“ઘર એટલે” — “Home is…” (poem dedicated to homeless children)


આ મહિના ની બેઠક નો વિષય છે “ઘર એટલે”.  કાનો માત્ર વગરના બે અક્ષરના ઘર શબ્દ માં ઘણું સમાયેલું છે.  તેમાં લાગણી, પ્રેમ, સલામતી અને સંતોષ ભર્યા હોય છે.  જો ઘરની ભીત બોલે તો તે ભાન્દુડા ની લડાઈ માં કોણ વધારે નટખટ હતું તે સાક્ષી પુરાવે।  ઘરની ભીંતો મમ્મી પપ્પા ને પાટા મારી ને વચ્ચે કરેલી સુવા માટેની જગ્યા ની જુબાની આપે, દાદીના હેત નો વરસાદ વરસાવે ને ઘરે પધારેલા મિત્રો અને મહેમાનોથી દિવાલોને શણગારી શકે.  

પણ જયારે આપણા માટે, આ વિશાળ દુનિયા માં, ઘર એક એવો ખૂણો છે કે ત્યાં મળે છે લાગણી, પ્રેમ, સબંધ અને સંસ્કાર, ત્યાં મળે છે સંવેદના, મિત્રોનો કોલાહલ, અવનવું ભણતર અને ગણતર, ત્યારે આપણે આજે યાદ કરીએ એ બાળકોને કે જેમને આ કશુજ હાસિલ થતું નથી.  એ બાળકોને કે જેમને ઘર જેવી કોઈ વાસ્તવિકતાનો અનુભવ જ નથી.  ક્યારેક એ બાળકો શેરીએ શેરીએ ભટકે છે અને ક્યારેક ફોસ્ટર કેર માં અટવાયેલા છે.  અને એ બાળકો જેમના ભાગ્યમાં ઘર છે તો તે માત્ર દીવાલો છે, નથી ઘર માફક કોઈ સુવિધા કે સગવડ।   

અનાથ બાળક શેરી એ શેરી એ ભટકે
તડકો છાયો સમાન, આભ એનું ઘર છે

દિવાલોની હુંફ તેને ક્યારેય મળી નથી
માં બાપ થી અલગ, ભટકે તે દર દર છે

દીવડામાં શોભતી હવેલી ના જગમગાટમાં
કોને અટુલા અનાથ બાળક ની દરકાર છે  

ગરીબડું બાળક કચરામાં બટકું રોટલી શોધે
વહાલે પીરસેલી રસોઈની એને ક્યાં ખબર છે

શીખવાનો શોખ ને ચોપડી ના પાના ઉથલાવે
મજુર માની દીકરીને ક્યાં હાસિલ ભણતર છે

મખમલની રજાઈ તળે ઊંઘતા, તમે કહેશો
આ તો વળી અમથી વાત નું વતેસર છે

ઘર ના મીઠા સ્મરણોને સંભારીએ, ત્યારે શું
ભૂલી જઈશું જે આપણી વચ્ચે બેઘર છે?

 

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Therapeutic Brain Cooling – Neurosave Technology talk by Seth Rodgers


Seth Rodgers, CEO of Neurosave talked about therapeutic brain cooling for treatment of stroke and other illnesses at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Rogers shared about brain cooling experiments with baboon brains that were done at Columbia University, that have indicated hugely beneficial effect. Rodgers said, Despite the benefits of therapeutic brain cooling, previous attempts have not worked with humans because along with the brain, the body also got cold.  When the whole body is cooled then it leads to many side effects including heart rhythm problems, immune system suppression and so on.  Optimal brain cooling should be fast, deep, and targeted, said Rodgers.

Neurosave technology delivers the benefits of therapeutic hypothermia to the brain while protecting the body from the negative effects of cooling.  Neurosave’s minimally invasive solution is designed to be used in intubated, sedated patients. Setup for this treatment is quick and easy.  Without any incisions, chilled saline solution in circulated in the pharynx and the esophagus, via balloon cuffed catheters, that prevent the fluid from exiting the cooling zone.  The solution is removed from the mouth, filtered and cooled in a machine similar to the dialysis machine, and is returned to the patient, via 2 points, the nasal cavity and the esophagus.  

