Lab safety workshop organized in Kathmandu

Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS), with support from Uniglobe SS/College, Kathmandu, successfully organized a much-needed workshop on “Chemical Laboratory Safety” on Saturday, September 2nd 2017. The workshop started with a welcome note by Dr. Bhanu B. Neupane from Central Department of Chemistry, Tribhuvan University (TU). The program then gained pace with presentations and experiences on lab safety in Nepal by Dr. Nootan Bhattrai from same department and Mr. Krishna P. Kandel, Birendra Multiple Campus, TU, Chitwan, followed by a discussion session where researchers and concerned individuals from different governing bodies shared their remarks. While Dr. Deepak K. Khadka, Director of Research, University Grants Commission (UGC), familiarized the audience about various roles that UGC could play on implementing safety protocols and services it provides for safety trainings and related programs. Mr. Lekh Nath Kandel, Director of Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, highlighted on the code of conduct on lab safety which was prepared in 2045 B.S. Other guests who put forward their opinions on lab safety were Dr. Niranjan Parajuli from NIST, Khusibu, Dr. Swagat Shrestha from HISAN, Dr. Bhim Kafle from Kathmandu University, Mr. Prajwal Rajbhandari from RIBB, and Dr. Amar P. Yadav from Nepal Chemical Society.

Participants and representatives from various institutions/ organizations commented on the currently neglected condition of lab safety in Nepal and emphasized the necessity for lots of improvements including the formation of different modules on lab safety, proper engineering of lab, appropriate management of chemical wastes and government policy. To provide a better context for the workshop, the next session was focused on a visit to the labs at Uniglobe SS/College where the participants assessed the safety measures of the lab with the help of a questionnaire and group discussion came up with appropriate suggestions.

In the concluding session Dr. Basant Giri from Center for Analytical Sciences, Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences, answered various queries raised by the participants and urged to knock at the policy-making level to improve the lab safety. He made the hall awaken by sharing his own lab experience during his research period and re-emphasized on the necessity to minimize the hazards caused by different chemicals. The program was concluded with certificate distribution to the participants.

By Shiva Oli, JR Ghimire & JP Paudel

KIAS and Kumamoto University, Japan organized a seminar

Kathmandu institute of Applied Sciences and Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan jointly organized one day seminar ‘Know Nepal through its History, Culture, Society and Biodiversity’ on August 19, 2017 at Grand Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal. The seminar, KIAS – HIGO seminar, was the second one after resounding success of previous year . HIGO program was initiated with the aim of making global leaders of future by making graduate students of Japan aware of contemporary issues in different socio-cultural settings. The seminar was attended by faculties and students from Kumamoto University lead by Dr. Hari Prasad Devkota including Dr. Umeda Kahoko and 9 other graduate students. KIAS played an important role in familiarizing participants about Nepal’s social, cultural, ecological and geological environments.

The program was moderated by Dr. Rashila Deshar. Dr. Prakash K. Paudel, Scientist at KIAS, gave a welcome speech with an outline of the seminar. Dr. Susma Giri, Associate Scientist, KIAS, talked about the Nepal’s physical and biological diversity. Dr. Chitra B. Baniya, Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University, discussed about nexus between people and biodiversity, with a particular focus on medicinal plants. He stated ‘most of the plant species in Nepal are of the medicinal importance’ and clued-up some of the research on ethno-botany. Dr. Janak Rai, Associate Professor at Central Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, talked about linguistic and cultural diversity prevailing in Nepal. Dr. Basanta Raj Adhakari, Associate Professor at Institute of Engineering, TU, talked on geology of Himalayan disasters with a particular emphasis on Gorkha earthquake, 2015. Dr.  Pardeep Giri, Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University, talked on modern history of geopolitics of Nepal. The seminar was concluded with a remark by Dr. Dibas Shrestha.

[Reported by Shishila Baniya]

 

CORAM organized a discussion program on citizen science

By Tshering Ongmu Sherpa

Community-based rainfall measurement (CORAM) program organized a discussion program on daily rainfall measurement in Nepal via citizen science: data collection and analysis in Kathmandu today.

