Biotechnology Engineers - feeders of the global needs*
Dr. Sudheer A. Shetty
Labland Biotech Private Limited
Plant Tissue Culture and Biofuel Division
8th K.M., K.R.S. Main Road, Mysore 570 016 India
President of today's
function, Prof. Basavarajaiah, the Vice Principal of this
prestigious college, Syed Rehman, Guest of Honour of this function
Prof. Halappa Gowda, Teaching and non-teaching Staff of the
Department of Biotechnology, and Members of the Association of
It gives me great
pleasure to be with you today on the occasion of the inauguration of
Neogene 2005. I am attending a function like this after a span of
about 7 years since I left the Department of Applied Botany and
Biotechnology, University of Mysore in 1998. I have always enjoyed
organizing a function like this during my research and post-Ph.D.
I apologize to Ms.
Kavya and Mr. Sri Harsha whom I asked several inconvenient questions
when they came to invite me. Perhaps my questions must have bothered
them. But I was happy that, the next day when I asked the same
questions to them they had come prepared to bat successfully.
I would like to share with you some of my experiences as an academician-transformed-biotech businessman. Some of you may benefit from these points.
Expectations and the Capabilities
Today, the world is looking at Biotechnologists for their role in the fields of health care, food, energy, agriculture and environment. The common man has more confidence in us now than ever before. The society needs our active participation in its all round development.
We all have the
capacity to contribute to the field of biotechnology. We have
inherent ability to achieve the goals. We have the required genes.
These genes need to be activated. We need to open our inner eyes,
'the Antar Chakshu'. Rather than just working for specific results,
we should try to analyse the results that we get during the course
of our study. This will lead to amazing observations, discoveries,
findings and contributions. Sometimes, the byproducts would be more
attractive than the main products under study.
As given in 'Someshwara
Shataka', we have to become Sarvagnas (Scholars) by acquiring
knowledge from various sources. But in my opinion, we should also
become Karnas (Donors) in imparting the knowledge gained, back to
the society in the form of productive contributions. It may be in
the form of a good teacher, a good researcher, a good industrialist
and more than that as a good Biotechnologist. When we come out of
college at the end of the course, we will be armoured with many
tools of Biotechnology. However, our success as Biotechnologists
depends on how efficiently we use these tools for the benefit of
society, for food & energy security of the country, and for the
cleaner environment of the world.
About our experience
We started Labland in
the year 1994, and the commercial operations in 1995. My colleague
Dr. Geetaa and I had shared a dream of doing something where our
knowledge could be made use of for the benefit of the society. That
is how Labland came into existence. It was a tough decision of
quitting about 15 years of academic life and entering into a totally
unknown business field, and understanding the business language. And
after 11+ years of business experience, I can tell you now that I
could not have gathered this experience had I been in the
If you want to join an organization as a technical person you will have to be an expert in that specific field. However, if you are starting an organization on your own, you should be a master of all. You should be a good administrator, an efficient technocrat, a convincing personnel manager, a productive marketing manager & sales person, a reliable borrower, and a successful risk manager. Problems are plenty when the organization is of medium scale. In small-scale organization, the activity is smaller; people involved are less in number and handling the affairs becomes less laborious. In larger industries, you can decentralize all these activities and you can be a coordinator. But a medium scale industry is like managing a middle class family. You have to balance the budget and the activity. The slightest imbalance will tilt the whole organization.
Current Product for the Future
In the past 11 and odd
years, we have successfully faced many googlies, and bungi jumps.
Now we have created a brand name of ours, globally. Now we have a
product that is required for sustainable rural development, for
minimizing country's import bills, for reducing global pollution and
finally for augmenting the energy needs. The product is
plant-derived Biodiesel. May be on some other occasion I will
elaborate on this activity.
Dare to Dream
I strongly feel that
there is ample opportunity in every failure. And there are
successful stories in every opportunity. We have only to be ever
prepared for these opportunities. As Biotechnologists and
Biotechnology Engineers, we have good opportunities to show the
world, that we can greatly contribute to the development of the
society we live in. It may be in the upliftment of the people who
are in the below poverty line (BPL), in the evolving of new food and
plantation crops, bringing out broad spectrum, less expensive, life
saving drugs, value added industrial products, or in creating a
better environment for our future generations.
We should dare to dream and work hard towards realizing these dreams. Opportunities automatically tap our doors.
Let us live long
let us live for generations; let us live for generations through our
contributions to the society and to the global community. Let us
think locally and grow globally.
* Lecture delivered as Chief Guest of Inaugural
Function of Neogene - 2005, the Association of Biotechnology
Engineers at Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore,
India on the 19th of November, 2005.