Establishing a continuous circuit, this technology lowers the temperature of the tissue that surrounds the fluid.  Both the carotid and the vertebral arteries are located in this zone of chilled tissue and the blood traveling through these arteries is cooled.  As the cold blood reaches the brain, the temperature in the brain rapidly goes down, resulting in brain cooling that is faster and deeper.  The body can be counter warmed to maintain the body’s core temperature near normal, to reduce the negative side effects associated with whole body cooling, said Rodgers.

In a 5 patient clinical trial, in Australia, no device related safety issues were observed.  Additionally, efficacy was observed by 2 measures, brain temperature via jugular bulb and body temperature via bladder catheter.   Regular body temperature was maintained, while brain cooling was demonstrated.  This brain cooling method was quick, noninvasive, and easy and can be used by a range of acute care providers, inside and outside the hospital setting, said Rodgers.

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“Dum Laga Ke Haisha” – Bollywood Movie Review


Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a beautiful romantic comedy that offers the laughs amid touching, tender moments, as a young couple, forced into a marriage by the family elders, tries to find what is in their own heart, and in the process finds a way to each other’s heart.  Brilliantly written and directed by Sharat Katariya, the scenes flow seamlessly, without appearing excessive or contrived.

Insecure young man, Prem Prakash Tiwari (Ayushmann Khurrana) has nurtured his own version of a perfect life partner, a beautiful slim girl.  His family, led by his overbearing father (Sanjay Mishra), chooses a girl for him, based on reasons that are purely practical.  An educated girl from a good family would help uplift the family economically by bringing in an extra source of income.  After all, Prem is deemed a failure by his father.  Their attention is drawn to Sandhya Tiwari (Bhumi Pednekar), who is educated and aspires to be a teacher.  Sandhya is also plump but then looks are often relegated to the least useful category, when arranging a marriage.  

Tiwaris and Vermas get together, through an intermediary, and arrange a marriage between their children, Prem and Sandhya.  Prem throws a fit and refuses to marry a girl who is plump.  His father scorns his lack of educational success and admonishes him that he is no better, “dasvi to nikal na paya, juhi chawla ke sapne dekh raha hai”.   In the end, the unwilling groom is compelled to acquiesce to the marriage.  Thus begins an awkward relationship, between a reluctant husband who despises being forced into the marriage and the girl who dreamed of love.  Prem laments to his friends “mere ghodu baap ne zindagi barbad kar di meri” and later resolves, “mein kuch karunga aur apna astitv banaunga”.

Sandhya is educated and has plenty of spunk.  When she found her husband mocking her in public, she leaves Prem and his family, and files for divorce.  The clever girl, appropriately defines the problem for the judge, “ji prem ka vivah tha sandhya ke saath, lekin prem to tha hi nahin”.  As the bitterness between the couple has reached the breaking point, much to the chagrin of the families, the couple is forced to look for deeper, more lasting meaning of love.  After all beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and sometimes, in the well groomed muscles, as you will find out :).  

It is a fun, light-hearted comedy.  Khuraana and Pednekar are fantastic, in their roles.  Their life appears to evolve naturally, without feeling contrived.  I rate the movie 3.7 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent.

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Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking – Talk by Mir Imran


Mir Imran, CEO at www.incubelabs.com, spoke on “invention, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking” at www.bio2devicegroup.org and www.eppicglaobal.org joint event at Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto.

There are many examples of innovation, in history, said Imran.  However, for the most part, innovation has been left to chance.  Imran said, it was important for him to think about how to turn innovation into a process, so that it can be made a daily practice inside an organization, and not be left to chance or a random occurrence.

Through examples and stories, Imran shared how innovation is practiced at Incube.  Incube is an applied research lab and was found in 1995.  Incube has evolved into a star incubator of companies, but is unlike other incubators, where external companies with promise, get incubated, in-house.  At Incube Labs, only in-house created companies are incubated, most of them originating from one or more of Imran’s patents.  

