IISER Pune Gets National Facility for Gene Function in Health and Disease

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Pune, 26th May 2022: Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan visited the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune to lay the foundation stone for the newly established Department of Data Science and to inaugurate the National Facility for Gene Function in Health and Disease.

He interacted with various faculty members at the institute, who gave an overview of the research and academic activities at the institute. Pradhan also visited the PARAM Brahma Supercomputer facility at the institute.




During the interaction session with the faculty members, Pradhan noted the work being carried out at the institute and the potential for the institute to develop some of these activities to further increase the reach to many more students across the country and to address issues such as water and waste management. He encouraged the institute members to explore ways to create alternative energy options and inculcate an awareness for sustainable living among students who represent our future generation. Shri Pradhan also suggested that we incentivize the participation in sports among students at the same level as we do academics.

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About the Department of Data Science


Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan laid the foundation stone for the construction of the research and office space for the Department of Data Science, which has been newly established at IISER Pune. The department envisions a synthesis of the three foundations of data science: (i) statistics and probability, (ii) applied mathematics, and (iii) computer science. It naturally builds on the existing core strengths of IISER Pune in basic sciences and humanities.

The department focuses on a three-tiered strategy of education, research, and innovation, for developing capacity in theoretical underpinnings, development of new methods, and a variety of applications. It seeks to cultivate collaborations not only with other departments in the institute but also more widely, including industry.

About the National Facility for Gene Function in Health and Disease


To study disease and provide new knowledge that can inform health and medicine, it is important to study such conditions in a physiologically relevant context. It is not always possible to employ humans for experimental investigations. This is where various model organisms, including animals, plants, and microorganisms that are easy to produce within a reasonable timeframe in numbers that are sufficient for research, become essential for such studies.


Animal models such as rats, mice, rabbits are chosen for their similarity to humans in terms of how their bodies work (physiology).


Set up with funding from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, the purpose behind the creation of the National Facility for Gene Function in Health and Disease is to make knock-out and transgenic animal models in India. Importing from outside India takes an enormous amount of time and is prohibitively expensive.

The facility has over 50 clean rooms and 30 service rooms and houses mice, rats, and rabbits. The facility ensures that the animals are maintained in a specific-pathogen-free condition to avoid possible interference with research objectives.

The facility also includes molecular biology labs and microinjection set-up to generate knock-out or knock-in mouse models through CRISPR/Cas9 system, embryonic stem cell based models, and conventional transgenic mice.

The technological expertise available at this facility includes sperm and embryo cryopreservation and in-vitro fertilisation, and stereo-taxic surgery.

The facility strictly adheres to guidelines pertaining to animal ethics and adopts best practices in animal handling.

The facility is currently being used by over 10 research groups from IISER Pune and is providing services to other government organisations such as TIFR, Ministry of Ayush, Savitribai Phule Pune University, and the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune.

Creation and maintenance of the facility requires training, therefore, for the initiative to be sustained, training of students and other researchers in India is a continuous activity that the facility invests time and energies in.