On March 19, Dr. Ganesh K. Jaganathan, a post-doctor in School of Medical Instrument and Food Engineering together with his supervisor, Professor Baolin Liu, Executive Dean of the Graduate School and Dean of School of Medical Instrument and Food Engineering, accepted the interview.
Born in India yet growing up in the U.K., Dr. Jaganathan graduated for his master’s degree in University of Bedfordshire in collaboration with Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Millennium Seed Bank Project, U.K. before he came to University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST) in 2012. Since then, he has completed his doctor’s degree in biomedical engineering within 3 years and two postdoctoral research programs in different fields ---Power Engineering and Optical Engineering, each for two years at USST, respectively. With his own hard work, and the support from Professor Liu, he has achieved a lot in the research of seeds. He has published more than 50 papers, amongst which 35 are in international peer-reviewed SCI journals, including Perspectives in Plant Ecology Evolution and Systematics, Seed Science Research, Plant Biology, etc. With over 300 books in his dormitory, it is like a mini-library for searching materials, reading books and writing papers.
Now he is applying for a job and hoping to be a teacher at USST. If he is successful, he would be the first international student employed by USST after his graduation. He wishes to conduct further research on seeds. As for the magic power of seeds, he explained to us, “All of the evolved organisms have offspring’s in our planet with two choices either to grow or to die, and we cannot stop this process. However, seeds can do that. They can remain dormant in soil for thousands of years before sprouting, thus stopping the biological clock.” He told us that he had once read a paper written by Chinese authors from Suzhou. Those authors found that some lotus seeds stayed in the soil for 13,000 years, which was even earlier than the time when the first humans appeared in Suzhou. It is the magic power that made him be obsessed with the seeds.
When talking about why he prefers USST rather than other universities in Shanghai, Jaganathan mentioned, firstly, USST is a university where teachers and students are friendly and helpful, which creates an atmosphere full of freedom and harmony. He also shows great respect for his supervisor, Professor Liu, an absolutely patient and helpful scholar who always answers his puzzles in time. According to him, “Professor Liu is a model for me. While working together with Professor Liu, I was greatly inspired by his ideas. He is full of wisdom and always motivates me to think deeply.”
Secondly, he feels satisfied with USST’s laboratories equipped with advanced instruments like differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to measure thermal properties of water in biological specimens. He has used it to recognize the importance of ice formation during seed storage. He told us the students here work harder than those in the U.K. With great scientific research conditions provided by USST and his own sufficient research enthusiasm, he has established a research group made up of 1 associate Professor, 1 PhD student, 5 undergraduates and 3 post-graduates. Their experiments in the laboratories often last 9 or10 hours. They work together to embrace and overcome different difficulties. Every Friday they have a discussion on some new findings and ideas about linking cryogenic biomedicine technology with seed storage, which promotes the new research for School of Medical Instrument and Food Engineering on the basis of cells and human tissues preservation.
His supervisor, Professor Baolin Liu as an influential expert in refrigeration and cryogenic engineering, thinks highly of Dr. Jaganathan who is very smart and hard-working, which makes him the first international student of USST who has obtained Research Fund for International Young Scientists of NSFC. He was very active in the research of seeds in the world and was invited to attend the research events in Brazil, India and Indonesia etc. He was also invited to join in Doctoral Dissertation Defense of Zhejiang University as a committee member. His research is multidisciplinary in approach and has a global perspective, leading to publishing with co-authors from >15 countries (America to New Zealand) on topics including seed cryopreservation, dormancy and germination modeling. In addition to being a publisher, he has reviewed more than 150 manuscripts for many leading ecology and low-temperature journals, including Acta Oecologia, Seed Science Research, Global Change Biology, etc. He was awarded ‘outstanding contribution in reviewing’ award by Elsevier in 2016.At the end of our interview, Dr. Jaganathan showed great ambitions about the future. He claimed: “Everyone only lives once, so he or she has to do something valuable and meaningful.” He is devoted to doing research and writing related papers. That’s exactly what he would like to do. Now, Dr. SEED is looking forward to “seeding” at USST and conducting more significant research in the coming days.