Imran said, “I am agnostic to technology”, and boasted of a world class multi-disciplinary team, at Incube Labs.  He said the only way one can excel while remaining agnostic to technology, is if one is a broad thinker and can embrace all technologies, so as to apply the most optimum solution for a problem.  At Incube Labs, all team members are compelled to work outside of their chosen field.  All team members pick up new skills and grow in breadth and depth, in the process.

Imran has found 28 companies, to date.  Twenty-six of them are in life science arena and 2 are in the area of security.  Despite his 400+ US patents and about 1500 foreign patents, according to Imran, filing patents, is not a measure of success, inventions don’t always translate into innovations; and even less frequently, they translate into entrepreneurial success.  Clearly, Imran has managed to translate his inventions into huge commercial success.

Some of Incube portfolio of companies

 VidamedPython MedicalPercusurgeZONAREPhysiometrixNfocus Medical

Imran discussed three different models of innovation.  Technology favored innovation model is frequently found in academic institutions.  The focus here is on finding applications and filing patents for a new technology that is invented, and then licensing the IP or starting a company around it.  The problem with this approach is that entire focus is on specific technology and on forcing it to fit a problem, said Imran.  Skill based innovation approach begins with applying a skill, and again it takes away from focusing on the problem.  

Imran then discussed his own need based model of innovation.  In this approach, innovation begins with identification of a poorly solved or unsolved problem.  Picking the right problem to solve, and framing it appropriately, assumes that one has the requisite broad background to understand the problem, and it is the single biggest challenge of innovation, said Imran.  Once the problem has been identified and defined, then one can focus on developing solutions and filing patents.  However, the entrepreneur must assume that an initial solution may be a partial solution.

The entrepreneur is called upon to analyze the commercial value of the solution and be prepared to “kill”, when a solution does not meet the required criteria.  Imran said, in previous models of innovation, the entire focus remains on the technology or the skill, and not on the problem.  One needs to be brutally honest when assessing the commercial viability of the identified problem, said Imran.  

Imran then discussed incremental vs. disruptive innovations.  An incremental innovation improves upon existing product or  service, resulting in an improved product or service.  In this model, there is lower risk, lower possibility of failure, and one operates in a crowded IP space.  Frequently large companies embrace this kind of innovation.  Disruptive innovation is when one develops a NEW way of describing a big problem, which may result in a highly impactful solution.  In this approach, there is higher risk, higher possibility of failure, and potential for strong IP.  Together, these two models form the innovation continuum, said Imran.  

At Incube, the process truly begins with finding worthy problems to solve.  It involves identifying the high level attributes of the problem, including the size of the problem, costs associated with the problem, identifying attributes of current solutions, including efficacy, side effects, cost, quality of life impact, understanding the progression of the disease, various biomarkers, genotypes and phenotypes that can be used for diagnosis and monitoring, and so on.   Even for viable problems, before launching a company, one must go through a focused risk analysis to identify market worthiness of solutions.  It should include detailed analysis for potential IP, efficacy and cost considerations, assessment of clinical trial length and costs involved, analysis of reimbursement issues, financing requirements, and potential for corporate partnerships.

Imran proceeded to discuss Incube’s commercialization process and how vertical integration at Incube enables efficient execution.  In recent years, because the cost of building life science companies has dramatically increased, there has been a compression of returns.  In order to reduce cost of building companies, Imran acquired Modulus, a contract manufacturing company.  This has enabled Incube companies to operate without requiring their own manufacturing capability, and has contained costs.  The venture funds, InCube Ventures and a crowd funding portal, VentureHealth, have enabled financing for the companies.

