✍️ Nam Raj Bhatta
Dr. Niranjan Koirala Nepal born researcher, earned his Ph.D. from South Korea (2016) and double Postdoctoral fellowships from UNAM, Mexico (2017-18) and UM, Macau SAR (2019-20). His interest is in the field of pharmaceutical engineering, pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry, natural products drugs discovery, functional foods, diabetes, metabolic disorders and biofuels. Along with research, Dr. Koirala has experiences in supervising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. He has served as the Head of the department at various colleges in Nepal. He is actively serving in more than 20 international ISI journals as an editorial board member and reviewer. Further, he has been invited and participated in more than 30 national and international conferences and workshops in the capacity of an advisory committee member, organizing committee member, keynote speaker, and invited speaker. He has published above 25 original articles in reputed peer-reviewed journals and holds 4 Korean patents. He has a cumulative impact factor of 50, global citations of 500 and h-index 12 as of 2020. In 2017 along with a dedicated team he helped found Grasella Herbs Pvt. Ltd, a company working on essential oils and herbs of medicinal importance in Nepal where he is the Chief scientist. He is also active towards the promotion and conservation of natural products and biodiversity in Nepal and he founded Dr. Koirala Research Institute for Biotechnology and Biodiversity (Dr. KRIBB), a research based NGO Located at Kathmandu, Nepal.
Technically Dr. Koirala’s skills are in screening of medicinal plants and microorganisms, genome mining, gene isolation using PCR, cloning and protein purification, strain engineering, metabolic engineering, metabolic co-factor channeling, synthesis using enzyme biocatalysts, bioprocess-fermentation technology, post-translational modifications, testing biological activities, methanogenesis optimization, biogas/biodiesel from agriculture waste, operation of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometer (LC-MS and GC-MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis. His research works have collaborated with the American, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Colombian, Korean and Nepalese Groups till date and its expanding more. Moreover, most of his Ph.D. works have been granted patents rights by Korean Intellectual Patents Office, South Korea. The methods used for biotransformation of important flavonoids for the production of methylated compounds were patented. Genkwanin, sakuranetin, rhamnetin and several methylated iso-flavonoids were produced using this technique. This technique proved to be significant as the methylated compounds were found to be more stable metabolically and biological activities increased significantly.
Research works of Dr. Koirala have been cited by the international scientific community and he is one of the leading scientist in Nepal having a respectable citations. His research works have been published in internationally reputed journals like Journal of Biotechnology, Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Enzyme and Microbial Technology, World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Journal of Clinical Medicine, Current Microbiology, BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies to name a few selected ones. Dr. Koirala is actively involved in peer review and editorial process of more than 20 SCIE journals. He selects an article to review based on his research experience and background and give his time to study and evaluate the originality, novelty and significance of the research. He is very fair and straightforward in this matter as he believes peer review should not be biased irrespective of whether you know the authors or not. Equally peer review should not be judged based on the contributing author’s university world ranking or GDP of the author’s country. Research and peer review ethics is a must for him which he believe to be the contributing factor for the overall development of science and technology and economic growth of any country.
Dr. Koirala has already worked as a supervisor in projects which are more dedicated to pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry. Medicinal plants, herbs and several wild vegetables from Nepal have been investigated for their phenolic contents, flavonoid contents, antioxidant potential, RBC membrane stabilization activity, cytotoxic actions, antipyretic, antinociceptive, and anti-inflammatory activities and many more. Significant results providing the evidences for their possible use as human medicines were elucidated by his research team. Most of the research projects done in Nepal in the area of medicinal chemistry were in collaboration with educational institutions and Dr. Koirala Research Institute. Dr. Koirala believes in Nepal’s biodiversity and natural products to harbor numerous medicinal compounds that can cure an array of diseases and disorders including diabetes and cancer. He is optimistic that one day he and his team will be able to isolate therapeutic drugs for diabetes and cancer.
Dr. Koirala has been awarded the best oral presentation awards and best poster presentation awards in the International conferences; Nepal Bidhya Bhushan “A” medal from the honorable President of Nepal; Dean’s Choice award by Sun Moon University, South Korea; BRICPL Young Scientist award by Biologix Research and Innovation Center, India to name a few selected ones. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, International Chemical Biology Society and a lifetime member of Biotechnology Society of Nepal. He likes working as an organizing committee member for the International conferences along with giving a presentation as an invited speaker. He believes participating in conferences will help to boost his knowledge in his field and increases scientific networking for possible future research collaborations and jobs. He smiles telling us that it’s always great to meet Nobel Prize winning laureates in the conferences. His idol is French Biochemist Louis Pasteur.
Dr. Koirala is an experienced teacher after teaching in several colleges in Nepal for almost a decade. His teaching ideology is that everyone must have a distinctive teaching climate in which they can develop mentally, emotionally and socially. Teaching is his passion and he enjoy the subjects he teaches to his students. The subjects he teaches to the University level students’ is mostly related to biotechnology, pharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry, and biochemistry. He has been teaching since 2010, and he has learnt and acclimatized with the changing scenario of International education system. From the experience of almost one decade in teaching and research Dr. Koirala tells that he has met and taught hundreds of students, and at the same time they have also silently motivated him that it’s worth being an academician especially when he see his students doing and growing well in career. He feels satisfied.
Finally, Dr. Koirala hopes in the end that he can also inspire and promote research oriented academic traits in students and eventually prepare them towards their successful career in Nepal. He believes, soon, Nepal will be a leading producer and exporter of herbal and medicinal products.