The discussion program was attended by high school students and teachers from schools participating in CORAM network and students from Tribhuvan University.

CORAM is a community based citizen science program hosted by Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) and supported by a number of national and international organizations and individuals such as University of Wyoming, USA, RECHAM consult, Nepal. It works in close coordination with department of hydrology and meteorology (DHM), government of Nepal, ISET-Nepal, and central department of hydrology and meteorology (CDHM), Tribhuvan University (TU). Started in 2015 summer, CORAM currently has a network of 35 rainfall measuring stations, primarily in Kathmandu. Most of the stations are operated by high school students with the help from their teachers. Student collected rainfall data is recorded and collected at CORAM’s central data bank and made available to public.

The discussion program held at Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap, was chaired by Prof. Dr. Deepak Aryal, head of CDHM and DG of DHM was the chief guest. Dr. Basant Giri, Chairman of CORAM program highlighted the program and welcomed all participants. Then, program director of CORAM Mr. Suresh Marahatta, also a professor at Trichandra College, TU, gave presentation on overall rainfall data collection via CORAM program and also showed some results. Meanwhile Mr. Sagun Dhungana shows the use of ODK system for real time rainfall data collection and transmission. Mr. Jeffery Davids, PhD student at TU Delft, the Netherlands gave an overview of cost effective hydrological/meteorological instruments and data collection system. The formal program ended with an presentation on importance of citizen science on water research by Mr. Ajaya Dixit, executive director of ISET-Nepal.

In next session, students and teachers from participating schools shared experience on their involvement in CORAM program and measuring rainfall everyday. Discussions were focused on the timing and regularity of data collection, relation between climate change and rainfall, trend of rainfall in Nepal, accuracy of data, and implications of the data collected among others.

Students later on visited the weather forecasting division of DHM at Tribhuvan International Airport and observed weather forecasting process including instruments used to collect necessary data. Visit to the control room showed and explained the science behind weather predictions.

KIAS organizing a workshop on chemical lab safety

Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) is organizing a workshop on chemistry laboratory safety issues in September this year.

A recently published research from KIAS and Tribhuvan University has shown that the safety in teaching labs in Nepal is generally neglected. Many chemistry teachers who participated in the research had said that they would benefit from regular safety trainings and workshops. This workshop aims to offer a forum for researchers, faculty, lab in charges, administrators, and policy makers for a common goal of improving the safety in chemistry teaching labs in Nepal. 

Speakers and panelists will provide their perspective on topics including standard protocols to ensure safety in teaching labs, status of safety issues in Nepali teaching labs, efforts & approaches of our teaching institutions and government agencies to creating a safe lab environment. In addition, participants will be divided into small work groups to develop action items aimed at improving specific areas of lab safety.

Participants will receive certificate after completion of the day-long workshop.

Target participants: High school and college/university chemistry teachers/faculty and PhD students

Date & time: 2 September 2017; 10:30 to 16:00
Location: Uniglobe SS/College, Kamaladi, Kathmandu, Nepal

Registration fee: NRs. 200
Registration deadline: 25 August 2017  

Organizing Committee:

  1. Dr. Basant Giri (Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences, Kathmandu)
  2. Dr. Bhanu Bhakta Neupane (Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu)
  3. Dr. Mahendra Thapa (Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences & Uniglobe HSS/College, Kathmandu)
  4. Mr. Jaya Ram Ghimire (Uniglobe SS/College, Kathmandu)
  5. Mr. Jaya Prakash Paudel (Uniglobe SS/College, Kathmandu)
  6. Mr. Shiba Kumar Oli (Uniglobe SS/College, Kathmandu)

For registration complete online form below – Only selected registrants will be invited for the workshop due to limited space. 

CLICK HERE for REGISTRATION

Research on laboratory safety issues published

Scientists from Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) published their research findings on the laboratory safety issues of chemistry teaching labs in Nepal on a prestigious peer reviewed journal – Plos One.