Imran shared examples and lessons learned from some of his past successes and how he has applied the lessons learned to his several current companies.  Neurolink  is focused on new pharmacologic drug therapy for epilepsy, with repurposing of an old cardiac drug.  One of his exciting new companies, Rani Therapeutics, is not focused on a specific disease, but on  delivering injectable drugs (biologics) orally, via smart pills and is thus providing a breakthrough solution for delivery of therapeutic peptides, proteins, antibodies, and vaccines and has demonstrated greater than 50% bioavailability in large animal models.  Imran said it is a truly disruptive, transformative technology, with strong patent position.  Intrapace is built around an implantable sensor based gastric pacemaker for the treatment of obesity. Nfocus Medical Nfocus Neuromedical developed endovascular neurosurgery solutions to treat intracranial aneurysms, and was recently acquired by Covidien.  Also, Spinal ModulationSpinal Modulation, which developed a novel therapy for the treatment of chronic pain, was recently acquired by St. Jude Medical.

One of Imran’s companies, Intella Interventional, a cardiology company, ran into difficulties.  Imran managed to salvage it but he said he learned an important lesson, to not fall in love with the technology, and to not rely solely upon physicians to give the right answers.  “Also, talk to the skeptics”, said Imran.  Imran said he also learned from the failures of two of his companies.  From the failure of Surface Genesis, which had a flawed licensing model, Imran said he learned that he needed to do business modeling, earlier in the process.  His company, MDIsource was launched about 3-4 months before the market crash of early 2000, and it failed on account of bad timing.  Sometimes events outside your control can also have an impact.    

Imran said that in the course of his innovation journey, he learned several important lessons.  It is important to be current with the literature, and also listen to the naysayers.  However, entrepreneurship is a lonely journey.  In the end, an entrepreneur must be his or her own guide, and must be willing to blaze their own trail.  Despite deep knowledge and extensive literature review, successful entrepreneurs understand that published articles do not account for total truth, and they understand that 50% of scientific data is likely to be flawed or limited in some way.  Entrepreneurs must be willing to take risks, be willing to fail.  In the pursuit of innovation, failure is a constant companion and success an occasional visitor, said Imran.  He said, “question everything, including what I have said”.  

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“Bahubali: The Beginning”- Bollywood Movie Review


Director S. S. Rajamouli’s “Bahubali: The Beginning” is first part of two part series.   Shot simultaneously in Tamil and Telugu, and released in a dubbed Hindi version, overseen by producer/director Karan Johar, it is a Bollywood version of Hercules/ Superman movie.  South Indian actor, Prabhas, as Bahubali, with his sheer muscular physicality, can single handedly fight armies, while defending the helpless, whereas the gentler side in him is moved to lift a two ton Shiva lingam out of the earth and bring and position it under the waterfall, so his mother can fulfill her oath of pouring water over it 116 times.

In the history of Indian cinema, Bahubali, with a budget of reported $40 million, is the most expensive production, to date.  Post release marketing has also been extensive.  Bahubali boasts the largest film poster in the world (a 50,000 square-foot billboard in Kochi).  Now Bahubali is expected to break box office records in India and around the world.  

Believed to be orphaned as an infant, Bahubali miraculously survives a murder plot, and is found by a local village woman, who raises him, as her son.  Growing up, Bahubali is pulled by the lure of the mountains that surround the village.  Despite his mother’s admonitions, he keeps attempting to scale the high mountains ,and finally succeeds.  High up, near the clouds, he meets the love of his life, Avanthika (Tamannaah) who belongs to a rebel group, seeking to overthrow a kingdom that is wrongfully usurped by its current king, and rescue the queen, who is held prisoner.  Bahubali proclaims his love for Avanthika and promises to take on her cause.  Bahubali is then called to fulfill more duties, than he might have bargained for, and the adventure will continue in part 2.

I rate this movie as 3.8 on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being excellent.  It has action galore.

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“The West Side Story” – Play Review


Inspired by “Romeo and Juliet”, in “The West Side Story”, based on the book by Arthur Laurents, with Stephen Sondheim’s compelling lyrics, and Leonard Bernstein’s music, Shakespeare’s timeless tragic tale is transformed into a war between the members of two rival gangs, in New York.  

At City Lights, the drama unfolds in an intimate setting, with Ron Gasparinetti’s simple simple set design, under the brilliant direction by Lisa Mallette, and does not lose any of its flair.  Large cast of 26 members, deliver beautifully.  The casting is superb.  

