Team:IISER Mohali/Human Practices

Human Practices

Human Practices



Our work began in December 2019 when the world was blissfully unaware of the COVID-19 pandemic that would wreak havoc of a severity no one living had ever seen. We were a group of three students then, interested in synthetic biology applications, and we started to look up prospective areas to work on. We went on to discuss local issues like stubble burning in the Punjab and Haryana regions of India[1] to global problems like the presence of microplastics in the environment[2], HIV prevention[3], maternal health care[4] and global warming. Various ideas came up, and each of them was screened in meetings for the information already available, possible modifications and integration of new ideas.

Nothing caught our attention more than the ubiquity of cancer[5], a disease every child is familiar with but is yet claiming lives at an alarming rate. We started off by looking for genes of interest that could be used to base our project on. Our first focus was p53, also called the guardian of the genome since it acts as a tumour suppressor[6]. Mutations in this protein have been linked to uncontrolled divisions. We thought of devising a way to detect its mutant forms, but this approach had multiple obstacles. A major one being, how could we identify the enormous number of mutations[7] that a protein could possibly undergo? And it would be futile to target any one particular mutation unless its contribution is significant.

Check out our Commnunications page to know how we paved our way out further.

Other pages in the Human Practices Section:

  1. Communication/Engagement Page
  2. Education Page
  3. Inclusivity Page
  4. Entrepreneurship Page
  5. Sustainability Page


[1] Reddy, J. P., Dubey, N., Avinashe, H. A., Ram, K., & Sree, K. R. C. C. (2019). Stubble burning in Punjab: A review. J. Pharmacogn. Phytochem., 8(Special Issue 1), 186-191.
[2] Peng, J., Wang, J., & Cai, L. (2017). Current understanding of microplastics in the environment: occurrence, fate, risks, and what we should do. Integrated environmental assessment and management, 13(3), 476-482.
[3] Gupta, G. R., Parkhurst, J. O., Ogden, J. A., Aggleton, P., & Mahal, A. (2008). Structural approaches to HIV prevention. The lancet, 372(9640), 764-775.
[4] Vora, K. S., Mavalankar, D. V., Ramani, K. V., Upadhyaya, M., Sharma, B., Iyengar, S., ... & Iyengar, K. (2009). Maternal health situation in India: a case study. Journal of health, population, and nutrition, 27(2), 184.
[5] Mallath, M. K., Taylor, D. G., Badwe, R. A., Rath, G. K., Shanta, V., Pramesh, C. S., ... & Sullivan, R. (2014). The growing burden of cancer in India: epidemiology and social context. The Lancet Oncology, 15(6), e205-e212.
[6] Nielsen, L. L., & Maneval, D. C. (1998). P53 tumor suppressor gene therapy for cancer. Cancer gene therapy, 5(1), 52-63.
[7] Soussi, T., Dehouche, K., & Béroud, C. (2000). p53 website and analysis of p53 gene mutations in human cancer: forging a link between epidemiology and carcinogenesis. Human mutation, 15(1), 105-113.
[8] Levine, A. J., Momand, J., & Finlay, C. A. (1991). The p53 tumour suppressor gene. Nature, 351(6326), 453-456.
[9] Harris, C. C., & Hollstein, M. (1993). Clinical implications of the p53 tumor-suppressor gene. New England Journal of Medicine, 329(18), 1318-1327.
[10] Velculescu, V. E., & El-Deiry, W. S. (1996). Biological and clinical importance of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Clinical chemistry, 42(6), 858-868.
[11] Steele, R. J. C., Thompson, A. M., Hall, P. A., & Lane, D. P. (1998). The p53 tumour suppressor gene. Journal of British Surgery, 85(11), 1460-1467.
[12] Nielsen, L. L., & Maneval, D. C. (1998). P53 tumor suppressor gene therapy for cancer. Cancer gene therapy, 5(1), 52-63.
[13] Levine, A. J., Finlay, C. A., & Hinds, P. W. (2004). P53 is a tumor suppressor gene. Cell, 116, S67-S70.
[14] Varshitha, A. (2015). Prevalence of oral cancer in India. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 7(10), 845.
[15] Borse, V., Konwar, A. N., & Buragohain, P. (2020). Oral cancer diagnosis and perspectives in India. Sensors International, 100046.
[16] Scully, C., & Bagan, J. (2009). Oral squamous cell carcinoma overview. Oral oncology, 45(4/5), 301-308.
[17] Dissanayaka, W. L., Pitiyage, G., Kumarasiri, P. V. R., Liyanage, R. L. P. R., Dias, K. D., & Tilakaratne, W. M. (2012). Clinical and histopathologic parameters in survival of oral squamous cell carcinoma. Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology and oral radiology, 113(4), 518-525.
[18] Omura, K. (2014). Current status of oral cancer treatment strategies: surgical treatments for oral squamous cell carcinoma. International journal of clinical oncology, 19(3), 423-430.

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