- For the first time, Indian scientists will be mapping every single tissue of the human body to have a deeper understanding of the roles of tissues and cells linked to various diseases.
- The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) launched MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative towards improving knowledge on human physiology.
About the project:
- It is a project funded by DBT, which aims at creating a database network of all tissues in the human body from the available scientific literature.
- It is a project that involves scientific skill development for annotation, science outreach along with handling big data.
- It will involve gaining better biological insights through physiological and molecular mapping, develop disease models through predictive computing and have a holistic analysis and finally drug discovery.
- The student community, who will be the backbone on assimilating the information, will be trained and imparted with skills to perform annotation and curation of information that will ultimately form the online network.
- DBT has invested funds shared between two institutions in Pune – National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) and Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune.
- Besides, Persistent Systems Limited has co-funded the project and is developing the platform.
Who can participate in the project?
- The project can be signed up by students who are in their final year graduation and above.
- Students from the fields of biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, botany, zoology, bioinformatics, health sciences, systems biologists, pharmacologists and data sciences can associate with this project.
- Even participants having a science background but not necessarily involved in active scientific research can be part of this network.
- The MANAV team has encouraged colleges and universities to register as teams and work in this project.
- Initially, DBT will accommodate colleges that operate the DBT Star College scheme to register for this Human Atlas programme. There is no restriction on the time period set for student participation.
Utility of the project:
- The aim of the project remains to understand and capture the human physiology in two stages – in a normal stage and while in a disease stage.
- Such a database on individual tissues, once ready, can come handy in tracing the causes of a disease, understanding specific pathways and ultimately decode the body’s disease stage linked to tissues and cells.
- The teams will also study any potent elements or molecules that have never been used in the form of drugs, to target the specific cells or tissues.
Importance of the project:
- So far, researchers and students have had little or no expertise in reading scientific literature and develop or build further information on the same.
- This platform will impart key skills to the student community to read classified scientific literature, in this case, on individual tissue-basis, and perform annotation and curation.
- Since all the information generated will pass through multiple levels of reviews, it will be an Atlas or a reliable collection on human body tissues.
- This collated data can be useful for both future researchers and parallelly, to the clinicians and drug developers, who finally handle human bodies in disease conditions.