The tale of turf war starts as the Jets, an older gang of primarily Italian, Irish, Polish youngsters feel challenged by the newer Puerto Rican immigrants, the Sharks.  When Tony (Max Jennings), a Jet, and Maria (Katherine Dela Cruz), sister of a Puerto Rican Shark, fall in love, the tensions between the two rival gangs escalate dramatically, resulting in a series of violent events and ultimately leading to irreversible heart-breaking tragedy.  Dela Cruz’s operatic delivery of all her pieces is most impressive, and tugs at the heart strings.  Danielle Mendoza, as Anita, Maria’s girl friend, Sean Okuniewicz (Action), leader of the Jets, and Nick Rodrigues (Bernardo), Maria’s brother and leader of the Sharks, are also fantastic.  

Tony and Maria’s intermittent romance, amid atmosphere of inexplicable bitterness and hate, is endearing and also saddening, in the light of the tragic events that are to follow.  Sometimes, it seems that the presence of caring adults, with compassion, and wisdom that only comes with years, could make a difference, and bring a dose of reality to young people, who may be on the verge of losing their footing.  Unfortunately, in “The West Side Story”, the adults fall short. The candy store owner, Doc (George S. Gemette) cares deeply, but is powerless, and throws his hands up in the air in frustration, as he says, “you kids make this world lousy; when will you stop?”  Officer Krupke (Howard L. Miller), on the other hand, is the wrong face of the law enforcement, representing the type of attitude that was all too common, but one that is rapidly changing.  Some telling lyrics below, sung by the Jets, represent their cynical take on the perspectives of those in the law enforcement.  Very insightful and infinitely saddening, these lyrics sung with rebelliousness, sarcasm, distrust, and contempt towards the law, and all who stand for it, indicate that sometimes these juveniles are acutely aware of how they have been written off as “no good”, by the law enforcement. 

Hey you
Who me, Officer Krupke?
Yeah you, gimme one good reason for not dragging
You down the station, ya punk?

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke, you gotta understand
It’s just our bringin’ upke that gets us out of hand
Our mothers all are junkies, our fathers all are drunks
Golly Moses, naturally we’re punks

Gee, Officer Krupke, we’re very upset
We never had the love that every child oughta get
We ain’t no delinquents, we’re misunderstood
Deep down inside us there is good

Dear kindly Judge, Your Honor, my parents treat me rough
With all their marijuana, they won’t give me a puff
They didn’t wanna have me but somehow I was had
Leapin’ lizards, that’s why I’m so bad

Right, Officer Krupke, you’re really a square
This boy don’t need a judge, he needs an analyst’s care
It’s just his neurosis that oughta be curbed
He’s psychologically disturbed

My daddy beats my mommy, my mommy clobbers me
My grandpa is a commie, my grandma pushes tea
My sister wears a mustache, my brother wears a dress
Goodness gracious, that’s why I’m a mess

Officer Krupke, you’ve done it again
This boy don’t need a job, he needs a year in the pen
It ain’t just a question of misunderstood
Deep down inside him, he’s no good

The trouble is he’s lazy, the trouble is he drinks
The trouble is he’s crazy, the trouble is he stinks
The trouble is he’s growing, the trouble is he’s grown
Krupke, we’ve got troubles of our own

Like the timeless story of Romeo and Juliet, “The West Side Story” has also rightfully acquired a place as a timeless classic, in the history of urban America.  City Lights has done a fabulous job in bringing this heart rending saga of love and tragedy; in this massive production, with a huge cast, on stage.  Seats are available only for a few of the remaining shows.  Book your tickets at www.citylights.org .   

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Jobs – August, 2015


Please see below some of my immediate opportunities.  Post doc and contract opportunities are for candidates located in the United States.  But there are some new opportunities below that are located in India, for anyone wishing to do a stint in India, in very exciting, cutting edge multinational.  When sending your resume, please include details on your current compensation and compensation expectations.  Also, include in the email a short summary of your background and your key strengths. Please send resumes to wd_darshana at hot mail dot com.

