Bangladeshi-origin American scientist Dr Shafiqul Islam has jointly won the prestigious Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW).The Creativity prize was awarded to the team of Dr Shafiqul Islam (Tufts University, USA) and Dr Rita Colwell (University of Maryland at College Park) for their outstanding performances in developing and testing a model that uses chlorophyll information from satellite data to predict cholera outbreaks at least three to six months in advance, according to the official website of PSIPW.The prize was shared by two teams and another winner of the award is Dr Peter J Webster (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), said a press statement published on the website of the PSIPW.Dr Webster won the prize for his work on ocean-atmosphere interactions and their effect on monsoon strength, which is used to provide one to two-week lead time forecasts of monsoonal floods that often provoke catastrophic inundations in highly populated coastal regions.
Dr Shafiqul Islam is professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and professor of Water Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts.He has applied Colwell’s findings to relate chlorophyll levels and cholera outbreaks in the Bay of Bengal.Using satellite data from NASA, he developed a satellite-based model to predict potential cholera outbreaks at least three to six months in advance.The model has been tested with chlorophyll information from satellites over the Bay of Bengal region to predict cholera outbreaks in Bangladesh. The team is currently working on testing the model with ground-based observations.Dr Rita Colwell is an internationally acclaimed oceanographer and microbiologist, who has spent the bulk of her career studying the V cholerae bacterium that causes cholera.She and her colleagues have found V cholerae in oceans around the world, in isolated lakes and rivers untouched by fecal contamination, and even in volcanic springs in Iceland.Colwell and her team were the first to use remote satellite data to develop a predictive model for cholera outbreaks in East Asia, and she is the first scientist to link global warming with a potential rise in cases of infectious disease.Prince Khaled Bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia announced the winners for the 7th Award of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) on October 5.The PSIPW is a leading, global scientific award focusing on cutting-edge innovation in water research. It gives recognition to scientists, researchers and inventors around the world for pioneering work that addresses the problem of water scarcity in creative and effective ways.To this end, the PSIPW offer a suite of five prizes every two years, covering the entire water research landscape.The Awards ceremony for the 7th Award will be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, NY on November 2, 2016.It is being hosted by the UN Friends of Water and presided over by the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, and by PSIPW Chairman Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz.Nominations are currently open for the 8th Award (2018). Nominations can be made online for all five prizes directly through the PSIPW website.