The University Grants commission in its IX Plan recommendations decided to set up the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine (SCMM) under the auspices of Jawaharlal Nehru University. The purpose of the SCMM is to foster research in the field of molecular and cell biology with direct application to the study of human diseases. The format of the SCMM center was a new concept that had not been attempted before in India.
Recent advances in molecular and cell biology have enormous potential for medical research and practice. So far, they have been most successfully exploited for determining the causes of diseases and how to control them. However, it is clear that recombinant DNA technology and modern cell biology will find applications in almost every branch of medical practice. It is revolutionizing cancer research, has spawned a biotechnology industry that is already producing a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic agents and, in the longer term, promises to play a major role in clarifying the causes of some unsolved mysteries of modern medicine: cardiovascular diseases, neuronal diseases, infectious diseases and many others. It should also help us to gain insights into broader aspects of biology, including development, aging and evolution.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University has emerged as a leading research and training centre for the core sciences, which underlie biology and related areas over the last few decades. A number of research groups have contributed significantly to research and teaching programs in the areas of molecular cell biology along with interdisciplinary areas such as, bioinformatics and computer sciences, environmental sciences and physical sciences. Modern medicine has benefited greatly from interdisciplinary application of all these areas and much of the recent advances can be directly attributed to the inputs obtained from traditionally non-medical areas. The Jawaharlal Nehru University has thus taken a leadership role in designing and implementing a comprehensive approach that would target new research programs and teaching in Molecular Medicine.
Molecular medicine is an emerging area within biomedical sciences that aims to understand the molecular determinants of health and disease with an ultimate goal of applying" the knowledge for the prevention; diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The Special Centre for Molecular Medicine (SCMM) at JNU pioneered research and education in this field in India and is the first national centre imparting Ph.D. level training. The centre aims to accomplish its goal through innovative and collaborative basic and clinical research programmes. To fulfill its goal the centre has already initiated many collaborative research activities with reputed national and international medical research institutes.
The goal of the SCMM is to foster teaching and research activities in the study of human diseases with application of advanced tools of molecular and cell biology. SCMM has started academic programmes for the training of young scientists (clinical and non-clinical), who are keen to pursue careers in basic medical research. The training program has been designed to develop essentially two types of scientists, who can contribute to the continuing progress of medical science. Type one is first and foremost a clinician with a basic clinical degree, but one who is familiar with and understands the essence of modern biology at the molecular level as applied to medicine. The second is a modern biologist, but one who has sufficient knowledge in medicine to deal productively with the medical problems so that they would be able to deliver product or processes to the society. For successful implementation of these objectives, SCMM has started the following programs of study
To encourage medical graduates and students from basic sciences, the centre has introduced Pre-Ph.D. and Direct Ph.D. programmes in Molecular Medicine and is pursuing teaching & research activities in the following thrust areas:
- Metabolic disorders: diabetes type 2, cardiovascular diseases, steroid/nuclear- receptors in health and diseases, diseases associated with cell - cell junctions, neurodegenerative disorders.
- Infectious and non-infectious diseases : Plasmodium falciparum biology and cell cycle regulation, hepatitis C, Leishmaniasis, Helicobactor pathogenesis & DNA replication, Candidiasis, bacterial biofilms, pathobiology of innate immune dysfunctions, modulation of cell- cell junctions by pathogens.