Hundreds of thousands of students use chemical laboratories in hundreds of educational institutes in Nepal every year. These laboratories are important to give practical education to the students. However, students have to work with hazardous chemicals along with various equipment and glassware in the lab. Working in laboratories without correct protocol and safety precautions can be a risk to life of students and teachers.

A group of Nepali researchers found that the teaching chemical laboratories in Nepal lack basic safety system. The authors of the Plos One paper are Dr. Basant Giri and Dr. Bhanu Bhakta Neupane from Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) and Mr. Krishna Kandel from Birendra Multiple Campus, Tribhuwan University.

In this research, chemistry teachers in Nepal were surveyed to understand the conditions of different aspects of chemical laboratory safety. Seventy questions about laboratory safety, equipment used in the laboratory, correct methods and processes to be followed in laboratory and management of wastes from laboratories were asked in the survey. According to the paper, maximum respondents told that Nepal does not have any policy regarding laboratory safety and there are no safety monitoring and regulation practices in Nepal. Many of the laboratories did not have fundamental safety equipment. There are no institutional methods and policies to dispose lab waste. 79 % of respondents said that the wastes generated from their laboratories are being disposed as regular household wastes. 88 % of respondents involved in the survey highlighted the need of trainings and regular workshops on laboratory safety.

According to the lead researcher, Dr. Giri, despite the government’s negligence on lab safety, there have been some efforts from teachers and colleges on individual interest. Authors have made some recommendation in the paper. They suggested having a mandatory safety protocols for laboratories from schools to colleges and the protocol must be strictly followed. Offering a course of at least one credit hour about the laboratory safety might be effecting to train students.

The Plos One article can be read and downloaded free of cost.

Link of the article: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0179104&type=printable

 

For Media Contact:

Roshan Gurung

Phone: 9848371517

Email: rgurung@kias.org.np

KIAS Summer School 2017

Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) is organizing Summer School 2017 “Frontiers in Scientific Research”. It aims to providing specialized training on various thematic areas from well trained and experienced scientists. Participants will get certificate after completing the course.

KIAS successfully organized three such schools before: Summer School 2015, Winter School 2016, Summer School 2016, and Winter School 2017.

Target participants: Undergraduate and graduate (both MS and PhD) students and independent researchers.

Dates: 8-15 August, 2017 (total 15 hours/module; can be 3 hrs x 5 days)

Registration fee: NRs. 4000/module

Summer School 2017 includes following modules:

Module 1: Smartphone for chemical and biological analyses

Instructors: Dr. Basant Giri & Dr. Bhanu Neupane

Smartphone is not just used for WhatsApp, Facebook or Angry Birds. It can also be used to understand multitude of scientific phenomena and in research. Recent years have seen the increasing use of smartphones in scientific research and education. For example: in measuring air pollution parameters, as a spectrophotometer, for testing cholesterol, breathe analysis for disease diagnosis, chemical analysis of amino acids and other chemicals etc.

In this short course, you will be briefed with important smartphone “apps” used in classroom and research. More importantly, you will get hands on experience on quantitative chemical analysis involving image analysis and making smartphone microscope for some applications.

Topics covered: Smartphones

  • “apps” in classroom and research
  • as scientific instrument-some examples
  • for quantitative chemical analysis as a spectrophotometer
  • as microscopy for some applications

Module 2: A short course on “R” for scientific data analysis

Instructors: Dr. Susma Giri & Dr. Prakash K. Paudel

Why “R”?

  • An advanced programming language for statistical computing and graphing
  • Infinitely expandable
  • Most popular language for analytics
  • Its free to download and use

Topics covered:

  • Import & check data in R
  • Organize data and folders
  • Make effective graphs
  • Basic statistical analysis such as: linear regression, logistic regression, multiple regression, t-tests, ANOVA, Tukey’s post hoc tests etc.

