell-tale sign of the presence of Life? Does the act of adding and/or removing parts make things imperfect. Therefore, are all engineered artifacts rough? Does wettability depend upon both materials? Why do cells jiggle inside the matrix? Are all living environments aqueous? Can the architecture of blood vessels or cells be mathematically modeled? Is context everything? Why do some materials refuse to stick to another? How does one make something slippery or sticky? Do dryness and roughness go together? How does a wound heal itself, & how ‘heterogeneous’ is the seal? Is surface tension a competition between cohesion and adhesion? Do cells have ‘feet’ to crawl and feel? Are there many ways of sticking? How do cancer cells survive elsewhere? Does the rigidity or fluidity of membranes impact the signaling processes themselves? Can there be a master glue that sticks everything? Do all bio-molecules multitask? Might all interfacial interactions (such as adhesion) be understood via electrical impulses? Will cyborgs of the future get cancer? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from cell biology (Dr. Nagaraj Balasubramanian, IISER, Pune), & mechanical engineering (Prof. Suman Chakraborty, IIT Kharagpur, Kharagpur).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TOOD show.

Dr. Nagaraj Balasubramanian (cell biology) is an Associate Professor at Department of Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune. His research interests include how cell adhesion regulates cell membrane trafficking and organelle function, with an aiming to understand their implications for diseases like cancer. Dr. Balasubramanian completed his B.Sc. (1992) and M.Sc. (1994) in Microbiology from the University of Mumbai. He then received his Ph.D. (2000) in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology from the Cancer Research Institute at the Tata Memorial Center (TMC), Mumbai. He then went to University of Miami (USA) to do a postdoc in mammalian phototransduction, and then did another postdoc in cell and cancer biology focusing on cell adhesion and trafficking, at University of Virginia (USA). He then moved to IISER (Pune, 2010) where he started his research lab (Cell Adhesion Lab). The key project of the lab is titled, ‘Adhesion dependent regulation of caveolar endocytosis’, where their work aims to study the role and regulation of caveolar endocytosis by adhesion, focusing on the role tyrosine-14 phosphorylation of caveolin-1 has in and out of caveolae. His team is also interested in the role tyrosine phosphates could have in mediating this regulation. Dr. Balasubramanian has published his research in international journals such as: Journal of Cell Science, Molecular Pharmaceutics, Cellular Signalling, Nanoscale, Current Biology, & Nature Cell Biology. He has also been invited to deliver talks at multiple conferences, institutes and universities such as: the International Conference on ‘Cell Death in Cancer and Toxicology’, University of Delhi South Campus, ACTREC (Mumbai), and Raman Research Institute (RRI, Bangalore). Dr. Balasubramanian has been received awards and fellowships, including, the Wellcome Trust DBT Alliance Senior Fellowship (2011-2017), and Ramalingaswami Fellowship (Department of Biotechnology, 2010-2015).

Prof. Suman Chakraborty (mechanical engineering) is a Professor at Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IITKGP), Kharagpur, and the Institute Chair Professor. He is also currently the Head, School of Medical Science and Technology, and the Associate Dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy at IITKGP. His research interests are in the area of microfluidics and micro/nano scale transport processes, including their theoretical, computational, and experimental modeling, encompassing the underlying fundamentals as well as bio-medical, bio-technological, chip cooling, and energy related applications. He completed his B.E. (Mechanical Engineering, 1996) from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), & then went to IISc (Bangalore) to complete his M.E. (1999) and Ph.D. (2002) in Mechanical Engineering. He is widely published (over 400 journal publications), and is also on the editorial board of Scientific Reports, a subject editor for Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), and a guest editor for Biomicrofluidics (AIP), ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, and Thermal Science and Engineering Applications (ASME). He has received multiple awards, including,  Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize (2013), the Scopus Young Scientist Award in Engineering (Elsevier, 2008), & the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2005). Prof. Chakraborty is also an elected Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, INSA, Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), Indian National Academy of Science (NASI), and has previously received the Young Scientist/ Young Engineer Awards from various National Academies. He is also an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). Prof. Chakraborty is also the Founder Director at Focus R&D (a startup to commercialize his research in the domain of medical diagnostics). He has also guided over 30 Ph.D. students.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TOOD mentions: Johannes Diderik van der Waals, & John Lennard-Jones, among others.