MS Swaminathan Memorial Lecture
Dr. Swati Nayak, IRRI, New Delhi
In her role as the Lead for Seed System and Product Management at IRRI South Asia, Dr. Swati focuses on optimizing breeding impact by ensuring the delivery of genetic advancements in farmers’ fields and strategically placing the right products in various market segments. Additionally, she holds the position of Global Lead for Rice and Co-lead for Cereal Seed Systems within CGIAR’s Seed Equal initiative, a global research partnership dedicated to agricultural and food system research. Dr Swati Nayak holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Science with a specialization in Rural/Agri Business Management. Furthermore, they have obtained a Ph.D. focused on evaluating the effectiveness of modern extension approaches and conducting on-farm trials of varieties. The primary goal of her doctoral research is to ensure successful adoption, diffusion, and scaling of agricultural innovations.
Dr Swati brings to her position a wealth of 15 years of experience, encompassing expertise in areas such as public policy, rural innovation, sustainable agriculture, resilient varieties, seed systems, management of national flagship programs, program design and implementation, research, and scaling for impact. Her professional journey has honed her skills in technology delivery, scaling strategies, accelerating impact, fostering public-private partnership models, and contributing to institution-building programs.
E.K. Janaki Ammal Memorial Lecture
Dr. A.A. Mao, Director, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata
Dr. AA Mao is a distinguished expert in the field of plant sciences with a specialization in plant tissue culture and allied techniques, angiosperm taxonomy and floristic studies, ethnobotany, and ex situ conservation. His research interests revolve around the study of rhododendrons, orchids, medicinal plants, and ethnobotany. Currently, Dr. Mao is actively involved in the Flora of Nagaland project. With an extensive academic background and professional experience, he has contributed significantly to the scientific community through his research and publications. Dr. Mao has authored 24 papers on plant tissue culture, 70 on taxonomy and floristic studies, 12 on conservation and ecology, and 11 on ethnobotany. Additionally, he has published seven books, nine book chapters, and eight popular articles. Dr. AA Mao’s notable achievements include the description of 18 new taxa, identification of 19 new distributional records to India and the region, and various awards such as the Prof. S.V. Viz Memorial Award from the Orchid Society of India in 2018. He has held prestigious positions, including the presidency of the East Himalayan Society for Spermatophyte Taxonomy (EHSST) from 2017 to 2018, the current presidency of the Society of Ethnobotany, and the presidency of the Association of Plant Taxonomy from 2020 to 2023. Dr. Mao is a life member of scientific societies such as the Orchid Society of India, reflecting his commitment to advancing botanical knowledge and conservation efforts.
P.T. Bhaskara Panicker Memorial Lecture
Shri. K. Jayakumar, Director, Institute of Management in Government, Thiruvananthapuram
Shri. K. Jayakumar, Director, Institute of Management in Government, Trivandrum, and Former Vice Chancellor, Malayalam University, is a distinguished Indian civil servant and accomplished literary figure. He served in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in Kerala, retiring as the Chief Secretary of the Government of Kerala. Born into a family with a cinematic legacy as the son of renowned film director M. Krishnan Nair, Jayakumar’s diverse career includes roles such as District Collector, Director of Tourism, Director of Public Instructions, Secretary of Tourism and Culture, and Managing Director of Film Development Corporation. Recognized for his service, he received the K.P.S. Menon Memorial Award in 2008.
He presently serves as the Chairman of the Sathya Sai IAS Academy in Thiruvananthapuram and Director, Institute of Management in Government, Trivandrum. Besides his administrative career, Jayakumar is a prolific literary artist, contributing lyrics to nearly 100 Malayalam films, albums, television, and radio. With 17 solo exhibitions in India and abroad, he authored 25 books in Malayalam and four in English. His translations of Tagore, Kahlil Gibran, and Rumi are acclaimed. Noteworthy film songs include “Kudajadriyil Kudikollum” and “Chandanalepa Sugandham.” In 2021, he received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Overall Contributions and the Asan Poetry Prize.
P.K. Gopalakrishnan Memorial Lecture
Prof. K.J. Joseph, Director, Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation (GIFT), Thiruvananthapuram
Prof K. Joseph, Director of Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation (GIFT) in Thiruvananthapuram, is the Secretary and Former President of Globelics (www.globelics.org). He serves as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of “Innovation and Development” by Taylor and Francis in London. With a Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, he conducted postdoctoral research at Yale University as a Ford Foundation Fellow. Prof K. Joseph is an expert in innovation studies, IT policy consultancy for UNESCAP, and regional development, especially in Kerala’s economy and plantation agriculture. He has authored six books, over 80 research papers, and served on various committees for organizations like CDS, India-EU Cooperation, HSRC South Africa, and Indo-Japan Committee.
