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Bio-inspired Engineering

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Welcome to the MOOC NPTEL course on bioengineering an interface with biology and medicine.In previous lecture, we had discussed various basic problems which affect all of us equallyirrespective of which discipline biology, medicine or engineering we belong to.Today, I will try to provide some examples on how bioengineering has already initiatedadvancements in multiple disciplines of healthcare and technology.Let us first start with bio-inspired engineering.For studying nature's creation and elements and from such inspiration developing designand models to solve complex human problem comes under bio-inspired engineering.Let us take couple of examples here for bio-inspired engineering.Look at this flower which is lotus flower and its leaf.They provide us an example for waterproofing.If you look at the leaf from the lotus, it has the crevices of microscopic roughly surfaceto strap the air upon which the water droplets float.So lotus gives us lesson for waterproofing.Now this observation was utilized by a company Green Shield which is a company inspired bythe nature.They have made the chemicals which use lotus effect which can be used for the waterproofingin the paints.Just imagine that you know in Mumbai and many parts in the world so much rain happens andbuildings look so ugly because the paints will wash off as you know with the heavy rains.With having these kind of waterproof, paints could be so useful for these building andone could achieve high water and stain repellency.Let us look at another example for architecture.These termite mounds they maintain very stable temperature inside by the process of passivecooling.The creation of sustainable buildings one could take lessons from these termites.Look at this elegant building in Zimbabwe Eastgate Building.Their air conditioning system is modeled on the self-cooling mounds termites and has resultedinto mechanical or passive cooling system which has used 10% energy for ventilation,then what is used for the conventional building.Just imagine that this minor observation of architecture from termites have resulted intosuch an efficient and elegant building which uses very less power and it still providesthe cooling system for the people who live inside.Now let us go to another example.On the screen, you can see the dolphin.Dolphin provides inspiration for Tsunami alert system which can be used for warning peopleabout Tsunamis.Dolphins in their family they recognize calls almost 25 kilometer away when they are inthe water to cope with the sound scattering behavior of the high-frequency.Now a company EvoLogics, they use this particular understanding from dolphins and developedhigh-performance underwater sonar and underwater robotic systems which has resulted into high-performanceunderwater modem for data transmission which is currently employed in Tsunami early warningsystems in Indian Oceans.Let us now move on to another application transportation and look at this bird on thescreen which is Kingfisher.People have taken the learning efficiency from Kingfisher and a chief engineer and birdwatcherin Japan Eiji Nakatsu.He modeled the front end of Shinkansen bullet train which is inspired from the beak of Kingfisherwhich has resulted into very quiet train and less electricity and it travels much faster.So people who are living nearby they used to face lot of problems because of the noisefrom these trains and because of the way Kingfisher goes in the water splashes the fish the silencethat kind of observation help this birdwatcher to model the front end of this particulartrain which is the superfast bullet train in the world.Let us now talk about fog harvesting technology and lessons have been taken from the beetlewhich is a Stenocara gracilipes.The technology from an IIT Bombay alumnus who studied at MIT, he took lessons from thisbeetle.And then developed this meshes which kind of mimics the similar work what these beetlesdo, so beetle they collects water droplets during the morning fog hours and then tryingto roll back and let moisture roll down into its mouth and therefore it can conserve thewater and it still fulfill its water requirement in the desert area.So they developed a device which consists of fence like meshes to attract droplet andthen that could be dripped into the container and now the villagers who are living in thesurrounding area who were so much affected because of desert and they did not have drinkingwater they are at least able to collect some drinking water in the morning hours.So as Andy McIntosh has mentioned the natural world is full of excellent designs that wecan learn from.There is a need of interaction between good biologist and engineer to transform many ofthese observations into devices and very useful outputs.Let us now discuss some of the examples of different projects which are being pursuedby technology giants who are really investing heavily right now in the mega biology projects.Many of you are engineering undergrads who wish to pursue a carrier which can be veryattractive which can be cutting-edge and what you may have to think about in this era of21st century, everything is you know really going to be transformed with the biology revolutions.So there is lot of you know integration from technology into the biological applicationwhich is currently going on and all your dream companies whether you talk about Google, IBM.You think about all the big mega projects happening in these companies are actuallynow evolving with the biological applications.So let us look at this particular project which is Google X project or the Google Brain.There is lot of you know research happening in the area of artificial intelligence.How to make the Google Brains which aims to build intelligent machines by incorporatingartificial intelligence.Even Google projects also incorporate the smart contact lenses.Just imagine that the contact lens if I remove the glass and I wear this you know contactlens and that lens has the sensors which could sense for the measurement of glucose and thereare the chips which can monitor these glucose level throughout the day that data being recordedand being you know sent to the mobile or sent to some other devices which could alert anindividual that at which time you know there is a dip in the glucose level.Because you know it is directly in the touch with the body fluid you are doing the real-timemonitoring of glucose level and diabetes and you know many problems like this can be monitoredin the real time manner.So these are kind of you know the very interesting projects which are happening at Google levelof course there are many interesting other projects in biology.But just to I am giving you flavor of various things which are ongoing in the area of technologyand biology.Another