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DIPAS DRDO


Historical Background

The chronicles of military history are abound with vivid instances of ravaging consequences of environmental factors on the outcome of the battle, campaigns and wars. The troops of the Indian Defence Forces are not only expected to survive the extremes of environment but also to perform physically and mentally to discharge their military duties effectively. The Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) is engaged in both basic and applied research to assess the effects of exposure to severe cold, extreme heat, high terrestrial altitude along with nutritional factors, occupational tasks, physical training and deployment operations on the health and performance of military personnel. In the wake of Chinese aggression in 1962, DIPAS was formally established under the aegis of DRDO.

In 1968, the laboratory was relocated within the premises of Army Base Hospital, Delhi Cantonment. In the year 1993, the lab was shifted to its existing permanent location at Lucknow Road, Delhi.  Nearing fifty five years after its modest commencement, today DIPAS is a leader in human centric research for armed forces. Dedicated team of scientists and technical staff of DIPAS are developing human related technologies for improving the quality of life of man behind the machine working in difficult environment. DIPAS has contributed extensively in all major areas of Defence operations like thermal comfort zone identification, nature of heat casualty, salt and water requirement in summer, habitability survey of naval ships and physical training and conditioning schedule of soldiers.

Extensive research has been carried out to improve the performance of soldiers in extreme environment and to minimize the occupational hazards. DIPAS boasts of a cutting edge infrastructure for advanced human experimental protocols, state of the art library and informatics. In line with the modern concepts of evaluation of any strategy and end result of research, there are certain useful products and processes developed for improving the quality of life of man behind the machine. The research investigations and recommendations over the years have been termed as force multipliers for successful operations by armed forces. A three stage acclimatization schedule equipped the armed forces to battle the problems of acute mountain sickness & high altitude pulmonary edema and reduced the casualties to a large extent, treatment modality for high altitude pulmonary edema, yoga and herbal adaptogens of Indian origin, Aloe vera based cream for prevention of frost bite, carbogen for prevention of noise induced hearing loss are some of the achievements which have been accepted and implemented by the armed forces. In selection of soldiers and officers for armed forces, DIPAS has laid down standards based on body fat and body mass index after rigorous research and arrived at minimum physical standards. The same has been implemented by Indian Air Force for recruitment of pilots.

DIPAS has also contributed immensely towards formulation of ration scales for armed services, designing of the cockpit of LCA or the drivers compartment of the main battle tank Arjun, physiological evaluation of life support systems for paratroopers and NBC suits. DIPAS has not stopped here, it has established anechoic chamber to study biological effects of microwave radiations. Also to make the living conditions of soldiers little comfortable a self sustaining hut utilizing non conventional energy sources is being developed, one such hut is under trial at base camp. In near future, DIPAS will revolutionize high altitude health and well being of the soldiers with electrically heated garments, fields shelters using non conventional sources of energy for heating and power requirement, oxygen enrichment, creating genomics database, facilitating rapid acclimatization by different training protocols and providing herbal supplements for improving high altitude tolerance. DIPAS is also developing personal cooling suits for desert operations, strategies for improving soldiers' health in LIC environment, integrating yoga in health and disease of soldiers. DIPAS has come a long way to emerge as a premier institute conducting research in the field of military physiology and related disciplines using 'Man to Molecule' and 'Concept to product' approach. To keep pace with the international scientific research, DIPAS has also ventured into the upcoming fields of biotechnology, proteomics, genomics and nanotechnology. While continuing the research with issues related to operational needs, the translational research also emanated in tune with the time and the emerging technologies. This has culminated into an important HSP based candidate vaccine against typhoid and several Nutraceuticals. To improve the habitability in high and extreme altitudes, DIPAS has designed and established a 50 men  oxygen enriched solar heated shelter at Giagong (16000 feet) in North Sikkim.

Intermittent hypoxia exposure protocol is being worked out to reduce the period of acclimatization.  Currently, studies are on the anvil to elicit the markers of acclimatization, maladaptations along with the methods to improve physical and cognitive performance of soldiers under all conditions of deployment. Further we believe in active collaborations with the armed services, our sister DRDO laboratories, biomedical agencies and academia within the country and abroad to further our research for improving the performance of soldiers. It is endeavor of DIPAS to create state of the art facility for advanced scientific research, and provide trained manpower for nation building in the field of Physiology.


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