Tuesday, May 31, 2016

JSS University Focuses on Applications & Applied Research

As a primarily health sciences university, JSS University’s focus is applied research as well as application of knowledge from its various streams like medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, water & health studies, health systems management, life sciences etc. Recently, JSS Hospital has tied up with USA’s famed Mayo Clinic to deploy a software program to reduce human errors in its Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Titled as ‘CERTAIN’, this software takes varied inputs like a critically ill patient's physical findings, history, lab studies, imaging inputs etc and suggests optimum treatments that reduce complications in the ICU. To begin with, this software has been first deployed in the paediatric ICU of JSS Hospital, Mysuru.

Indian expectations from a university or college are pretty low, even if it is a health sciences university. When the institution is not among the crème de la crème like IITs, IIMs, or AIIMS, the students’ expectations are even lower. A college or university degrades to a degree factory, or is at least thought about as such by the average student.

However, this kind of low expectations have not prevented universities and colleges, especially from the private sector, from waxing eloquent about lofty ideals like international tie-ups, industry interactions, and, of course, research. Needless to say, very few institutions follow up these claims with actual practice.

Here is where the value of a hardworking university like JSS University, headquartered at Mysuru, deserves special commendation. A deemed university in Karnataka from the private or self-financed sector, it is accredited by NAAC at A Grade and comes at leading positions in the NIRF ranking by MHRD. But that is not why JSS University deserves special accolades.

The world over, the very best universities are much more than just universities. In other words, they are not just places where degrees are awarded to those who study reasonably. More than that, such elite universities are places where future leaders or even future organizations are groomed, who go on to make lasting societal impact through their innovations, inventions, or entrepreneurship.

This great ideal is achieved through not only an ongoing culture of knowledge creation or research, but by pursuing those knowledge creation pursuits that can be building blocks for the future society as well as industry.

JSS University, despite its relatively young age compared with India’s public universities, has bravely taken itself forward in this knowledge creation pursuit in tune with industry and society. It has been continually walking the talk when it comes to almost all facets of this knowledge creation – be it meaningful international tie-ups, quality research outputs, transformational industry interactions, real life projects and consultancy works etc.

While many private universities boast about international tie-ups, only a very few among them take the next step forward to ensure that it is beneficial for their students and faculty.

JSS University on the other hand has not only tied up with several prestigious universities and institutes abroad, but leveraging it for the benefit of its students and faculty. The university or its constituent colleges have tie-ups with La Trobe University, Australia; Khon Kaen University, Thailand; University of Southern Nevada, USA; Long Island University, USA; AIMST University, Malaysia; Howard University, USA; University of Illinois, USA; National Institutes of Health, USA; and Oman Medical College, Oman.

In 2015-16 alone, two lecturers and four interns from JSS have undergone specialized training in USA and Australia by utilizing these kind of tie-ups, whereas many overseas institutes have send their faculty, research scholars, and students to JSS University for training.

JSS stands for Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara, and is promoted by JSS Mahavidyapeetha, one of Asia’s largest educational groups. Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji serves as the Chancellor of the University, while BN Betkerur is Pro Chancellor, and Dr. B Suresh is the Vice Chancellor.

When it comes to research initiatives, it is hard to find another health sciences university in the private sector that is as hardworking as JSS. In academic year 2015-16 alone, faculty and research students of the university have done 307 research publications, which is a feat in in itself.

Of these, 51 were noted research articles in various national and international journals with the impact factor range of 0.74 - 3.34 by Thomson Reuters. JSS scholars also made 35 presentations, both oral and posters, in various national and international pharmacy conferences and seminars.

The quality of the research output was also impressive. Three among the JSS fraternity of faculty and research scholars succeeded in filing patents. JSS University’s ambition and diligence in this regard is evident from the formation of a Patent Cell that oversees the dimension of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and a Patent Review Committee that includes external experts from such leading public organizations like CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, and National Research Development Corporation, DSIR, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India.

JSS University's industry interaction initiatives also shine with MoUs signed with leading international and national firms like AlfaGene Biosciences, Colgate Palmolive, Alveus Pharmaceuticals, Apex Laborites, Etica Clinpharm, Tablets India, Fourttts India, Waters India etc. Going beyond just MoUs, JSS University has already undertaken research, pre-clinical studies, consultancy, or employee training for these organizations. Leading experts also came in as guest lecturers from reputed organizations including Novartis, Biocon, and Himalaya, to JSS during the year.

Going beyond industry, JSS University has also worked with cutting-edge frontline research organizations like World Health Organization (WHO), Eurasian Federation of Oncology (EAFO), Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) etc, and renowned scientists from these institutes have graced JSS campus as guest lecturers.

JSS postgraduate students have also undertaken their project works in leading corporations like Aurobindo, Biocon, Himalaya, Hindustan Unilever, Lupin, Micro Labs, Mylan Labs, Novo Nordisk, Orchid Healthcare, Philips etc.

JSS University is home to a Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology and Natural Products Research, which is spearheading the university’s efforts in knowledge creation and dissemination of the same to the society around.

JSS University, based on its success in research, is today in a position to attract research funding from various national and international bodies, and is also funding research projects on its own.

This research culture has enabled it to attract renowned scholars as faculty members. Recently, Professor Dr. SK Kulkarni, MPharm, PhD, FAMS, FNASci, FIPA, a distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist & Educationist and Former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Punjab has joined as Emeritus Professor at Department of Pharmacology, while Dr. Saravana Babu Chidambaram, MPharm, PhD, FASc(AW), has joined as Associate Professor at Department of Pharmacology. 

JSS students have also excelled in career placements during the past year with students from its various streams getting absorbed by numerous organizations including Dr. Reddys Lab, Micro Labs, Himalaya Drugs, Mylan, Biocon, Cipla, Novartis, Unilever, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca Pharma, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Columbia Asia Hospital, and many more.

JSS University offers programs ranging from Undergraduate Diploma to PhD level in various fields including medicine, dental, pharmacy, water & health, health systems management, life sciences etc. The constituent colleges include JSS Medical College, JSS Dental College, and JSS College of Pharmacy, all at Mysore, and JSS College of Pharmacy at Ooty.  Courses offered include diploma, graduate, post graduate, post graduate diploma, MPhil and PhD programs.

JSS is always innovating by launching new courses that are in demand by the industry and society around it. New courses launched recently include PG Diploma in Medical Devices; BPharm (Pharmacy Practice) and Residency Program in Oncology; Oral Health Care Certificate Programme for Nurses; Certificate Course in Maxillofacial Trauma; and Certificate Course in Dental Implantology.

Today’s JSS University attracts research scientists from overseas countries, while its faculty and students often get international travel grants. JSS has hosted 13 national level conferences, and its students are often coming first in attracting noted scholarships like the Tata Trust Scholarships. JSS has granted doctorates for 13 scholars during the past year, and many of its research papers have garnered the achievement of being the best paper in conferences. All in all, JSS University is growing along the fine international tradition of being much more than a university that just grants degrees.

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