iBio : interdisciplinary biology
exploring the physics and chemistry of living matter
Physical sciences students:
Carry out research on cutting-edge problems in interdisciplinary biology
iBio is an interdisciplinary research programme that seeks to apply the experimental and theoretical tools of the physical sciences to the study of challenging biological problems. The programme provides a stimulating environment for interdisciplinary work, with dynamic young faculty, state-of-the-art equipment, and international exposure through conferences, workshops, and visiting scientists from around the world.
Students who are interested in taking part in the iBio programme must first be accepted into the NCBS PhD or integrated-PhD programmes via the standard application procedure. Our entrance exams are designed to select talented students with backgrounds in any of the basic sciences; our
interview panels are composed of scientists from various disciplines, allowing us to evaluate students based on their strongest subjects.
iBio is structured as a campus-within-a-campus, centred around four components: faculty, students, courses, and facilities.
Faculty: The iBio faculty at NCBS includes chemists, physicists, neuroscientists, and computational biologists. All iBio faculty members carry out research with strong interdisciplinary components. More information about specific research areas can be found below.
Students: There is no official iBio student category -- all NCBS PhD students are part of a common academic pool. Nevertheless, a significant number of our students have physical sciences backgrounds, and arrive at NCBS with no formal training in biology. The student pool currently
includes experimental and theoretical physicists, chemists, computer scientists, and engineers. We encourage such students to retain and strengthen their primary skills in the physical sciences, while pursuing biologically relevant research problems.
Courses: We offer several basic courses to facilitate the transition from the physical sciences to biology, appropriate for students who have had no prior exposure to biology. We also offer several advanced courses that might be of interest to students with physical sciences backgrounds,
including: cellular biophyscs, molecular spectroscopy, advanced biochemistry, computational modelling in biology, and bioinformatics. In addition, we encourage students to take advantage of the courses offered in their primary disciplines at other academic campuses around Bangalore,
such as the Indian Institute of Science, the Raman Research Institute, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.
Facilities: NCBS is home to state-of-the-art imaging and mass-spectrometry facilities, giving us the ability to probe the basic physical and chemical processes of living cells in extraordinary detail.
iBio research areas include:
* Computational neuroscience and cell biology (U.S. Bhalla, S. Chattarji, S. Sane)
* Information processing in cellular networks (U.S. Bhalla, M. Thattai)
* Physical basis of chromatin remodeling and gene regulation (G.V. Shivashankar)
* Organization and dynamics of membranes and cytoskeletons (S. Mayor, M. Rao)
* Dynamics of trafficking pathways in eukaryotes (S. Mayor, M. Rao)
* Architecture and function of transmembrane ion channels (M. K. Mathew)
* Photophysics and photochemistry of biomolecules (M. Puranik)
* Computational approaches to protein science (R. Sowdhamini)
* Protein folding and unfolding (J. Udgaonkar)
* Nucleic acid nanotechnology (Yamuna Krishnan)
iBio is a interdisciplinary program that seeks to apply the experimental and theoretical tools of the physical sciences to the study of challenging biological problems. The program provides a stimulating research environment, with dynamic young faculty, state-of-the-art equipment, and international exposure through conferences, workshops, and visiting scientists from around the world. The iBio faculty at NCBS includes chemists, physicists, neuroscientists, and computational biologists. Exceptional candidates with strong backgrounds in the physical sciences, including experimental and theoretical physicists, chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and engineers are eligible to enter the iBio PhD and postdoctoral programs.
Candidates are invited to apply in response to advertisements appearing nationally in August/September every year. The advertisement will be issued from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. All applicants are required to take a written test conducted for Biology in the second Sunday of December. Candidates who have qualified in CSIR/ICMR/Gate exam are also required to apply for this entrance test if they want to get admission for the PhD program at NCBS. The test will be extremely basic and cover topics in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. There is no specified syllabus, nor do we give out sample question papers.
Those who qualify on this test will be sent forms for the next phase of the selection procedure. Performance in the written test, together with the information requested in the additional application material will be used in drawing up a short list of candidates for interviews at Bangalore in May/June. The interview will be held in two stages. A good performance in the preliminary interview will qualify the candidate for the final interview to be held over the next two days. The new academic year begins in August. The PhD program is a full-time and students often put in over 12 hours of work in a day between course work and a research program. A qualifying examination is held during the second year to decide on whether a student is eligible to go on to work towards PhD. Students register with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. PhD students receive a monthly scholarship of Rs. 12000/- which is enhanced to Rs. 14000/- after passing a qualifying exam and an annual contingency grant of Rs. 15,000/- in addition to a tuition grant covering the annual fees. Hostel accommodation is provided to all the students.
Queries about iBio PhD programmes can be addressed to: phd at ncbs dot res dot in