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Able Lawrence
Works at SGPGIMS
Attended SGPGIMS
Lives in Lucknow
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Able Lawrence

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Indian scops owl juvenile Otus bakkamoena 
This is a collared scops owl resident in India. It is very similar to the "collared scops owl" _Otus lettia, seen in Himalayas and south east asia but is differentiated on the basis of the call. They are small  and very shy spending most of the day hidden inside dense foliage and well camouflaged against tree bark. They are crepuscular and are predominantly insectivorous. They have dark eyes but this one has red eyes as it is a juvenile and the adult plumage which looks almost like tree bark is not fully established. #Owls   #birds   #birdphotography  One key field mark for identification of Indian scops owl is the yellow beak with black tip seen in this one. 
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Beautiful owl. Amazing capture. 
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Able Lawrence

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From synthetic biology to synthetic Ecology 
The nascent field of synthetic biology aspires to design and create new living organisms (usually designer bacteria) with novel properties including entire biochemical pathways for doing useful stuff like making fuels of breaking down toxic industrial waste. In nature many such complex jobs are done by microbial communities and scientists surmise that creating communities of microbes that accomplish may be more robust and efficient than single organisms. You can also produce stuff through modular networks (one organism produces a key intermediate while others make different end products from the common intermediate. New research is shedding light on key ecological principles required for symbiosis as opposed to competition and subversion of common good. In societies, simple competition can allow for cheaters gaining upper hand over the cooperating ones. By careful design it is possible to design networks that give greater advantage to the do-gooders over cheaters. 
#SyntheticEcology   #SyntheticBiology  
Ecological communities by design
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Able Lawrence

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Battle of the sex chromosomes 
Mammalian sex chromosomes X and Y evolved relatively recently in geological time from ancestral autosomes. Many of the genes in both X and Y chromosomes are expressed exclusively in the testes. Now a comparative genetics study of different species (they differ widely between species) has unearthed surprising competition between the two that can determine which of them gets passed on from generation to generation affecting gender ratio in the offspring. Deletion of a segment in the mice led to skewing of gender ratio in favor of females suggesting that these segments which are highly repetitive are doing something that affect the gender ratio. This new described and mysterious process is called meiotic drive
From an evolutionary perspective, it makes perfect sense - selfish chromosome, to borrow a turn of phrase from Dawkins' selfish gene. 
The human Y chromosome is here to stay
Sequencing data point to longstanding conflict between the chromosomes that determine sex.
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I must say tho.. damn it was handy when I was younger!
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Able Lawrence

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Indian Pitta, the natural born Olympic mascot Pitta brachyura 
This bird which ought to have been the national bird of India, is endowed as if designed by a painter. It has red, green, blue besides yellow, white, cyan and black in its plumage, indeed all the colors of the Olympic rings. It is a bird that forages on the ground among leaf litter searching for invertebrates, and is partial to earthworms. However, at dawn and dusk it likes to perch on treetops and announce its claim to territory with its very characteristic call (Once you know its call, that is how you know its presence). It is very shy and is usually solitary and very reluctant to fly but is actually a strong flyer and strongly migratory. I had been looking for this bird in Lucknow since last year but didnt expect it right near where I live. But once I heard from +Rushil Fernandes regarding the habits of this bird at Kota (where there are plenty of them in the forest), and his recollection of having heard the call before, I decided to take a look and was lucky to spot the fella the very next day. 
This is a tough bird to shoot as it spends its time mostly in the shade. 
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+Guillemette de Grissac​ Did you see this in Kerala (more common there actually, although this was taken in Lucknow, which was the first sighting of pitta in Lucknow) 
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Able Lawrence

