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Monday, 22 July 2013

DBT to begin research in human developmental & disease biology soon

The department of biotechnology (DBT) will soon begin research in human developmental & disease biology, as there is a growing feeling among the scientists as well as the regulators in the country that the biology underlying fetal growth restriction and the approaches to early detection and prevention need further exploration.The DBT's decision to start research in the area of human developmental and disease biology is based on the findings that the fetal growth restriction is a highly significant problem worldwide but more so in developing countries, affecting up to 25-30 per cent of all pregnancies in India. The department has invited research proposals from clinicians and scientists actively engaged in the field of human developmental and disease biology.
The proposals will encompass any aspect of developmental or disease biology related to pregnancy, foetal/neonatal stages, early years of life in humans or related aspects including in vitro and in vivo functional studies using suitable cell lines and model organisms respectively. Multicentric consortium mode projects involving both research scientists and clinicians are desirable as interdisciplinary components.
The thrust of the research programme include the areas like mechanistic paradigms underlying complications during pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, IUGR, autoimmunity etc; foetal growth & development, premature or abnormal birth, still birth, congenital anomalies etc; gene (dys)function leading to early developmental anomalies; gene environment interactions: involved causes for pregnancy loss and congenital anomalies;   biological basis of host response at extremes of ages (both early development and ageing) and interventions to improve resistance to/or response to infection; novel tools of prediction, early and easier disease detection and therapeutic intervention in the above conditions; and in vitro systems and in vivo models to study early developmental anomalies and disease.
Infants born after experiencing fetal growth restriction are at increased risk of neonatal mortality and morbidity due to sepsis, birth asphyxia, hypoglycemia etc. Nearly 20 per cent of under nutrition in the first year is attributable to fetal growth restriction. In the long term, these infants are at higher risk of developing central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance and diabetes, with the risk being greatest in those born small, who subsequently cross their centiles. The optimal growth of babies born with a low birth weight, especially during the first few years of life is an area that warrants investigation.

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