Dr. Md. Salimullah

Director General (Additional Charge), National Institute of Biotechnology, Bangladesh


Blue Economy

November 28, 2021   |  3:00pm - 4:15pm  |  GMT+6

Brief on Education: MSc (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), M Phil, PhD (Major Area: Biotechnology)

Brief on Profession: Research and Administration

Brief on Special achievement: More than 25 years research experiences on Transcriptomics, Transcriptome protocol development, Immunology, Vaccine and drug design, diagnostic kit development, etc. in home and abroad. Around 60 research articles have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Nature Genetics and Nature Methods.

Brief on contribution of you and your organization in:
The People's Republic of Bangladesh is located in the north-eastern part of South Asia. The name 'Bangladesh' literally means the land of Bangla, the language of the inhabitants of Bangladesh. The total land area of our country is 1,47,570 square km. and total population is 167.6 million. Bangladesh is a developing country. The economy of this country is mainly based on agriculture. The country also earns a large amount of foreign remittance by exporting RMG and Manpower. Bangladesh has achieved GDP growth at more than 6 percent on an average during the last decade.

The applications of biotechnology include therapeutics and diagnostics for health, genetically modified crops for agriculture, processed foods, bioremediation, waste treatment, and energy production. Biotechnology has applications in four major industrial areas: health care (medical), crop production and agriculture, non-food (industrial) uses of crops and other products such as biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels, and environmental issues.

In 1999, the government established the National Institute of Biotechnology (NIB) under the Ministry of Science and Technology to strengthen biotechnological research and applications in the country. Currently, the institute employs 126 people, but that figure is expected to rise to >1000 by 2030. It is expected that the establishment of this Institute is essential for ensuring socioeconomic development for ever increasing population of the country through the benefits of biotechnology. NIB conducts research in the areas of agriculture, health and environmental biotechnology exploiting state of the art technologies such as Next-generation DNA sequencing, Crispr/cas gene editing, recombinant DNA technology. Institute has explored research funds from Bangladesh government as well as national and international organizations, such as ICGEB, TWAS, BAS-USDA, IORA, KGF, BARC, Japan government, etc. Tissue culture-derived disease-free plantlets, transgenic plants of biotic and abiotic tolerance, biofertilizer for rice crop, Rota virus vaccines and drug design; animal vaccines, diagnostic kits, biomarker for early detection of diabetes and breast cancer; probiotic for animal and fish feed supplements, leather and textile enzymes are among the core research activities. It plans to build genomics and proteomics research facilities, national gene bank, and biotechnology incubation centers by 2025. Transferring these technologies will directly benefit Bangladesh's economy and advancement of the country's fourth industrial revolution goals. It also provides DNA sequencing services to researchers.

The National Institute of Biotechnology (NIB) has also launched Human Resource Development (HRD) program. The institute currently offers hands-on biotechnology training program for graduate, postgraduate students and biotechnology professionals that includes current technical information and novel biotechnology methodologies. Across the country, farmer and stakeholder awareness campaigns on the benefits and potentials of biotechnology are being periodically conducted. NIB also serves as a national focal point to coordinate biotechnological activities in the country. It plays a key role in the development of National Biotechnology Policy and action plans to stimulate the biotechnological activities. It also organizes seminar, workshop, biotech fair to disseminate biotechnological information among stakeholders. NIB is also conducting research program on Marine or blue biotechnology. Blue biotechnology is the application of science and technology to living aquatic organisms for the production of knowledge, goods and services. Marine biotechnology (or blue-biotechnology) is a young subset of biotechnology and simply refers as the science and technology that uses marine bioresources such as fish, algae, bacteria and invertebrates, or their parts, to bring desirable products and other benefits for humans. Transformation of marine bioresources (main, co-product and by-products) into food, medicine, animal feed, chemicals, energy, packaging, and related bio-based items i.e. cosmetics, nutritional supplements, enzymes, agrochemicals etc. could help meet the Bangladesh future challenges for the 21st century. Interest in marine biotechnology has been gaining momentum across the globe and the activity is expected to generate 10-12% annual growth in the coming years. This is largely for meeting the growing demands of bioproducts and biomaterials that cannot be guaranteed from terrestrial resources alone. In these respects, some long-term initiatives have been taken to the utilization of algae/sea weeds and other unicellular organisms as food additives to enhance nutritional values of marine product as well as to explore bioactive compounds against diseases.

The Global Biotechnology Market stood at USD627.63 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.57% during the forecast period. The Global Biotechnology Market can be segmented based on application, end-user, region and company. Based on application, the market can be categorized into bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-IT, bio-industrial and bio-agriculture. The bio-pharmaceuticals application segment is expected to dominate the market in 2021 with an overall market share of around 34.43%. Furthermore, the sudden outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for biotechnology products such as vaccines, diagnostic tests, drugs, among others; thereby positively impacting the market growth. In the context of Bangladesh, biotechnological progress is still in its infancy. However, the possibilities and potentials of the biotech industry in our country are very promising. A significant number of technologies have been transferred in the market. Such as plant tissue culture derived plant lets, New plant varieties of rice and jute, Bt eggplant, Human and animal vaccines, Monosex tilapia, biogas production technology, unicellular protein spirulina, ethanol, vinegar, and fermented alcoholic drinks technology, enzymes for the leather sector, and biofertilizer for pulses, etc. We still have a lot of R&D opportunities in several fields. Local and international private enterprises have already made investments in the biotechnology product manufacturing and R&D sectors. Biotech industry plots have been allotted individually in Hitech Parks in several regions and special economic zones of Bangladesh.

Message on Bangladesh International Investment Summit 2021:

'The strength and opportunities in the biotechnology sector is now discussed worldwide, as it has created a revolution in the fields of therapeutics development, forensic science, agriculture and food preparation, fuel production as well as other industrial products, with a compounded annual growth rate of 17.51 per cent in the last 10 years. This is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Bangladesh could become a lucrative commercial biotechnology-based investment destination in the future in the area of bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-IT, bio-industrial and bio-agriculture, with special opportunities of exploring the marine bio-resources'.