SKUAST-Kashmir is one of the leading farm universities in India that caters to North-Western Himalayan hill and mountain agriculture. Since its inception, it has been a consistent endeavour to help states in achieving the food and nutritional security imperatives and fulfil the aspirations of various stakeholders. The broader objectives of creating a competent human resource and providing technical backup and outreach have shaped the activity landscape and are consistently striving to work for improving the overall quality of life encompassing food, nutritional and economic security as well as work towards a broader objective of improved one health (plants, animals, humans, soil and environment). The achievements have resulted in tangible overall economic benefits to the state at large and UT of J&K has emerged as the top performer in farm income and farmer prosperity despite going through unwelcome situations. SKUAST is realigning its research priorities in line with farmers’ production constraints and livelihood opportunities to create viable and profitable farming systems in the state. The consistent efforts to better its performance in terms of academic and scholarly output have helped it emerge as one of the top ranked state agricultural universities.
The UK-ICN is a 500,00 initiative funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) United Kingdom to promote collaborative scientific research on coronaviruses in order to sustain long-term ONE-HEALTH approach and to enhance the knowledge, preparedness and response strategies for future coronavirus outbreaks.
UK-ICN is a network project that aims to support global coordination for the delivery of collaborative scientific research and sustained long-term one health approach to better investigation of coronaviruses, improved surveillance, and social policies.
About Division of Animal Biotechnology
The discipline of Animal Biotechnology was initiated in the University in 2009 when the Centre for Animal Biotechnology was established at Shuhama campus for undertaking Research in the field of Biotechnology funded by National Agricultural Innovation Project, of ICAR. Two prestigious projects sanctioned by the ICAR viz. i) Cloning studies in Pashmina Goats and ii) Allele mining for cold stress tolerance in Pashmina goats and double humped camels, generated an initial grant for the establishment of the Centre. Few scientists were also deployed by the University to this Centre for research purposes.
Subsequently, the State of Art infrastructure was established which included laboratories, farm animals, human resource and other facilities required for carrying out research and teaching in the important areas of Animal Biotechnology and capacity building of students and researchers of the institution. In 2012 after recruitment/transfer of permanent faculty, the center was upgraded and renamed as Division of Biotechnology through a University order and approval from the statutory bodies. The Division headquartered at Shuhama comprised two centers, one each located at Shuhama and Shalimar with the mandate to conduct teaching and research programmes in Animal and Plant Biotechnology, respectively. Post-graduate program in Animal Biotechnology sponsored by HRD program of DBT, MoST, was instituted at Shuhama and MSc program in Biotechnology also kickstarted at Shalimar.
Later in 2017 the Division of Animal Biotechnology was established after bifurcation of the Division of Biotechnology into two independent divisions, one at FVSc & AH, Shuhama and other at Faculty of Horticulture, Shalimar.
The Division of Animal Biotechnology is currently running MVSc and PhD programs in Animal Biotechnology and carrying out research programs in thrust areas funded by at least 08 external projects with sanctioned grants to the tune of INR 500 lakhs. The Division provides an advanced lab facility which is open to research scholars and scientists of all the Faculties and Divisions of SKUAST-K and to the scholars of other Universities of J&K
About Laboratory of Vaccine Biotechnology
Laboratory of Vaccine Biotechnology, headed by Dr. Nadeem Shabir, is a Welcome Trust-DBT India Alliance funded laboratory which works on development of safe and cross-protective vaccines against viruses affecting poultry and livestock. The laboratory was recently given the status of BSL-2 lab by the Institutional Biosafety Committee of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Technology of Kashmir. The current focus of the laboratory of vaccine biotechnology is to develop safe Infectious Bursal Disease vaccine and Infectious Bronchitis vaccine (Avian Coronavirus vaccine).
Dr. Nadeem Shabir is a scientist-veterinarian and a Welcome-Trust/India Alliance Fellow (2019) at Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, SKUAST-K who works on development of safe vaccines against avian coronavirus (Infectious Bronchitis virus) and Infectious Bursal Disease virus that affect poultry. Dr. Nadeem was recently nominated as a member of the management board of the United Kingdom-International Coronavirus Network as a representative from the Indian subcontinent. Dr. Nadeem gave a talk on the launch meeting of the UK-ICN held virtually at University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. He has previously developed a chimeric vaccine against Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus with enhanced safety and cross-protectivity.