Atmosphere PhD Fellowships


Arshini Saikia

Arshini SaikiaArshini Saikia is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Atmospheric Studies, Dibrugarh University, India and was a PhD fellow for the ICIMOD PhD Fellowship 2016. She is being supervised and co-supervised by Binita Pathak from Dibrugarh University and Bhupesh Adhikary, Senior Air Quality Specialist at ICIMOD, respectively. Her research focuses on meteorology and air quality modelling over the eastern Himalaya and exploring how to determine past, present, and future climate scenarios across the region. She has been involved in atmospheric trace gas ground and satellite measurement studies.

Saikai completed her MSc in Physics with specialization in Electronics and Atmospheric Science from Dibrugarh University in 2014. She worked under the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Space Science Promotion Scheme (SSPS) programme for a year, where she was involved in the comparison of ground based measurement with multi satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals across Dibrugarh, Assam. Apart from this, she also has research experience on air quality modeling over the Eastern Himalaya using the WRF CHEM model at ICIMOD. Additionally, she also has experience in ground based and satellite data handling, including knowledge in computer programming.


Bhupendra Das

Bhupendra Das from Nepal is a PhD candidate at the Central Department of Environmental Science, Institute of Science and Technology, Tribhuvan University (TU), Nepal. He is being supervised by Rejina (Maskey) Bynaju and co-supervised by Prakash Bhave, Senior Air Quality Specialist at ICIMOD. He is one of the fellows of the ICIMOD PhD Fellowship 2016.

His present study is entitled ‘Emission Inventory of Nepal Air Pollutants for Effective Air Quality Management’. He is involved in the development of a gridded, model-ready emission inventory of all major air pollutants from the major open burning sectors in Nepal.

Das holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from TU, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Technology from Teesside University, UK. He has over a decade of experience working in a variety of environmental research projects carried out by government bodies, private firms, and national/international non-government bodies.


Chaman Gul

Chaman GulChaman Gul from Pakistan is a PhD student of the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental & Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, China and is being guided by Professor Shichang Kang.

He was with ICIMOD as a fellow under its PhD Fellowship 2016.

In line with his interest in climate change, environmental science, and black carbon concentration in the cryosphere, Gul, under the supervision of Siva Praveen Puppala, Aerosol Scientist, ICIMOD, is working on black carbon aerosol impacts on the cryosphere.

He has a Master’s degree in Applied Physics, Computer Science, and Remote Sensing. Prior to enrolling in his PhD programme, he was with the National Space Agency of Pakistan for seven years as Senior Scientific Assistant in Space Science Directorate.


Manisha Mehra

Manisha MehraManisha Mehra, one of the Atmosphere Initiative’s PhD fellows, is currently pursuing her PhD from the Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development (IESD), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and Varanasi, India. She joined ICIMOD in April 2016 and is conducting studies under the supervision of Arnico Panday, Senior Atmospheric Scientist and Programme Coordinator of the Atmosphere Initiative. She is from India, and is being guided by Kirpa Ram, Assistant Professor, the Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, BHU.

Her study focuses on changes in the air quality of Chitwan due to the forest fires in and around Chitwan National Park, along with emissions from crop residue burning in Lumbini, Nepal. It matches closely with her interest in the impact of open burning on air quality in Nepal.

She has experience working as a project fellow in a University Grant Commission (UGC) for a sponsored project entitled, ‘An ecological study of paradoxical establishment of white oak in oak-pine ecotone areas in the Central Himalaya’, under the supervision of SC Garkoti from the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She also has an experience working as a graduate student researcher at the Department of Botany, Centre for Advanced Study, Faculty of Science, BHU, in a project entitled ‘Estimation of Methane Flux at Two Landfill Sites at Varanasi’. J Pandey, Professor, CAS Botany, BHU, supervised her in that project.

Mehra has been awarded the prestigious DST INSPIRE Fellowship for pursuing her PhD from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI). Prior to joining ICIMOD, she was enrolled in the ‘Kyoto University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) Spring School Program, Measuring Our Environments–International Spring School Kyoto’, at Kyoto University, Japan.


Parth Sarathi Mahapatra

Parth Sarathi MahaptraParth Sarathi Mahapatra joined ICIMOD as a PhD fellow February 2016. While a PhD student, he was enrolled at the Academy for Scientific and Innovative Research and was working at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), India, as well as partially at ICIMOD. He was supervised by Trupti Das, Principal Scientist at CSIR-IMMT. At ICIMOD, he was supervised by Siva Praveen Puppala, Aerosol Scientist at ICIMOD. He has already submitted his thesis for evaluation and is waiting for results.

Since the completion of his PhD fellowship he has been working as a Research Analyst, Air Pollution Exposure Assessment for the Atmosphere Initiative, ICIMOD. His work at ICIMOD includes assessing human exposure to air pollution in different geographical settings of Nepal.

Mahapatra holds a BSc degree in Zoology (Hons) from Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, India, and has an MSc degree in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute (Deemed) University, Dehradun, India.

While working on his Masters dissertation, Parth conducted environmental impact assessment studies in Uttarakhand, India. His PhD work started with trying to understand ambient air pollution in coastal ecosystems (Odisha, India) using established air quality monitoring equipment. Thereafter, he used satellite derived data products for understanding the long term trend of air pollution in Kathmandu, Nepal. While working on ambient air pollution, he started developing keen interest in understanding human exposure to air pollution. Within his PhD tenure, he has published s few papers in international journals and presented his work on different national and international platforms. He also attended an Accent Plus “Summer School: Drivers, Feedbacks, and Impacts in Air Quality and Climate” in Urbino, Italy, with full sponsorship from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). At present, most of Mahapatra’s time is devoted to understanding the changes in human physiological functions due to short term exposure to biomass smoke in women associated with activities related to cooking in rural Nepal, along with the impact of biomass smoke on cell line and its chemical characteristics. He is from Odisha, India.


Buddhi Prasad Sapkota

Buddhi Prasad SapkotaBuddhi Prasad Sapkota is a faculty member and PhD student at Tribhuvan University (TU), Kathmandu, Nepal. He is an ICIMOD PhD Fellow. He joined ICIMOD in January 2016 and is pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Kedar Nath Uprety, Head of Department, Central Department of Mathematics, TU. He  is being co-supervised by Harihar Khanal, Department of Mathematics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the United States, and Prakash Bhave, former Senior Air Quality Specialist with the Atmospheric Initiative at ICIMOD. Sapkota’s research focuses on the numerical simulation of indoor air pollution distribution in naturally ventilated kitchens.

Sapkota has an MPhil in Mathematics from Kathmandu University (KU), Nepal, an MSc in Mathematics from TU, and an MA in Sociology from TU. He has of 15 years of university-level teaching experience. He was regional coordinator of a renewable energy service centre supported by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), Nepal. He was responsible for the overall coordination of renewable energy projects, especially of solar energy, micro hydropower plants, and improved cook stoves; the  Decentralized Energy Management Initiative (DEMI); and other development projects at Sundar Neal Sanstha in Surkhet, Nepal.

Sapkota was awarded a pre-service scholarship by the Government of Nepal’s Science Education Project for his ISc and was presented the University Grants Commission Scholarship for his MPhil and PhD. His research papers have been published in several journals. He has also authored The Textbook of Algebra–II (BA 3rd year), Textbook of Algebra (BSc 3rd year) and Mathematical Formulae.