Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

KazNU holds International Forum on “Modern Trends in the Sustainable Development of Biological Sciences”, in Almaty

KazNU holds International Forum on “Modern Trends in the Sustainable Development of Biological Sciences”, in Almaty

[ Proceedings of the Conference ]

The Centre of Excellence of COMSATS in Kazakhstan, the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU), in collaboration with COMSATS, the Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of the OIC (COMSTECH), and Institute of Dendrology Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, held the International Forum on “Modern Trends in the Sustainable Development of Biological Sciences”, on 27-28 March 2024, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event commemorated the 90th Anniversary of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and its Department of Biology and Biotechnology. The primary objective of the Forum was to facilitate discussions on current advancements in the realms of biology, address pressing challenges within this field, and promote the networking of an international scientific and educational community.

The Inaugural Ceremony of the event was held on 27th March 2024, which was opened by Prof. Aitzhanova Zhamila Nurmatovna, Vice Rector for Science and Innovation, KazNU, Kazakhstan, who besides various leaders from collaborating organizations, addressed the audience and delivered the opening remarks. These included Ambassador Dr. Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, Executive Director, COMSATS; Mr. Vlastimil Samek, Representative of the United Nations Department of Global Communications and the Head of the United Nations Information Office, Kazakhstan; Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General, COMSTECH; and Prof. Hasanova Minara Yunis, Acting Director General, Institute of Dendrology, Ministry of Science and Education, Azerbaijan.

Ambassador Dr. Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, Executive Director COMSATS, in his online address, highlighted the vital role of biological sciences in shaping essential products and solutions across pivotal areas such as medicine, agriculture, food security, clean energy, and environmental preservation. He acknowledged the emergence of biotechnology as a significant trend, encompassing various innovative methodologies from genetic engineering to synthetic biology. Amb. Zakaria underscored the significant contribution of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology in enabling the sustainable manufacturing of various materials and products, including biofuels, bioplastics, textiles, chemicals, construction materials, electronics, and consumer goods. He stated that artificial intelligence and machine learning has revolutionized biological research, enabling scientists to accelerate the discovery of novel solutions that address the interconnected nature of global challenges.

Amb. Zakaria stated that the field of biological sciences has always been given strategic importance by COMSATS, and focused efforts were made to enhance the capabilities of its Member States in this vital domain. The establishment of the COMSATS Joint Centre for Industrial Biotechnology (CCIB) at the TIB-China, illustrates this commitment.

Amb. Zakaria highlighted COMSATS’ recent initiatives for Member Countries in areas such as AI-based data analytics, digitalization and IT training, Genome Sequencing for Precision Medicine, IT Trainings, Precision Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Electric Vehicles, Tech-enabled Health Units, Drone Technology, etc. He conveyed COMSATS’ readiness to collaborate with like-minded institutions to aiding Member Countries’ technological pursuits in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and for socio-economic development. Amb. Zakaira also appreciated mutually beneficial cooperation taking place between COMSATS and KazNU.

Following the inaugural session, the conference featured keynote presentations from esteemed international speakers, including Prof. Saitou Naruya from the National Institute of Genetics, Japan; Prof. Zhiyong Huang from the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Prof. Zoltán Barta, Head of the Institute of Biology at the University of Debrecen, Hungary; and Prof. Sedat Serçe from Nigde Omer Halisdemir University.

The technical sessions of the 2-day Forum comprised four plenary sections covering a wide range of topics, including interdisciplinary research in biophysics, biomedicine, and neuroscience, current issues in biotechnology, basic and applied research in genetics and molecular biology, and issues related to the study and conservation of biodiversity. The Forum garnered over 200 applications from 104 institutions/organizations spanning 14 countries, including Kazakhstan, Germany, France, China, Japan, Hungary, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Over 100 research articles were selected for publication in the proceedings of BIO Web of Conferences.

COMSATS supported the participation of four experts from the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), China, in the event. Additionally, Dr. Huma Balouch, Deputy Director, COMSATS Secretariat, was also among the speakers at the event.