Pakistani cotton scientist declared best 2012 researcher in the world


WASHINGTON,  May 9: Pakistani cotton scientist Dr. Yusuf Zafar, who is among the pioneers in establishing a strong and viable cotton biotechnology research in the South Asian country, has been  recognized as the best researcher of the year by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), 

He is currently the Chief Scientist/Director General, Agri & Biotechnology Division, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Islamabad,

The scientist has published over 110 scientific papers in reputed national and international journals. In cotton virology his group covered nearly 90% of the global published literature.

According to an ICAC statement, Dr Zafar’s strong collaborative efforts resulted in joint research with major cotton groups in the world particularly in Australia, China, UK and USA.

He remained in the front line to establish Biosafety Protocols, Plant Breeder Rights, Intellectual Property Rights/Patents and ISO certification in Pakistan.

Dr. Zafar and his team substantially contributed towards academics and produced nearly 100 M. Phil and 30 Ph. D in the country on various aspects of R&D in cotton.

He organized 32 national/international training courses, workshops and conferences on various aspects of cotton.

In 2001 the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Zafar’s parent organization, awarded him Best Scientist of the Year Award. The President of Pakistan awarded him ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) in 2004, a highest recognition for a researcher in the country.

Dr. Zafar is a member of USDA Cochran Fellow on Agriculture Biotechnology and also won Rockefeller Foundation and UNESCO Research Awards on Agri-Biotechnology.

He is at present on Board of Governors of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology-ICGEB (Italy), FAO country focal person on agriculture biotechnology and member of the Cotton Policy Committee of the Govt. of Pakistan.

The ‘Scientist of the year -2012’ award was announced by ICAC last week .  ICAC is an intergovernmental body with 54 members and provides services to Common Funds for Commodity (CFC), an organisation of UNCTAD-UN family.

Applications for the award are invited each year by the Washington DC-based institute and the selection committee comprises five anonymous judges outside the ICAC Secretariat.

The other researcher honored with the distinction this year is Dr. Andrew H. Paterson, Regents Professor, heads the University of Georgia’s Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory (PGML) using genomics to study crop improvement, plant biodiversity, and molecular evolution.

The Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory has advanced knowledge of cotton, sorghum, sugarcane, peanut, Miscanthus, Bermuda grass, and many other crops, several weeds, one nitrogen-fixing bacterium (Azospirillum), poultry and viruses.

He has authored 272 scientific papers, 67 book chapters, edited 4 books, given 183  presentations, and been cited over 16,000 times.

Sources: MGCT, ICAC




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