The NUMS Scientific Society's (BioCluster), in collaboration with the American Society for Microbiology, organized the Agar Art Contest 2023 with the theme "Microbiology in Space." The contest encouraged students to use their creativity to connect microbes with outer space. Held on October 23, 2023, at the undergraduate laboratory facilities at NUMS, the event saw active participation from undergraduate students of NUMS and AFPGMI.
The theme, "Microbiology in Space," urged students to think creatively and blend microbiological concepts with the wonders of outer space.
The Agar Art Contest aimed to push the boundaries of traditional microbiology by merging science and art. Participants used a variety of agar media, including Nutrient, Eosin Methylene Blue (EMB), MacConkey, and Cysteine Lactose-Electrolyte-Deficient (CLED), along with microbial strains like E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter sp.
Miss Fizza Maryam, a student of BS Microbiology (semester: 08) from the Department of Biological Sciences at NUMS, received a $150 grant from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The judging of the agar art contest was done by Dean MDS Dr. Aisha Mohyuddin, who faced the challenging task of selecting the winning entries.
After careful evaluation, the following students were declared winners:
The students demonstrated exceptional creativity and scientific innovation in their agar art creations.
The Agar Art Contest 2023 showcased the incredible talent and innovative spirit of undergraduate students at NUMS. It not only enhanced their understanding of microbiology but also provided a platform for artistic expression, blending science with imagination. The event was a testament to the students' skills and the supportive academic environment at NUMS.
Introductory course for Biologics Development and Manufacturing - 2023 was held at International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea from 19th to 30th June 2023, under the auspices of Global Training Hub for Bio-manufacturing (GTH-B) - which focuses on workforce development, supports ongoing initiatives in local bio-production, and fosters knowledge sharing among manufacturers. The course which was also supported by WHO attracted 235 trainees from 47 Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Dr. Liaqat Ali, Dr. Muhammad Tariq Navid and Dr. Wasim Sajjad Assistant Professors from the Department of Biological Sciences National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) were invited to participate in the event.
The course was formally inaugurated by Director General International Vaccine Institute Dr. Jerome H. Kim. The main objective of the course was to address the significant inequity in access to vaccines and biologics in LMICs. Many of these countries are making efforts to establish their own biological manufacturing capabilities through bilateral technology transfer or local R&D efforts. The course covered the full cycle of vaccine research and development, production & use, including immunology, vaccine technology, product development, preclinical and clinical development, quality control, intellectual property, product licensing, and vaccination, post marketing vaccine analysis and features special lectures and case studies. The course was enlightened by a faculty team of more than 40 experts from over 15 organizations around the world, including IVI, WHO, CEPI, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s National Institute of Health, Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom. This unique initiative provided training in manufacturing of high-quality vaccines and biologics within an industrial setting.
Through this training, the NUMS-DBS faculty have acquired essential knowledge and skills required to operate in a bio-manufacturing facility. The NUMS faculty was actively engaged in the course and presented several case studies, participated in posters and oral presentations. They also visited Prestige Biologics, CKD Pharmaceuticals where they were briefed about vaccine manufacturing, seed culture development up-stream and downstream processing. The faculty was equipped with latest updates on the industrial profession and to provide knowledge of new modern techniques used in the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Dr. Liaqat Ali, Dr. Muhammad Tariq Navid and Dr. Wasim Sajjad also attended the mini convention where more than 20 companies and startups were invited to share their experiences on new start-ups and their contributions to the country’s economy. Moreover, all the three members had an interactive session with the IVI leadership, representatives of donor organizations like Right Foundation and Wellcome Trust for future fundings and research collaborations in the field of mutual interest. This collaboration will not only foster international scientific co-operation but also contribute to the development of essential health technologies as global public goods, benefiting both Pakistan and South Korea. The experiences gained during this course will obviously result in a very steep learning curves and will be beneficial for the organization and personal growth.
A three-day training workshop “Train the trainers: From Research to Publication” was conducted at College of Nursing from 12 - 14 July 2023 under the auspices of Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute (AFPGMI). Dr. Shumaila Naz, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences from National University of Medical Sciences and Ms. Saba Khurshid, Research Officer, AFPGMI were the resource persons for the workshop. The workshop had three main modules i.e. Designing project/research, Conducting research and Results dissemination through Publication. The resource persons delivered informative and engaging sessions, enabling participants to gain valuable insights into project design, research methodology, data analysis, and publication strategies. The three Day Program successfully provided faculty members of College of Nursing with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the research process from start to finish. The positive feedback received from the attendees is a testament to the effectiveness of the workshop in enhancing the participants' research capabilities and promoting scholarly dissemination.
NUMS Department of Biological Sciences(DBS) has organized a lecture at its Campus on February 16,2023 on sustainable Nano-structural Bioengineering for Biomedical Applications, as part of its lecture series to encourage upcoming young scientists and showcase their achievements.
