Dr SK Dash is considered to be a pioneer in the field of probiotics globally. Dr Dash has started working on probiotics since 1979 and is the recipient of many international awards. He is interested to foster academic, research and development programme in the disciplines of bio sciences and bio-engineering. Therefore, he desirously sponsored setting up of SK Dash Center of Excellence of Bio-Sciences and Engineering and Technology in the specific areas of bio-molecular and food technology leading to capacity building at the IIT Bhubaneswar.

The S. K. DASH CENTER OF EXCELLENCE OF BIOSCIENCES AND ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY (SKBET), in the School of Basic Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar, is now host to the Probiotics and Human microbiome research laboratory. This Laboratory is applying innovative approaches and state of the art technology to understand and solve problems that are related to Human gut microbiome associated disease. The SKBET will work closely with other schools at IIT Bhubaneswar, Medical colleges, research laboratories to facilitate research interests. We aim to build committed individuals and teams to conduct research that is relevant to India or to resource limited settings; we encourage enthusiastic researchers to work with us, and have strong collaborations in India and around the world.

Dr Dash and Smt Kalpana Dash Signing MoU (2013) with Professor Saroj Nayak IIT-B and Dr Chakraborty,Director IIT-B

Ongoing Projects

  1. An intergenerational prebiotic approach to establishment of a healthy colonic Microbiome in children

Background: Stunting is reported to affect nearly a half of all children in India. Globally, it is associated with poor health and social outcomes in affected children. There is a direct link between growth deficits in childhood and the frequency of gastrointestinal and other infections in childhood. The effects of these infections are likely to be more severe when the gut microbiome is not sufficiently resilient to withstand these infections. Resistant starch is the amount of total starch consumed which escapes digestion in the small intestine, reaching the large intestine where it becomes a substrate for resident microbes, producing short chain fatty acids (SCFA). This increase in short chain fatty acids results in an environment in which beneficial microbes prosper, ultimately leading to a healthier microbiome in the large intestine and therefore acting as a ‘prebiotic’. Our primary hypothesis is that feeding this prebiotic starch (in the form of high amylose maize starch or’ HAMS’) to young women and to infants will beneficially alter their faecal microbiomes, which in the long term potentially leads to improved intestinal function, growth, and cognition. This ongoing study, resistant starch provided in the form of high amylose maize starch/HAMS- flavoured milk shake will improve the colonic microbiome of infants and women of child-bearing age and that improved health outcomes in growth, development and cognition will result. This study addresses the gap in current knowledge regarding if early-weaning infants have the capacity to ferment resistant starch and if this fermentation results in beneficial changes to the microbiome.

  • To determine the ability of a prebiotic resistant starch in the form of HAMS to favourably alter faecal microbiota composition and reduce enteric pathogen burden in women of childbearing age.
  • To determine the ability of HAMS to favourably alter faecal microbiota composition and reduce enteric pathogen burden in early-weaning infants.

Laboratory Assessment: pH and short chain fatty acids will be measured using current protocols. Stool DNA will be extracted following current protocols. Abundance of known enteric pathogens will be assessed by real time polymerase chain reaction. Deep sequencing of the DNA will be done to assess the nature of the microbiota. Specifically, laboratory assessments will focus on the abundance of the following bacteria in the stool samples: Prevotella, Ruminococcus, Lactobacillus, Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium.

2.  Vitamin D Status and Gut Microbiome in Knee Osteoarthritis (KOA)

The main objective of this study is to investigate the association of vitamin D status and gut microbiome on KOA. The central hypothesis is that there is an early onset and progression of KOA in patients with vitamin D deficiency. VDD may alter gut microbiome due to unregulated inflammation and increased gut permeability. This, in turn, forms a vicious cycle where VDD and associated dysbiosis leads to progression of KOA and worsening of patient’s quality of life.

2. Probiotic fermentation of Amla for quality enhancement and preservation

Amla ( Emblica officinalis ) is one of the most important indigenous fruit of India. The fruit is rich in phytochemicals important for human health. Several researchers have depicted it’s pharmacological properties. The current study aims at value addition and preservation of amla through probiotic fermentation. The product can be available round the year rather than only during the harvesting season of amla.