The Department of Biomedical Physics & Technology (BMPT) of the University of Dhaka (DU) celebrated its ‘one Joog’ or 12 years through a virtual on-line meeting on 15th November, 2020 with the honorable Vice-Chancellor of DU, Prof. Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman as the Chief Guest and the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof. Dr. Tofail Ahmed Chowdhury as the Special Guest. The founder Chairperson of BMPT, currently an Honorary Professor, Dr. K. Siddique-e Rabbani presented the background of the department and its research activities as the keynote speaker. Foreign guests who reflected on their long association with the research of this department were Emeritus Prof. Dr. Brian H. Brown from Sheffield University, UK, Emeritus Prof. Dr. Adrian J. Wilson from the University of Warwick, UK, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Carla Puglia and Assoc. Prof. Ernst van Groningen, Current and Former Director respectively of the International Science Program of Uppsala University, Sweden. Dr. Abdullah Al Amin, who did his PhD from this department and is now a Post Doc at Chalmers University, Sweden, reflected on his experience as a student and a researcher here. Chairperson of BMPT, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Md. Abdul Kadir Chaired the webinar while Assistant Professor Mr. A S M Shamsul Arefin moderated the whole event.
Mentioning the motivation to work for the people and society as the driving force, Prof. Rabbani started with a historical photograph from 1979, showing Late Dr. Abdus Sattar Syed from BCSIR and Late Professor M Shamsul Islam & himself from the Physics Department of DU, carrying out a measurement on pulsed electromagnetic field for bone healing in their DU laboratory, which pioneered Biomedical Physics research in Bangladesh. Prof. Rabbani recollected the role of these two seniors in research and teaching in this field, which was later invigorated through an academic link with Sheffield University, UK during 1983-92 under the leadership of Professor Islam of DU and Professor B H Brown of UK where Professor Adrian Wilson, among others, played a big role. Subsequent expansion of research in other relevant areas and the success in disseminating some of the outcomes to the society under the leadership of Professor Rabbani led the University to open a new department of Biomedical Physics & Technology on 3 November, 2008. The new department helped in expanding the research and dissemination activities further through its PhD programmes to begin with, later supplemented through a Masters programme. The efforts got a big boost with a generous funding from the International Science Programme of Uppsala University, Sweden, continuing since 2011. Professor Rabbani shed lights on some the notable research innovations and contributions of the group like Focused Impedance Method, Telemedicine, Nerve Conduction studies, Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field therapy, Negative Pressure Canopy for COVID-19 patient management, Safe drinking water via pasteurization etc., among many that came through the last 41 years of research from their group at Physics department first, followed by that at BMPT. He mentioned that several of these have received international acclaims and accolades and are being worked upon further by others, even in the advanced countries. Professor Rabbani also gratefully acknowledged the numerous organisations, Government departments and agencies and corporate bodies that provided financial and other supports to this group over the last 41 years, particularly mentioning the two, British ODA (now DFID) and ISP of Uppsala University, Sweden that were instrumental for its progress.
Emeritus Prof. Brown recollected fond memories of his association with the Biomedical Physics group since his initial visit to Dhaka in 1980s showing some old photos. He expressed his joy that a lot of scientific ideas came into fruition under Prof. Rabbani and praised the transfer of technologies to society from the ideas. Emeritus Prof. Wilson praised the leaderships of Prof. Rabbani and Dr. Kadir in catapulting the research activities with limited resources in this 12 years of BMPT. He was amazed to see the progress and applauded the concepts, hard work and quality of the work as well as of the personnel involved in the journey. Addressing the disparities between private and public healthcare sector in Bangladesh he urged BMPT to reduce the gaps thorough its future scientific and technological endeavours.
Dr. Puglia and Dr. Van Groningen expressed their profound satisfaction over the progress made by BMPT since 2011. They were happy that BMPT have prospered steadily in terms of producing quality post graduate medical physicists and biomedical engineers as the pioneering institute in Bangladesh and contributing significantly in research. They were gratified being a part of the progress of BMPT through their financial contributions and hoped the support to continue.
Prof. Tofail Chowdhury expressed his joy to be present on this milestone event of BMPT as the Dean of the faculty and as the special guest. He was particularly happy about the research outcomes from the department and emphasized his personal experience of taking diagnostic tests from Professor Rabbani in the late 1980’s. Although BMPT is one of the smallest departments of the Science faculty of DU, the quality of post graduates that this department has been able to produce made him a satisfied Dean, he mentioned with enthusiasm.
Honorable Vice Chancellor Prof. Akhtaruzzaman expressed his delight over the activities of BMPT and wished it good luck as the chief guest of the celebration. Linking the 12 year celebration of BMPT to the centenary of DU in 2021, he enthusiastically praised the activities of BMPT that drew attention and accolades from home and abroad. He encouraged BMPT to contribute more through technology and innovation for the greater benefit of the society, especially for the under-privileged people. He concluded by congratulating everyone involved with the department.
Program Chair Dr. Kadir thanked the distinguished speakers and expressed his joy in receiving greetings and messages from alumni and well-wishers from different corners of the globe. He concluded the programme expressing the commitment to sustain the research and the dissemination of the outcomes from BMPT. More than 50 teachers, alumni, students, guests and well-wishers joined the online celebration directly while many more watched the live webcast made through the Facebook page of BMPT at www.bmpt.du.ac.bd, from different parts of the globe. All this made the event a successful and a memorable one. The department plans to arrange a series of webinars over the next year projecting its research activities and inviting active discussions engaging an international audience.