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News Article | September 28, 2016

Gender pay gap Getting more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) roles might be key to closing the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom, according to a report from accounting firm Deloitte. At today’s rate of progress, the gap — currently 9.4% for full-time work — is likely to persist until 2069, the report says. It found that although men’s and women’s salaries are better balanced in STEM roles, women occupy just 14% of these jobs; up to 70% of women with STEM qualifications do not go into related roles. Europa’s water jets The presence of plumes shooting out from Jupiter’s moon Europa has been confirmed by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope. The phenomenon was first reported in 2013. Researchers speculate that the jets are water originating from an ocean buried beneath kilometres of ice, which has the potential to support life. Most of the plumes are clustered near Europa’s south pole, scientists report in a paper set to appear in The Astrophysical Journal. The researchers looked for the plumes as Europa passed across the face of Jupiter. See for more. African elephants ravaged by poaching African elephants have seen their worst decline in 25 years, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s African Elephant Status Report. The drop is mainly a result of ivory poaching, which has surged in the past decade. Elephant numbers, estimated from sources including aerial surveys and dung counts, dropped by 111,000 to 415,000 from 2006 to 2015. East Africa has been worst hit by poaching, with a 50% decline. It is the first time in 25 years that the report, launched on 23 September at the Convention on the International Trade Endangered Species meeting in South Africa, has found a continental decline in numbers. ‘Keep US in Paris’ An open letter penned by 375 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel laureates, has condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s pledge to remove the United States from the Paris climate accord if he is elected. The letter, published on 20 September, says that human-caused climate change “is a physical reality”, and that a US withdrawal from the Paris deal would have severe consequences for Earth’s climate and “for the international credibility of the United States”. The country formally joined the Paris agreement on 3 September, and the accord is widely expected to enter into legal force this year. Billions for disease Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, physician and educator Priscilla Chan, have pledged US$3 billion for the first 10 years of an ambitious project to cure, prevent or manage all diseases by 2100. The commitment, announced on 21 September, is part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which the couple set up last year. The initiative has enlisted a ‘dream team’ of scientific leaders with diverse expertise to collaborate on developing new tools and technologies — something that scientists say is sorely needed. See page 595 for more. Chinese telescope China has begun testing its Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the largest single-dish instrument in the world. FAST, located in a mountainous region of the southern Guizhou province, is 65% wider than the next-largest single-dish radio telescope. Greater dish size increases the likelihood of detecting signals from faint objects such as pulsars. On 25 September, some 200 scientists from around the world attended an opening ceremony and got a first look at FAST’s preliminary data. Once the testing process is complete, teams will be able to bid for telescope time. See page 593 for more. Gene bank opens China opened its first national gene bank, reportedly the world’s largest, on 22 September. The China National GeneBank, a five-hectare facility in Shenzhen, currently houses some 10 million gene samples — from people, animals, plants and microbes. Developed by genomics firm BGI, the US$1-billion repository will make some samples and data available to scientists worldwide, and aims to promote research on human health and the conservation of biodiversity. The bank’s director, Mei Yonghong, said that it also aims to bring the cost of sequencing an individual genome down to 1,000 yuan ($150). Harassment bill A bill to fight sexual harassment in science was introduced into the US House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (Democrat, California) on 22 September. If passed, the legislation would require universities to report sexual abuse by faculty members to grant-giving federal agencies. Any gender-discrimination violations would have to be reported within one month of the end of an investigation. Speier’s action follows a string of revelations of sexual harassment by prominent academics in astronomy, biology and other fields. Forensic science A number of forensic methods used in US criminal courts lack adequate scientific validity, according to White House science advisers. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report on 20 September recommending actions to strengthen forensic science and promote its rigorous use in criminal justice. The report references many wrongful convictions that were partly based on doubtful forensic evidence — including DNA samples, bite marks, fingerprints and bullet marks. The advisers recommend empirical testing of commonly used forensic methods to evaluate their accuracy, reproducibility and reliability; methods that do not meet these standards should be considered invalid. Resistance action All 193 member states of the United Nations have signed a declaration to combat antimicrobial resistance. Some 700,000 people are estimated to die each year as a result of drug-resistant infections. The declaration, signed in New York City on 21 September, commits countries to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of resistance, which UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said poses a “long-term threat to human health”. Growing levels of resistance are largely attributed to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials in humans, animals and crops. Genomes and drugs Drug giant AstraZeneca announced on 28 September that geneticist David Goldstein will head its 10-year project to mine 2 million genomes. Goldstein will maintain his current position at Columbia University in New York City as he steers AstraZeneca’s efforts to incorporate genomics into its drug discovery and development programme. AstraZeneca, based in Cambridge, UK, will pool sequences from multiple projects, including its own clinical trials. Genius grants Eight scientists are among the 23 recipients of this year’s ‘genius grants’, handed out by the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. Winners include Rebecca Richards-Kortum, a bioengineer at Rice University in Houston, Texas, who develops simple and inexpensive diagnostic technologies for use in the developing world; and Subhash Khot, a theoretical computer scientist at New York University, who seeks to understand the limits of computation. Each of the MacArthur awards, announced on 22 September, comes with a no-strings-attached grant of US$625,000 paid over five years. See for more. Carbon emissions will cause global warming to surpass 2 °C if the world produces all of the oil, gas and coal in reserves that are already being exploited or developed, according to a 22 September report by Oil Change International, an advocacy group in Washington DC. Using industry and government data, the group found that emissions from current fields would exceed by 12% the amount of carbon that can be emitted to maintain a 66% chance of holding global warming to 2 °C. 10–14 October An amendment relating to hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases, is top of the agenda at the 28th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in Kigali, Rwanda. 17–20 October Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, takes place in Quito, Ecuador.

