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EDUCATION

Processed Indian Traditional Foods awards Best PhD Thesis and other titles
Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
'Processed Indian Traditional Foods,' a PhD Research Promotion programme hosted by F1rst, held its award ceremony here recently.

Among the awards, the 'Best PhD Thesis' title was won by Dr Mahesh Kumar G, student of Dr Rekha Ravindra Menon, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Bengaluru Campus), who presented his research findings on designing and developing a microcontroller based sub-baric thermal processor for manufacture of fried and soaked dairy products. He was honoured by Dr Usha Antony.

Amongst first year PhD bursary winners were Chellam Murugendar, Uma Maheshwari, and Gajanan Deshkmukh. They received their awards from Viral Brahmbhatt (Nestlé Research); Vivek Arora (Tata Trusts); and Badrinath Raghavendran (director of F1rst) respectively. The programme has been promoted by Tata Trust and Nestle Research.

The ceremony started with an opening toast by Dr Kaushik Shankar, director-research, F1rst, who emphasised on the need for encouraging research and innovations in the arena of Indian traditional foods. He emphasised that active understanding of food market requirements, reaching out to the low hanging fruit, integrating health and wellness right at the concept stage are all necessary for sustaining growth for the Indian food industry.

Dr Srinivasan Vedantham, disease program lead - diabetes from Medgenome, presented keynote paper on Nutrigenomics and its implications to improve dietary habits and nutrition.

Dr Vedantham highlighted how the innovations and infrastructure in genomics research can lead to a better understanding of food materials and the consequences on diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, which may be further utilised in designing food products and even personalised nutrition.

While introducing the topic of genomics, Dr Shankar mentioned that even the West is still only “thinking” about this but India will soon outpace other countries and regions in the demand for data leading to personalised nutrition solutions. Genomic data has to be interpreted in the context of eating occasions and habits to derive greater understanding; it is not ideal to fit genomic data into existing food habits, but rather to take into account the food consumption habits of the population at the experimental design stage itself.

Dr Usha Antony, professor from Anna University, Chennai, and programme co-ordinator, then described how the programme was conducted, her experience in the evaluation of applications and the highlights of the work presented by the winning students. She commented that all the research applications were of high quality. Alongside, she mentioned the areas of improvement for the PhD students including excellence in communication and technical writing skills to add value to and to present their research in the best manner possible.

Dhanupriya Souresh Coumar, academic outreach manager from F1rst, shared her experiences during the conduct of the first edition of this programme including the challenges faced and plans for improvement of the second edition by reaching out to rural universities and institutes and sensitising the masters and PhD students through seminars and lectures.
 
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