DIRI gets down to business

06 May 2013

Indian partnership is prospering, says Helen Woodall.

DIRI, the Deakin India Research Initiative, continues to attract the highest quality PhD students to the University from India.

“Last year was a landmark for DIRI when Abhilasha Tiwari became Dr Abhilasha Tiwari, our first student to graduate with her PhD,” said Helen Woodall, Partnership Co-Ordinator for the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) who is heavily involved in greeting the students when they arrive in Australia and helping them settle in.

“This year, already 11 new students have arrived, nine in Geelong and one at our Burwood campus who will shortly be joined by a second.

“They will be working on a wide range of projects, all of which will aim to provide outcomes that will have a positive impact on the lives of people in Australia and India.”

DIRI was original established within Deakin’s former Strategic Research Centre, the Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, which has since become IFM.

It is an expansion of Deakin University's ongoing development of research models which bridge the gap between academia and industry.

India has recognised reducing this gap as key to its developing economy.

Accordingly Deakin has formed research partnerships with some of India's leading companies, research institutes and universities. Under the DIRI model, higher degree by research (HDR) candidates are based at an Indian research institution with day-to-day supervision provided by a local researcher.

A Deakin academic staff member serves as principal supervisor for the project. A visit to Australia by the student for a period of approximately six months to conduct research is an important component of the scheme.

Partnering organisations in India include TERI, The Energy Research Institute, Reliance Life Sciences, VIMTA

Laboratories and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology.

The program has now spread beyond IFM to other parts of the University, including the Faculty of Business and Law where Arun Krishnapillai is working on a thesis titled: “Exploring prospects and best practices of co-incubation in Asia-Pacific region”.

The other new arrivals in 2013 include:

  • In partnership with Reliance Life Sciences, Urvashi Bhati working on Cell Line Engineering and Bioassay Development for Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies and Recombinant Proteins.
  • In partnership with Reliance Life Sciences Sanjukta Chakrabarti working on Functionality and Determination and Characterization of an Angiogenesis-Inhibiting Fusion Protein.
  • In partnership with TERI Leena Johny working on Induction and properties of anti-inflammatory compounds in mycorrhizal plants.
  • In partnership with VIMTA Nihal Ganesh Maremanda working on Proteomics based biomarker discovery in oral cancer.
  • In partnership with CCMB Dolly Mushahary working on Functionalisation of biodegradable Magnesium alloys with proteins for their use as Bio Implants.
  • In partnership with Reliance Life Sciences Harshali Anant Patil working on Mutation Profiling of Colorectal Cancer for KRAS, BRAF, NRAS and PIK3CA genes in Indian Patient Cohort.
  • In partnership with VIMTA Sivapriya Pavuluri working on Genomics & genetics based biomarker discovery in oral cancer.
  • In partnership with Reliance Life Sciences Sheena Bhanuprakash Raju working on Global Gene Expression Profiling of Differentiating Cardiomyocytes from hESCs.
  • In partnership with TERI Shivani Srivastava working on Elicitation of plant mycorhhizal metabolites for anti-cancerous activity.
DIRI students enjoying Deakin's hospitality. DIRI students enjoying Deakin's hospitality.

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