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International students from USA get research experience in Nepal

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A group of undergraduate students Saint Mary’s College, Indiana, USA recently completed their five-week long research work in Nepal at the Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS). Three students – Laurel Lown, Marry Green ad Heather Miller were accompanied by biology Professors Dr. Don Paetkau and Dr. Reena Lamichhane Khadka. The students were also mentored by KIAS scientist Dr. Basant Giri who serves as international faculty in this program.

Marry, Laurel (top) and Heather (below) during their final presentation at KIAS

This three-year long program is supported by NSF under international research experience for students (IRES) and provides research and training opportunities to US students. These students are developing and evaluating paper-based devices for screening the quality of pharmaceutical and water samples for possible contamination. The paper-based assays that are being developed and evaluated are low-cost, require only small volumes of liquid, use readily available materials, and require no power source. During this visit the US students were partnered with Nepali students Rojina Duwal, Pravin Pokhrel and Sadikshya Shakya from KIAS. The students from both countries got the opportunity to share and exchange their experiences and work and develop collaborative relationships with students, faculty and researchers that may help build competency as global scientists and engineers.

This year the group particularly had yeast-based paper assay for testing quality of  screening and microPAD for testing E. Coli in water samples. Students collected drinking and lake water samples and pharmaceutical samples from Kathmandu valley, Chitwan and Kaski districts of Nepal. The samples were tested in the laboratory of Center for Analytical Sciences, KIAS using paper-devices. The IRES group also visited some cultural sites and touristic places in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara.

In a small gathering on Friday, June 29th executive director of KIAS, Dr. Prakash K. Paudel congratulated the team for successful completion of Nepal stay.

Dr. Don Paetkau and Dr. Prakash K. Paudel during farewell program