: The premier position being enjoyed by Madurai Kamaraj University in the sphere of biological sciences is set to get further strengthened as the varsity is soon inking collaboration with Bangalore-based Institute of Bioinformatics (IOB).

Scientists from IOB visited the Centre of Excellence in Genomic Sciences in MKU here on April 12 and had an interaction with the faculty, research scholars and postgraduate students.

“IOB is a leading institution in the country carrying out extensive research in computational genomics and computational biological research. Its scientists have expressed interest to jointly work with our university. We are preparing documents to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for research collaboration and inter-institutional student training,” P. Gunasekaran, Coordinator, Centre of Excellence in Genomic Sciences, MKU, told The Hindu on Saturday.

He said that the scientists of IOB had developed several computational tools for genomic investigations in collaboration with leading institutes and universities across the world.

Two scientists — Arivisudar Marimuthu and Rajesh Raju — visited the university and explored the potential areas for cooperation and collaboration with the MKU.

In the first step, 15 M.Sc. students of MKU will undergo two months training this summer at IOB, Bangalore, in research approaches. Subsequently, these trained students will be working back in the university.

He said the IOB scientists will come to Madurai again to select the university students for training programme.

“It will be an excellent opportunity for our students to work under the guidance of faculty members of MKU and IOB at a time,” he added.

The Centre of Excellence in Genomic Sciences in the School of Biological Sciences and the Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics in the School of Biotechnology of MKU are offering M.Sc.(Genomics) and M.Sc.(Computational Biology) respectively.

Collaborative initiatives are being undertaken regularly to enhance the scope for students in getting exposed to cutting edge technologies and research projects.

The IOB is involved in a major research project of uncovering all possible cross-talks and interactions in the human cells and organs.

In the Genetics Department at MKU, Prof. Gunasekaran and Associate Professor G. Kumaresan's research teams are already carrying out work in dissecting the complex molecular interactions and cross talk among genes and proteins in stomach and breast cancers.

“This investigation will provide an opportunity to understand the complex biological processes in cancers and to manage cancers with novel therapeutic approaches,” Prof. Gunasekaran explained.

S. Krishnaswamy, Coordinator, Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics, and other senior faculty will participate in the joint research projects with IOB.

Two scientists visited university and explored the potential areas