mega project is in IBM which is IBM Watson.They are using the supercomputing power again artificial intelligence and supercomputingin which way could be utilized to make a computer which could work if not better than humanat least can think like human and then provide solutions to various medical problems andmany other applications where Watson can be utilized to provide as the help and solutions.So you can see that you know there are many these kind of you know latest projects whichare biology driven happening in different you know major companies like Google, IBM,Microsoft, etc and these are just very few examples almost all the tech giants are currentlyfocusing on in some other way different type of mega biological problems whether thingsare related to the healthcare issues or energy issues.And many of these problems are currently undertaken which is on the interface of bioengineering.Another hand, there is lot of revolution is happening in the human genetics and medicalresearch area.So you know several years ago in fact decades ago, the doctors used to prescribe medicinejust based on certain biochemical parameter testing.Now things are really revolving very fast and the entire medical area is trying to evolveand try to incorporate understanding based on different type of gene and protein technologies,how they can provide some more accurate information.So for example personalized omics profiling is one of the attractive area which is youknow really ongoing and lot of revolutions are happening in this particular area wherean individual's all you know body samples, different body fluids and bio specimens areanalyzed a different type of by a molecular level to look at their DNA, RNA, protein atthe omics level especially with the genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics technologyand then trying to provide some sort of information which is unique for that individual.So in this slide I have shown you of an example from a Lukas Workman who was suffering fromleukemia and after they identified that a specific mutation which is FLT3 mutation FMS-liketyrosine kinase 3 over expression is found in this particular in this case.Then, they are able to target a specific inhibitor axitinib which was actually approved by FDAfor the renal cell cancer.So just imagine that by knowing the what could be the cause for a disease if you can identifythe right mutation right you know targets then you can provide more effective therapy.So this is one of the inspiring example in which the researcher could actually learnabout his genome and then you know finally got some solution which could help to findvery personalized medicine.Actually during my last year of fellowship again I started feeling a little bit morerundown, it happened more suddenly this time, this past July I was diagnosed again withrelapsed leukemia and was admitted into the hospital and started on very strong chemotherapy.Unfortunately, though the Leukemia did not go into remission after being treated withthis very high dose chemotherapy.There were no real promising treatments on the horizon and so things looked rather bleak.But at the same time as I was being treated my leukemia genome was being sequenced bythe genome institute here at Washington University School of Medicine.We got back the sequencing results which showed that there were promising targets that werenot even in the scope of our standard treatment protocols for this type of leukemia.Because of those results, I was able to start less aggressive chemotherapy that I couldtolerate.And then targeted therapy that had been approved for actually renal cell kidney cancer.Within a few days, my blood counts improved and within a few weeks my leukemia was inremission.So it is really going from a situation that looks really bleak to now a situation wherethere was hope again.There are more examples like this which is currently happening in the clinical area,integrative personalized omics profiling.Dr. Mike Snyder from Stanford University in USA.He profiled his own body samples for you know almost 14 months and periodically analyzedin the longitudinal manner that what happens you know at different time interval the levelat the you know protein level fluctuation, metabolite level fluctuation.And those gave very novel inside that you know how the you know body can sometime getaffected with different type of diseases and what kind of pathways could be changed inresponse to those.Now you know various medical hospitals especially one shown here in the Michigan Center forTranslational Pathology.They are using in a very systematic way of looking at both clinical and omics profileof individuals and then try to utilize that information to provide patients very personalizedtreatment Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan and his team has published many landmark papers in thisarea and which has shown elegantly that how understanding an individuals personalizedomics profiling could be so helpful for the treatments.You know other mega projects which are happening currently, intention is to look at what ismaximum molecular changes happening in a given individual and to screen the similar thingsin large population.So the Human Phenome Project in London, they are looking at profiling all metabolites inhealthy and populations affected from different diseases and trying to understand differenttype of you know metabolic networks which are being perturbed.You know as there are healthy individuals acquire different diseases and those mega-projectsyou know being pursued at National Phenome Center which is now providing you know thevery interesting and elegant publications and examples in which now we can understandthe human physiology and human you know phenotypes by looking at both mass spectrometry and NMRbased technology which is providing these kind of big data.So the field which is emerging now is OMICS and systems biology where along with clinicalinformation, information obtained at the gene level genome, transcript level transcriptome,protein level proteome, metabolites at the metabolome level and phenotypic behavior atthe phenome level together integration of that could be very powerful.This entire field is generating so much large data set which comes under the big data.It requires lot of computational power, computational analysis which is again you know can be perceivedby engineering undergrads like you students and how to integrate those information, buildthe models, create simulations and then use those information to predict the behaviorof unknowns is being pursued by lot of computational engineers in the area of system biology.So I hope that you know now you are getting the feel that in which way biology is gettingintegrated and applied with many disciplines and why it is you know so much important tointegrate people from different disciplines together to bring