AFSI Newsletter - September 2020
South Asia Biosafety Program Webinar Series
Over the past three decades, Bangladesh’s biosafety regime has made great strides. Courses on biosafety are now integrated into biotechnology curricula offered at many universities, helping to build awareness of the country's regulatory framework among undergraduate and graduate students. For biotechnology research to advance toward implementation, it is crucial for current and future researchers to understand national biosafety regulatory processes at each stage of research and development. To further enhance knowledge of biosafety in Bangladesh, the South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) organized a series of webinars in collaboration with leading universities in the country.
SABP launched its webinar series on June 1, 2020, co-organizing the first online event with the Department of Biotechnology at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. The inaugural webinar was attended by graduate level students and faculty members, with Prof. Dr. Md. Ekramul Hoque chairing the session. Dr. Aparna Islam delivered the keynote presentation, which focused on biosafety interventions at various stages of biotechnology research for the production of genetically engineered crops.

The second lecture in the SABP Webinar Series was organized in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering at Jahangirnagar University on June 18, 2020, with Dr. Abdul Jabber Howlader serving as the Chief Guest. In her keynote lecture, Dr. Islam discussed the structure and composition of biosafety committees in Bangladesh, documents shaping the national biosafety regime, and the regulatory approval system at various stages of crop biotechnology research and development.

Regulatory Framework and Guidelines for Biotechnology Research
SABP co-organized the third lecture in the series with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Dhaka. Prof. Dr. Zeba Seraj chaired the event, which was attended by a total of seventy students, research fellows, and faculty. In her keynote presentation, Dr. Islam emphasized the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Biosafety Guidelines of Bangladesh, highlighting various institutional regulatory permission requirements associated with transgenic research and development.

The most recent lecture in the SABP Webinar Series took place on July 23, 2020 and was a collaboration with the Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University. A total of fifty-five students, early career researchers, and faculty members participated, with Prof. Dr. Md. Giashuddin Miah delivering the inaugural speech. In addition to Dr. Islam's session on biosafety requirements for conducting GM crop research in Bangladesh, this event featured a presentation on the global status of biosafety for emerging technologies, including gene editing, by Dr. Andrew Roberts.

Additional events in the webinar series are currently being planned.