Success Story 2013
Poster - School of Biosciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
commented by Dr J G Ray, Professor & Director
School of Biosciences, Mahatma Gandhi Univeristy Kottayam, Kerala, India
Dear Professor Trine Hvoslef-Eide,
This is to bring to your kind attention the details of plant science day celebrations of your organization carried out in our University. Copy of the brochure we circulated among academic community in South India and also some photographs are attached herewith.
You may kindly note that Mahatma Gandhi University very positively responded to your first declaration of 'Plant Science Day' celebrations in 2012 with a declaration of starting a new 'National Institute of Plant Science Technology' with all the modern amenities for research to attract most talented young minds to plant Science Studies in the country. Our plan is to conduct an integrated M Sc Ph D programme in Plant Science Technology which would focus plant based eco-technologies such as bio-fertilizers, phytoremediation, algal fuels and the like in research to end up research in entrepreneurship in plant based technologies.
As the coordinator of this institute, I have already started mobilizing resources and also people to develop an excellent curriculum and cutting edge research facilities for the same. We hope to organize the inauguration of the Institute officially in March 2014 and to admit students from 2014-15 academic year onwards.
We are in need of international collaborations in this venture; if faculties and institutions in Europe can voluntarily contribute their support to this venture, that would be a very great memoire of International Plants Science Day Celebrations of EPSO. Therefore, I request you to be kind enough to help me in this effort to build up a world-class centre of Plants Science Studies focussing eco-technologies in Mahatma Gandhi University where European teachers collaborate and European students can also participate for plant science studies. Please inform me your expert opinion and valuable advise in this regard,
Anticipating a swift and favourable reply,
Shoolini University celebrates Second international ‘Fascination of Plants Day’
Second international “Fascination of plants day” was celebrated in Shoolini University. This programme was organized by the School of Bioengineering and Food Technology & School of Biotechnology, and has been launched under the umbrella of the ‘European Plant Science Organization (EPSO)’. The main aim of this program is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science.
According to Dr. Dinesh Kumar Chatanta, Coordinator, this day is important to fascinate young mind to choose plant and plant based food science as a challenging career. Plants are fascinating, from one little seed, planted into soil many green lives can arise from small herbs up to big trees, or from ornamental flowers to substantial crops which all animals and mankind need to survive on this planet. Around 60 countries around the globe are running this campaign and in India, Shoolini University is one of national institute to organizing this sort of program.
Prof. P.K. Khosla, Vice Chancellor of Shoolini University in his inaugural address emphasized on use of genetically modified crops to meet the future food demands of the country. He also advised scientists at his university to focus their research by merging basic science, pharmaceutical and biotechnology to prepare complete data base on unexploited herbal wealth of Himachal Pradesh to explore their commercial potential.
Prof. P.C. Sharma introduced the chief guest and guest of honor to the audience. Prof. Kulwant Rai Sharma, Head Forest Products, UHF Nauni presided this function as guest of honor and addressed the students. He emphasized on the importance of medicinal and aromatic plants to mankind and how they can play an important role in harnessing the commercial bioactive compounds from flora of Himachal Pradesh.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan Batra, Director, Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysore, was the chief guest of the function. According to him there is dire need to explore the rich diversity of Himachal Pradesh to meet the nutritional and therapeutic food demands of the country and soldiers deployed at high altitudes need instant foods to meet their nutritional and therapeutic needs. He also emphasized on low cost biotechnological approaches to process the foods and value addition of existing traditional food products. He has given a glimpse of various types of food products developed by their laboratory and R&D activities undertaken by their scientists in food production and processing.
Around 15 students of Shoolini University participated in painting and poster presentation. In painting competition Prashant Kandwal bagged first position and Ramanuj from Electronic Science second position whereas in poster making competition Preeti Dogra and Shweta Pandey bagged first position and Rocky Raj and Sahil second position respectively. Dr. D.R. Sharma, Dr. Umesh Kohli and Dr. Sunil Puri were also present in this programme.
This programme ended with vote of thanks by Prof. S. C. Tewari to guest and all deans, directors, faculty members and students present in this function.
2nd International Fascination of Plants Day Celebrations at School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Boosted by an overwhelming response from the young and not-so-young, alike, during the First International Fascination of Plants Day (FoPD) last year, the second edition of this global event was celebrated with much greater vigor and enthusiasm in all the six inhabited continents of the planet. Under the initiative of European Plant Science Organization, the 18th day of May was agreed upon in the year 2012 to be observed as the International Fascination of Plants Day with the stated objective of “getting as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture, in sustainably producing food, as well as for horticulture, forestry, and all of the non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals”. The role of plants in environmental conservation is also a key message.
More than 670 institutions in 54 countries organized about 1000 events on 18th May 2013 with many universities, research institutions, botanical gardens, and companies opening their doors to the general public. The coordination of the events in India was managed again this year by the National Coordinator of FoPD, Prof. Neera Bhalla Sarin along with the Co-coordinator, Dr. Mohd Aslam Yusuf, from the School of Life Sciences (SLS), JNU. Several universities, colleges, and institutes from across the country organized various events to mark this day. At JNU, the target audience was young students, mostly from class eight to twelfth. The coordinators personally contacted the schools with an invitation for students. About 120 students from 14 different schools converged on a typically hot May morning, at the School of Life Sciences auditorium with a quest for knowing “more and new” about plants and as the proceedings of the day unfolded, they were not to be disappointed. Prof. Neera Bhalla Sarin welcomed the audience that included children, few school teachers, couple of parents, and some faculty members of the SLS. She talked about the significance of organizing this event and a brief history and facts and figures associated with it. Prof. B. N. Mallick, the Dean of SLS while welcoming the guests on behalf of the school gave an overview of the kind of research activities being undertaken there. This was followed by the “talk of the day”-Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory, the vice-chancellor of JNU and a plant scientist par excellence, who gave an enamoring lecture on “Insights into Plant Life”. He started off by posing a question that though most of us ‘see’ plants how many amongst us ‘observe’ them. Observation, he stressed, was crucial to understanding the nuances of nature. His talk then took the audience on a wondrous ride through the plant kingdom. The diversity in plant types- from small to huge, floating to flying, drought-managers growing in the deserts to those flourishing in ice- caught the fancy of the young kids. Further, he delved on the mechanisms underlying this great repertoire of plant kingdom and the way in which the plants can ‘see, talk, and hear’. He pointed that the understanding of physiology and growth habits of plants warrants ingenious research and could give several clues that are vital to the better comprehension of life. The excitement that his talk generated in the children was palpable in the jam-packed auditorium. After the lecture, children were divided into batches and given a guided tour of the plant tissue culture laboratories, glass-house, and nursery. They were shown the practical aspects involved in doing plant research. The children also penned down their thoughts in the feedback form about the experience they had during the day. Each student was presented a medicinal plant of Tulsi or Aloe vera and encouraged to decipher their beneficial properties as part of their take-home assignment. Overall, it was a day of great learning and activity for the children who dispersed, after having snacks, with the inspiration of becoming the future scientists of the country.
The support of Prof. Sopory, vice chancellor, JNU, Prof. Mallick, Dean of SLS, and Ms. Punam Kudasiya, Public Relations Officer, JNU in organizing the event was duly acknowledged by Prof. Sarin. The proceedings were efficiently moderated by Dr. Mohd Aslam Yusuf, U.G.C.-Dr. D. S. Kothari Fellow, SLS, JNU and the National Co-cordinator of FoPD. Members of Prof. Sarin’s research group provided the necessary support by volunteering to take the students through the plant tissue culture labs and the glasshouse.