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International foundation for science funds KIAS research

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KIAS scientist Dr. Basant Giri has received individual research grant from the International Foundation for Science (IFS). The funding was granted for a project that aims to develop inexpensive paper-based analytical methods for measuring the quality of medicinal plants. According to Dr. Giri new methods will involve the quantitative determination of total phenolic, flavonoids and antioxidant scavenging activity of plant materials. The phenolic compounds (e.g., flavonoids) in plant are widely known antioxidants, which help to protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals and are associated with the cure of various degenerative diseases. To uncover the medicinal value of plant based products, routine screening of a large number of samples is required. The paper device will be modified with appropriate reagents for given test reactions before sample solution is added. A smartphone camera will be used to capture the signal produced from test reactions. The new methods require relatively small sample/reagent volume thereby generate less waste. Dr. Giri hopes that this new high throughput method will allow to uncover the medicinal value of plants in, specially, resource limited countries like Nepal.

IFS, based in Sweden, supports excellent individual and collaborative scientific research to build capability of early-career scientists in the developing world. IFS grants are highly competitive. The grants are awarded after reviewing proposals by expert panel.

This grant is a major step towards building a world class laboratory in KIAS.