Module 3: The nuts & bolts of publishing your research findings

Instructors: Dr. Basant Giri & Dr. Prakash K. Paudel

Publishing a research paper is one of the necessary steps in the scientific research process. Unpublished research is considered as non-existent. Apart from the dissemination of knowledge, publication of research findings in reputed journals greatly helps in graduation, promotion, grant applications and recognition among peers. Even if you generate a valuable data from your research, writing the findings and publishing in peer-reviewed journals is a daunting task. In today’s “publish or perish” culture of science, strong writing skills are essential for progress.

This short course will guide you on how to initiate and write each section of a research manuscript efficiently starting from selecting relevant topic to submission to an appropriate journal. We will also talk on minimizing major mistakes in English writing. Second half of the course focuses on paper submission and editorial procedure, and responding to reviewer’s comments. Participants will have a number of on- and off-class exercises during the course.

Topics covered:

  • Which journal is the best?
  • Structure of paper
  • Why language is important?
  • Review and editorial process

Module 4: Disaster Risk Management for sustainable reconstruction and recovery

Instructor: Dr. Basanta Raj Adhikari

The concept of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and skills are very important in the context of Build Back Better in Nepal after Gorkha Earthquake. Knowledge on DRM and DRR are fundamental process of increasing awareness on natural disaster to empower the actors to support their organizations in developing disaster resilient programs and projects. The trainings will focused on application of DRR for early warning systems and people-centered system.

Target Audience:

This course is intended for audiences from large area including government, research organizations, donor agencies, academia, I/NGOs working in the field of emergency response and rescue.

Topics to be covered:

  1. Understanding disaster risk reduction and management
  2. Post disaster reconstruction and recovery
  3. Disaster risk management at national and international level
  4. Disaster preparedness, early warning and mitigation
  5. Disaster response systems and practices

Module 5: Radio Telemetry and Research Application in Wildlife Ecology

Instructor: Dr. Pushpa Raj Acharya

Concept: Radio telemetry is a powerful research technique to the process of obtaining information from a distant animal by using radio signals. In this technique, a transmitter is attached with live animal’s body and released into In Situ. The signal transmitted from the transmitter is detected using radio receiver by researchers. Antenna is used to enhance signal intensity and to promote accuracy. The data achieved through radio-telemetry is useful to understand ranging behavior of wild animal. Home range, foraging range, habitat use and activity pattern of the target animal. Radio-telemetry is a relevant non-invasive technique for wildlife ecology.

This course will deliver fundamental knowledge on radio telemetry technique with field demonstration. Students in Zoology, Forestry, Environmental Science, Wildlife researchers, rangers and forest officers are targeted as beneficiaries of this course.

Topic Covered

  • Introduction of Radio-telemetry
  • Field Technique and Data Collection
  • Data analysis
  • Result interpretation and Application

How to register?

If you are interested to participate, please submit your online application below.

https://goo.gl/forms/dtzCfIdl4A8eTuvE3

About instructors

Dr. Basant Giri obtained his PhD in analytical chemistry from University of Wyoming. His research interests include developing low-cost analytical methods involving the use of smartphones for various applications. Currently he works in KIAS. He has published several research articles to his repute with ~130 citations & H-index 4. He is a reviewer in several international journals. He has been working with LabEdit, SciEdit, and Yelei, which provide manuscript-editing services to academic researchers.

Dr. Bhanu Neupane obtained his PhD in Physical chemistry from Kansas State University. His research interests include developing low-cost optical tools for applications in teaching and research. Currently he works in KIAS. He has published nearly two dozen high impact research articles. His publications have received ~250 citations with H-index of 8. He is recipient of several scientific awards and the “under-represented Chemist award” from IUPAC in 2015 is the most recent one.

Dr. Prakash K Paudel is the author of several research articles and a book. He is the founder executive editor of the international journal “conservation science”.

Dr. Susma Giri is an ecologist who has been extensively using R programming for past five years. She earned her doctorate degree from the University of Wyoming and received training on using R from one of the earliest users and experts of the program. She has published two peer-reviewed research articles in international journals.

