Delving Into The Field Of Omics: Life Science International Conference

Delving Into The Field Of Omics: Life Science International Conference

Debasish Beria | Nov 23, 2020

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The Department of Life Science, NIT Rourkela, organised an International Conference on “Omics of Plant-Pathogen Interaction with their implication” on 16th-18th November 2020. The 3-day long online international conference witnessed distinguished professors and researchers from across the globe as its speakers. Open for students, research scholars, young faculty, scientists and industry personnel, the conference gave a profound insight into various advances in the field of omics that have enhanced our knowledge of Plant-Pathogen Interaction (PPI). 
With Prof. Animesh Biswas, Director, NIT Rourkela as the patron, and Dr Surajit Das, HoD Life Science as the Chairman, the event was organised successfully. Prof. Samir K. Patra and Dr Binod Bihari Sahu were the advisor and convener respectively. The conference was effectively coordinated by Student Co-ordinators Kalpana Dalei, Daraksha Parween, Debasish Pati, and Vivekananda Mahanta. The online conference was organised through the Zoom platform.
The Chief Guest and Keynote Inaugural speaker were Prof. Madan Kumar Bhattacharyya, Iowa State University, USA.
Each day witnessed two sessions, morning session from 09:30 AM till 11:30 PM and the afternoon session from 3:00 PM till 5:00 PM. Further, all the participants were given participation certificates upon completion of 3-days of the international conference.

DAY 1: Inaugural Ceremony

Dr Binod Bihari Sahu, Assistant Professor, Department of Life Science, addressed the online gathering concerning the genesis of the international conference on “Omics of Plant-Pathogen Interaction with their implication”. He welcomed the Chief Guest, notable dignitaries, distinguished speakers and all the online attendees to the 3-days online-based international conference. Opening remarks were laid by the Chairman and Head of the Department Dr Surajit Das, followed by the address of the Chief Advisor Prof. Samir Kumar Patra. Prof. Animesh Biswas Director, NIT Rourkela as the Patron also congratulated and wished the organizing committee for providing students as well as professionals with a golden opportunity to expand their knowledge in the Plant-Pathogen interaction domain.

Following all this, the Chief Guest and Keynote Inaugural speaker Prof. Madan Kumar Bhattacharyya, Iowa State University, USA highlighted the “Application of a transcriptomic approach in enhancing broad-spectrum disease and pest resistance in soybean.” He explained his work, how he transformed soybean with the five genes namely- Pss1, Pss6, Pss21, Pss25, and Pss30 using three different promoters that conferred SDS and SCN resistance. In his later slides, he re-emphasized on the absence of mite resistance in soybean and considered transformation experiments to be important! He concluded his presentation by acknowledging some previous and current lab members and the Collaborator Subodh Srivastava, PhD, USDA ARS.

This session was followed by an interaction round, where the online participants asked some questions, which were answered by speaker Prof. Madan Kumar Bhattacharyya with utmost patience.



Prof. Rohan Dhiman, being the panel member, introduced and welcomed Dr Nikhilesh Dhar, University of California Davis, USA and Dr Ramesh Namdeo Pudake, Amity University, Noida to the first session of the second day.

The inception of the first session was accomplished by Dr. Ramesh Namdeo Pudake, as he gave a brief presentation on Rhizosphere biology: microbes in action. He highlighted the role of Rhizosphere microbe, disease suppressive compost and mycorrhizae for abiotic stress tolerance.

The second phase of the session witnessed an insightful lecture by Dr Nikhilesh Dhar on “Pathogenomics of Verticillium wilts: Getting ready for the future”. Both the distinguished speakers marked the termination of their presentations by answering the genuine questions of the attendees.


Prof. Vidya Devi Negi carried out the task of a panellist for the second session and introduced Dr Amol Kumar Solanke, ICAR-NIPB, Delhi and Dr. Kutubuddin Molla, NRRI, Cuttack and welcomed them wholeheartedly.