Dr. Sunniya Iftikhar with expertise on nanotechnology and serving as lecturer in the Higher Education Department, Govt. of Punjab, spoke on the subject and shared her thoughts on harnessing green approaches to prepare unique nano-molecular assemblies which have promising applications in biology and biomedical sciences.
These lectures are organized with the aim to recognize the research achievements of young scientists and provide them with the opportunity to share their knowledge and ideas with faculty and students.
Dr. Sunniya research involved the concept of the famous click reaction to design nanoparticles for light harvesting activity enhancement in cyanobacteria. She further discussed her research on small molecules like chalcone derivatives and their anti-cancer properties by disrupting the support system (microtubules) of cancer cells. She holds MS and PhD in Medicinal and Bioorganic Chemistry from LUMS and has remained Commonwealth Split-site PhD Scholar and Graduate Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College at the University of Cambridge, UK.
It is interesting to note that Dr. Sunniya uses biorthogonal chemistry in her research, a green methodology that enables scientists to perform chemical reactions inside living cells without interfering with biochemical processes.
The session was chaired by Prof. Muhammad Jawad, HoD DBS and it was moderated by Dr. Aman Karim, Assoc. Professor in the department. It was attended by DBS faculty and postgraduate students.
Prof. Jawad presented NUMS souvenir to the Speaker on the occasion and appreciated her research work, and thanked her for visiting the university.
The Department of Biological Sciences regularly invites a Guest speaker to enrich graduate and postgraduate students for effective knowledge sharing and meaningful collaborations to sustain its scientific endeavors at NUMS. The Section of Phytochemistry and Natural Product Research, Department of Biological Sciences, NUMS, invited Dr. Hammad Ullah, on February 6, 2023 who is a research scientist and doctoral candidate at the Nutraceutical Product Laboratory, Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Fredrico-II, Italy.
Dr. Hammad presented his research on nutraceutical development, challenges and future prospects. His experience in product formulation and conducting clinical trials of herbal products was informative for the faculty and students.
Dr. Nosheen Akhtar, Assistant Professor DBS moderated the event which was attended by the faculty and post graduate students. During Q&A Session, various aspects relating to efficacy, safety evaluation and preclinical studies were discussed.
Dr. Aman Karim, Associate Professor, and Head of Section, Phytochemistry and Natural Products, presented NUMS souvenir to the Guest Speaker after his lecture and thanked him for sharing his research and ideas. He hoped that Dr. Hammad will continue to remain engaged with NUMS and will help in advancing natural product research at the university.
A team of faculty members from the Sections of Phytochemistry and Natural Product Research and Biotechnology visited Qarshi Industries, Hattar, Haripur on September 19, 2022 to explore the areas of mutual interest in order to establish collaboration between the two institutions.
Qarshi is one of the top herbal industries in Pakistan, manufacturing more than 300 products. Apart from its prestige in product manufacturing from indigenous resources, Qarshi has ongoing research and development (R&D) activities in herbal materials standardization, including DNA barcoding, medicinal plant gardening supported by herbarium, seed bank and tissue culture facilities, and product development laboratories.
At the Qarshi Industry, NUMS Scientists were warmly welcomed and briefed about the existing product lines and future research programs. At the meeting, both sides deliberated on how a discovery/innovation at NUMS can be put use at industry through collaboration. The areas of mutual interest identified include, possibility of working on joint research on new product development, plant cell culture, funding and placement of MS/PhD students at Qarshi for their research work and training the manpower and help establish research facility. Later, NUMS team visited Qarshi Herb Garden, various laboratories and also met with the staff and scientists working there.
The NUMS team from Phytochemistry and Natural Products Research was represented by Dr. Aman Karim, Dr. Sayed Afzal Shah, Dr. Nosheen Akhtar, Dr. Irum Mushtaq, from Biotechnology Dr. Muhammad Adil, and Microbiology was represented by Dr. Saeed Ahmad.
The team from Qarshi Industry was represented by Mr. Muhammad Imran (Head of the Qarshi Research International), Dr. Nasir Hayat Khan (In-charge, Department of Product Process Innovation), Mr. Rashid Afzal (Manager Horticulture) and Dr. Shafi Ullah (Senior Scientific Officer, Quality Control, Publications and Research)
A collaborative project between National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) and Ege University, Turkey for a research project titled “A New and Combined approach for the diagnosis of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, a Neglected Vector-borne Disease” is funded by Pakistan Science Foundation (A Scholarship Awarding Ceremony for students with outstanding academic results was held at National University of Medical Sciences, PWD, on March 18, 2022. Head of Department of Biological Sciences Dr Muhammad Jawad Hassan and section-heads Dr. Tahir Naeem (Genetics) Dr. Muhammad Naeem (Biotechnology) Dr. Aman Karim (Phytochemistry) Dr. Liaqat Ali (Microbiology & Immunology), graced the occasion. In total, 12 students of microbiology, genetics and biotechnology were awarded Scholarships.
