The setting up of these labs is an effort to combine two unfulfilled needs, to mutual advantage, in a manner that is probably unprecedented. Read on, to see the ‘what’, ‘wherefore’ and ‘how’ of this effort..


NEED 1 – HETeU, and associated issues

HETeU has to do with our 5-year integrated BS-MS degree students, especially during their ‘3rd and 4th years, as they specialize in Biological Sciences. Such students need to be exposed to modern techniques, and gain ‘hands-on’ experience in these techniques, in order to graduate from IISER-M with adequate exposure to (and experience, in using) modern techniques. If they do not do so, such students will not benefit from the research expertise available amongst faculty, and end up graduating with mainly classroom-derived knowledge, or perhaps the barest of practical laboratory training and experience. Since DBS houses almost all modern biological facilities and has faculty with the requisite expertise, it is desired that our BS-MS students benefit from this availability. However, there is neither the time available to train all BS-MS students in all techniques on ‘high-end’ sophisticated research instrumentation available in the dHETeU-LEReU is an acronym for ‘high-end teaching usage – low-end research usage’.
epartment, nor is there the inclination to give such students direct access to sophisticated instruments (given concerns about instrument safety, and costs of maintenance and repair).


NEED 2 – LEReU, and associated issues

LEReU relates to students, or faculty, carrying out research – who do not have the time, inclination, or background, to train on specific sophisticated instrument facilities (particularly if the need for such facilities arises only rarely in their research group), but who still have a need to use such facilities, either now and then, or routinely but using only a very low level of sophistication. Generally, such a need is fulfilled through collaborations, but there is always paucity of time in the lab possessing the requisite expertise, which becomes rate-determining for research. Enough student-training also does not occur, in this mode. Therefore, there is a need for LEReU. Students with a LEReU need could be either from the 5th year of the BS-MS degree program (carrying out a one-year thesis project, even while attending some classes), or from the Ph.D program. LEReU needs are present ‘all-year-round’.



Everyone recognizes that it is difficult to find funds to fulfill (or justify) either the HETeUneed, or the LEReU need, independently. Clearly, if only BS-MS students were to end up using HETeUinstruments, each instrument would be used for only a week, or a fortnight, each year, by each batch of students, and gather dust for the remainder of the year. On the other hand, if only fifth year MS students and Ph.D students were to end up using LEReU instruments, the argument could be easily made that this would be a luxury; such students could arguably spend the requisite time, and learn to use sophisticated instruments, if and when they need them. Therefore, a HETeU lab is a viable proposition if and only if it is combined with a LEReU need, since such a blending of HETeU and LEReU needs alloweach facilityto get used all the time (not seasonally), and takes academic and research student training to ‘the next level’. The question is, are there low-end-sophistication instruments available ?Fortunately, in recent times, many different manufacturers have come out with ‘low-end’ benchtop instruments (of both lower sophistication, and price). Combined with IISER’s currently available financial resources, and the mandate to take teaching, and training related to research to the next level, the available of such instrumentation allowed us to fulfill the HETeU-LEReU need admirably.



We have procured twenty different types of facilities, including instruments for analytical electrophoresis, chromatography, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, FTIR spectroscopy, circular dichroism, stopped-flow absorption, fluorescence, and CD spectroscopy, plate- readers for ELISA, fluorescence and luminescence assays, regular PCR, real-time PCR, centrifugation, ultracentrigugation, bio-layer interferometry, cell disruption, plant growth, and three-dimensional biomolecularvisualization and analyses.