To get a better idea of how can we improve and move ahead with our project,we first set out to talk to some of the researchers and professors of various departments, both inside our institute and outside. Following is a summary of the talk that we had :
Dr. Shaunak Sen is a Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at our Institute, specialising in Control Theory. When we started brainstorming over our project, we reached out to him for advice about square wave oscillators that we were planning to design. It was he who suggested to us the idea of using an oscillator feeding into a toggle switch in order to generate Square Waves. He further introduced to us the work Dr. Richard M Murray had done on oscillators with ring topologies. He also told us about trying out relaxation oscillators in order to generate a better Square wave response.
Dr. James Gomes is a Professor at the School of Biological Sciences, IIT Delhi. His research mainly revolves around the field of Systems Biology. Once we had decided the topology for our project, we discussed with him at length about possible improvements and also got a lot of help from him in our Square wave Modelling. However, he wasn’t very convinced by our topology and rather suggested to us to use 'build up and fire' kind of oscillators for better generation of Square Waves.
Dr. Perumal is a Molecular Biologist at the School of Biological Sciences, IIT Delhi.
Our talk with him was indeed very helpful to us in the execution of our project. It was he who suggested to us the strain Streptomyces griseus (Orf2) whose biosafety facilities were available at our lab.
Mr. Mahendra Sahare, is a PhD scholar at the Department of Humanities doing a project under a Supreme Court lawyer, Dr. Naveen Thayyil. He has been in collaboration with iGEM IIT Delhi for the past two years. Together, we have worked on the aspect of ‘Ethical Scientific Practices’. Also, on his recent visit to IISER Mohali, he came back with a collaborative offer for iGEM IIT Delhi to mentor IISER Mohali and help in the establishment of an iGEM team there. On our return from the Giant Jamboree 2016, our team members gave a presentation there, and thereafter our team mentored the iGEM Mohali team.
We also talked to many researchers pursuing their Ph.D here at IIT Delhi, to get to know about various possible uses of Biological Oscillators, before we started our project.
Here are their views on how Biological Oscillators can be used in various applications.
Mr. Venkat is a researcher in the field of Systems Biology. In our discussion with him, he told us that Biological Oscillators can be used as a clock reference analogous to those in electrical engineering used for signal processing, particularly as a bridge between networks for synchronisation and as a "modem" carrying information.
A researcher by profession, he works in the field of synchronisation of non-linear and linear oscillators. His guidance over the subject of Biological Oscillators allowed us to use gene regulatory networks in circuits similar to the repressilator.
He is a researcher in the field of convergent systems. He told us about how Biological oscillators can have several applications in his field of research. According to him, if the oscillator is tuned to be convergent, then many interesting phenomena like time-scales and synchronisation can be analysed better.