Manna K.,Nirma University | Agrawal Y.K.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2010

Twenty-eight newer 3-benzofuran-5-aryl-1-pyrazolyl-pyridylmethanone and 3-benzofuran-5-aryl-1-pyrazolylcarbonyl-4-oxo-naphthyridin analogs were synthesized by microwave irradiation method and evaluated for in-vitro and in-vivo antitubercular activity against multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis stains. Structure-activity relationship study was carried out and found NO 2 (o) substituted 3-benzofuran-5-aryl-1-pyrazolylcarbonyl-4-oxo- naphthyridin was most potent antitubercular agent against M. tuberculosis, even better than standard drug isoniazid and comparable with rifampin. Other synthesized compounds 7j, 7f, 7a, 7e and 5d, 5f were found moderate to good activity in in-vitro model at lower IC50 values 85 μM, 154 μM, 157 μM, 164 μM, 170 μM and 190μML respectively. In in-vivo animal model compound 7j was drastically reduced the bacterial load in lung and spleen tissues at the dose of 25 mg/kg body weight. In in-vivo animal model, test drugs (7j, 7f, 7a, 5d, 5f) has drastically been reduced bacterial counts in mice lungs and spleen tissues, which comparable with INH and Rifampin. © 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Das R.S.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Agrawal Y.K.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Vibrational Spectroscopy | Year: 2011

Vibrational spectroscopy has proven itself to be a valuable contributor in the study of various fields of science, primarily due to the extraordinary versatility of sampling methods. Raman measurement gives the vibrational spectrum of the analyte, which can be treated as its "fingerprint," allows easy interpretation and identification. Over the last years, there has been tremendous technical improvement in Raman spectroscopy, as overcome by the problems like fluorescence, poor sensitivity or reproducibility. This article reviews the recent advances in Raman spectroscopy and its new trend of applications ranging from ancient archaeology to advanced nanotechnology. It includes the aspects of Raman spectroscopic measurements to the analysis of various substances categorized into distinct application areas such as biotechnology, mineralogy, environmental monitoring, food and beverages, forensic science, medical and clinical chemistry, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, material science, surface analysis, etc. Advances in the instrumental design of Raman spectrometers coupled with newly developed sampling methodologies have also been described which enable trace level detection and satisfactory analysis. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Mathur A.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Agrawal Y.K.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Journal of Bionanoscience | Year: 2013

The detection and analysis of protein and its degradation pattern are extremely important for biomolecular research and diagnosis. Cardiac Troponin I is a protein considered as the standard marker of myocardial infarction. Thus, it is frequently estimated in the blood by a number of techniques. In the present study Gold nanoparticles were used to probe the degradation pattern of cardiac troponin I. A change in the absorption spectra was observed on addition of native Cardiac troponin I to AuNPs solution. As the concentration of native troponin decreased the maximum absorption wavelength also decreased. The study was further validated by monitoring the quenching property of AuNPs. The study suggested that gold nanoparticles can be used in the detection of native cardiac troponin I as well as its degraded products when present in a mixture together. Copyright © 2013 American Scientific Publishers. All rights reserved.

Rawtani D.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Agrawal Y.K.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Reviews on Advanced Materials Science | Year: 2012

Natural tubules Halloysite are unique and versatile material formed by surface weathering of aluminosilicate minerals and comprises of different proportion of aluminum, silicon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It has chemical formula of Al 4Si 4O 10(OH) 84H 2O. Nanotubular geometry of halloysites exhibit nanoscale dimensions. Basically, this tubular arrangement varies with different regions. HNTs have high mechanical strength and modulus and these features make it an ideal material for preparing different polymer based composites. Halloysites (HNT's) are being used for so many varieties of biological and non-biological applications; remediation of environmental contaminants, act as a cargo for the delivery of drugs and various macro molecules, storage of molecular hydrogen and for catalytic conversion and processing of hydrocarbons. They are usually applied in the fabrication of high quality ceramic white-ware, nanotemplates and nano scale reaction vessels. In conjunction with different epoxy (EP) composites halloysite used to improve the mechanical properties of polymer Various features of HNT's like rigidity, higher aspect ratio, and easy dispersability in polymer matrix and more importantly its abundant availability and biocompatibility make it a subject of fascination. In this review, we tried to summarize the various facet of halloysite nano tubes for the pertinence in the various research fields. © 2012 Advanced Study Center Co. Ltd.

