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Orientation of ICMR-IITKGP MedTech Interns

A one week long orientation program was arranged during May 08 – 12, 2017  at IIT Kharagpur for selected ICMR-IITKGP MedTech interns of this year. In the 8 week long internship, 2 ICMR scientists and 4 medical college students from 3 different AIIMS were to work in IIT Kharagpur research laboratories while 7 IIT Kharagpur engineering students were to report different centres of ICMR namely, NCDIR, Bangalore; NIRRH, Mumbai; NARI, Pune; RMRC, Belgavi; RMRC, Bhubaneswar.

The first three days of the orientation comprised of three field visits on consecutive days to give the interns a direct exposure of functioning of (i)rural hospital and anganwadi workers, (ii)district hospital and (iii)tertiary Govt. and Private hospital. It also had two special sessions on intellectual property generation and management conducted by IIT Kharagpur’s School of Intellectual Property and Law. The final 2 days of the orientation were dedicated to a workshop in which scientists from participating ICMR Centres, representatives from ICMR HQ., New Delhi, IIT Kharagpur faculty team and AIIMS, Bhubaneswar mentor also joined. The interns shared their experiences of field visits, proposed various solutions of problems identified and received important feedback from mentors. Besides these, there were presentations from IIT Kharagpur and ICMR Centres and the workshop concluded with a resolve to utilize the scope of ICMR-IITKGP partnership to initiate other joint activities. Presented below is a visual walk-through of this orientation week.

Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4 and 5

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SSLS Workshop at IITKGP

With most of the SSLS projects nearing 3 year term and entering into a concluding phase, a workshop was scheduled on April 22-23, 2017 at IIT Kharagpur. Besides stock-taking of SSLS projects, the aim was to plan for next edition of SSLS. In future, the current individual to individual researcher level collaboration between S & T expert and medical domain expert is seen graduating to institutional level collaboration. IIT Kharagpur already has an MoU with ICMR through which a MedTech internship is successfully run. The institute is now looking for more institutional level joint activities of this kind and beyond.

In the inaugural session of the workshop, Director, Deputy Director and Dean (SRIC), IIT Kharagpur outlined the road map of  medical science & technology domain R & D of IIT Kharagpur and the likely role of SSLS team there. This was followed by four technical sessions that centered around four themes: (i)Cancer detection and management, (ii)Diagnostic aids, (iii)Brain research and (iv)Biomaterial and intervention. The areas were in line with the collaborative research activities undertaken by the SSLS team. In each session, one single threaded presentation of all the projects was made by the SSLS team and there were discussions on it. There were two separate poster sessions for more detailed discussion on individual projects. Each session also had one or more leading medical domain expert representing their institutes, deliberating on opportunities lying in that area and the synergy possible through institute level collaboration. The keynote speech in the concluding session of the workshop by DG, ICMR who is also Secretary, DHR made the SSLS team aim higher and be careful about pitfalls, specially at the technology translation level.

Other than SSLS research faculty / scholars and ICMR team, the workshop had presence of Head / representative / team from Directorate of Medical Education, Govt. of West Bengal; NIMHANS, Bangalore; SCTIMST, Trivandrum; AIIMS, New Delhi; AIIMS, Bhubaneswar;  NBRC, Manesar; Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata; NRS Medical College, Kolkata; Calcutta Medical College, Kolkata; CMRI, Kolkata; GNIDSR, Kolkata among others. The upcoming Dr. B. C. Roy Institute of Medical Science & Research at IIT Kharagpur which is to house a 750 bedded hospital and a medical college (video, news), opens an exciting era of opportunity where for the first time in the country technology and medical fraternity are to share campus in an IIT. The workshop in a way contributed to the development of ownership among participating institutions in this IIT Kharagpur initiative and forging partnership.  Shared below is a visual walk-through of this workshop.

