Emphasising the need for multi-disciplinary approach to the study of biology, former professor of biology and Dean of Sciences in Bangalore University Katre Shakuntala said that mathematics was one of the disciplines that had the potential to throw new light in the field of biology.

She was delivering the keynote address during a seminar on recent advances in biological sciences organised by St. Aloysius College here on Monday.

Ms. Katre said mathematical modelling had the potential to explain biological processes to predict previously unobserved phenomena, to identify key generic reactions, to guide experiments and suggest new experiments, eliminate unnecessary experiments and help interpret experiments.

‘Engineerable'

Today, biology could be understood as an “engineerable” science (synthetic biology) with ample scope for research, training and development of technology and infrastructure to address social problems, she said.

Biotechnology had made it possible to clean up hazardous wastes more efficiently by harnessing pollution-devouring microbes without the use of caustic chemicals. Industrial biotechnology applications had led to cleaner processes that produced less waste and used less energy and water in many kinds of industries, Ms. Katre said.

Scientists must emphasise on promoting efficient translation of research from the laboratory to the community. Ms. Katre said the concept of sustainable development must be incorporated into the work of scientists and researchers who worked in the field of biology.

Seventeen papers were presented at the seminar by resource persons from State and Central universities, convenor of the seminar Prescilla D'Silva said.