Instrumental Access 2020
Jagannath UniversityDepartment of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology
In Bangladesh, building infrastructure for biotechnology research and education
Meet our Awardee
Jagannath University was established in 1863 and converted to a public university in 2006. Today, nearly 20,000 students attend. In 2016, the university expanded its science offerings to include a new department: the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
Research AreasResearchers in the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology are focused on sustainable energy and biofuel development, environmental toxicology, drug discovery from natural products, water and food quality, emerging and food-borne pathogens, and the study of human genetics and molecular biology of diseases.
Every instrument you donate will bring hope to students and staff and bring us close to the international scientific arena. It will open the doors to great potential.”
Safeguarding the Land of Rivers: Dilara Islam Sharif, PhD
"Water is likely to be the most pressing environmental concern of the next century, and rivers should be protected at all costs," says Dilara Islam Sharif, PhD, professor of biotechnology and genetic engineering and the head of the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at Jagannath University.
Bangladesh is known as the land of the rivers, with over 230 waterways crisscrossing the nation. The Buriganga River flows just blocks away from Jagannath University and is a source of water for millions of people in Dhaka, the country's capital.
However, the Buriganga is the most polluted river in the country. Toxic waste from nearby mills, tanneries, and factories render the water unsafe to drink. Pollution is seeping into the groundwater, causing even more widespread harm.
As an environmental microbiologist, Dr. Sharif sees an urgent need for solutions. With support from the Ministry of Education, she and her colleagues are working to find and engineer microbes that are capable of degrading industrial pollutants like petroleum. This method of cleaning toxic waste is called bioremediation.
Her work has the potential to create new cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly solutions for toxic waste management, in the Buriganga River and beyond.
However, the department's labs have insufficient equipment to complete this work on campus. As a young department, they have had to start from scratch in amassing the necessary research infrastructure. Equipment from Instrumental Access will allow Dr. Sharif, her colleagues, and the four students working on this project to accelerate their research.
"Your equipment will help us conduct research at every step of this project," says Dr. Sharif. "It will make a positive impact on quality education, research, and the community."
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Equipment will not only help develop our own research laboratory, but also help us build specialized labs which will have a huge impact on both students and staff.”
About the DepartmentLocation: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Year Established: 2016
Number of Faculty: 9
Students Impacted Annually: 150
Why Instrumental Access?As a young department, the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology does not have sufficient lab instrumentation to give students practical hands-on training. With Instrumental Access equipment, they anticipate the first group of students enrolled in the program (now in their final year) will be able to conduct their graduate thesis work on campus. They also plan to add molecular biology capabilities to their labs and expand Master's degree offerings in the future.
About Instrumental Access
To begin, we identify a pipeline of scientific talent. Then we rigorously screen universities and select those with the most potential to advance education and research through Instrumental Access.