December 29, 2016. The United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences (UGAS), Iwate University organized its 1st UGAS, Iwate University International Symposium, 2016 in its campus in Morioka on 17-18 December 2016. The theme of the Symposium was: “Innovations in Plant and Food Sciences: from Genes to Production”. The Faculties and students from the four constituent universities of UGAS; University of Saskatchewan, Canada; University of Dhaka (DU), Bangladesh and Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU), China participated the meet. The 2-day long symposium covered a wide area of plant, food and nutritional biology research, one panel discussion on future educational perspective and collaboration, and poster sessions. Several faculties from the participating universities presented their research results, while the current graduate students in UGAS and partner universities did it in the form of posters. The DU is already enjoying a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UGAS, and three faculties of DU: Professor Zeba I Seraj of Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Professor Muhammad Manjurul Karim, Department of Microbiology, and Professor Mohammad Nurul Islam, Department of Botany represented the University.
In the opening day, Professor Seraj presented a talk on “Molecular approaches for producing rice varieties suitable for abiotic stress environments in Bangladesh”. She talked about her more than a decade-long research on efforts to produce saline tolerant rice varieties for the coastal region of Bangladesh, which included DNA-marker assisted selection, next generation technologies to decipher tolerant mechanisms in rice land races as well as rice transformation. She emphasized on the production of rice varieties which can yield grains beyond 80mM salt (~8 dS/m) which will need expression of multiple genes/QTLs in a pyramided approach or transformation of regulatory genes with multiple downstream targets, in order to be meet the predicted increase in salinity levels in the coastal zones. The talk of Professor Nurul Islam was themed on “Molecular analysis of tomato Leaf Curl Virus (ToLCV) resistance TY gene in the wild tomato varieties in Bangladesh”. He emphasized on the importance of identification of wild relatives of tomato containing ToLCV resistance/tolerance gene for the development of tomato cultivars with stable resistance/tolerance properties. On the final day, Professor Karim presented a talk on “The Application of salt-tolerant, plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria as a biofertilizer for cultivation of Oryza sativa for coastal areas of Bangladesh under changing climate conditions”. The talk highlighted the importance of the isolated salt-tolerant bacteria and their contribution to the plant growth promoting activities under salt stress condition, a preparedness program that Bangladesh will aim to adopt under changing climatic conditions with a view to bringing vulnerable coastal lands under crop-farming.
Overall, the meeting strengthened the relationship among the partner universities and provided opportunities to the faculties to establish research collaborations and student exchange. The program also stressed to shepherd the Dual PhD program coordinated in UGAS-Iwate University and the University of Saskatchewan. Hopefully, a student from Bangladesh is expected to be enrolled as its first candidate.
In appreciation of the willingness of the University of Saskatchewan to host the 2017 meeting in Canada, the DU contingent also looks forward to host one of its forthcoming symposium, possibly under the umbrella of GNOBB. [Communicated by Professor Dr. Muhammad Manjurul Karim, DU]