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Ask Kuldip Sidhu for Advice
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Kuldip Sidhu
Kuldip Sidhu

Kuldip Sidhu

Professor of stem cell at UNSW Sydney

UNSW Medicine

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Most Challenges facing by students
Globalisation of education has put students into intense competition where economic parameter is as important as the intellect. Nevertheless it is creating an environment to bring out the best in students and inadvertently sidelining the mediocrity. It is not the acquisition but application of knowledge where skills are sharpened and students are exposed to face the reality of squeezing job market. The new education system intends bring out the best in students by inculcating in them the concept of lateral thinking. Those who don't fit into this model are eliminated.
Most Rewarding Moment
I strongly believe that if I am able to incite one student in a class to take up career in the subject of my specialisation I may be a successful teacher. Passion in teaching and enthusiasm of an inquisitive mind to tantalise desire of learning in students are key to success. I have always cherished my moments with students in teaching and also brought out excellent research talent in some of those students. Some of my graduate students mostly from overseas have attained excellence and are recognised in their field.
My Advice
This changed scenario in education system offers an opportunity to excel provided students put in their 110%. But students need to choose very carefully the area that is in resonance with their aptitude and liking. Sincerity, dedication and persistence are the key factors to attain higher grounds. Proper language learning skills and networking are added advantages. Emotional intelligence is also increasing becoming a very important and relevant factor in this education system. Pursuing a good hobby may also help to shun some of the stresses.
Unique way of teaching
You may call me an old timer, but I still like to go to the library. The multimedia in modern education is considered a revolution to some extend but inadvertently introducing slackness in students. All lectures and slides can be downloaded at will and hence attendance in class is considered not obligatory. However, teacher's enthusiasm to motivate students and answer questions in the class room are the key factors in proper learning. I think there is still a scope for role model for students to learn from. I found a big divide on this issue amongst students coming from developing or developed world. Teachers skill in coping up with multicultural environment in the class is an important factor that should be a part of their ongoing training. Due to limited resources, universities are cutting down on practicum and in reality students need to be exposed more to know how to apply the acquired knowledge in the field.
Important Lesson
I think it is right to say that 'where there is a will there is a way'. Education is a continuous process and is a life long addiction for some. Those who persevere with passion and dedication are likely to prevail. Despite national awardee and professor in one of the premiere institutes in India, I moved out to explore more in my area of expertise both in USA and now in Australia. It has offered me a tremendous opportunity to learn and apply myself to learn more. My humble journey of 30 years from a village in Punjab and now to a stage where I was invited recently to deliver a lecture at the White House to the US Parliament, it has been very fulfilling experience. In Australia we brought first the legislative reforms in stem cell research and then achieved prominence in this field at the international level to work with a Noble Laureate and to publish together in Nature Biotechnology journal(2011)is perhaps the result of persistence and passion.
Outlook about way to raise quality education
I think nations with character are obligated to brings in reforms in every sphere of life. With economic reforms, India is emerging as a wealthy nation but it needs a proper investment in education system to prevent the efflux of students. Despite the best brain in India, the impact factor of the nation is compromised and it needs reinvigorating the reforms at par with the international standards. The education remains the primary responsibility of the government and it has to increase its investment in this sector substantially based on proportional per capita at par with other competing nations. International collaboration in education and setting up of tertiary institutions within India with advanced protocols from developed nations will go a long way. Vocational training, apprenticeship catering to the need of the job market are the other areas that need special attention.
Outlook about increase students’ participation
Students play a vital role in the society and nation building. They are increasing becoming conscious of justice, equality, ethics and social equilibrium. There is the decline in patriotism and national feelings. This is largely driven by the existing inequality in the society and spirit of favouritism, separatism and regionalism. The yardstick of progress of the nation is not always determined by economic parameters but fairness of system and good governance. This will build confidence in youth to participate in national development, national integration and national unity.
About Me
BSC 1972 Medical, first class first, Punjab University, CHD India
MSC 1974 Zoology, first class first, Punjab Agricultural University, LDH India
PhD 1978 Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, LDH India
PDF 1979 Washington University OB/GYN, Barnes Hospital, St. Louis MO USA (with Prof K. L. Polakoski)
STEM CELLS TRAINING 2003 with Prof James Thomson, Wisconsin USA.
GDipBA 2013 Open University Australia.

FACULTY APPOINTMENTS

A/Professor, Stem Cell Biology (Current since Dec 2012)
Centre for Health Brain Ageing
UNSW Medicine,
UNSW NSW Australia

A/ Professor & Director (Nov 2007- Nov 2012)
Stem Cell Lab,
Chair, Stem Cell Biology
UNSW Medicine,
UNSW NSW Australia

Associate Director (Aug 2002 – Oct 2007)
A/Professor (Conjoint)
Diabetes Transplant Unit
Prince of Wales Hospital
& UNSW Medicine
UNSW NSW Australia

Senior Scientist, CRC Marsupial (April 1996 – July 2002)
Macquarie University
North Ryde NSW Australia

Professor of Zoology (Jan 1992 – April 1996)
Way to motivate Students
Teacher has a great role to play to motivate students. It is incumbent on teacher to play a role model. In education, teaching is a skill of two-fold dimensions, the wealth of knowledge and its delivery mechanism. With the convergence of various disciplines, the wealth of knowledge has also increased tremendously that teacher and students are to grapple with. Teachers are to be up-to-date with current knowledge to keep the students motivated and interested in the class. The delivery mechanisms in the class are changing with the evolution of multimedia. Most of the institutions offer refreshing courses for teachers to keep them abreast of the new techniques. Thus continued self learning, self discipline, passion and desire to motivate are parameters of success in teaching.
Family Background
Married - wife, Dr Kiran Sidhu (Clinical Psychologist); two sons, Dr Ankur Sidhu (Surgeon registrar), Robin Sidhu (student, information technology). Two female dogs - Jemma, Honey.
Spare time - I play tennis
My inspiring personality
Two of my teachers, Dr CG Kumbkarni(Zoologist) and Prof SS Guraya (Zoology) at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels greatly influenced my character. Dr Kumbkarni, a very progressive and intelligent teacher with great sense of humour and Prof Guraya a dedicated and passionate teacher and a believer.
Favorite Non-Academic books
Autobiographies of those who made a difference to the world - just finished a book on Charles Darwin's passion at the Galapagos Islands, South America that lead to his historical theory on 'Origin of Species'. Charles Darwin was not a scientist but a naturalist and his passion for nature brought a radical change.
In addition I do read about nature and human evolution. The vastness of universe and resilience of human biology are fascinating.
Future of Indian Education System
Currently the education system is undergoing a rapid change to meet the need of globalisation of students. There is an intensive competition amongst institutions to attract those overseas students. The education institutions have turned into industry where the momentum is driven by the economic model and that may not necessarily be an excellent learning model. But that is the reality. All institutions are thus undergoing rapid change and any institution that can offer a variety of vocational experience to students that is in resonance with the requirement of job market and at a competitive price will be preferred.
Strongest Subject
Biology - Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. The latter is emerging as a third pillar of human medicine after small molecules - modern medicine (first pillar) and biologics - antibodies, growth factors (second pillar) of 20the and 21st century.
My priorities
If one is driven by passion, it determines your schedule. Sometime, I feel guilty of being too selfish for my passion and ignoring other supposedly important aspects of life - relationships etc.
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