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India-Israel E-Health Workshop

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur and Ben Gurion University (BGU), Israel jointly organized a workshop for E-health to foster collaborative research, identify the needs and key areas of imaging, data analytics and entrepreneurial innovation among the researchers, medical professionals, developers, and industrial partners working in different areas of healthcare in India and Israel. The workshop was held during 21st March to 23rd March, 2017 at BGU, Israel. A team from IIT Kharagpur working in the area of healthcare technology development visited BGU along with some our collaborators from medical domain. On 21st and 22nd March, two 3 hour sessions were there in which SSLS team from IIT Kharagpur joined the workshop through video conference and participated in the interaction. An overview of the activities undertaken under SSLS was presented which was highly appreciated. At the end, there was a discussion on formulating possible directions of research collaboration that includes working together in the area of wearable devices, image analysis for cancer treatments, colorectal cancer indications from blood tests, image guided radiation therapy.

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Presentation before Principal Scientific Adviser to Govt. of India

On Jan. 29, 2017 the SSLS team had the privilege of presenting their work before Dr. R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. Dr. Chidambaram praised this unique initiative, the coming together of medical and technology domain experts. Since its inception in 2014, every SSLS project has a prerequisite of having a team of investigators drawn from both the domains and each of the currently running 24 projects fulfill the same. In this, 35 IIT Khaargpur research faculty are working with 30 medical domain experts. Dr. Chidambaram wished the entire SSLS team and took special interest in brain / neurosignal processing related activities. As a follow up of this, SSLS Coordinator participated in the brainstorming session related to development of a national road map on epilepsy, organized by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India on March 08, 2017 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

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Presentation before Chairman, BoG, IIT Kharagpur

The SSLS team had an opportunity to present their activities before Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Kharagpur & DAE Homi Bhabha Chair Professor, BARC on Dec. 20, 2016. Individual projects were presented in brief along with results achieved, till date. Project investigators responded to various queries of the Honourable Chairman and received valuable suggestions. Besides inspiration, SSLS team received important leads, specially in the area of cancer / pre-cancer detection and management.

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Review of SSLS Projects

A review of the SSLS project activities was conducted on Dec. 01, 2016 in the Board Room, Director’s Office. The review panel consisted of Director, IIT Kharagpur; Dean, SRIC, IIT Kharagpur, Associate Dean, SRIC, IIT Kharagpur, Head, Advanced Technology & Development Centre, IIT Kharagpur, Head, School of Bioscience, IIT Kharagpur.

A consolidated single threaded presentation of 24 projects was made by the SSLS Coordinator which was supplemented by individual Project Investigators giving further insights. The presentation covered key points from the 8-slide format presentation submitted to Dean, SRIC for each project before this review. At the end of this presentation, review committee provided useful suggestion and new direction to SSLS team. They appreciated the effort made till date and its outcome.  There is great expectation from this team where they are to play a major role in shaping up the R & D activities around the upcoming hospital and medical college of the campus.

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ICMR- IIT Kharagpur Collaboration

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Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IITKGP) and Indian Council of Medical Research  (ICMR) have signed an MoU on Jan. 21, 2016 to come together to promote interaction and collaboration between faculty, staff and students of IITKGP and ICMR institutions. This collaboration will be facilitating student exchange programmes for a short duration, such as summer/winter terms or short courses, or for a longer duration not exceeding two semesters. Both will explore opportunities of undertaking joint research projects under IIT KGP mega initiative in healthcare Signals and Systems for Life Science. In national initiative IMPRINT (IMPacting Research, Innovation and Technology) – Healthcare, while IITKGP is serving as national coordinator, ICMR is identified as the coordinating institution from the side of the host Ministry of this domain, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Under this IITKGP and ICMR are to work together for the purpose of identifying the needs of the country in terms of research and technology requirements and partner to address major technological challenges in identified areas relevant to our country’s needs. This MoU signing was extensively covered by lead media (Indian Express, Economic Times, India Today, Hindustan Times, Busines Standard, The Statesman).

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In a recent development, within the scope of this collaboration ICMR- IIT Kharagpur MedTech Internship Award has been announced which keeps following perspective in view. The challenges faced in ensuring accessible, affordable and appropriate healthcare to all are many as well as complex. Technology based solutions are required to meet the unmet needs and tackle inequity. Success of it will depend on development of viable technological solutions through collaborations between researchers in medical and technology domain.

