Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST)

Science & Technology for National Development

Molecular Biotechnology

Jyoti Maharjan,  PhD
Coordinator

Tel:+ 977 1 5547715 ext 256
E. mail- biotech@nast.gov.np

 

The Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory of NAST is one of the pioneers in DNA based Research since the year 2002. It is established with the aim to apply molecular and biotechnological diagnostic tools for conservation, characterization, and sustainable utilization of high value plant diversity of Nepal. Currently, research projects are mainly focused on disease diagnosis using PCR technology, PCR-based genetic diversity characterization and DNA Barcoding of economically important and endangered flora and fauna including, fungi and microbes. Additionally, biotechnological research on seed biological characterization, conservation and utilization (using Ex situ seed bank conserved seeds) are also in progress.

Current Programs

Molecular Characterization and DNA Barcoding of Threatened Flora and Fauna of Nepal

Nepal is rich in floral diversity including high value Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs). However, these high value biodiversity is being wildly exploited to fulfill ever growing National and International interest and demand. Therefore, NAST has taken research initiatives towards conservation, characterization and sustainable utilization of this valuable wealth of Nepal via its different research programs.The overall objective of this program is to characterize genetic diversity of selected high value medicinal plants, CITES enlisted species, endemic species and plant species prioritized for protection, cultivation and research and development by Nepal Government, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation.

Moreover in collaboration with Research Institutions, leading organizations in nature conservation, universities and research scholars we are jointly carrying out disease diagnosis, genetic diversity assessments and DNA barcoding of threatened fauna of Nepal.

Team Members

Dr. Ram Chandra Poudel (ramchandra.poudel@nast.gov.np ; ramc_poudel@yahoo.com)

Dr. Jyoti Maharjan (jyoti.maharjan@nast.gov.np ; jyotimaharjan@yahoo.com)

Dr. Deegendra Khadka (deegendra.khadka@nast.gov.np ; deegendrakhadka@gmail.com)

Ms. Medha K.C. ( )

Ms. Rashmi Thapa ()

Research on diabetes and obesity

The research emphasizes on discovering a potent protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) inhibitor from the medicinal plants of Nepal. PTP1B enzyme plays a paramount role as a negative regulator in insulin and leptin signaling pathways that are concerned with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Plant based inhibitors are more efficacious than the synthetic inhibitors because of having negligible side effects, cost effectiveness and also promotes the useindigenous plants. The work in this area impart for designing potent drug molecules.

Team Members

Dr. Deegendra Khadka (deegendra.khadka@nast.gov.np ; deegendrakhadka@gmail.com)

Ms. Barsanti Gautam ()

Microbial Researches

Microorganisms are beneficial for human beings in many ways. They are the source of various biocatalysts and biopesticideswhich are useful in various industrial processes. Nepal’s microbial diversity is one of the least explored areas. Scientific exploration of these microorganisms and characterization of enzymes, protein, and secondary metabolites from such microorganisms will help develop industrial products for commercial purposes. This programme involves the study of Bacillus thuringiensis based pesticides, hotspring thermophiles, streptomyces, and soil fungi at molecular level and of their enzymes which will have better use in different field.

Team Members

Ms Jaishree Sijapati (jaishree.sijapati@nast.gov.np; jaya_sija@hotmail.com)

Dr. Jyoti Maharjan( jyoti.maharjan@nast.gov.np ; jyotimaharjan@yahoo.com)

Ms Rashmi Thapa ()

Mr. Sandeep Rijal ()

Ms. Punam Yadav (PhD Student)  

 

Seed Science Research

  • Ex situ conservation via seed banking for collection and conservation of wild plant biodiversity of Nepal and its extension research activity. Seeds of wild plant species are collected from different forest types of Nepal like tropical to alpine forests. Collected seeds thus are curated and conserved under -20°C in the seed bank of NAST for research, reintroduction and for forest rehabilitation in the future. Subsequently, for the extension research activity seed physiological experiments are carried out and phenological model has been utilized for the prediction of future plant abundance in light of the projected climate change conditions.

Team Members

Dr. Deepa Shree Rawal (deepa.rawal@nast.gov.np; rawalshree@hotmail.com)

Ms. Sarala BC (sarala.bc@nast.gov.np)

  • Seed conservation of wild, endemic and medicinal plants of Nepal in Himalayan Seed Bank (HSB) at NAST. The objectives of HSB are to collect, conserve and utilize high value wild, endemic, rare, endangered and medicinal plant species from high altitude region from Nepal.

 

Team Member

Dr. Deepa Dhital (deepa.dhital@nast.gov.np; dhital.deepa@gmail.com)

 

PCR-Based Diagnosis of Citrus Huanglongbing Disease in Nepal

Citrus is one of the high value cash crops of Mid Hill farmers of Nepal. However, from last decade, our citrus nurseries and orchards have been invaded by citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) disease. Diagnosis of this disease on visual basis is not possible. Therefore, PCR-based diagnosis has been initiated by NAST and analytical service is being provided to all citrus farmers and private entrepreneurs.

 

Team Members

Dr. JyotiMaharjan (jyoti.maharjan@nast.gov.np ; jyotimaharjan@yahoo.com)

Ms. Sarala BC (sarala.bc@nast.gov.np)

Ms Rashmi Thapa  ()

Ms Barsanti Gautam ()

 

Molecular diagnosis of Kala-azar cases

Kala-azar is the vector borne diseases caused by protozoan parasite Leishmaniadonovani and transmitted by bite of female sand fly. The disease is fatal if not treated timely. In the past, kala-azar was endemic Terai region of Nepal. Currently, kala-azarhas started to spread in new areas in Nepal. Therefore, this program has been initiated to develop reliable molecular method for diagnosis of kala-azar cases and to characterize the genetic diversity of Leishmania parasite from different regions of Nepal.

 

Team Members

Dr. Kishor Pandey (pandey_kishor@hotmail.com)

Dr. Jyoti Maharjan (jyoti.maharjan@nast.gov.np; jyotimaharjan@yahoo.com)

 

Molecular study of parasites in animals

Malaria is intracellular protozoan parasite transmitted from one person to other by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. In human, malaria is caused by 5 different species which causes the greatest burden of morbidity and mortality in the world. Besides human, malaria parasite infects wide range of hosts including wild and domestic animals. In immune-compromised animals, malaria can cause mortality. Till now, there has not been any study done about animal malaria parasites in Nepal. This program comprises molecular characterization of malaria parasites in different animals of Nepal.

 

Team Members

Dr. Kishor Pandey (pandey_kishor@hotmail.com)

Dr. Ram Chandra Poudel (ramc_poudel@yahoo.com)

Ms. Medha K.C. ()

 

Analytical Services

Currently Molecular Biotechnology laboratory at NAST is providing two analytical services

1. PCR Based diagnosis of HLB disease

2. DNA sequencing

Instrumentation Facilities

Automated DNA Sequencer

Tissue lyser

Gel Document System

Biophotometer

SDS PAGE

Past RA / ARF / Thesis Students

1. Ms. Gauri Thapa (RA, 2017)

2. Mr. Mitesh Shrestha (ARF, 2017)

3. Ms. Nirma Basnet (ARF, 2017)

4. Mr. Pradeep Chaudhary (Thesis Student 2017)

5. Ms. Rachana Regmin (Thesis Student 2017)

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