IUP Council of Trustees Presents Resolution of Appreciation to Narayanaswamy Bharathan

Posted on 5/5/21 5:38 PM
Narayanaswamy Bharathan

Narayanaswamy Bharathan

Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Council of Trustees today presented a resolution of appreciation to an IUP faculty member for his work in the fight against COVID-19 and for his ongoing commitment to IUP.

The resolution was presented to Narayanaswamy Bharathan, chair of IUP's Department of Biology, expressing the Trustees' "deepest appreciation to Narayanaswamy Bharathan for his devotion to the university, the IUP Council of Trustees, and the greater Indiana community."

Bharathan has been working in collaboration with Indiana Regional Medical Center to provide same-day, local testing for COVID-19. Bharathan began testing work at IRMC in May 2020; since that time, he has tested more than 20,500 samples for the virus. The testing work uses IUP equipment in an IRMC laboratory.

In addition to his testing work, Bharathan has trained three laboratory technicians to work at IRMC with the IUP equipment.

Narayanaswamy Bharathan and President Michael Driscoll with the resolution

Narayanaswamy Bharathan and President Michael Driscoll with the resolution

In July 2020, Bharathan finished developing a new detection protocol that incorporates RT-qPCR reagents developed by Takara Bio USA, Inc. The aim of the three-way collaboration is to share the new testing protocol with rural medical centers, increasing the accessibility and speed of COVID-19 testing in underserved areas.

Takara Bio is a leading provider of biotechnology equipment and life science solutions, including reagents for detecting SARS-CoV-2 that have been used in multiple lab-developed COVID-19 tests permitted under FDA Emergency Use Authorizations.

Bharathan has a long-standing relationship with Takara Bio USA, including using the company's RT-qPCR-based detection products at IUP for teaching and research. Takara Bio's PrimeDirect Probe RT-qPCR Mix makes it possible to bypass a time- and labor-intensive step in the current gold-standard RT-qPCR detection method: extracting viral RNA from nasal fluid samples.

Bharathan has been on the IUP faculty since 1997.

"I fully endorse the statements in the Council of Trustees resolution about Dr. Bharathan and his work," IUP President Michael Driscoll said.

"Dr. Bharathan is a truly exceptional scientist, scholar, and teacher, who is committed not just to excellence in the classroom, but to making a difference in our community, our region, and our world. As noted in the resolution, he has been the catalyst behind these partnerships with IUP and IRMC, and his work has set the stage for even more opportunities for collaboration. This recognition is well deserved."

The Trustee resolution recognizes that "Dr. Bharathan has demonstrated that the resources, talent and people necessary to fight a global pandemic exist in small communities, and that with collaboration, dedication, commitment and expertise, citizens can effectively fight an invisible enemy."