CSIR-CDRI Celebrated its 73rd Annual Day acknowledging the significant achievements and contributions of the Institute

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 Bureau chief R L Pandey

Lucknow, India। CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute Lucknow celebrated its 73rd Annual Day on Saturday, February 17th, 2024, commemorating its rich legacy of pioneering drug research and development in India. The annual event also featured the 49th Sir Edward Mellanby Memorial Oration, honoring the institute's founding director and his invaluable contributions to the field.
Dr. Radha Rangarajan, the Director, CSIR-CDRI, extended a warm welcome to the Chief Guest, Dr. Ashutosh Sharma, President of the Indian National Science Academy, and former Secretary of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and Sir Edward Mellanby Memorial Orator Dr. Jyotsna Dhawan, Emeritus Scientist at CSIR - Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.
The Institute paid its tributes to the former Directors of CSIR-CDRI Padmashri Dr. Nitya Anand and Dr. VP Kamboj who recently passed away. Dr. Rangarajan highlighted their significant contributions to scientific development, including the advancement of various medicines and technologies supplied worldwide by the institute. 

*49th Sir Edward Mellanby Memorial Oration*

*Muscle Matters, not only for healthy life but also because it is lost in aging and disease: Dr. Jyotsna Dhawan*

Dr. Jyotsna Dhawan delivered the 49th Sir Edward Mellanby Memorial Oration, she emphasized the critical role of stem cell dormancy in facilitating medical breakthroughs, especially in the field of muscle regeneration. Dr. Dhawan's presentation delved into the intricacies of cell biology, focusing on the process of muscle regeneration and the significance of stem cell quiescence. She said, Muscle Matters not just for healthy life but also because it is lost in aging and disease, including muscular dystrophies. Dr. Dhawan emphasized the prevalence and impact of muscular disorders, stressing the urgent need for effective therapies. Dr. Dhawan elucidated how adult skeletal muscles possess the remarkable ability to regenerate following injury, primarily due to the presence of specialized adult stem cells known as satellite cells. She emphasized the intricate interplay between stem cell dormancy and muscle function, highlighting its pivotal role in orchestrating the regeneration process.

*Presentation of Annual Report by Director CSIR-CDRI*

Followed by the Sir Edward Mellanby Memorial Oration, Dr. Radha Rangarajan presented the annual report of the Institute. She informed that five candidate drugs are in clinical trials including Umifenovir for COVID-19, Picroliv for NAFLD, Centinhale for Drug resistant TB, S007-1500 for rapid fracture healing, and L-Ormeloxifene for Contraception. She further enumerated candidate drugs in preclinical pipeline for Malaria, Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain, Colon cancer and hyperlipidemia. She also informed that the Institute is participating in 8 major CSIR Mission projects, including PAN CSIR Cancer mission, Antiviral Mission, API Mission, IND Mission. The Institute's scientists received several major honors and awards including fellowship of Science Academies of India, awards from major agencies and societies. 
Dr. Radha Rangarajan expressed profound gratitude to the dedicated scientists and acknowledging their significant contributions to scientific developments and motivated them towards preserving the Core / Stimulating Progress with the motto of "Thinking big, Aiming high".

*Annual Day Lecture by Chief Guest*

*Connecting the Dots which have NOT been connected before, is the key for creativity: Dr. Ashutosh Sharma* 
Dr. Ashutosh Sharma, Chief Guest of Annual Day celebrations addressed the audience, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Indian science today, and highlighting the major challenges and opportunities in science and technology. He emphasized the need of Connecting the Dots which have NOT been connected before, for creativity. He further stressed on the role of Artificial Intelligence as a tool for advancement while cautioning against its potential misuse.

*Signing of MoUs*

*CSIR-CDRI and Cipla Collaborate on Novel Ophthalmic Formulation to address Fungal Keratitis* 

CSIR-CDRI also collaborated with global pharmaceutical company ‘Cipla’, to jointly develop a novel ophthalmic formulation for fungal keratitis. CDRI has developed a prototype formulation for an antifungal drug to optimize its delivery in the eye. In preclinical studies, this formulation supports faster resolution of the infection. Cipla will scale up the product, conduct the required human clinical trials, and seek regulatory approvals for commercialization, ensuring accessibility for those in need. Team of CDRI scientists led by Dr. Rabi S. Bhatta along with Dr. Sanjeev K. Shukla, Dr. Sidharth Chopra and Dr. Madhav N. Mugale developed a unique formulation that allows the antifungal drug to remain in the eye for a longer duration.

*CSIR-CDRI signed a licensing agreement with ESSCEE Biotech India for the phosphoramidite-based quenchers technology*
CSIR-CDRI executed the licensing agreement with ESSCEE Biotech India Pvt. Ltd. for the technology of phosphoramidite-based quenchers for life sciences research and biomedical applications. The team led by Dr. Atul Goel developed an economical route for phosphoramidite-based quenchers which are used as reagents for nucleic acid research. The affordable indigenous technology will not only reduce the cost but also will be used for developing new nucleic acid reagents for research and diagnostics. 
Furthermore, CSIR-CDRI announced two academic Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Goa and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.
The event concluded with honoring the staff members who have completed 25 years of service and who have superannuated in last one year.
Dr. Sanjay Batra, the Organizing secretary of the Annual Day Celebrations, proposed vote of thanks.

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