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Dr. Ghanshyam Heda is finding ways to share during a pandemic.

In November, the professor of biology at Mississippi University for Women learned his article “A simple method of drying polyacrylamide slab gels that eliminates cracking” will appear in the January 2021 issue of the journal BioTechniques. It was published in advance online and can be read at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33222512/.

In December, Heda learned an article he collaborated on with a former faculty member at The W was accepted for publication in the journal Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. The article, authored by Dr. Meshack Afitlhile, who currently works at Western Illinois University, is titled “The TOC159 null mutant of Arabidiopsis thaliana is impaired in the accumulation of plastid lipids and phosphatidylcholine.” The link for this article is: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0981942820306343

“During the pandemic-impacted summer, with more time available, I thought of publishing my gel-drying method and started preparing the manuscript, so I consider this new and collaborative publication as a positive outcome of a COVID-19 impacted year,” Heda said. “The collaboration with Dr. Afitlhile is a project on plant biology. Yadav Acharya, a recent graduate of The W, is acknowledged in the paper.”

This is the second paper Heda has had published in BioTechniques in the last year. Both BioTechniques articles discuss techniques that are commonly used in a protein biochemistry research laboratory. Heda said the latest paper highlights a way of drying polyacrylamide gels he developed a few years ago on his own and has been using regularly in his research laboratory. Earlier this year, Heda co-authored an article with W graduates Lisa Shrestha, Sagarina Thapa, Shreya Ghimire and Diptika Raut that appeared in the June 2000 issue of BioTechniques.

Heda said it is challenging to find time to teach, to give back to the community and to continue his research. He said the pandemic has forced all researchers to take so many precautions and affected their productivity.

“Since publishing this paper, I have had an idea to improve my method,” Heda said. “To test this idea, I need to get another set of custom designed acrylic plate made. If I can get them made, then I can test if published technique can be further improved. Research is an unending process and there is always room for improvement.”

He and his students are working on three to four other projects. Heda said COVID-19 has affected attempts to complete them and that students who were trained during the pandemic-impacted summer are working part-time and helping him to move some of the projects closer to completion.

Heda also said he is working with collaborators at a research institution in India on drugs that one day may help cystic fibrosis patients. He hopes that work will be published when it is finished.

This is the fourth time Heda has published in BioTechniques. He published two articles when he worked at the Temple University School of Medicine. In all, Heda said he has published more than 40 articles in high-profile journals.

Chris Jenkins, a photographer/videographer in The W’s University Relations department, assisted Heda with some of the pictures for the most recent publication, and he is acknowledged in the paper. Heda’s research is supported by the Mississippi INBRE grant, The W’s faculty research award and funds from Mississippi-NASA.


Jan. 5, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino
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