Post-docs – Engineering – ME, EE, Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences – CA & TX
Requires excellent and proven hands-on problem solving skills.

Immediate contract Engineering Opportunities – San Jose, CA

  • Electrical Engineering & Software
  • Analog Design
  • PCB Layout (FR4, Flex etc.)
  • ASIC Design
  • Embedded Systems
  • TI MSP430, ARM, Cypress
  • Software (Windows, Linux, C++, Android, iOS)
  • Sensors
  • RF Communications
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, GPS
  • Antenna Design
  • RF Test Labs
  • Test Engineering
  • Test Hardware & Software

OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA

Architect – MRI System and Signal Processing Development (Pulse Sequencing) – Bangalore, INDIA

SUMMARY
Job includes performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system simulation & pulse sequence design for fast simultaneous MRI imaging schemes and developing MRI image reconstruction algorithms
Academic Requirements include: Ph.D. degree and 5+ years of R&D work experience or BS / MS degree and 10+ years experience,  Major in Biomedical Engineering, Bio-Information System Engineering, Computer Science, Optics Engineering, or related areas.

Required experience includes: 5 – 15 years experience in MRI signal acquisition and/or image reconstruction, Comprehensive understanding of MRI system and pulse sequence design.  Also required, knowledge in MRI system development, MRI signal acquisition & MRI image reconstruction.  Strongly preferred: Knowledge in Simultaneous/ quantitative MRI & Compressed Sensing MRI

Job responsibilities include: Developing ultra-fast MRI imaging technology, MRI system modeling, Pulse sequence design (signal acquisition), Image reconstruction algorithm development & Compressed sensing for MRI


Architect / TL / PL – Bangalore, INDIA

Requires 5-10 yrs exp in C, C++, (QT, Boost); image processing, visualization, algorithm development, signal processing, & UI development. Requires experience with tools like VTK, OpenGL, ITK, CGal, OpenInventor, OpenCV, OpenMesh ImageJ, DICOM; proven application development record in image processing & visualization; domain knowledge of MR (Stroke, Metastatis, Cartilege, Dementia related clinical applications); and experience working with clinicians for development of software applications.  C++ (QT, Boost, Design Patterns).

Visualisation Architect – Bangalore, INDIA

Requirements include experience & knowledge in:  C++ (QT, Boost, Design Patterns), Data Analytics, Algorithms, Image Processing, Visualization techniques.  Highly desired: Proven research record & high quality publications in image processing, visualization or related areas; experience in one or more of the following: VTK, OpenGL, ITK, CGal, OpenInventor, OpenCV, OpenCV, OpenMesh, SPM.  Academic requirements include: MS or Ph.D. in Computer Science or related with emphasis on visualization & image analysis & good software development experience. Experience in medical imaging applications in CT or MR is nice to have.

Roles and Responsibilities – Developing & supporting visualization platform, Clinical image processing algorithm development from concept to productizing, Integration of algorithm & development of end to end clinical application with the team, Support clinical collaboration with hospitals to do competitor bench-marking & validation of algorithms and clinical application and Support system integration & system verification issues for visualization platform & clinical applications.

R&D for Computed-Tomography Segmentation Algorithm Development – Banglore, INDIA

Job includes: Organ-specific segmentation technology development for computed-tomography (CT) clinical applications (image processing).
Requirements include: 5+ years experience in computed-tomography (CT) image processing, CT image segmentation, Feature extraction and Pattern recognition & Classification.  Also required: Specialized Knowledge in signal processing, digital image processing, probability & statistics, programming in C/ C++, MATLAB.

BASIC JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
1) Segmentation Algorithm Development including developing organ specific segmentation, reinforcing segmentation applications, and CT image processing.
2) Feature Extraction Algorithm Development including Lesion area enhancement and extraction
3) Technology Development Based on Computer-Aided Detection including Developing pattern recognition algorithms & Developing classification algorithms

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Sterilization Efforts for Healthcare Products


Jeff Sauter, Business Development Manager at Nutek, talked about sterilization efforts for healthcare products and medical devices, atwww.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Most commonly used forms of sterilization are EtO, Gamma and E-Beam with X-ray sterilization as an emerging ‘new’ technology.  Nutek is an E-Beam sterilization facility that is FDA and DEA registered and is ISO 13485 and ISO 11137 certified and is going through ISO 11135 certification for EtO, said Sauter.  While Nutek is known in the industry as a niche player and is sought out world-wide to solve complex sterilization issues, they also have the capability to sterilize large volumes of product.