Dr. Basanta Raj Adhikari completed his PhD in Earth Science from the University of Vienna, Austria. Currently, he is working as a deputy-director in the Centre for Disaster Studies, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University where he is leading many research projects about physical disaster including flood, earthquake and landslide. His research interests are climate change, hill-slope movement and human interaction, Himalayan sediment flux generation, community based disaster risk reduction and co-seismic phenomena. He has published more than dozen research papers in both national and international journals. He is leading scientist in the field of Earth Science and disaster risk reduction. He can be reached in his web-page: http://bradhikari.com.np/

Dr. Pushpa Raj Acharya completed his PhD from Prince of Songkla University, Thailand in 2014. His specialization is on “Bat Ecology and Ecosystem Services”. He used radio-telemetry technique on bats during his PhD and also has continued the use of same technique in Nepalese fruit bats foraging at flowering patches of Chiuri (Dipklonema butyraceae) patches to identify pollination ecosystem services. Currently, he is working as a senior scientist at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, Lalitpur, Nepal.

Seminar on “challenges of providing quality pharmaceuticals in developing countries”

By Pushkar Bhusal

Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) organized a national seminar on “Quality Pharmaceuticals and Safe Drinking Water: Challenges in Developing Countries” in Grand Hotel, Kathmandu on 5th June 2017. According to KIAS scientist Dr. Basant Giri, the seminar was organized to discuss pertinent issues regarding quality of both pharmaceuticals and drinking water among concerned stakeholders. The seminar was attended by a group of selected experts including from Department of Drug Administration (DDA), Government of Nepal, representatives from Nepal Pharmacy Council (NPC), Association of Pharmaceutical Producers Association of Nepal (APPON), representatives of private pharmaceutical companies of Nepal, representatives of international pharmaceutical companies, faculties from Tribhuvan University and Pokhara University, and Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL). Furthermore, also discussed in the seminar was the water quality screening using low-cost methods.

Dr. Bhanu Neupane, Scientist at KIAS, briefly outlined the research and science outreach programs of KIAS at the beginning of the seminar. Mr. Santosh KC, drug administrator at DDA gave a presentation on how DDA is ensuring the distribution of quality medicines across Nepal. Dr. Bal Mukunda Regmi, Professor at Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University discussed on drug manufacturing procedures and problems associated with it. He also highlighted the role of concerned agency/department/organization for maintaining the cost of drugs. Dr. Toni Barstis and Dr. Reena Lamichhane both from Saint Mary’s College, IN, USA presented their research findings and way forward. While Dr. Barstis talked about the development of Paper-based Analytical Device (PADs) for pharmaceutical quality screening, Dr. Khadka’s described works on similar device for microbial screening of water and milk. Both of these projects are being implemented in collaboration with KIAS and Dr. Giri contributes as an international collaborator and faculty.

The seminar concluded by remarks from by Prof. Dharma Khanal from Manamohan Institute of Health Science, Kathmandu, Prof. Dr. Rameshwar Adhikari, Executive Director at Research Center for Applied Science and Technology, Tribhuvan University, Mr. Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Division Chief of water/waste water, KUKL, Mr. Deepak Prasad Dahal from APPON, and Mr. Baburam Humagain from NPC. The director general of DDA, Mr. Nayaran Dhakal, provided special remark. Mr. Dhakal also answered questions and queries raised during the seminar regarding various issues.

The seminar ended with question and answer session.

KIAS scientist published book on microfluidics

A book “Laboratory Methods in Microfluidics” written by Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) scientist Dr. Basant Giri has been released in Kathmandu, Nepal. Professor Toni Barstis from Saint Mary’s College, IN, USA released the book among a group of scientists, students, and researchers at the premises of KIAS today.

