Center of excellence

Centre for Systems Biology and Biomedical Engineering

Objectives:

  • Creation of an infrastructure to support research in developing non-invasive techniques for medical diagnosis.
  • Prototype development for cost effective medical diagnostic tools to support the existing rural Health care system.
  • To promote and strengthen industry-institute collaborative link for the necessity-driven research activities.
  • Creation of opportunities of interdisciplinary M. Tech. and Ph. D. programmes for human resource development.
  •  Societal Impact (Conducting Seminars, Workshops, Refresher Courses etc.).

Scope:

While there is scope and necessity for innovation in diverse areas of medical technology,

keeping in view the interest and expertise of the participating faculty, the following thrust areas have been identified:

I.            Optical methods for non-invasive diagnosis and/or prognosis of malignancy

Optical methods for non-invasive diagnosis of malignancy and its onset is one of the critical areas of health care. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is one such technique which uses a low coherence light source to probe tissue structure from the surface. OCT technology have made it possible to image nontransparent tissues, thus enabling OCT to be applied in a wide range of medical specialties  Imaging depth is limited by optical attenuation from tissue scattering and absorption. However, imaging up to 2 to 3 mm depth can be achieved in most tissues. This is the same scale as that typically imaged by conventional biopsy and histology. Although imaging depths are not as deep as with ultrasound, the resolution of OCT is more than 10 to 100 times finer than standard clinical

ultrasound. OCT has been interfaced with catheters, endoscopes, and laparoscopes which permit internal body imaging . Catheter and endoscope OCT imaging of the gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and urinary tracts as well as arterial imaging has been demonstrated in vivo in an animal model .In OCT a 3-D image is developed by sequential stacking of optical information from micron thickness image layers of the tissue. A slight abnormality in the tissue structure, e.g., the onset of malignancy, can be detected from these high resolution images.

Another method that can also build up a 3-D section of a semi-transparent sample is Confocal microscopy. Although the working principle of this technique is different from that of OCT, here too the images of extremely thin slices of the sample that are acquired sequentially and then stacked together. Polarization characteristics of tissues also indicate presence of malignancy. Polari metric

Imaging is also a powerful tool for detection and staging of cancer and detecting and monitoring residuals of diseased tissue after radiotherapy and chemotherapy , or other disorders of the tissue. Unfortunately, this can ordinarily be carried out on superficial layers of the sample.

By combining the above techniques it is possible to probe the polarization characteristics of the sample for each and every layer of the stack that generates the volume image of the sample. In this way, Mueller Matrix imaging, the special modality for obtaining the detailed polarization characteristics of a surface, is no longer restricted to the surface but can penetrate the volume of the tissue. This will constitute one of the areas of research to be undertaken and is expected to further the scope of medical diagnosis and prognosis.

    II.            Design and implementation of microfluidic based biochips as point-of-care biochemical analysers

Microfluidics-based biochips are emerging as the potential alternatives for biochemical analysis at the micro- and Nano-scale for point-of-care diagnostics. Such techniques are also very useful for immediate point-of-care diagnosis of diseases, real-time estimation of the level of different components present in blood for immediate medical care, detection of methanol in fake wine, or for countering bio-terrorism threats. This part of the research proposal will focus on the design and implementation of digital microfluidic biochips. Suitable 2-D electrode arrays will be designed to provide the customized controlled voltage sequences which will be generated following the algorithm for a specific diagnostics. Primary effort is to develop a portable microfluidic based system for point-of-care analyses of blood samples. Such controlled circuits will be fabricated on a Si substrate with an appropriate combination of dielectric stacks. The purpose of developing such a system on Si substrate is to create a possibility of future integration of such biomedical chips with main stream Si CMOS VLSI technology. The outcome of the proposed research will enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the health care systems by providing quick diagnosis. This will also be very useful to support rural health care systems which are lacking from adequate infrastructure. The successful development of such a prototype Bio-Chip and their effective marketing will be useful for the sustenance of the Centre.

 III.            Development of Computer Aided Diagnostic modules for various imaging modalities.

Image processing has been an integral part of routine clinical tests. It is common knowledge that unless the acquired signals and data are processed and refined, it is difficult for the health care professional to derive unambiguous and meaningful information. With the advent of emerging technologies and the usage of various imaging modalities, more challenges are predicted in the horizon. The sources of such challenges emanate from the processing and analyses of a significant volume of acquired images data for disease diagnoses and treatment.

There is further room for cost effective support to the existing rural healthcare system where there is a shortage of proper infrastructure including medical practitioners. Our objective in this part of the project is to provide necessary support to the health care system by implementing an automated Computer Aided Diagnosis (CAD) system. This will benefit people in under privileged areas and classes and provide an alternate route to compensate the scarcity of medical practitioners. We will develop colour visualization methods enabling the recognition of underlying manifold-valued data for various modalities such as dynamic PET /  PECT, Diffusion Tensor MRI, and digital X-Rays. Novel approaches and techniques for quantitative and qualitative analyses and visualization of 3-D shapes will also be developed.  sing artificial intelligence, such CAD systems will have the potential to identify illness of a patient quickly which may subsequently be corroborated by healthcare professionals. This  advanced CAD system also promises to meet the diagnostic challenges of many deadly diseases.

  IV.            Identification of cellular and bio molecular genotypic markers indicative of phenotypic changes

The researchers of this group would apply the systems biology to understand the underlying cellular changes in diseased state in comparison to the normal one and development of cellular marker for diseases. The cellular activity of a living material is an outcome of interactions of different level of cellular networks like protein-protein interaction network, gene regulatory network, signalling network, metabolic network etc. Similarly, the behaviour of a tissue is governed by an emergent property of cell-cell interaction network, while the organ is of tissue-tissue interactions. The physiology of a normal human being is determined by the interactions of these and other level of network. When there is an internal and/or external perturbation, some of the individual parts (gene expression/ rate of biochemical reactions /their regulations, etc.) may respond in a different way to adjust the cellular homeostasis. The diseased state is occurred when this adjustment is not possible within the cell or in tissue or in organ.

Keeping this background in mind, this centre would (i) develop the automatic procedure to collect the available genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomics data of the normal and specific disease cells, (ii) would provide a platform for curation and then integration, and (iii) would analyse how the change of some properties (like gene expression or concentration of enzymes, etc.) of individual cellular component within a cell can alter the overall physiological process and thus generate a diseased state. Thus it would lead to identification of the possible bio molecular and cellular markers which can relate the cellular level change with the phenotypic change. In summary,  he proposed work aims to construct the cellular network for specific diseases by analysing the large databases of protein-protein, protein-DNA, and genetic interactions that are increasingly available for humans and model organisms

     V.            Development of a low cost diagnostic tools e.g., digital microscope

In keeping with the spirit of the proposed centre, another important activity will be the development of low cost and easily accessible diagnostic tools. With the experience and expertise of the faculty involved in the project and the necessary infrastructure and environment for such innovation that the proposed centre is envisaged to provide, the development of a low cost digital microscope is proposed. Similar other prototype instruments for diagnostic and health monitoring will also be taken up. The technical know-how will then be transferred to the industry for production. It is expected that the Centre will be self sustaining in the long run with such collaborations

Participating Departments :

  • Department of Applied Optics and Photonics
  • Department of Radiophysics and Electronics
  •  A. K. Choudhury School of Information Technology
  •  Department of Computer Science and Engineering
  •  Department of Biophysics, Molecular Biology and Bio Informatics
  •  Department of Electronics Science
  • Department of Bio-Chemistry.

 Monthly Bill for SRA,JRA under CoE

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