the best minds to solvethe major problems which requires integration of different skill sets.Now coming back to IIT Bombay where I am currently located.Bio-research is a reality at IIT Bombay.Almost 15% of our faculty at IIT Bombay are actively involved in doing bio-research andwider spectrum is being covered from looking at the basic to applied and translationalresearch.In fact, we did some sort of survey at IIT Bombay and found that you know not only theDepartment of Bioscience and Bioengineering is actively involved in doing bio-research.But many departments including chemistry, chemical engineering and even the departmentslike you know the , electrical, mechanical, maths, physics and of course computer science.Many of these apartments are actively involved in the interface of biology and engineeringand many applications of healthcare being perceived in these particular departments.In fact IIT Bombay working very closely with many surrounding hospitals which are providinga healthcare system.So we have a Healthcare Research Consortium at IIT Bombay where many local hospitals differentyou know pharma companies along with IIT Bombay faculty are involved to pursue many projectsjointly.It just kind of gives you the feel that why you know there is this kind of integrationis required; it is only reality which is happening in our campus.Many of our faculty are from engineering backgrounds, some are from medical background, some arefrom basic science background, they are pursuing interdisciplinary bio-research.For example shown here is one of the mobile based portable diagnostic system which hasbeen used for urine analysis to blood sugar test.So again these kind of mobile based portable devices can be so handy and very useful.Another lab at IIT Bombay they have developed different type of you know prosthesis deviceswhich could be very quickly not translated to the actual you know clinical reality andmany of the lab trials and the clinical trials are actually currently underway to bring thesedevices to the hospitals.Few faculty members are also looking at mobile-phone based diagnostic platforms to detect sicklecells in the blood at the point-of-care diagnostic devices.Again you know many of these requires understanding of engineering solutions on one hand for thedevices point of view and in the basic biological concepts which is required to know the exactproblem and how to provide accurate solutions.What will be you know motivating for you to learn that many students who learn biologyat IIT Bombay even if they are engineering undergrads like you then eventually at youknow you never know that you know one of the ideas spots your mind and you know at somepoint you might want to pursue that for your whole carrier.So there have been many students from IIT Bombay alumnae who moved to further pursuetheir carrier.And then now they are faculty in different parts of the world which they are actuallypursuing active bio-research again in the interface of bioengineering.One shown you here is Dr. Harmit Malik.Again, he did some project from our department earlier and now he is at you know Fred HutchinsonCancer Centre where he is looking into the you know various cancer related problems.Dr. Vivek Jayaraman from Aerospace Engineering.He pursued in an active carrier in the area of understanding the brain behavior and thinkingabout the brain complexity in which way it can be utilized from the engineering pointof view.Professor Chaitan Khosla, he is at the Stanford University of course you know he is one ofthe very esteemed, distinguished faculty and colleague for IIT Bombay who keep you knowadvising at IIT Bombay a different level provides mentorship.And in one of the interactions he mentioned that every student of IIT Bombay all the undergradsshould get the exposure of biology and that it just comes within vast experience lookingat how the developments are happening elsewhere in whole world, you talk about you know Stanford,MIT Harvard, California, all of these you know big universities, they are pursuing activebiology even for the engineering disciplines.So therefore the integration of these two technologies can become very feasible, sotherefore you know these are you know very nice example to convey you that in which waypeople who are having the active engineering carrier even they have brought in lot of biologicalsolutions because of their you know basic understanding in biology.So in this course what we are going to talk to you is not the traditional biology.You know many times the biology requires you know mugging lot of terminologies, you havethe complex word of those technologies those terminologies.So those things we are going to try to avoid.We are going to talk to you about a new biology which is required for the 21st century.The new biology which will integrate chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, engineeringto deeply understand the biological systems and to provide biology based solutions tothe societal problems which could be in the case of healthcare, environment, food andother disciplines.So again coming back why this course is required?We want to provide you good background of biological concepts and issues which are relevantfor the societal impacts.Biology is going to influence you in one or the other way.So it is important that you have a decent understanding of this subject which will prepareyou well for your next set of carrier path.The combination of biology knowledge with core engineering, physics or chemistry maycontribute to the biomedical research.And this course may also help you to understand and appreciate how biology engineering andtechnology are interwoven with each other.So in the last two lectures, we try to emphasize you that why biology is required for engineers,why understanding the biological concepts and knowing it where it can be applied canbe so immense value to you that you know it may spot some ideas in your brain which couldbe truly transformational in nature.So we really want to talk to you about some of the basic concepts in the next lectures.Atthe same time while going through the basic concept I would like to emphasize about theactual applications in which way these could be utilized and probably many of the interestinginteractions will also have with the clinicians who will try to post certain challenges, certainproblems in front of you that why even doctors they need lot of engineering solutions inthe medical practices.So you know by combining the lectures some of the theoretical understanding, the interestingapplications and bringing the clinician’s perspective, we are going to make it moreinteractive, going to make it more motivating course for you and as we go along we willalso have the many assignments, quiz questions and interactions on the forum probably alsosome of the live laboratory demonstration sessions in the coming weeks.Thank you.