Meet Chayan, the IT Officer at College of Biological Sciences

Posted on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

About Chayan Chowdhury

Meet Chayan Chowdhury, the Information Technology (IT) Officer for the College of Biological Sciences (CBS). Chayan is the point of contact for all IT needs in CBS where he conducts operational support to CBS staff, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students. He has been a member of the IT community for more than 23 years and is involved in several committees that aim to improve quality of life across the University.

Chayan’s Impact on the U of G Community

Chayan is an active member of the IT community including the IT Special Interest Group (ITSIG) and the University’s IT Leaders Group. Some specific initiatives that illustrate Chayan’s contributions to the community include:

  • A dedication to building a better and more inclusive University, with participation on both the CBS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, and chairing the IT Diversity Working Group.
  • Acting as a liaison between Apple JUMP+ support and the U of G community. With CBS having a significant number of Macintosh (Mac) users, Chayan stepped up to lead this vendor relationship, helping to pave the way for more streamlined Mac support for U of G users.

“The end result of our relationship with Apple has been fantastic, with discounts, better pricing on products and great service. It is great to have a responsive Apple vendor who meets the needs of the University.” – Chayan

Chayan’s Impact on CBS

  • Adapting to hybrid teaching and learning: Chayan has been a key asset in supporting CBS’s transition to hybrid teaching and learning during the pandemic and beyond. His efforts included deploying hundreds of personal computing devices, docking stations and external monitors, helping faculty and instructors gain access to remote collaborative software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex, and making computer labs accessible from remote locations.
  • Providing access to cloud-based software: Chayan has worked hard to ensure CBS clients have access to cloud-based software so they can learn, research and teach from anywhere. Specific software needed by CBS clients include GraphPad Prism and SnapGene for molecular biology programming and BioRender, a scientific illustration software.
  • WiFi improvements: Together CBS and CCS successfully improved the wireless connectivity across CBS buildings like Animal Science.
  • Migration to private IP addresses: Chayan worked with CCS to migrate CBS networks to private IP addresses, an important move to safeguard security for the college and University as a whole.
  • Elimination of physical computer labs: A happy by-product of acquiring cloud-based software for students was the realization that CBS no longer requires physical computer labs. CBS has since eliminated all computer labs in their buildings, leading to improved accessibility to academic resources as well as increased space availability within CBS buildings.

“As an alternative to in-person lab sessions, CBS students can now do their research from home, conducting simulations remotely via greater access to software. This is just the beginning of new and exciting innovations for the University.” – Chayan

What’s Next for CBS?

CBS has several projects and changes on the horizon, including:

  • The journey toward hybrid classrooms: The transition back to campus has created a need for hybrid-enabled seminar rooms to allow for collaboration between remote and in-person students and instructors.  
  • Group licensing software: CBS is looking at using group licensing software with BioRender to better support the research needs of all students, faculty and staff.
  • Migration to Cohesity: Chayan is working with CCS to migrate to the new Cohesity service, used for file sharing and collaboration.
  • A new IT model for the college: The University will soon be hiring a shared IT manager for CBS and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. This will allow for greater oversight, sustainability and efficiencies across both colleges.

Get Involved: IT Diversity Working Group

The IT Diversity Working Group is looking for new members from the ITSIG community! The goal of this group is to help build a stronger and more diverse IT community and help to ensure it is an inclusive space for all. They are looking for diverse perspectives to add to these quality conversations. If you are interested in joining this committee, please reach out to Chayan at cchowdhu@uoguelph.ca.

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