It was in October 2004, namely nine years back that GNOBB (The Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists) was founded and I was selected its coordinator. I retired from Dhaka University in 1990 and moved to Austin on an immigration visa. A few expatriate Bangladeshi Biotechnologists, namely, Dr. Hemayetullah now at Howard University, Washington DC, Dr. Abidur Rahman now at Iwate University Japan, approached me whether expatriate Bangladeshis working in various disciplines of Biotechnology both from home and abroad could form a web-based organization for mutual benefit to one another.
Although I had a job as a research associate at the Department of Molecular, Cell and Development Biology at UT, Austin, I accepted the challenge. A website bearing the above name was launched. Through exchange of emails we framed a temporary constitution including fixing a $10 voluntary subscription fee and sought opinion of a few more biotechnologists both from home and abroad, namely, Dr. Ahmed Azad, Dr. Parvez Haris, Professor Haseena Khan, Professor Zeba I. Seraj. All enthusiastically accepted the idea and joined the organization. Within three years the membership rose from 20 to 200 and now the strength is over 380. GNOBB has a savings Bank account with Sonali Bank DU branch and is being jointly operated by Prof. Zeba Seraj at Biochemistry and Mol. Biology Dept. DU and Prof. RH Sarker at Botany Dept, DU. The account has now over Tk one lakh in its account no. 33014308.GNOBB gained popularity and in 2003 it decided to organize in Dhaka a symposium, entitled, “Promotion of Biotechnology in Bangladesh – National and International Perspectives. The abstract book has been published in the form of an e-book by Digibd.com (http://digibook.com.bd/?p=583). On the third day of the conference, a committee selected from both local and expatriate scientists prepared a set of recommendations for promotion of biotechnology in BD. Among recommendations, the most important was the creation of National Commission for Biotechnology (NCBT) with full autonomy under the control of PM’s secretariat. Another recommendation was full autonomy for the National Institute of Biotechnology and the formation of an International Advisory body for monitoring the progress of the approved projects. Unfortunately the above two recommendations were not approved by the S&T Ministry. It may be mentioned that India’s phenomenal progress in biotechnological research may be the autonomous nature of the Department of Biotechnology under the S&T Ministry, GoI. The same namely, the creation of NCBT in Pakistan may have contributed to the country’s onward march in the field of Biotechnology. It’s very important for uninterrupted progress as demonstrated in India and Pakistan by the full autonomy given to them by their respective Ministry. Unfortunately, in spite of repeated requests by local and expatriate scientists, the BD Government didn’t show any inclination to yield to any of the recommendations.
I have tried my level best to serve the community for almost nine years. By group email now we can communicate any imported message or alert them of any new postings almost instantly. Sometimes, a non-member requests us to post news about its group activity/meeting. We oblige them free of any charge. It unmistakably demonstrates that the Network is recognized outside its circle of membership which is now over 350. Another recent improvement of this web-based organization is that its site is now interactive. Members can now comment on any news published on the site, can update their CV including any new publication which they may have to their credit.
There is a particular reason for me to post this news. In view of my old age (now 88+) I thought I would take this opportunity to ask forgiveness from members for any lapse I have committed in the discharge of my duties as a coordinator.