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Structural Biologist Leads India's CSIR

A structural biologist has started this week as the new director-general of India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, ScienceInsider reports.

Shekhar Mande, who studies the structure of bacterial proteins, including those of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, previously led the National Centre for Cell Science, it adds. This, ScienceInsider notes, makes Mande the first leader of CSIR to come from an outside organization in more than 30 years.

CSIR has a total budget of $1 billion and oversees a network of 40 research labs in India that work on as varied fields as aerospace, oceans, and pharmaceuticals. However, the lab network was told in 2015 that it would have to become self-funding through industry contracts, ScienceInsider says, noting that it has not yet done so. It adds that CSIR faces a number of other challenges, such as the low participation of Indian women in science.

ScienceInsider also notes that Mande is the vice president of an organization that promotes both modern and traditional Indian knowledge systems. This, it adds, has gained traction in the country, though has raised concerns of pseudoscience among some scientists.