The ICMR – IIT Kharagpur MedTech Summer Internship  Award provides support for a  supervised internship experience to individuals undertaking MBBS, clinical postgraduate degree courses (e.g., M.D., DNB)  or Ph.D. students in clinical/life sciences subjects or  working as Scientist B from listed ICMR institutes and PGIMER, Chandigarh for undertaking laboratory or clinically-based research in biomedical engineering at IIT Kharagpur. Vice a versa, individuals undertaking BE/ BTech, engineering postgraduate degree courses (MTech) , PhD (engineering) from IIT Kharagpur will be provided support for a supervised internships at listed ICMR institutes and PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Applicants are required to fill out ICMR – IIT Kharagpur MedTech Internship Award Application Form and submit it along with necessary documents to Dr Meenakshi Sharma at ICMR end (Email: med.tech.icmr@gmail.com) and Dr Goutam Saha at IIT Kharagpur end (Email: gsaha@ece.iitkgp.ernet.in) by 11th April 2016. For more, please visit this link.

Press Release 09-07-2015

A press conference was conducted jointly by Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur) and Institute of Pulmocare & Research Kolkata on July 09, 2015. This was related to peer recognition of novel findings of a collaborative research, taken up by two institutes (Respirology: Editorial, Editor’s Choice). Director, IIT Kharagpur in his public message congratulated the researchers from either side for “achieving this milestone in our strategic project initiative ‘Signals & Systems for Life Science’.”  The following had been the press release on this occasion. The work drew attention of a large section of media that includes Times of India, Business Standard, Economic Times, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Statesman, Echo of India, Sify News, Zee News.

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Press Release

Now Doctors can Observe Sound patterns to Detect Lung Disorders

July 9, 2015, Kolkata: “Seeing what we hear: an eye to help the ear”: This was the title of a recent editorial in the reputed medical journal ‘Respirology’ published in May, 2015. The entire editorial focused on the new findings of a collaborative research between Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IITKGP) and Institute of Pulmocare & Research Kolkata (IPCR). The work was related to seeing something that we hear, rather cannot hear well enough!

Human listenting ability, that can distinguish the voice of a crow from the voice of a cuckoo, goes beyond appreciation of pleasant and unpleasant sound in our external environment. The invention of stethoscope in 1816 showed its great potential in medical field. Auscultation, i.e. listening to internal sounds of the body, usually through stethoscope, became an important component of clinical examination. Physicians through training started developing specific skills to distinguish normal and abnormal body generated sounds, specially that of heart and lung sounds. However, there is an element of subjectivity in appreciation of stethoscope sound due to variation and deterioation of individual’s listening ability; also the expertize required to distinguish such sounds that come through professional training may not be available everywhere, more particularly in our rural backyard.

The researchers at IPCR and IITKGP through a collaboration started investigating how the correlation between lung mechanics (normal or abnormal) and acoustic indices could be put in an alternate form of representation that is easier to comprehend, and would be useful for diagnostic purpose. The target was to identify certain patterns in the sound which carry distinguishing signatures of normality or abnormality, and present it in a visual form for easier identification of the same. For this, lung sound  was collected from two groups of people One group belonged to normal and the other group had a specific lung disease. Advanced digital signal processing and feature extraction algorithms were used to identify distinctive characteristics of these two kind of signals. A mapping algorithm was developed to convert the digitally processed lung sound into pictures that highlight these distinguishing features. It was found that in spite of subject to subject variability in data collection, these pictures were representative enough to separate normality from abnormality, and the same was verified by three independent physicians. The exercise was extended to generate an intestering finding. Three independent laymen when presented with these pictures, could also differentiate one kind of signal from the other.

The researchers feel that the work has the potential in filling up the much felt gap of lack of quality healthcare facilities in remote places. It can also serve as an objective assisting tool to all physicians to help them in diagnosis. The work ahead is to increase the number of disease portfolio, accordingly making improvement in the technology, validating the result through independent observers, improving acceptability for adoption of it in clinical practice through more scientific investigations.

Editors of the ‘Respirology’ journal in explaining why they are excited about this work and why it became the topic of the editorial said the following: The study is novel in more than one way. It is novel in the aspects of sound that were chosen for analysis. It is novel (at least for us as physicians) in its visual representation of sound. The struggle to convert sound into images could be considered as herculean as the struggle to convert language into a written form, and the authors have presented an interpretable pictorial display of their data.

Three videos related to this press conference can be found at

http://tinyurl.com/playlist-press-conference 

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Winning Technologies

The prestigious DST-Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program 2015 had five submissions from IIT Kharagpur. All these innovations were related to life science domain research, a thrust area activity of the institute involving researchers from different departments, schools, centres.

