This year we gladly hosted undergraduate, post-graduate, and doctoral students from different academic institutions in India. The inaugural address was given by Dr A. N. Bhadalkar, joint director Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission (GSBTM), who urged students to not only learn new skills but also to strive to apply their learning to design solutions for challenging problems. He invited young researchers to incubate and nurture their ideas by making use of schemes initiated by the Government of Gujarat to support research. He emphasised that GSBTM encourages budding entrepreneurs to pursue their passion without ‘fear of failure’.
Chiasma 2020 included six meticulously designed workshops aimed at teaching advanced research techniques in the biological sciences. All the workshops i.e. ‘Decoding Life’, ‘The Identity Hint’, ‘World at Microscale’, Glow With The Flow’, ‘Life in Bytes’, and ‘Food Detectives’ ran concomitantly during the three days. The workshops engaged participants with hands-on experience in using sophisticated tools and techniques that are not readily accessible to most students. In the true spirit of Chiasma, the workshops were planned and executed by students from Ahmedabad University who are pursuing an Integrated Masters degree in Life Sciences.
Cultural programmes during the evenings witnessed enthusiastic participation by students in quizzes, rangoli making and singing competitions. The evening was graced by the presence of renowned Gujarati movie actress Ms Aarohii Patel (an alumna of the University). The second day witnessed energetic dance performances, both solo and group, by the student fraternity of the School of Arts and Sciences. The three-day extravaganza culminated with an appreciation of the winners and participants of different competitions by the faculty members. The phenomenal feedback by the participants this year would undoubtedly keep our spirits high to put together, next year, an even more compelling Chiasma. Upon successful completion of this year’s workshops, the participants had learned about the fundamentals of visualising micro-structures under an electron microscope, the synthesis and characterisation of nanoparticles, elements of forensic analysis, culturing cells and their characterisation using a flow cytometer, the evaluation of contaminants in food products and concepts of computer-aided drug design.