Pathak L.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Agrawal Y.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Dhir A.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs | Year: 2013

Introduction: Natural polyphenols, the non-essential micronutrients, found in array of plant products, are known to affect various physiological and biochemical functions in the body. Studies have shown the protective effect of these polyphenols in different neurological and mental disorders. These polyphenols modulate monoaminergic neurotransmission in the brain and thus possess antidepressant-like activity at least in animal models of depression. Areas covered: The present review discusses the use of these natural polyphenols in the treatment of major depression. The review article discusses the antidepressant potential of some important polyphenols such as amentoflavone, apigenin, chlorogenic acid, curcumin, ferulic acid, hesperidin, rutin, quercetin, naringenin, resveratrol, ellagic acid, nobiletin and proanthocyanidins. The mechanism of action of these polyphenols in the treatment of major depression is also discussed in detail. Expert opinion: There is an exciting prospect in the discovery of natural polyphenols as therapeutic agents in the treatment of major depression. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Blessy M.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Patel R.D.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Prajapati P.N.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Agrawal Y.K.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis | Year: 2014

Forced degradation is a degradation of new drug substance and drug product at conditions more severe than accelerated conditions. It is required to demonstrate specificity of stability indicating methods and also provides an insight into degradation pathways and degradation products of the drug substance and helps in elucidation of the structure of the degradation products. Forced degradation studies show the chemical behavior of the molecule which in turn helps in the development of formulation and package. In addition, the regulatory guidance is very general and does not explain about the performance of forced degradation studies. Thus, this review discusses the current trends in performance of forced degradation studies by providing a strategy for conducting studies on degradation mechanisms and also describes the analytical methods helpful for development of stability indicating method. © 2014 Xi'an Jiaotong University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Dhir A.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Drugs of Today | Year: 2013

Vortioxetine (Lu-AA-21004; 1-[2-(2,4-dimethylphenylsulfonyl)phenyl] piperazine hydrobromide) is a novel orally active molecule that is being investigated by Lundbeck and Takeda for the treatment of major depression and generalized anxiety disorders. Vortioxetine has a unique "multi-modal" mechanism of action. It inhibits the activity of serotonin transporters and is an agonist of serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, partial agonist of 5-HT 1B and antagonist of 5-HT3A, 5-HT7 and 5-HT1D receptors. Vortioxetine has been effective in various animal models of depression and anxiety and clinical studies have shown the antidepressant and antianxiety properties of vortioxetine in a dose range of 5-20 mg/day. Vortioxetine reverses cognitive decline in patients with depression making it a unique molecule. The molecule lacks any serious side effects and drug-drug interactions. However, dose adjustments are required if vortioxetine is co-administered with rifampicin or bupropion. The molecule is under review by various regulatory agencies around the world for the treatment of major depression. Copyright © 2013 Prous Science, S.A.U. or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Sarvaiya J.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University | Agrawal Y.K.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
International Journal of Biological Macromolecules | Year: 2015

Chitosan, a biocompatible natural polysaccharide is frequently reported carrier material in targeted drug delivery to treat neurodegenerative disorders. Chitosan and its biodegradable products exert its bioactivities on nerve cells and blood brain barrier at the molecular level, which are beneficial in anti-Alzheimer therapy. Flexibility of surface modification, the ability to get attached with varieties of ligand molecules and the formation of the stable nano complex in physiological condition make chitosan an adorable material for delivery of anti-Alzheimer drugs and siRNA to the brain. The success rate of nose to brain delivery of anti-Alzheimer drugs enhances when chitosan used as a carrier material. This review covers direct and indirect anti-Alzheimer effects of chitosan, surface modification strategies to augment permeation from the blood-brain barrier structure, different ligands reported for brain targeting of chitosan nanoparticles containing anti Alzheimer drugs, blood compatibility and widely utilized chitosan nanoparticle fabrication techniques. Key intellectual claims are also condensed through patents to appraise chitosan as an attractive polymer for brain targeted nanoformulation which is currently facing oversight by regulatory agencies and manufacturers. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Shah M.,Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
Pharmaceutical development and technology | Year: 2013

The present paper describes an in silico solubility behavior of drug and lipids, an essential screening study in preparation of solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN). Ciprofloxacin HCl was selected as a model drug along with 11 lipids and 5 organic solvents. In silico miscibility study of drug/lipid/solvent was performed using Hansen solubility parameter approach calculated by group contribution method of Van Krevelen and Hoftyzer. Predicted solubility was validated by determining solubility of lipids in various solvent at different temperature range, while miscibility of drug in lipids was determined by apparent solubility study and partition experiment. The presence of oxygen and OH functionality increases the polarity and hydrogen bonding possibilities of the compound which has reflected the highest solubility parameter values for Geleol and Capmul MCM C8. Ethyl acetate, Geleol and Capmul MCM C8 was identified as suitable organic solvent, solid lipid and liquid lipid respectively based on a solubility parameter approach which was in agreement with the result of an apparent solubility study and partition coefficient. These works demonstrate the validity of solubility parameter approach and provide a feasible predictor to the rational selection of excipients in designing SLN formulation.

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