Team Leader's Desk

NAMASKAR and Hello,
This is Dr. Gajendra Rao, Institute Incharge,RO Scientist-3 (Botany) representing RAIFR, which has been and continued to be the premier Institute in the discipline of Scientific Research on Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda and is part and parcel of Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, {functioning under the aegis of Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi}. This Institute has been pioneerly working on the identification of Ayurvedic Drugs, Pharmaconosy and their preservation cum presentation through Herbarium techniques. It’s campus, has been spread in 19.5 acre campus at Kothrud Pune, which is the metamorphic form of the erstwhile, JNAMPG&H – RRI(Ay established in 1961, bestowed by Ayurvedic fraternity of Pune and has been offering the services towards the multitask approach for overall progress and publicity of Indian Systems of Medicines, in general, and Ayurveda in particular. Initially, unit was entrusted the job of scientific evaluation of local geoclimatic conditions for multiplication of specific drugs / plants by exploring all the possibilities of utilization of available infrastructure and human resources. As the Institutional technical progress was at its peak, the Council made special efforts to make a joint venture with like-minded and sister concern of locally available counterparts / modern laboratories / Institutes like “Indian Drug Research Association”, a pioneering and reputed organization, famous for its activities and achievements in the field of Ayurvedic Drug Research. It is worth mentioning that, fortification of infrastructure and scientific staff, changed mandate and specific research line took momentum and eventually, pharmacognostic, phytochemical & literary research work accelerated. Erstwhile JNAMPG&H, which became fully functional towards the end of 1990, using novel protocols for Pharmacognosy, Plant Tissue Culture, Development of Agrotechniqus etc Most importantly, being in CCRAS gives the much needed protected research time and space to Ayurvrdic fraternities, something which otherwise never happens even in the teaching Institutes/ schools. This has also enabled us to get involved in developing and testing innovative or indigenous cost effective technology.

In order to walk, hand-in-hand with expectations, raised by virtue of Global acceptance of Ayurveda, the Institute was elevated with additional funds and laboratories, well equipped with sophisticated instruments; and it was baptized as “Regional Research Institute (Ay.)”. With the advancement of science and discoveries of new and modified techniques, especially in the field of propagation and multiplication techniques, the unit was provided with facilities to conduct scientific research on Plant Tissue Culture and related in vitro studies. Since, Ayurvedic Drugs and their accepted sources are being depleted, very fast, in nature. Therefore, Ministry of Health, Deptt. of ISM&H was forced to take special interest for research on latest and modern agro-techniques, accepted universally.
In the budding stages of focused approach, the Institute was adopting “trial and error” methodology for development of protocols under in vitro studies. As the encouraging results were obtained, during propagation of rare and threatened taxa, efforts were made to adopt strategies to analyze cum interpret the results and research, at par with International Publications. Accordingly, modus operendi was streamlined to obtain scientific out put as per global acceptance.
This metamorphosis has brought about a new synergy between basic and clinical sciences and a paradigm of excellence in research, including translational sciences. On behalf of my colleagues I feel very responsible and also confident in stating - 'Ayurveda- Health for All'.
Our mandate is to create knowledge that will push the frontiers of Ayurvedic Sciences, to solve some of the cancer riddles and generate real and sustainable intellectual excitement amidst the cascading hype. From a basic research perspective, cancer remains one of the most intriguing biological processes. Similarly, from the medical research perspective, cancer is the most challenging human disease to tackle. In this context, we will have to convince ourselves and our peers that our basic research is indeed novel and the translational (clinical research that we intend to do has the potential to define or solve human ailment’s related clinical issues, Basic Ayurvedic research is a continuum with several interfaces and its impact may transcend well beyond publications, patents and even patients. We would rate our research efforts, not only by the impact factors or respectability of the journals where we publish, but also by its true impact and the satisfaction from leaving a legacy of significant contributions towards the understanding of the Biological ~ Physical ~ Psychosocial Underpinnings of Basic Ayurvedic research.
In “Basic Research”, existing principal investigators along with four young, energetic and dynamic scientists can possibly cover only a limited spectrum of research. Several basic enquiries have provided interesting leads in various aspects of, and some of these leads have entered in to the translational mode. The challenge now is to unlock the true potential of our scientists, investigators with originality and tenacity, and seek collaborators who would further invigorate science. New students /investigators and collaborators with a research background in Dravyaguna, genetics, Phytochemistry,Literary Research, protein sciences, molecular biology, pharmaco-genetics, (including bioinformatics) would ideally complement the existing basic science pool at RAIFR.
The research output, geographic location, climatic condition, infrastructural assets and last but not least professionally trained cum qualified human resources have become magnetism for above said sponsoring agencies to entrust the noble task of imparting training to teaching faculties of Ayurvedic Medical Colleges. Being the second time event, this program happened to be a honour cum token of appreciation, technical competence and rewarding events like ROTP.
Today we possess, perhaps, the largest exclusive Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant’s Garden, exclusively devoted to Ayurveda for Western India, in this capacity, we will have to evolve a model policy for a mutually beneficial, ethical and sustainable long term relationship with Indian and international partners. With increasing and inevitable engagement between academia and industry, we will re-examine the pre-conceived notions, prejudices and areas of concern between them.

At present, we are offering following technical / professional services,
1. Authentication of Herbarium
2. Authentication of Drug (especially Ayurveda)
3. Maintenance of Voucher Specimen / Drug/ Museum Sample/ Reference Sample/

In order to satisfy the taste of modern day’s technological advancements, Council decided to enrich the Institute by adding vital departments like Bio-chemistry, Molecular Biology, Genomics and proteomics, central dogma of life, and related investigations cum analysis, to fulfill the recommendations suggested by NityaNand Committee for restructuring of Institute. With this, new mandate came into force to conduct scientific research on “Fundamental and Basic Principles of Ayurved” with special reference to validation of concept of “Prakriti” through Genomics, Proeomics and Molecular Biology.
The Institute has imparted “Hands on” – interactive research experience on latest methodology and acquaintances with highly sophisticated instruments & equipments, being used in accordance with international standards / WHO parameters,through ROTP, focusing on the various aspects of pharmacognostic parameters and herbarium techniques; which are immensely useful for the participants for the assurance and understanding of quality control of Ayurvedic drugs.
To survive, to thrive and to do justice to our idyllic surroundings we depend on the originality and tenacity of our basic and modern researchers, the objectivity and openness of our critics, the enthusiasm and optimism of students, the dedication of our support staff and, most importantly substantiation of the hopes of Ayurvedic fraternities. In the years to come, our efforts would hopefully bring to fruition the 'Ayurveda- Health for All.