Agriculture & Food Sciences
Dr. P.E. Rajasekharan, former Principal Scientist, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticulture Research, Bengaluru
Dr. P.E. Rajasekharan, formerly a Principal Scientist at ICAR Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, brings 38 years of expertise in Horticultural genetic resources, Conservation, Management, and Intellectual Property Rights. His academic journey includes a rank in M.Sc. (Botany) from Calicut University and top honors in the Agricultural Research Service All India competitive examination in Economic Botany. His Ph.D. from Bangalore University focused on conserving threatened medicinal plants. Dr. Rajasekharan holds three postgraduate diplomas in IPR, HRD, Ecology & Environment, and completed certificates in Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering, and UPOV. His research encompasses cryopreservation of horticultural crop seeds, pollen, and organelles. Achievements include a pollen cryobank with 700+ samples and conservation protocols for RET medicinal plants. His pioneering work earned a place in the Limca Book of Records-2001.
Dr. Rajasekharan published over 200 papers in peer reviewed journals, co-authored two books, and edited four volumes for Springer Nature. Fellowships include the Indian Society for Plant Genetic Resources and the Indian Association of Angiosperm Taxonomy. Actively involved in professional societies, advisory committees, and serving as a councillor, Dr. Rajasekharan is committed to education, recognized as faculty in various institutions. His impactful career reflects scholarly achievements, global collaborations, and a dedication to nurturing the next generation of researchers.
Prof. Anil Kumar, G., VIT, Chennai
Prof. Anilkumar Gopinathan is a Senior Professor at the School of Biosciences & Technology, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), India, with nearly 40 years of experience in Post Graduate Teaching and Research. His expertise lies in molecular endocrinology, focusing on growth and reproduction in Decapods. Dr. Gopinathan’s research includes hormone assays, gene sequencing, and studying the impact of radiation on microbes. He holds a PhD from the University of Calicut and has undertaken postdoctoral research at the University of Oklahoma, USA. Currently serving as a Scientific Advisor to the International Foundation for Science (IFS), Stockholm, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, England, Dr. Gopinathan has received various awards, including state-level Best Teacher Awards. He has been a recipient of international and national research grants and has contributed significantly to prestigious journals.
His commitment to knowledge transfer is evident through training programs at institutions like the University of California, Davis, USA. With a notable publication record and leadership roles at VIT, including the position of Dean, Dr. Gopinathan is a distinguished figure in biosciences, known for his scholarly contributions, leadership, and dedication to advancing scientific knowledge.
Prof. Sandhya Rani, NIT, Calicut
Dr. N. Sandhyarani, a professor at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, National Institute of Technology Calicut, earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Following her doctoral studies, she served as a visiting scholar at Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea, and later as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Beginning her teaching career as a lecturer at BITS Pilani Goa Campus until 2006, she joined the National Institute of Technology Calicut in 2007, where she is now a full professor. Dr. Sandhyarani has an impressive record with over 70 publications in peer reviewed journals.
She supervised 10 Ph.D. students and currently guiding 5 more. She has secured 7 sponsored projects from prestigious organizations such as SERB, DST, DBT, CSIR, and KSCSTE. In recognition of her work, she received the Dr. S. Vasudev Award from KSCSTE in 2020 and was selected for the SERB POWER fellowship in 2021.
Dr. Sandhyarani’s research focuses on the application of nanomaterials in clean energy and healthcare. Her group specializes in developing electrocatalysts for fuel cell applications, particularly in methanol oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions. They also contribute to photocatalytic and electrocatalytic water splitting for hydrogen production and explore energy storage devices like supercapacitors. The group’s notable achievements include advancements in enzymatic fuel cells and the development of highly sensitive sensors for glucose, DNA, dopamine, and endotoxin.
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Dr. Balakrishan Nair, Indian National Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad
Dr. Balakrishnan Nair is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Ocean Services and Applied Research (OSAR) Group at the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). With over 25 years of experience, he is a founding member of INCOIS and has led the Ocean Information and Forecast Service Group for the past 19 years. Dr. Nair played a key role in establishing real-time operational ocean observing systems and developing ocean forecast and early warning services for India and the Indian Ocean rim countries.
As a Steering Committee Member for the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and a Member of the Expert Team on Met Ocean Requirements (ET-MOR) of WMO, Dr. Nair contributes significantly to international initiatives. He is also the National Coordinator for the Ship Observation Team (SOT) of GOOS and is actively involved in programs like the Coordinated Wave Climate Program (COWCLIP) and WMO’s Severe Weather Forecast Project (SWFP-South Asia). Dr. Nair has received prestigious awards, including the National Geosciences Award-2014 and the Silver Award (2008–09) for the design of the INCOIS website. Holding a Ph.D. in Marine Science, he is a Fellow of the Telangana Academy of Sciences (FTASc) and has published over 75 papers in high-impact journals. As a recognized research guide, Dr. Nair mentors Ph.D. students across various Indian universities, contributing to the advancement of operational oceanography and ocean services.
