Proud Moments

It was a moment of pride for 10 scientists of J&K who were felicitated at the recently concluded 8th JK Science Congress which was held at Kashmir University. BILAL HANDOO spoke to them about their contributions and future plans.

Ten Scientists of J7K who were felicitated at 8th JK Science Congress
Ten Scientists of J7K who were felicitated at 8th JK Science Congress

In the recently concluded 8th JK Science Congress at Convocation Complex of Kashmir University, 10 young scientists from Jammu and Kashmir were seated in the right front row of the hall. It was a proud moment for a state where academic research has been crippled by 23 years of conflict.

Once their names were announced in the award ceremony, gales of applause reverberated in the hall. A young lady scientist from Kashmir valley, Shaima Qureshi, who works as an assistant professor at National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar, was awarded for her research on networking patents, computer hybridization and mobile networks. “I am currently doing research on network security,” said Shaima, who has done masters in computer sciences from New York’s Syracuse University. She has contributed 17 papers to leading international journals. “The big challenge is to retain the best brains in state which often look for greener pastures outside the state,” she added.

The presence of ten young scientists from the state evoked a lot of interest and applause from the participants which included the vice-president of India, MM Ansari along with chief minister Omar Abdullah and Governor N N Vohra. From KU’s Biotechnology Department, Dr Firdous Khan, who has done his post doctorate from John Hopkins University and Pittsburg University, was among the top 10 scientists to be awarded. “My research includes locating marks in food pipe and breast cancers which then help in diagnosing these ailments in a better way,” said Dr Khan who works as an assistant professor and has written 13 international papers.

Dr Yudbir Singh, an assistant professor of Geology at Jammu University (JU) was awarded for his research in Seismology. “I have done extensive work on landslide and seismic activities in which I documented vulnerable earthquake areas in J&K,” Dr Singh who also edits content for international publications like Geosciences. Seated next to him was a young scientist from Kashmir valley, Dr Mubashir Hussain Masoodi, a scholar at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of KU was awarded for his work on anti-liver toxins, “The research will help to fight liver ailments like jaundice and combat other liver toxicities,” Dr Masoodi who is currently working on to counter rising cholesterol in humans, said. He has won the best publication award in 2000 by Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA). “In the coming time, I will focus on anti-diabetic drugs,” he said.

Dr Sandeep Dogra from Government Medical College, Jammu was absorbed in the proceedings when his name was called. A  US returned medico, Dogra has worked on Tuberculosis and HIV. “I specialized in testing and standardizing novel diagnostic technologies in TB and HIV, especially under resource limit in India,” said Dr Dogra.

Dr Parvinder Kumar of JU’s Zoology department has worked for identifying genetic disorders in the last decade for which he was awarded. “I have written thirteen publications on human genetic diseases. In J&K, genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome, Klinefilter’s and Turner’s syndromes are prevalent. Presently I am working on cervical and lung cancer,” he said.

Another JU lady scientist Dr Monika Gupta was facilitated for her extensive work on green chemistry that includes catalysis and ionic liquids. “My research is based upon environment friendly technologies which are one of the burning requirements for today and tomorrow,” said Dr Gupta who has so far produced twenty five research papers. “I have received many awards like Environmentalist of the Year 2010 and Scientist of the Year from NESA,” she says.

Dr Reyaz-ul-Rouf Mir, an assistant professor at Agricultural University, Jammu was honored for discovering genes in protein content in wheat. “Usually the food we eat contains very less amount of proteins. Therefore my research will help to enhance the protein content in dietary items,” said Dr Rouf who has so far contributed 40 research papers to various international journals.

A migrant Kashmiri pandit, Dr Sunil Kumar Wanchoo, who works as an assistant professor of Physics at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University was also felicitated for his work on electronics. “My research is focuses on thin films and multi layers of oxides which will offer new understanding in existing concepts,” said Dr Wanchoo, who originally hails from Anantnag in Kashmir.

From old city of Srinagar, Dr Muzamil Jan who has authored five books was among the young scientists whose work was recognized. “My publications focus on women issues. I am currently working on ‘Impact of Arms Conflict on Kashmiri women. In future, my work will be to conduct extensive research on decision making power of women,” says Dr Jan who has 55 research papers to her credit, said.

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