After the fulfilment of session 1, online attendees were privileged to grasp a perspicacity on the Understanding Rice-Magnaporthe interaction during panicle blast in the second session by Dr Amol Kumar Solanke. He mentioned that the wild species of rice have been reported to be a potential source for blast resistance genes. Later in his display, he portrayed the mechanism of screening of wild rice line against Magnaporthe oryzae in three different strains namely- Sikkim, Dehradun, and N22, with outputs as Resistant or Susceptible. In the end, he thanked the organizing committee, his colleague and the students.

The second phase of the session was quite an incisive on Replacing one DNA letter with another by CRISPR/Cas tool by Dr. Kutubuddin Molla. He talked about a technology that renders the advancement of changing or replacing one DNA letter with another in a precise manner. In the later part of his presentation, he gave some practical examples- Base Editing in Rice and acknowledged some of his professors and graduates at the end.

After the speaker’s utterance, they replied and clarified several queries received from the participants end with noble gestures and patience.



The 1st session of the final day witnessed profound lectures and was an enlightening session. The session had Prof. Bismita Nayak as the panel member. The session commenced with Dr. Arup Kumar Mukherjee delivering on the topic “Microbial diversity to products for sustainable management of crop: Use of Trichoderma diversity”. The lecture elaborated the importance of sustainable management and discussed the implications of modern agricultural practices. Dr. Mukherjee also discussed in detail about the Trichoderma.  

The second speaker, Dr Sridev Mohapatra, gave an insightful lecture on the topic “Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR): The unseen, unsung, underground friends of plants”. Dr. Mohapatra discussed PGPR in detail and gave insights into his research work. The Q&A round at the end allowed the online attendees to interact and share their views with the presenters.


The final day was set off by the comprehensive sessions of two distinguished speakers Dr. M. K. Rajesh, ICAR-CPCRI, Kasaragod, Kerala, and Dr. Prashant Singh, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Prof. Sujit Kumar Bhutia, being the panel member, introduced and welcomed both of them to the ultimate day of the international conference.

Dr M. K. Rajesh provided an in-depth exploration of the Deployment of omics tools towards deciphering coconut- Phytophthora palmivora interactions”. Followed by Dr. Prashant Singh, who gave an exceptional presentation on “Green Vaccination: Smart Plant Health Care for Human Welfare”. After giving brief descriptions on their respective topics, the speakers were all set to illuminate various inquiries to the best of their knowledge.

The 3-day International Conference concluded on a triumphant note with the valedictory address by Prof. Sujit Kumar Bhutia.

Words from the Convener, Dr Binod Bihari Sahu;

The objective of the international webinar on Omics of plant-pathogen interaction with their implication was to disseminate all updates and information as per the conference theme is concerned. We also perform research pertaining to the plants immunity against rice fungal diseases and found important genetic character from plant that would help boost immunity to rice. Similarly the speakers of the conference were from plant pathology lab and involved in performing research against pathogens of soybean, rice, lettuce etc. Furthermore, current trends in changing the genetic codes without transfer of foreign gene technique were planned for lecture. This way the participants would be greatly benefited at both personal and professional career. We kept the conference participants to register for free so that there would not be any hindrance to register and learn the leading area of state of art science in plant pathology. It was really great to organise the conference in online mode. We used Zoom platform and was also live in YouTube. Participants could access the conference easily and interacted with erudite speakers. Although Covid-19 is prevalent, it could not hinder in dissemination of knowledge, experience and understanding to plant pathology. Speakers from USA and various parts of India actively involved in research presented their talk without coming physically to NITR. This mode of the conference was really great to hear from the participants on the ease and convenience of the conference in online mode. Most of the participants provided their feedback on the conference with the positive impact. They suggested that this type of conference with direct application should be regularly organised and many student participants mentioned about the improvement of their fundamental knowledge and understanding to the plants immunity against the diseases. However the conference should have been conducted for more days involving people from different stakeholders related to the leading agro industries.

Team Monday Morning wishes the Department and their personnel good luck for the way ahead!

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