Sauter discussed various sterilization modalities.  SmartEO Ethylene Oxide Sterilization or EtO is effective and cheap modality for R&D testing as a well as for high volume and low volume production.  It is used for terminal sterilization of devices.  With EtO, it is important that the packaging is breathable where it may be torturous route for microbes to get in but gas can still get in for sterilization.  Primary challenges are with residuals and significant environmental concerns have led to EU mandates to exhaust all other sterilization methods before resorting to EtO.

Gamma radiation method is effective and cheap and can also do high volume.  However, there are significant security issues surrounding gamma. In December 2013, in Mexico,hijackers opened the canisters being transported in a truck and disappeared unaccounted for, said Sauter.  If it falls into the hands of the terrorists, they could potentially make a dirty bomb.  Gamma also needs to be disposed of properly and it is buried permanently deep in the earth.  

E-Beam has some advantages over Gamma.  E-Beam is less harsh to the product as compared to Gamma, said Sauter.  In case of Gamma, the product resides in the Gamma chamber and is exposed to radioactive energy for several hours.  Whereas E-Beam, typically a high energy electron beam goes over the product in less than a minute.  E-Beam also offers more flexibility in processing of sensitive drugs or biologics.  E-Beam offers advantage of continuous temperature control, split dose processing, and intelligent tooling.  It also offers more scalability for processing differing volumes and turnaround times can be much faster, compared to Gamma. E-Beam is also environmentally friendly and poses no security risk.

The technology in X-ray has only recently caught up to make it a practical modality, in sterilization, said Sauter.  X-ray is also emerging as a more obvious choice over Gamma.  X-ray delivers doses rapidly, allows for greater temperature control, allows for maintaining tight dose range, can penetrate all types of product packaging including foils, and causes no damage to sterile seals on product packaging.  Nutek is moving a new facility in Fremont, which will include state of the art X-ray sterilization modality.  

All modalities have their place, their advantages and limitations, said Sauter.  If any product contains Teflon or electronic components then EtO is the more likely methodology to go with.  It is very important to consider sterilization modality earlier in product development.  Sometimes a wrong modality is chosen and the result is good, viable products don’t see the light of the day, said Sauter.  Some of the important considerations in choice of a sterilization modality are: material compatibility and product functionality, product and packaging qualification, bioburden issues and dose selection, modified atmosphere packaging considerations, security and environmental risks, future sustainability, and cost considerations.

The session was followed by Q&A.

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan – Bollywood Movie Review


Bajrangi Bhaijaan – Bollywood Movie Review

Director Kabir Khan’s “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” is a feel-good movie, a fairytale of sorts, where the audience is moved to overlook its many flaws, in pursuit of its worthy goal, overcoming prejudices and stereotypes about religion, nationality, food and more, and in favor of doing the right thing, in favor of peace between nations, and between people divided by political hateful propaganda and misinformation.  

Despite the usual flawless acting by Salman Khan and gorgeous Kareena Kapoor in supporting role, in this movie, it is Harshaali Malhotra who steals hearts.  Malhotra plays the role of a little deaf girl, accidently left behind in India, by her Pakistani mother.  Bajrangi (Khan), a truth loving, Hanumaan devotee, puts his entire life on hold and his future well-being at stake, to undertake the arduous journey to Pakistan, to bring the girl back to her homeland, to her parents.  Aided by the Pakistani folks, Bajrangi makes the journey where stereotypes fall by the wayside, and individual human relationships transcend national hate.  

