Post Date
Apr 25 2024

Drought Research Earns Dr Khurram Bashir Prestigious RIKEN Award

Zubia Ahmad

RIKEN, Japan's largest comprehensive research institution renowned for high-quality research in a diverse range of scientific disciplines, has conferred the RIKEN EIHO (Significant Achievement) Award 2024 to Dr Khurram Bashir for his “Groundbreaking Research on Enhanced Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants Using Ethanol”. 


Every year, the president of RIKEN confers the prestigious RIKEN EIHO Award on work that has substantial scientific or societal impact. Dr Khurram Bahir participated in the online ceremony   from his office at SBASSE. 


Dr Khurram Bashir, an Associate Professor in the Department of Life Sciences at Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) and a visiting researcher at RIKEN, spearheaded research with far-reaching implications for agriculture and sustainable crop production. Ethanol treatment significantly improves crops’ ability to withstand drought stress by regulating water evaporation from plants.
While Dr Khurram primarily focused on drought resistance, his fellow researchers at RIKEN concentrated on heat and salt tolerance. Their collaborative efforts culminated in a publication in 2022, with Dr Khurram serving as the lead author, for which they now hold a patent. Dr Khurram extends his gratitude to his colleagues at SBASSE, the Plant Genomic Network Research Team at RIKEN and his mentor, Dr Motoaki Seki, for their invaluable support and insights throughout his research journey.

From Lab to the Fields  


Dr Khurram has utilised the agricultural land at LUMS to test his research on enhancing drought resistance mainly in cotton and rice crops   through ethanol treatment. In parallel, this innovative approach is being tested internationally across various climatic conditions in Europe, South, and North America, to evaluate its effectiveness in diverse environments. Collaborations with agricultural industries are also underway to scale up the research and contribute to the global crop production. 
Reflecting on his motivations, Dr Khurram shares, “My primary focus is on pure science; however, it's fascinating when such science has the potential to transition to applied research. It's incredibly rewarding to see work that is driven purely by scientific curiosity eventually have the potential to serve a greater purpose."
It is this unique blend of curiosity-driven research and its practical application in enhancing global agricultural practices that has earned Dr Khurram Bashir and his fellow researchers the prestigious RIKEN EIHO Award.