To create a scope of networking among young biotechnologists and engage them into biotech related activities outside of structured curriculum, Network of Young Biotechnologists of Bangladesh (NYBB) organised National Young Biotechnologists Congress for the fifth time. This year, the event was held on February 22 in the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building of University of Dhaka. The Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of University of Dhaka hosted the congress. 744 participants from 34 different universities and institutions took part in the event.
The inaugral session started with the welcome address of Md Arif Khan, Chief Executive Officer of NYBB and Lecturer of University of Development Alternative, where he stated the limitations of job opportunities for biotechnologists. To solve this issue, he drew the attention of Dr Kazi Shahidullah, Chairman of University Grants Commission. The special guests, Independence award winner, Dr Haseena Khan, Chairman and Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Department of University of Dhaka, Dr Zeba Islam Seraj, Director General of National Institute of Biotechnology, Dr Md Salimullah expressed their thoughts on this initiative of NYBB and appreciated young biotechnologists for their active participation. The chief guest of the event, Dr Kazi Shahidullah shared his views on biotechnology and its need in our country. Dr Nazmul Ahsan, Chairman and Professor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Department of University of Dhaka, chaired the inaugral session. After his thoughtful and encouraging speech, this session ended with the vote of thanks from Mahmuda Kabir, Chief Operation Officer of NYBB.
The first Plenary Lecture titled "Professor Ahmed Shamsul Islam Biotechnology Speech 2020" was from Sir Walter Bodmer, renowned human geneticist and cancer researcher of University of Oxford. More than 500 students and professionals were present at the event.
After this session, a panel discussion on the topic, "Challenges and Opportunities in Biotechnology as a Career" took place, where the panelists Dr Zeba Islam Seraj, Professor Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Department of University of Dhaka, Dr Anwarul Azim Akhand, Founder Chairman and Professor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Department of University of Chittagong, Dr Mohammad Al Forkan, Executive Director of Laal Teer Livestock Development Ltd, Dr Kazi Emdadul Haque and Head of Grameenphone Accelerator, Minhaz Anwar discussed how the students should prepare themselves for their desired career path and what are the expectations of the job authorities or industrial sponsors. This session was moderated by Dr Mustak Ibn Ayub, a member of the Board of Directors of NYBB and Assistant Professor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Department of University of Dhaka.
At this stage, Esco Lifescience Private Ltd presented "10 Minutes on Biosafety" after which the competitions began. The first contest was an oral presentation, in which 13 selected works were presented among 80 submitted abstracts. The champion, first runner up and second runner up of this competition were Lecturer Afrin Sultana from Noakhali Science and Technology University, Afroza Akter from University of Chittagong and Rakib Wazed Nayon from Shahjalal Science and Technology University, respectively.
150 abstracts were submitted in the research and Idea-based poster presentation competition, from which 80 were selected for the showcase. The champion of this competition was Md Sadek Bachu. The first place was occupied by both Topu Rayhan & Anti Islam and the second prize winner of the competition was Anjasu Paul.
Student combined their skills of photography and understanding of biotechnology in the Biotech Photography Contest. In this competition, 'The First Triumph', a picture taken by Md Thosif Reza, 'Microtuber formation in cell culture of Solanum tuberosum', a picture taken by Sheikh Sanjid Ahmed from University of Dhaka and 'Fungus for my Valentine', a picture taken by Rocktim Barua from University of Chittagong won the first, second and third prizes, respectively.
In 3 Minute Biotech Contest, students got the opportunity to explain their research work in Bangla. With 15 contestants, the semifinal took place on February `9 in Star Labs, from which 6 were selected for the final presentation in the congress. With the votes of audiences, the people's choice award was won by Drishty Badhon Sarker from University of Dhaka. The champion and runner up of this competition were Anti Islam from Khulna University and Md Thosif Reza from University of Chittagong.
After that, a biotechnology hackathon, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was arranged. Team Super Bug 2.0 of Chittagong University, Team Sanryu of Dhaka University and Team Biotech of Khulna University won the first, second and third prizes at the event. The judges were: Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury (President, E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh), Reza Chowdhury (Radiant Pharmaceuticals) and Dr S M Mahbubur Rashid (DU).
Dr Senjuti Saha, Microbiologist of Child Health Research Foundation presented the speech, titled "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Heroes of the field 2020" on her journey in the field of science. 22nd L'Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Award winner Dr Firdausi Qadri, Emeritus Scientist of icddr,b and Founder of ideSHi gave the speech, "Professor Naiyyum Chowdhury Memorial Speech 2020", which inspired the young biotechnology students.
Professor of University of Dhaka Dr Sharif Akhteruzzaman guided students on how to succeed in the path of their biotech careers in his speech, "Research Excellence in Biotechnology: Obstacles to Overcome".
At the last stage of the event, Dr Md Tofazzol Islam, Professor and Director of Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, spoke about biotechnology. Dr Md Abul Kalam Azad, Professor of Shahjalal Science and Technology University and Dr Abdul Haque, Assistant General Manager and Head (Biotech plant) of Aristopharma Ltd, shared their views on research opportunities in biotechnology in their respective speeches.
The event ended with a speech from Dr Md Adnan Mannan, Member of Board of Directors of NYBB and Professor of University of Chittagong. He conveyed his best wishes to young biotechnologists.