He is among a few Kashmiris to undertake research in Switzerland. Shabir Hassan, in an online interaction, tells Riyaz Ul Khaliq that he wants to introduce Nano-Biophysics and Nano-Medicine in Kashmir
Born and brought up in an educated South Kashmir family, Shabir Hassan’s journey to Switzerland is wonderful. He has been a meritorious student all through his life. His hard work and thirst to work for his home land, Kashmir took him thousands of miles away.
Shabir is pursuing his Doctorate in Biophysics from Zurich University, Switzerland. He is working on protein folding, protein aggregation and energy transport in proteins. “I plan to bring Nano-Biophysics and Nano-Medicine to my home land Kashmir,” Shabir, told Kashmir Life in an online interview.
Shabir believes that his research would bring, “Kashmiris face-to-face with changing world and revolutionizing technology.” “Nanotechnology is going to change the way we look at the world. From medicine to electronics, Nano will rule,” he said.
After he topped 2005 graduation batch of Kashmir University (science stream), Shabir passed Combined Entrance Examination for Biotechnology (CEEB) conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi the same year. “I chose Pune University for PG course,” said Shabir.
During his college days, Shabir had been involved in many extra-academic activities. “I had been conducting many youth related programmes on Radio Kashmir besides counselling students for different higher education careers,” Shabir said. “I also played part time Radio Jockey on Radio Kashmir and some FM stations in Kashmir,” he added. “English music has been my panacea.”
Shabir has also represented India in Greifswald International Students Festival (GrIStuF) held at Arndt-Moritz University – Germany (2005) when he had just finished his college.
“I also presented scientific models, Nurture Nature with silk from paper and Electricity from bacteria at the National Science Day (Feb 28), University of Pune,” he said.
Shabir has also been a jury member for ‘Lead India’, an initiative by The Times of India (TOI) group for searching the future youth leader of India.
After carrying out his project in the field of Nano biotechnology from National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), in his PG course, he took one year off from his studies. “During this year I also taught Biotech and English language to undergraduates and was associated with Reliance Life Insurance as a Manager,” he informed. “I also prepared students for TOEFL and GRE like competitive exams.”
Shabir also worked as a freelance journalist for some time and interviewed likes of Syed Salah Ud Din, present United Jihad Council Chief (UJC). “In 2008 as a reporter with India News Bureau (INB), I telephonically interviewed Syed Salah Ud Din and it was carried by many local newspapers in Kashmir besides some Indian TV channels,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shabir said he applied for PhD. “Around seven universities offered me admission and thankfully I got Endeavour Postgraduate Fellowship for three years from Australian government,” Shabir continued. “Out of 2200 applications around the world only 82 were selected,” he claimed.
Shabir said that he studied Cancer Bio for one year before he switched to Laser Spectroscopy through another international PhD program.
“I chose University of Zurich for my research in Laser Spectroscopy. I use Laser Spectroscopy to see how proteins and small molecules ‘communicate’ between each other and in the molecule itself; by dumping energy with one laser pulse at one point in the molecule and tracking its progression across the molecule with a different laser pulse,” Shabir said adding, “This field of research (Femto-Chemistry) was developed by Ahmed Zewail, from Egypt—the 1999 Nobel Laureate.”
Shabir said that Kashmir has top level human resource but guidance is missing. “We have the best brains in Kashmir but we lack counselling. Right decision at right time is necessary,” Shabir exclaimed.
“I conduct counselling events and talks for students in my home state whenever I come to Kashmir,” he said.
“Sometimes circumstances make you dance to someone else’s tunes, but if you could realize even 50 per cent of your dream – that is your triumph,” feels Shabir. “Dare to dream and dream to dare. Nothing is impossible. Luck is but hard work in beautiful attire.”