According to the published report (Link), the program received a record 1,300 applications for innovative ideas across industries ranging from agriculture and textiles to defence and healthcare this year. All of five submissions from IIT Kharagpur came in the category of Top-50 innovations. Finally, four of them were declared winners in the list of 30 innovations and one came in Top-10 to receive special support from IC2 Institute, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

The winning technologies from IIT Kharagpur were:

1. Complete Indigenous technology to spin hemodialysis grade hollow fiber membranes (Dept. of Chemical Engg. Link)

2. A continuous non-invasive blood glucose monitoring system based on photoacoustic spectroscopy (Dept. of Electronics & ECE Link).

3. Development of X-ray visible polymers for non-invasive imaging applications (School of Medical Sc. & Tech. Link).

4. Bone grafts designed via bio-mimetic approach from natural origin materials (School of Medical Sc. & Tech. Link).

A short video of the fifth technology from Dept. of Electronics & ECE, IIT Kharagpur that made into Top-50, is hosted in the innovation program youtube channel (Link).

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Picture credit: http://www.indiainnovates.in/

IMPRINT India: Healthcare Roadmap

Under the initiative entitled IMPacting Rsearch, INnovation and Techhnology, IMPRINT India, MHRD has given the IITs and IISc the responsibility to develop an Education and Research Policy Roadmap for Ten Technology Domains. IITKGP is Coordinating two critical thematic areas and participating in all areas. The TEN technology domains/themes and coordinating institutes for IMPRINT India are: (i) Healthcare: IIT Kharagpur (ii) Computer Science and ICT: IIT Kharagpur (iii) Energy : IIT Bombay (iv) Sustainable urban design :IIT Roorkee (v) Nano-technology hardware: IIT Bombay (vi) Water resources andRiver Systems: IIT Kanpur (vii) Advanced materials: IIT Kanpur (viii) Manufacturing IIT Madras (ix) Defence: IIT Madras (x) Environment Science and Climate Change: IISc, Bangalore

First Pan IIT and IISc Workshop on IMPRINT India was held in IIT Kanpur on 11th May 2015. IITKGP Team was represented by Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti (Director), Prof Sunando Dasgupta (Dean SRIC), Prof Anupam Basu (CSE & Chairman CET), Prof Suman Chakraborty (ME and Head SMST), Prof Goutam Saha (E&ECE, PIC, IPR & IR and Coordinator, Signals & Systems for Life Science Mega Project).

In the inagural session, Honourable Union Minister of Human Resource Development presented the concept and its significance, and wished everybody for the work ahead. Directors of IITs, present in the workshop, told the genesis of this initiative that dates back to a meet of IIT Directors at Rashtrapati Bhavan in presence of Prime Minister of India. They reminded that it is the first time IITs, IISc are asked to play the role of think-tank in the making of national policy road map, in such a scale. The whole day discussion was moderated by Directors of IIT Kanpur, IIT Roorkee and IIT Kharagpur.

IIT Kharagpur presentation on Healthcare introduced the objective, scope, methodology and challenges to workshop attendee. To move forward, besides a core team from IITKGP, there will be members from other IITs, IISc joining the team to set the process in motion. We got few such names from other IITs in the workshop itself. We welcome all stakeholders to come forward and be a part of this initiative by giving their valuable inputs. In this, we have primarily two mandates to fulfill. The aim is to have in place (i)Education that strengthens competencies and fosters innovation and (ii)R & D that leads to self-sufficiency by understanding our priorities and readiness. The IITKGP Healthcare presentation slides can be downloaded from

http://tinyurl.com/IMPRINT-Healthcare-IITKGP

In the preliminary stage, the input on issues related to Healthcare road map, may please be provided by filling-up following web form. We shall explore later possibility of a greater mode of engagement with the contributor, based on requirement on ground. All significant contributions will be duly acknowledged. The link of the web form is

http://tinyurl.com/IMPRINT-Heathcare-Input

Update:Second workshop of IMPRINT India was held at IIT Delhi on 16th August, 2015. The IITKGP Healthcare presentations slides for this workshop is available at

http://tinyurl.com/IMPRINT-Healthcare-IITKGP-2 

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