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Is that a flower? Stunning common blue butterfly by +Rolf Kokkonen 
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Babblers have something to say 
Human speech is created by stringing together otherwise meaningless sounds to create compositions (words) that symbolize meaning. Now it appears that babblers (chestnut-crowned babblers) also do this. By recreating the "words" from components from different contexts (flight calls and feeding prompts), researchers were able to elicit the approprate responses confirming the symbolic nature of the sound combinations.   #BirdCalls   #BirdCommunication   The creation of words from sounds is called phonology while the combination of words to create higher order meaningful structure is syntax. While there were signs of rudimentaty syntax in animals, this is the first demonstration of phonemic structure in non-human animals.
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Very interesting article!!!
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Able Lawrence

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Pain sensitization pathways differ between sexes
It is well known that female sex predisposes to chronic pain and fibromyalgia and one of the pathways implicated in pain senstization is Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor produced by microglia. Scientists tried to study the gender effect by conditional deletion of BDNF in male and female mice. While knockdown of microglia   abrogated sensitization in male mice, it failed to do so in female mice. Mechanisms that perpetuate pain sensitization in female mice appear to be different and experiments in male mice cannot be extrapolated to female mice. There were differences in the effects of PPARalpha agonists (fenofibrate) and PPARgamma agonists (glitazones) between male and female mice. The former reduced allodynia in male mice while the latter worked in female mice. While castration abrogated the effect of fenofibrate, while testosterone did the same in female mice's response to glitazones. #fibromyalgia   #pain   #PainSexBias   [Note typo corrected]
Different immune cells mediate mechanical pain sensitivity in male and female mice
Research showing that male and female mice regulate pain sensitivity differently raises questions about gender balance in experimental design.
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Able Lawrence

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Pheasant-tailed jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus 
Jacanas are waders that walk on water vegetation using their very large feet with long toes, although they can swim. The feed on invertebrates. They have a striking breeding plumage and drab non-breeding one, and are mostly resident in their range (India, south east asia and Indonesia). 
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Greater Painted-snipe, female Rostratula benghalensis 
A mainly sedentary wader, found in the tropical and subtropical wetlands, marshes and shallow lakes of Africa, south and southeast Asia. They are seen in in only areas with at least 500mm rainfall and prefers recently flooded areas. They feed by probing soft soil. They spend most of the day hiding in plain sight. Are difficult to spot despite the very striking colors. They are sexually dimorphic and the males have a golden eye patch besides other plumage differences. They generally eat invertebrates as well as seeds. They are difficult to see unless you look carefully with a binoculars and it is not unusual to find them in photographs while processing. (In this session, I photographed another well hidden female only to find an even better hidden male in the background). #Birds   #birdphotography  
PS: Monsoons have arrived in Lucknow and has flooded previously dried lakebeds and there is renewed bird activity. 
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Nic one
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Unique brain structures allow parrots to imitate human speech 
Parrots and mynas, especially hill mynas are prized as pets for their ability to imitate human sounds. Oriental magpie robin (India) and the american mocking bird are known to incorporate other birds sounds in their calls which can cause great confusion in the field (in the case oriental magpie robin, the skill and variation of the caller gives it away!, too clever by half). On the other the ability to learn the call is limited to a short stage in life as chick for most song birds. Previous studies in songbirds had shown considerable similarities in transcription factors and gene expression between humans and songbirds (a case of convergent evolution) but the abilities of parrots exceed that of other song birds as they can not only learn as adults but mimic human sounds. 
The research team looked at vocal learning induced gene expression patterns in the brains of different parrot species. While both parrots and song birds share the core learning system, the parrots had a unique shell system which was absent in other songbirds. These studies may shed light on the evolution of speech in humans. 
Core and shell song system unique to the parrot brain
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+Nicolas Mondragon As a class, check out the beauty of pheasants. There is a collection of Pheasants by +Indian Birds​
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Able Lawrence

