(You may not very often sit tête-à-tête with research scientist like DR. SAMEER MANI DIXIT, working in the field of public health and biotechnology in Nepal. He has been in the research field for quite a year. Currently, he is the country director for CMDN (Centre for Molecular Dynamics Nepal). He has diligently undertaken the research responsibilities for Intrepid Nepal Pvt. Ltd and has been closely associated with the Ministry of Health and Population and the WHO programs. I had a sneaky opportunity of interviewing with him)
1.Please tell us something about your childhood and struggle days (if any)
My childhood was normal, being raised in a good background and amongst famous names. I had my schooling at St. Xaviers, Jawalakhel and joined the College at St. Xaviers Campus, where I was the pioneer batch. Undergraduation was in USA and postgraduation was in Australia. I have double masters and PhD degrees.
2. How you got into this : challenges and significance of your work :
I got into Biotech as it was starting to come up as an important career choice for young people like me at the time. My father also suggested this field as he felt medicine would be merged and would act as a pre- requisite for this field in the future. I liked the idea.
3.What do you specialize in :
I specialize in biomedical research in public health which in turn, means; I focus on research requiring laboratory work, particularly in the areas of micro/immuno/molecular biology.
4.Your opinion in the field of public health research in Nepal :
I think new researchers with new ideas are coming out; however, there is a major constraint in terms of funds for research by Nepali researchers in Nepal. Biomedical research requires more funds than other areas and therefore government as well as donors appears to seemingly put money where more work can be carried out with the same amount of funds.
5.Recently, you’d talked about Bio-piracy and its rootedness in under-developed countries. Could you please elaborate?
Bio-piracy is the term I am using (not sure if others do too) which pretty much describes the process of human biological samples leaving the country at the pretext of research without the country profiting from the process in terms of capacity building of laboratories and institutions in the country. Usually scientists from developing countries exploit the lack of funds in Nepal to "buy" samples by providing "help" in accessing the samples for transport to their labs where they can carry out a number of other research activities without knowledge of research subject, Nepali researcher or Nepal Government.
6.What is GARP; its work and importance :
GARP is Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership. It is a Bill and Melinda Gates supported initiative led by US based Center for Disease Dynamics and Economic Policy (CDDEP). Currently this is taking place in 6 countries including Nepal as the latest country to be part of this. The program aims to mitigate the increasing antibiotic resistance evidence seen in developing countries due to antibiotic use, abuse and misuse. This will be done by evidence generation and policy document development to share with Government.
7.What say for those who want to take research as their mainstream dream?
It is a difficult road, but if you can hold on for a few years, there are plenty of exciting opportunities as well as earning money doing what you enjoy. You have to be smart, refrain from copying other people, and think of new ideas and concepts. If you have ideas, try to put them in action. Network and collaborate with like-minded people.
8.Your final words :
Nepal needs young scientists to contribute to the country. There are hurdles, but there are plenty of examples of people doing wonderful things in the country. Don't wait for the ship to come to you. Go to the ship, no matter how hard it may feel at first. If you really want something bad enough, my experience shows that you can have it, provided you work hard for it. Motivation, Effort and Perseverance should be your weapons.Thanks.