Engineering and Technology
Dr. Ajit Prabhu V., KSCSTE, Thiruvananthapuram
Dr. Ajit Prabhu V. has been a cornerstone at the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (KSCSTE), serving as Chief Scientist. His instrumental role in establishing specialized schemes for Innovation and Research in Engineering & Technology underscores his commitment to advancing scientific endeavours. With a focus on Administration, Planning, Implementation, and Management, he has successfully spearheaded various initiatives, including Research support systems, Innovation and Technology Development, and Science Popularization programs.
Dr. Prabhu has been a catalyst for promoting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Kerala, fostering an IP-literate society through extensive awareness programs. With 35 years of research experience, spanning control systems for ISRO, energy-efficient gadgets, and renewable energy systems, he has significantly contributed to Kerala’s progress in energy conservation. His dedication extends to knowledge development, fostering a learning society in Kerala and contributing to human resource development. Dr. Prabhu’s unwavering commitment to driving innovation, technology development, and academic excellence is commendable and inspiring.
An accomplished author, Dr. Prabhu has written two books in Malayalam on IPR and Lightings and Lamps, and co-authored five books on environment and biodiversity. The recipient of the Children’s Science Literature Award (2018), he has delivered expert lectures, published numerous papers, and actively participates in various professional bodies. His areas of interest encompass Technology Management, R&D Management, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and IP management.
Environmental Science, Forestry & Wild Life
Dr. Syam Viswanath, (former Director), KFRI, Thrissur
Dr. Syam Viswanath, a stalwart in agroforestry and conservation research at ICFRE for over 25 years, has made noteworthy contributions. With 140 publications, his focus lies in Traditional Agroforestry Systems (TAFS), particularly in rain-fed regions of India. Instrumental in promoting Sandalwood-based agroforestry nationwide, Dr. Viswanath coordinated the Sandalwood promotion and cultivation training program at IWST Bangalore from 2008-2018. Recognized for his expertise, he joined the Sandalwood development committee under the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, NITI Aayog, in 2021.
Recent work highlights bamboo conservation and domestication, impacting policy decisions. Dr. Viswanath actively promotes non-thorny bamboo cultivation, developing packages for species like Guadua angustifolia (2012), Dendrocalamus stocksii (2012), Dendrocalamus brandisii (2013), and Bambusa balcooa (2021). In Agroforestry, his research centers on Traditional Agroforestry models across India. Recognized with the Dr KG Tejwani Memorial Award in 2021 by ISAF, Dr. Viswanath’s leadership at KFRI earned the institute the Best Performing Institute of KSCSTE for 2021. Joining ICFRE-IFGTB Coimbatore in September 2023, Dr. Viswanath superannuated on December 31, 2023. He continues advisory roles for the National Bamboo Mission and APAFRI, serving as a PAC member for DST, Govt. of India.
Fisheries & Veterinary Sciences
Dr. A.K. Beena, College of Diary Sciences, Thrissur
Dr. A K Beena is the Professor and Head of the Department of Dairy Microbiology at the College of Dairy Science and Technology, Mannuthy, in the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. With a Ph.D. in Dairy Science obtained in 2010 and an MVSc. in Dairy Science in 1996, she brings over two decades of experience. Starting as a Veterinary Surgeon in the Animal Husbandry Department, Kerala (1996-1998), Dr. Beena progressed to Professor in 2015. She has showcased leadership as the Associate Dean of the Verghese Kurien Institute of Dairy and Food Technology.
Specializing in lactic acid bacteria, probiotics, and fermented milk products, Dr. Beena has mentored 12 doctoral students, 20 M.Tech students, and 35 M.Sc. students from outside the university. Beyond mentoring, she has contributed to the academic landscape, serving on multiple university boards. Dr. Beena’s commitment extends beyond her institution; she actively participates in national projects like NAHEP and serves as an expert for ICAR exams and the Export Inspection Council. Her dedication to research is evident in her 48 published research articles, and she also reviews for Elsevier journals in Food Science and Technology. Dr. A K Beena stands as a distinguished figure, making substantial contributions to both academia and the field of Dairy Science.
Dr. Satheesan, B., Malabar Cancer Centre, Thalassery
With a distinguished career spanning over two decades, Dr. Satheesan Balasubramanian is an accomplished Director at Malabar Cancer Centre, Thalassery. Holding an MS MCh in Surgical Oncology, he has demonstrated his commitment to healthcare excellence. Dr. Balasubramanian’s journey includes pivotal roles, such as Professor and Head at Malabar Cancer Centre, Associate Professor at Cancer Institute (W.I.A), Adyar, Chennai, and a Consultant General Surgeon at a Multispecialty Hospital in Rural Kerala. His academic contributions extend to numerous publications, and he holds one US patent. Driven by a passion for innovative medical solutions, he has guided research theses, developed cutting-edge technologies, and successfully transferred methodologies predicting the location and depth of abnormal tissue in breast cancer cases. His pioneering spirit is evident in the creation of novel surgical instruments and groundbreaking procedures, reflecting his commitment to advancing the field of surgical oncology. Dr. Balasubramanian’s leadership continues to be a driving force in the pursuit of excellence in cancer care and research.