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Origin of tropical rainforest diversity 
Unlike other ecosystems around the globe, tropical rain forests have enormous species diversity and there were two competing theories to explain the same. Rainforests are characterized by relatively stable conditions which reduced the chances of extinction and species loss compared to other areas. One proposed model (museum model) hypothesized that due to the diversity is due to the lack of extinction and consequent increase in diversity over time while another model proposed that diversity arose from rapid radiation and speciation called cradle model. In one of the largest such exercise that did numerical simulation based on phylogenetic data of mahagony, the researchers found that both contributed to the eventual diversity with the relatively constant emergence of new forms contributed to the major stems rapid adaptation and divergence explains the large number of species in two major branches which occurred after mahagony adapted to tropical rain forests (It originally evolved in dry forests). 
Recently evolved diversity and convergent radiations of rainforest mahoganies (Meliaceae) shed new light on the origins of rainforest hyperdiversity
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+Able Lawrence Or would have.
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Can we coax and coach the Immune system to produce antibodies against HIV virus?
Although the first great successes in immunization were obtained by vaccines that produced a humoral (antibody) response, attempts to produce an effective vaccine against HIV/AIDS remained a non-starter for several reasons. While gp120, the key viral protein involved in cell entry was very good at hiding key conserved amino acid residues inside its structure, the accessible regions underwent accelerated mutations and evolution which made it a non-win situation for immune system and most people considered it an impossible task. However the detection of neutralizing antibodies (broadly neutralizing antibodies in a few rare patients showed that it can be done, but how to elicit one by design remained elusive.  Now three research papers have come out with innovative ways to coax the immune system to produced the right kind of antibodies ranging from designer antigenic nanoparticles to proteins mimicking the trimeric structure of gp120. #HIV   #AIDS   #Vaccine   #HIVvaccine   #immunity   #immunology  
Designer proteins produce HIV defence _HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies induced by native-like envelope trimers_
Priming a broadly neutralizing antibody response to HIV-1 using a germline-targeting immunogen
Neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 envelope protect more effectively in vivo than those to the CD4 receptor
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Doctor; Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
Rheumatology, Statistics
    Additional Professor, Clinical Immunology, 2011 - present
    Associate Professor, Clinical Immunology, 2008 - 2011
    Assistant Professor, Clinical Immunology, 2004 - 2008
  • Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences
    Assistant Professor, Rheumatology and Immunology, 2004 - 2004
    Specialist Registrar, Clinical Immunology, 2000 - 2003
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Kerala - Kozhikode - Chandigarh - Kochi - Thiruvananthapuram
Physician, Rheumatologist and Immunologist, Closet Geek, Mad about Birds, Photography,technology, statistics, physics, and food. Wanna be philosopher.
Additional Professor, Department of Clinical Immunology, SGPGIMS, Lucknow
Bragging rights
Volunteered for Live vaccine Phase I trial
    DM Clinical Immunology, 2001 - 2003
    MD Internal Medicine, 1997 - 2000
  • Kozhikode Medical College
    MBBS, 1989 - 1995
  • Sainik School Kazhakootam SSKZM
    1982 - 1989
  • St Mary's High School
    1977 - 1982
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A L Thoppil
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Able Lawrence's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Tasty but very spicy. Those who like excessively spicy Indian food would love it though.
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
Excellent dinner buffet with good variety. Almost everything is good with a balance of flavors, not overly spicy like other places (Just right). Desserts also good. Avoid over-eating starters. Best eatery in Lucknow at this time
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
It was worth every penny of it. For best value, book online in advance and reach on time. Leave somewhat early, even the London tube can breakdown. (It happened twice during my four days in London).
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
Bought two items from their online store. Total fraud. Over several weeks one item still remains pending. The other was totally damaged and they dont have a return policy other than trying to force customers to accept them. They dont even email an order confirmation Their call center does not work. Here is a link to a facebook page of aggrieved customers. Buy at your peril
Public - 11 months ago
reviewed 11 months ago
29 reviews
Within walking distance of Metro and the Business design center. Breakfast buffet was good. Wifi didnt work
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
We had veal schnitzels and Pig in a blanket. Both awesome.
Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago