Taking Strides towards a strategic bilateral alliance between US and India

Nisha Biswal’s emergence on the political scenario has provided the much needed fillip to the Indian- American political dream. Her nomination as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, which was personally recommended by President Barack Obama, brought cheers to the overall Indian- American community.

front-_IAL8236Ms Biswal is part of the Indian American community. Having roots to India, she is in a good position to understand the perception about USA in India and among Indian Americans. Indian Ameircans expect her to take a positive stand towards deepening Indo- US ties and her visit to India recently is considered a step in that direction. It is good to note that Assistant Secretary Biswal is reaching out to India Americans, taking their views and is willing to work closely to strengthen US-India relationship. USINPAC has supported these efforts in past and will always extend further support.

Earlier this year, as she arrived in Bangalore, Ms Biswal announced that the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) will provide $2.7 million for increasing clean energy access to India. Supporting this she opined that, “I am pleased to be here to highlight this latest addition to the constellation of amazing cooperative opportunities between the United States and India to expand access to clean energy.” During her stay, Ms Biswal also met High Indian officials in order to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral and regional issues, including shared defense, security and economic engagement across Indo- Pacific corridor.

Her visit, which Washington had expected would to some extent mend frayed ties with India, came at a time when the Indo-US relationship has suffered setbacks, including on issues of trade and the Khobragade stand-off. It’s the time of engagement where ideas need to be transcribed and translated and Ms Biswal believes establishing bilateral strategic partnership would go a long way in stabilizing the bond between the two nations.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, Ms Biswal also worked at InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international humanitarian and development nongovernmental organizations, where she was the Director of Public Policy; and at the American Red Cross, where she served as an international delegate in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. But it was at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where her political career flourished. It was at USAID wherein she got the opportunity to work at the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Office of Transition Initiatives, and served as chief of staff in the Management bureau besides working with the USAID Administrator. But what brought her to the political limelight was her tenure as the majority clerk for the House Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Subcommittee (HACFO) and as professional staff in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), where she was responsible for South Asia.

USINPAC congratulates Indian American researcher Supratik Ghosh on being named Materials Research Society Fellow

The Materials Research Society has named 22 members to be honored as Fellows for 2014 at the group’s spring meeting April 21-25 at various venues in San Francisco.

Among the 22 to be feted is Indian American researcher Supratik Guha, director of physical sciences at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.


Guha is being recognized “for fundamental contributions to the materials science of high-k dielectrics that enable current electronic devices and future device scaling.”

MRS honors members notable for distinguished accomplishments and contributions to advancement of worldwide materials research.

Guha is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and an adjunct professor in applied physics and mathematics at Columbia University.

His research interests at IBM include nanoscale semiconductor materials science and exploration of new materials technologies on silicon platforms.

Guha has a Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Southern California, has authored more than 75 publications and book chapters and is the holder of 21 issued patents.

Source: IndiaWest

Indian-American researchers find new target to control diabetes

In a thrilling discovery, two Indian-American researchers have identified a new potential therapeutic target for controlling high blood sugar – a finding that could help millions suffering from type 2 diabetes worldwide.

Researchers showed that lipid molecules called phosphatidic acids enhance glucose production in the liver.

The findings suggest that inhibiting or reducing production of phosphatidic acids may do the opposite.

“This study establishes a role for phosphatidic acids in enhancing glucose production by the liver and identifies enzymes involved in the synthesis of phosphatidic acids as potential drug targets,” explained Anil Agarwal, a professor of internal medicine at University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Centre.

These observations were made while studying a mouse model of lipodystrophy, a rare metabolic disease in which the body is devoid of fat.

Lipodystrophy patients often develop diabetes and accumulate fat in the liver because of an imbalance in the body’s ability to properly regulate lipids and glucose.

The causal gene ‘AGPAT2′ which is involved in the synthesis of phosphatidic acid and triglycerides, was removed in the mice – resulting in rodents with generalised lipodystrophy.

The research team then examined what impact this genetic manipulation had on phosphatidic acids and glucose production.

“We expected the levels of phosphatidic acids to go down. However, in examining the livers of these lipodystrophic mice, we unexpectedly found high levels of this lipid class,” added lead author Shireesha Sankella, a post-doctoral researcher in the division of nutrition and metabolic diseases.

This led to the identification of new targets involved in the production of phosphatidic acids.

The buildup of these lipid molecules was due to an increase in the levels of two enzymes in the liver – diacylglycerol kinase and phospholipase D.

Researchers also discovered a marked increase in glucose production in the livers of the lipodystrophic mice.

The lack of normal insulin signaling in these lipodystrophic mice led to unrestricted production of phosphatidic acid, contributing to development of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.

“Besides revealing a new potential therapy to test for treatment of diabetes, the findings may have implications in understanding how cancer develops,” Agarwal noted.

Increased phosphatidic acid levels may play an important role in a metabolic pathway that supplies energy to cancer cells, said the study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Source: Business Standard

USINPAC cheers for Indian American teenager Akanksha Patel for receiving the Presidential award

Akanksha Patel, an Indian American teenager from New Jersey, has received the US President’s Volunteer Service Award for her exemplary volunteer service.

Akanksha-PatelThe award, which recognises Americans of all ages for voluntary service, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards programme on behalf of President Barack Obama, according to NJ.com.

The award for 15-year-old Patel of Summit, a small city in New Jersey, was announced by the local Young Men’s Christian Association, which had nominated her for national honours, it said.

As a volunteer for the past year at the Summit YMCA, Akanksha contributed her time and talent to help care for children at birthday parties hosted at the YMCA as well as other volunteer activities.

Through these efforts, she has gained the satisfaction of giving back to her community.

“Akanksha loves volunteering. It has taught her valuable skills such as patience, responsibility, teamwork, time management and empathy for others,” Terri Clinton, executive director of the Summit YMCA, was quoted as saying.

“Her volunteer activities have helped her to grow by enhancing her social skills and by building relationships with individuals of all ages.

“She is a very responsible and courteous young lady with a caring nature and, most importantly, she treats everyone with a lot of respect.”

John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, said: “The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities.”

The YMCA is a worldwide, non-profit network of clubs and institutions that operates under the belief that “everyone, regardless of income, age or background, deserves the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive”.

Source: Business Standard

USINPAC congratulates Somnath Bhattacharya on his appointment as Dean of the business school at St. Thomas University

Somnath Bhattacharya has been appointed dean of the business school at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla. The appointment is effective July 10

somThe Indian American has a Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of South Florida, an MBA in management information systems from Northern Arizona University and a B.A. from Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Bhattacharya was formerly associate dean and interim dean of the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University.

“Bhattacharya’s academic contacts in India and his wide reach in global business will be most valuable to the university’s academic global advancement plan, St. Thomas said in a press release.

Source: IndiaWest