I rate the movie as 3.9 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent.  Even though I don’t rate it higher than 4, I would say that this is a must-watch movie, just to see Harshaali Malhotra.  Her gorgeous winning smile, beautiful eyes, and playful gestures will steal your heart; whether she is pampering little goats or following Bajrangi until he accepts her responsibility or silently pleading him to lie to the authorities (which he principally will not), or making sweet innocent gestures of “OoofOOO here he goes again” when Bajrangi will stick to the truth and incur the wrath from the border patrol.  I would watch it again, just to see this cute little girl.

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“Triangle – A New Musical” – Theater Review


World Premiere of the musical “Triangle”, at www.theatreworks.org kicked off 2015/2016 season, with heart rending lyrics by Thomas Mitzer, music by Curtis Moore, based on a book by Moore, Mitzer, and Joshua Scher.  The Triangle features a superb cast with Laura D’Andre, Ross Lekites, Megan McGinnis, Zachary Prince, Sharon Rietkerk, and Rolf Saxon, who take us on a fascinating journey through time, sometimes playing double roles, in the past and the present.

While the tragedy of 9/11 is more fresh in our minds, the play links it to a sorrowful past tragedy, that took place in 1911, a fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Corporation, where 146 workers mostly women, perished, in brief 19 minutes, before it was put out.wpid-20150729_151225.jpg

At this point, a little history lesson is in order.  The below information is from Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”.  This was a time when there were 500 garment factories in New York.  Here’s how a woman described the conditions: dangerously broken stairways, windows few and so dirty…. The wooden floors that were swept once a year…. Hardly any other light but the gas jets burning by day and by night….. the filthy, malodorous lavatory in the dark hall.  No fresh drinking water….. mice and roaches…. During winter… we suffered from the cold and in summer from the heat……. and we toiled seventy and eighty hours a week…. Saturdays and Sundays included!  A sign would go up on Saturday afternoon “If you don’t come in on Sunday, you need not come in on Monday”….. We wept, for after all, we were only children………   In 1904, in one year alone, 50,000 accidents took place in New York factories.  Hat and Cap makers were getting respiratory diseases, quarrymen were inhaling deadly chemicals, lithographic printers were getting arsenic poisoning etc.

wpid-20150729_151132.jpgAt the time when fire started in a rag bin at Triangle factory, despite the law to not lock the doors, the doors were locked so the company could keep track of the employees.  One door that opened, opened inward, despite the law for doors to open outward.

If ghosts can speak, what stories might they tell?  Despite the hardships and the harsh conditions, there must be hope for a better life, families waiting for loved ones to come home, and relationships that must have blossomed.  In “Triangle”, a young factory girl sings “how does a girl like me, end up in the middle of all the madness?”, while the manager sings “we are in America, you want to go back; is that what you want?”   The eyewitnesses said that when the fire began, as the horrified crowd watched from below, “girl after girl appeared at the reddened windows, paused for a brief terrified moment and then lept to their death, at the pavement below. The firemen stood helpless as their ladders could not go beyond 7th floor and most of the young girls were trapped on the 8th and 9th floors.

In the play, a young factory girl, Sarah (Megan McGinnis) is looking to escape from being engulfed in the fire by jumping to her death from the window, and sings, “Tell me how not to be afraid”, as her boyfriend, Vincenzo (Zachary Prince) holds her out and lets her go, so she would not have to do it.   This is also story of love.  Amidst great adversity, young love is blossoming  in 1911, while the present day love is blossoming between two young men, Ben (Zachary Prince) and Brian (Ross Lekites), pulled together by the experience of 9/11 tragedy, and attachment and curiosity regarding the events of 1911.  

Stage Manager Justin D. Schlegel, Assistant Stage Manager Emily Anderson Wolf and Scenic Designer Daniel Zimmerman deserve great kudos in creating simple yet mesmerizing set design where quick shifts between two different centuries are clear and concise.  The orchestra under the direction of Musical Director, James Sampliner provides rich delineating sound for lyrics of each period.   This play has tremendous heart in it and is centered around significant historical events.  It is a must-watch play of this theater season, in the bay area.  For tickets, go to www.theatreworks.org .

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