Dr. D Y Patil Biotechnology & Bioinformatics Institute

By Dr. J. K. Pal, Director
Dr. J. K. Pal,Director As per the industry reports, the global biotechnology and bioinformatics market is projected to reach USD 13.50 billion in 2023 from USD 7.73 billion in 2018, at CAGR of 14.5 percent. Being a developing national that has always embraced cutting-edge technologies, built global scale manufacturing capacities, and benchmarked our systems and strategies to global best practices, India is currently among the top 12 biotechnology destinations in the world and ranks third in the Asia-Pacific region. Although, manpower development in these areas started in a very few institutions primarily regulated by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, at the master’s level (M.Sc.) and later at the undergraduate level (B.Sc.) by many universities, very few universities and institutes were offering Biotechnology as Engineering/professional degrees until recently. Since the graduates were not fulfilling the Industry requirements, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth (DPU), Pune took the decision of starting Biotechnology and Bioinformatics as professional courses at both the UG and PG levels like, 4 year B.Tech. and 5 year integrated M.Tech. courses.

"The management of DPU felt the necessity of starting Biotechnology and Bioinformatics programmes instantly, and gave full support to develop necessary infrastructure and facilities within a short period of time. Indeed, such degrees were offered nowhere in Pune and around," says Dr. J. K. Pal, Director, Dr. D. Y. Patil Biotechnology & Bioinformatics Institute(DYPBBI). Commenced in 2004 with two undergraduate (B.Tech. Biotechnology and Bioinformatics) and two masters (M.Sc. Biotechnology and M.Tech. Integrated Biotechnology), DYPBBI started offering Ph.D. programmes in both Biotechnology and Bioinformatics. "More recently in 2014, we introduced B. Tech. Medical Biotechnology with special trainings offered by the teachers and clinicians at our Medical College and Hospital (DPU). Currently our total student strength of the institute is around 615 and we have about 26 students doing their PhD," adds Dr. Pal.

Apart from conducting workshops to train the students for competitive exams like UGC-CSIR NET, DBT BET,
GATE and so on, particularly for the students who wish to continue for PhD degree, DYPBBI has a large number of choice-based optional elective courses for each of the degree courses including some MOOCs courses offered by UGC Swayam. Dr. Pal shares, “We have over 36 trained faculty members in the campus. Many of them have been trained abroad in various specific areas of Biotechnology and we encourage them to carry out research through independent extramural research funding, DPU internal (Seed money) funding and through industry collaborations, besides international collaboration programmes.” With an impressive teacher-student ratio of 1:13, the faculty members of the institute encourage students to participate and learn to organize special scientific events like Science day and Immunology day involving school students, as well as mentor them to prepare scientific models and posters and publish E-magazine.

"Research is the watchword of most of the institutions operating under the DPU and DYPBBI is not different"

A Hub of Knowledge Creation
Research is the watchword of most of the institutions operating under the DPU and DYPBBI is not different. The institute has five major thrust areas of research namely, Microbial diversity and bioremediation, Cancer biology, Biochemistry, Plant biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology and Bioinformatics. Since the Microbial diversity and bioremediation research labis recognized as an advance centre of excellence by DPU, research in these areas are supported by funds from various international funding agencies like Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and Swedish Research Council. In addition to the internal DPU grants, the centre has also received extramural funding from national agencies like, DBT and DST including DST FIST. Many patents, publications and national awards have been the outcome of research done in the institute.

“Our students get ample opportunity to contribute to the research in these labs through research projects (6 months/one year) as a part of their degree programs. They contribute significantly in this endeavour and become author in research publications and patents. They are also exposed to the modern instruments and technology in this process,” explains Dr. Pal. With excellent infrastructure facilities, library facilities and an academic ambience, the students of DYPBBI are assured to get an excellent training with a major emphasis of hand-on exercises, research projects at the campus and at various reputed academic
institutions and industries including, one-year project at Skövde University, Sweden for the M.Tech. students under the collaborative exchange program. “These help our students to get better placement in reputed biotech companies, who select our students through on an off campus interviews,” claims Dr. Pal.

Biotech companies like Life Cell International Private Limited, Innoplexus Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd., Future Market Insight, Rehoboth Academic Services, Sciformix Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Jay Biotechnology (Bafna Group), Cell Works, Allied Analytics, Coherent Market Insight, Monter Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and many more are regular recruiters of DYPBBI. To prepare industry-ready graduates every year, the institute does continuous revision of syllabi as appropriate for both fundamental knowledge and as per industry requirement, with the help of experts from both academia and industry. Further, the involvement of visiting faculty invited from various industries to teach some specific topics related to industries and the two-day long Industry-Academia conclave that is organized once a year regularly help DYPBBI in improving the placement figure every passing year.

Looking at the overall performance of students and faculty members, it is evident that the management of the DPU has taken every possible efforts including, updating the syllabi, appointment of well-qualified teachers, approval and accreditation by national agencies like AICTE, NAAC, NIRF and so on to make DPU and DYPBBI competitive at the national and international level. “In the coming years, we will introduce certificate courses in Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology & Bioinformatics, and in ‘in silico’ drug design and drug-discovery. Plans like offering start-up fellowships for our own students, establishment of an Innovation cell and an Incubator, organizing an International symposium in Biotechnology and, student scholarship for meritorious and economically poor students and more are in pipeline,” concludes Dr. Pal.

Dr. J. K. Pal, Director
With more than 36 years of experience in research and teaching, Dr. Pal was university topper in both B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Zoology. Holding PhD in Developmental Biology from University of Pune, he has received many prestigious awards including Dewang Mehta National Education Award of Best Professor in Biotechnology. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India.He is also a former UGC BSR Faculty Fellow, and Professor & Head, at the Department of Biotechnology, Savitribai Phule Pune University.