Cover page of the newly released book on microfluidics

Based on the description provided on the book, this book features a range of lab methods and techniques necessary to fully understand microfluidic technology applications. Microfluidics is a relatively new science and engineering. It deals with the manipulation of small volumes of fluids at sub-millimeter scale domain channels. This exciting new field is becoming an increasingly popular subject both for research and education in various disciplines of science, including chemistry, chemical engineering and environmental science.

The book provides a much-needed, comprehensive new laboratory reference in this rapidly growing and exciting new field of research and is useful to students, researchers and scientists. There are 18 standalone detailed methods/techniques/instructions, including fabrication and applications, used in microfluidics research and teaching.

According to Dr. Giri the book is intended for undergraduate and graduate courses in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, environmental science, and engineering.

The book is published by Elsevier and is available at Amazon for purchase.

Seminar on Cultural Landscape and Environmental Change in the Himalayas

By Pushkar Bhusal

Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) co-hosted a one-day seminar on “Cultural Landscape and Environmental Change in the Himalayas”, in collaboration with Central Department of Environmental Science (CDES-TU), Kathmandu, Nepal and California State University (Fresno State), Fresno, CA, USA on 24th May, 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The seminar was part of the study abroad course (GEOG 177T) offered by Fresno State, which is being implemented in Nepal by CDES-TU with support from KIAS. This course takes students to the interior of the third pole, the Nepalese Himalayas, to learn about cultural landscape and environmental change. Participants spend a few days in Kathmandu Valley, known for its historic sites, ancient temples, religious shrines, and captivating villages. Activities include a tour of the primeval city of Bhaktapur and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Students also travel to the picturesque town of Pokhara and trek through Nepal’s largest protected range, Annapurna Conservation Area, where they have a rare opportunity to interact with an ethnic Gurung community in a world famous Ghandruk village nestled at the foot of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayan peaks. The program concludes with a field tour of deep gorges, magnificent lakes, and stunning views of the Himalayas from Pokhara and wrap up in Kathmandu.

The aim of the seminar was to discuss various aspects of cultural landscape and environmental changes in the Himalayas and also to provide theoretical knowledge on these topics to students from both USA and Nepal.

More than 50 professionals along with students attended the seminar. Professor Dr. Shudha Tripathi, Rector of Tribhuwan University, inaugurated the seminar. Dr. Mohan B. Dangi, Professor and course leader from Fresno State briefly described the course and its expectations. Dr. Basant Giri, scientist and director of international relations at KIAS moderated the event.

Expert speakers in technical session were Dr. Ram Prasad Chaudhary, Professor Emeritus of Tribhuwan University, Dr. Kedar Rijal, Professor and head of CDES-TU, Dr. Madan Koirala, Professor at CDES-TU, Dr. Rejina Maskey, Professor of CDES-TU, Dr. Ram Chhetri, Professor of TU, Dr. Khem N. Poudyal, Professor of TU, Dr. Prachand Shrestha, Scientist at Edeniq, Inc, CA, USA, Mr. Rabindra N. Bhattarai, Professor of TU, Dr. Susma Giri, Scientist of KIAS, and Dr. Mohan Dangi, Professor of Fresno State.

Speakers extensively discussed on major environmental problems of Nepal such as urbanization and air pollution, biodiversity, climate change and solid waste management.

KIAS organizing workshop on paper microfluidics

Center for Analytical Sciences, one of the research centers at Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS), is going to host and organize a workshop on “paper microfluidics for chemical and microbial analysis”. The workshop will be held at KIAS office, Kalanki, Kathmandu, Nepal on 2 June 2017.

Paper-based analytical systems are low-cost and portable techniques that has gained popularity in recent years. Dr. Basant Giri’s research group at KIAS is the first and only one research group in Nepal working on microfluidics research.

In this workshop, participants will get hands on training on fabricating paper-analytical devices and using the devices in various applications such as screening low-quality drugs and water quality. Resource persons for this workshop will be Dr. Basant Giri from KIAS, Kathmandu, Nepal and Dr. Toni Barstis and Dr. Reena Khadka from Saint Mary’s College, IN, USA.