Dr. K. Sudha, Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod
Dr. K. Sudha earned her PhD in Zoology from the University of Calicut in 1993. With 29 years of teaching experience at the post-graduate level since 1994, she serves as Professor at the Department of Zoology, School of Biological Science, Central University of Kerala since March 2017. As a Principal Investigator, she successfully led four major research projects funded by organizations like International Foundation for Science, BRNS, UGC, KSCSTE, and SERB from 2004-2020.
Her Aquatic Animal Health-focused research, exploring disease monitoring, host-parasite interactions, and defense mechanisms of shellfish, is impactful. Dr. Sudha’s interests include growth-reproduction interaction in crustaceans, biodiversity of parasitic isopods and copepods, and developing treatment strategies against aquatic pathogens. With 47 research papers, and two book chapters, she has made significant contributions.
Beyond research, Dr. Sudha actively engages in academic and professional bodies. Recognized for teaching excellence, she received awards like the Dr. P.K. Rajan Memorial Excellent Award (2012), Prof. Sivaprasad Memorial Award (2013), and St. Berchmans Award (2013).
Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Prof. Aparna Laxmanan, Dept of Mathematics, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi
Dr. Aparna Lakshmanan S., a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, took her Ph.D. from the same institution in 2009. With over a decade of teaching experience, she served as an Assistant Professor and later as an Associate Professor at St. Xavier’s College for Women, Aluva, before her current role at Cochin University of Science and Technology.
In the realm of research, Dr. Lakshmanan has provided guidance for three awarded projects, submitted one, and supervises five ongoing endeavors. Her accolades include the NPTEL Enthusiasts Award (2020) and the Best Alumni Award from St. Joseph’s College, Irinjalakuda (2019). Noteworthy recognitions also include the IMS Prize for Discrete Mathematics (2013), the Kerala State Young Scientist Award (2012), and securing the first rank for M.Sc. Mathematics (2002).
An active member of professional organizations like the AMS, IMS, RMS, ADMA, and KMA, Dr. Lakshmanan contributes as a reviewer for renowned journals and has organized numerous conferences. With 40 published papers in peer-reviewed journals, she stands as a distinguished figure in mathematics, making significant strides in both academia and research.
Dr. Sankara Narayanan Potty, CMET, Thrissur
Dr. S N Potty, a senior Scientist at C-MET, Thrissur, took his Ph.D. in Physics (Nanomaterials) in 2001 and completed post-doctoral research at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, in 2006. He started his career in CMET in 1997, and with over two decades at C-MET, he excels in materials for transparent electronics, nanomaterials, thin-film solar cells, and plasmonic materials.
His notable contributions include technologies like transparent heater films for defrosting, cost-effective transparent electrical lines on glass, and coatings for plasmonic sensing. In collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, he developed a portable biosensor for foodborne bacteria detection and a plasmonic-based snake venom detection technology with a start-up. Dr. Potty received awards like the DST Fast Track Research Award (2005) and the Young Scientist Award (2006). He was the Second Winner of the National Research Innovation Challenge 2022. Involved in eight scientific projects, he has supervised two Ph.D. students and six M.Tech/M.Phil. projects. With roles in academic boards and committees, Dr. Potty actively contributes to Digital University Kerala and the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University. Holding three awarded patents, two filed, and three under process, Dr. S N Potty is a leading figure in materials science and electronics technology.
Scientific and Social Responsibility
Dr. Anilkumar, MSSRF, Wayanad.
Dr. Anilkumar is an Indian Botanist specializing in biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and equitable benefit sharing. With a career spanning around 30 years, he collaborated closely with agricultural scientist Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, holding key positions at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai. His expertise lies in Community Biodiversity Management, integrating conservation, cultivation, consumption, and commerce aspects of Plant Genetic Resource management with tribal and smallholder communities. His impactful work extends to diverse socio-economic and ecological contexts, notably in the Western Ghats.
Having earned his Ph.D. from Calicut University in 1994 under Prof. M. Sivadasan in Systematic Botany, Dr. Anilkumar has an extensive publication record with over 150 papers. He received the Watson International Scholarship on Environment in 2006-2007 and the Alcoa-IUCN fellowship on conservation in 2008. Dr. Anilkumar has also contributed to committees like the Steering Committee of the International Partnership on Satoyama Initiative (IPSI). His commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable practices underscores his influential role in botanical research.