Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada Explores Agricultural Research in Punjab

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

In a bid to foster international collaboration and exchange of knowledge, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, recently played host to a student delegation from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Canada. Led by Dr. Sukhinder K. Cheema, Professor of Biochemistry at MUN, the delegation embarked on a journey to explore the rich tapestry of agricultural research in India.

Welcoming the esteemed guests, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor of PAU, delineated the university’s illustrious legacy in spearheading India’s Green Revolution. He accentuated PAU’s pioneering efforts in developing cutting-edge agricultural technologies and its unwavering commitment to ensuring food and nutritional security.

Dr. Gosal shed light on PAU’s future trajectory, emphasizing a dual focus on enhancing agricultural productivity while conscientiously mitigating ecological risks. The Vice-Chancellor underscored the institution’s dedication to developing trait-specific crop varieties and expediting the process through speed breeding techniques.

Dr. Manav Indra Singh Gill, Dean of Post Graduate Studies at PAU, proudly shared the university’s recent accolade of being ranked atop the list of state agricultural universities in India according to the NIRF 2023 rankings. Dr. Kiran Bains, Dean of the College of Community Science, emphasized the pivotal role of promoting healthy dietary habits, advocating for home-cooked meals over fast food.

Dr. Cheema, a distinguished scholar with a robust background in biochemistry, introduced her research endeavors focused on unraveling the intricate pathways of metabolic regulation to combat prevalent health ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Her collaborative efforts with clinician scientists and industry partners aim to harness the health benefits of marine species and develop functional foods.

The exchange wasn’t merely academic; it was an opportunity for cultural immersion and mutual learning. The MUN students regaled their hosts with tales of their Indian escapades, recounting visits to iconic landmarks like the Golden Temple and the Wagah Border. They marveled at India’s kaleidoscopic culture, relished its culinary delights, and were captivated by the nuances of Ayurveda.

Of particular interest to the visitors was India’s penchant for probiotics, notably showcased through the ubiquitous consumption of lassi, a traditional yogurt-based drink. This cultural contrast sparked intriguing discussions on global health trends and dietary habits.

Looking ahead, Dr. Cheema proposed avenues for deeper collaboration, including student exchanges and the formulation of a Memorandum of Understanding with the College of Community Science at PAU. Dr. Vishal Bector, Associate Director (Institution Relations), adeptly facilitated the dialogue, ensuring a fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences.

As the curtains drew on this enlightening interaction, it became apparent that beyond geographical boundaries, a shared pursuit of knowledge and innovation unites scholars worldwide. The MUN delegation departed enriched by their Indian odyssey, while PAU reaffirmed its commitment to fostering global partnerships in the pursuit of agricultural excellence.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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