Left to right: Nav Chima, MLA Dave Hayer, Dr. Soumyo Mukherji, Dr. Faisal Beg, Lukas-Karim Merhi.

Indian Institute of Technology and SFU lay groundwork for student exchanges

March 18, 2013

SFU School of Engineering Science associate professors Dr. Mirza Faisal Beg and Dr. Marinko Sarunic, along with MASc candidate Lukas-Karim Merhi and the SFU BC-India Mobility Initiative, recently played hosts to Dr. Soumoyo Mukherji of the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay.

Mukherji came to explore collaboration between BC and India in general, and SFU and IIT-B in particular, largely focusing on building graduate student exchanges and funding for general mobility between the two institutions. These exchanges would help to expand and strengthen the technological relationship between the universities, leading to diverse research outcomes.

A professor in IIT-B’s Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering and Head of the Centre for Research in Nanotechnology and Sciences, Mukherji met with several SFU faculty members and senior administrators, numerous business and medical professionals and community members. Exposure to various research and activities undertaken by SFU faculty, students, and community at large provided Mukherji with a deeper understanding of the university’s strengths, helping to highlight the many ways in which SFU would be an ideal host to IIT-B exchange students.

To kick off his stay, Mukherji presented a history of IIT-B – established in 1958, with approximately 40,000 graduates to date – and outlined one of its focal research areas within the last six years: nanotechnology. The presentation included a 6-8 year journey of select IIT-B researchers who have collaboratively created sensing devices for molecular markers of myocardial infarction, explosives (like TNT), waterborne bacteria (like E.Coli), and other exciting endeavours.

Mukherji also met with doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital, discussing prevalent diseases in India, and receiving an introduction to the Canada India Network Society and South Asian Health Institute. He visited the City of Surrey’s Economic Development Office and the MLA of Surrey-Tynehead to discuss increased ties with India at the provincial and federal levels in education, trade and investment.

As a result of Mukherji’s visit, the groundwork was laid between IIT-B and SFU to facilitate the exchange of students and faculty. A grassroots approach to collaboration will continue in order to successfully implement this mutually advantageous initiative. SFU FAS has already committed to sponsoring at least one graduate student from IIT-B to spend four months at the School of Engineering Science. This student would continue work on a project initiated by SFU’s Merhi, who previously visited Mukherji’s lab at IIT-B.

Conferences and workshops by different members of the SFU community are also being planned for 2013 to be held at IIT-B.

Dr. Mukherji with Lukas-Karim Merhi during Merhi's visit to the Indian Institute of Technology.
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