Thursday, May 16, 2024

JSSAHER’s Innovative Strides in Higher Education

Dr B Suresh, Pro Chancellor, JSSAHER

Mysuru headquartered leading deemed-to-be university, JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research (JSSAHER) is taking giant strides to push innovation in everything it does. From nationally recognized research labs to world renowned faculty members to playing host to coveted international scientific conferences to startup incubation to constant upgradation of infrastructure and facilities, JSSAHER is not leaving a stone unturned in its quest to stay ahead of the curve among health and life science universities in the country. JSSAHER’s visionary leadership includes JSS Mahavidyapeetha’s Head Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Mutt, JSS Mahavidyapeetha’s Executive Secretary C.G. Betsurmath, JSSAHER’s Pro-Chancellor Dr. B. Suresh and its Vice-chancellor Dr. Surinder Singh.

With over 1,61,000 members, the American College of Physicians (ACP) is undoubtedly the largest medical-specialty organization in the United States. In other words, it is the largest and the most esteemed professional group of doctors who are internists or physicians who are practitioners of internal medicine or general medicine as it is commonly called today. Research students even in India, even if they have not heard of ACP, must have surely heard of the weekly research publication, ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’, which is ACP’s core research journal, the highest ranked & cited journal for internal medicine, and regarded as one of the top five medical journals worldwide.

ACP selects and awards internal medicine specialists for a few key achievements in their work annually. In 2023 too ACP announced these annual awards, and the American College of Physicians Distinguished Mentor Award in 2023 was bagged by Dr. M Suresh Babu, who serves as Professor of Medicine, JSS Medical College & Hospital, JSSAHER, Mysuru. While giving away the award, the American College of Physicians noted that this award is in recognition of his outstanding mentorship in the field of clinical medicine. Dr. Suresh Babu is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, UK. With such distinguished practitioners and researchers in its fold, it is no wonder that both JSSAHER’s medical college and hospital have been thriving as leaders in research and clinical practice.

Recently, the JSS Medical College also received a special recognition from the Government of India’s Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This happened when JSS Medical College’s Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine (CEMR) at the Department of Biochemistry was recently recognised by ICMR as an ICMR-Collaborating Centre of Excellence (CCoE). While bestowing this recognition on CEMR for a period of five years, ICMR noted that this is in consideration of its scientific accomplishments.

Dr. Prashanth Vishwanath, JSSAHER’s Dean of Research and Dr. Akila Prashanth, Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry, received the recognition from Dr. Rajiv Bahlat, the Director General of ICMR, at the ICMR headquarters in New Delhi recently. As an ICMR-CCoE, this JSSAHER unit will engage in extensive cooperation with ICMR to develop guidelines, undertake multi-centric projects, and enhance capacity building efforts in the country. The available resources in such centers will be shared with other centers for the purpose of student training, R&D, and capacity development for enhancing the national research talent pool for advancing medical research in India.

A prime advantage of studying at JSSAHER is the unique exposure students get from the depth and breadth of the international conferences it hosts. A recent example was the HEAL-BioTec 2023 hosted by the JSS School Of Life Sciences. This three-day International Conference on ‘One Health: Biotechnology as a Catalyst for Sustainable Development was organized by the Department of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, JSSAHER. This conference was funded by three Indian Government bodies including the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Science and Engineering Research Board (DST-SERB) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and it achieved its objective to discuss and further the new concept of ‘One Health’ which serves as a catalyst for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Also included in the G20 agenda, the ‘One Health’ approach aims to improve disease management by bringing together health, food and environmental scientists as well as policy specialists from different parts of the globe, to help in achieving SDGs by this decade’s end. It was a never before opportunity for JSSAHER students, faculty members, and researchers to interact with world renowned experts in these contributing domains and gain integrated knowledge about the One Health approach. Sanjay Kumar Varshney, Advisor & Head, International Collaborations, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India, was the chief guest and delivered the keynote address that described how Artificial Intelligence is speeding up clinical trials among other aspects.

Dr. Hans Jorgensen, Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who was the guest of honor, delivered a plenary lecture, with another plenary lecture by Dr. Anil Kaul from Oklahoma, USA. Other eminent scientists who delivered invited lectures include Dr. Jung-Hyun Kim (South Korea), Dr. Raj Kumar (Boston, USA), Dr. Claus Bang-Berthelsen (Denmark), Dr. S. Pradeep Kumar of Google and Dr. Manju Bansal from IISc. Apart from research scholars, faculty members and students, the attendees included leading industrialists from concerned sectors. Hosted both physically and in online mode, the mega conference benefitted at least 500 students directly, apart from the thousands of viewers who tuned into it from the world over.

During the last two quarters itself, the students, faculty and researchers of JSSAHER have been blessed with the university hosting several such events. These included an international conference on the genetics & epigenetics of cancer, a two day fair on forensic and investigative science, a live hysteroscopy workshop for gynecologists & postgraduate students, an international conclave on the occurrence and prevention of tuberculosis, and a rally to educate people on the importance of adult immunization especially for the elderly and high risk patients, conducted by JSSAHER’s Adult Immunization and Travel Medicine Center.

JSSAHER also continued to fortify its already impressive facilities and infrastructure in its core School of Life Sciences at Mysuru. During the last quarter, the deemed university launched the School’s new Lecture Hall Complex with the inauguration done by Karnataka’s Minister for Medical Education, Sharan Prakash Patil. The School of Life Sciences offers 14 post graduate programs, 6 undergraduate programs and 2 diploma courses in the regular stream, as well as several courses in the Open & Distance Learning (ODL) mode.

During the occasion, Minister Sharan Prakash Patil also inaugurated the University’s incubation facility named ‘Sparkle Cine’ for boosting the start-up initiatives by students, faculty and interested entrepreneurs. Sparkle Cine has been active for some quarters now, but now it gets its own infrastructure and facilities, towards fulfilling its stated aim of furthering the start-up culture in the university by translating educational excellence into actionable ideas for entrepreneurship and innovations. Also launched during the event was a new pharmaceutical chemistry lab.

Over the almost one and a half decade of its existence, JSSAHER has steadily improved not only on the quality front, but on the volume of graduates and postgraduates it grooms in each batch. Last quarter was witness to this phenomenon once again, during the fourteenth convocation of JSSAHER. All together, 2,546 graduands were awarded their undergraduate, postgraduate & diplomas this year, apart from 49 candidates who were awarded PhD degrees. Chairman of UGC Prof. Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar was the chief guest who delivered the convocation address and gave away medals to 55 academic toppers.

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