The event opened with recitation of Holy Quran and followed by National anthem. The ceremony followed by with a welcoming speech by Dr Muhammad Jawad Hassan, HoD NDBS. He sensitized students about value of education and the modern day academic facilities they all are blessed with. He spoke at length about the importance of education and appreciated the efforts of NUMS Department of Biological Sciences in research and academics to train the students in modern science. He inspired students that the hard work they have shown will have to be continued for their remaining academic life and only than they can play any visible role in the development of country. Later he presented students with scholarships certificates. Awardees are paid stipend of Rs. 15,000/-, Rs. 10,000/-, and Rs. 5,000/- respectively. The details of semester wise top position holders of biological Sciences follow as:
BS Biological Sciences UG Batch-1
1st position Moeeza Ahmed
2nd position Kashaf Maheen
3rd position Syeda Iman Fatima
1st position Ayesha Noor
2nd position Fizza Maryam
3rd position Kashaf Maheen
1st position Ayesha Noor
2nd position Kashaf Maheen
3rd position Afraa Waleed
BS Biological Sciences UG Batch-2
1st position Sobia Mehreen
2nd position Hafiza Mahnoor Arif
3rd position Fizza Fiaz
We hope and we expect that they all continue to play their due roles; in their own spheres; in the development of this country.
A collaborative project between National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) and Ege University, Turkey for a research project titled “A New and Combined approach for the diagnosis of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, a Neglected Vector-borne Disease” is funded by Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and TUBITAK. Dr. Shumaila Naz from the National University of Medical Sciences, Pakistan, and Dr. Yusuf Ozbel & Dr. Seray Toz from Ege University, Turkey is the investigators conducting this research project. In this bilateral project, Dr. Yusuf Ozbel visited NUMS, from 23rd -28th January 2022 for discussion on the project progress, outputs and progress evaluation, collection of samples, result compilation, and transferring the diagnostic techniques.
During Dr. Yusuf’s visit, a two-day hands-on workshop on the identification of sandfly and diagnosis of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis was organized at NUMS on 25th and 26th January. The workshop provided deep theoretical knowledge as well as a chance to practically perform the preparation of NNN- media, microscopic identification of Leishmania parasite, extraction of DNA from the lesion aspirates, and sandfly identification and dissection. Participants were both students as well professionals from the field of parasitology and microbiology.
For this workshop, more than 100 applicants from all over Pakistan showed a desire to participate. Mainly due to Covid restrictions and the limited number of seats, only 20 participants were selected from all over Pakistan including University of Baluchistan, Karakoram International University Gilgit-Baltistan, University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore, Abdul Wali Khan University, Khyber Medical University. All these participants were trained on the identification of sandfly and diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis in these 2 days. The worthy Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen. Wasim Alamgir and PSF Chairman, Prof. Dr. Shahid Mehmood Baig graced the occasion with their presence and distributed certificates among the participants and organizers.
Improvement of the existing knowledge and practices in the fields of medical and life sciences is part of NUMS mission. Training of researchers and healthcare professionals is one of the most suitable approaches to elevate the quality of research and healthcare practices in the country. Skill enhancement of the personnel in the areas lying at the intersection of biomedical research and healthcare practices is the need of the hour to bridge the gap between research and practice. Keeping this in view, a two-day Hands-on training workshop on Real-Time PCR was organized by the Department of Biological Sciences, NUMS in collaboration with Sure Biodiagnostics and Quaid-i- Azam University, at the NUMS PWD campus. A cohort of 25 researchers/academicians and professionals attended this hands-on training workshop, which included practical aspects of qPCR including RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, assay designing, and data analysis.
In wake of COVID-19 diagnosis and testing, training on Real-Time PCR was a very timely initiative because the national health system is in dire need of a trained human resource for the extensive and accurate testing for COVID-19 across the country. NUMS Department of Biological Sciences has a diverse faculty consisting of researchers with a variety of research expertise. A team from NDBS including Dr. Hussain M. Wahedi, Dr. Liaqat Ali, Dr. Munazza Fatima, Dr. Deeba Amraiz, Dr. Tahir Naeem, and Dr. Humayn Satti actively participated in this training workshop as organizers and trainers. Undergraduate students Fatima Asif and Sidra Qamar along with lab technologists Kaleem Ullah Shah and Muhammad Bilal Khan facilitated the organizer in the arrangements. Dr. Rizwan Alam, and Ms. Durre Shehwar from the Biochemistry department, QAU joined the NUMS team and demonstrated various aspects of RT-PCR. The lecture part consisted of a detailed overview and theoretical knowledge of the Real-time PCR technique and experiment design. Moreover, data acquisition and analysis were also thoroughly demonstrated by the instructors. The event was sponsored by Sure Biodiagnostics, a leading company dealing in scientific equipment and laboratory items. According to the organizers, this training workshop was the first in the series of several training workshops to be organized by the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences in the future. Successful organization and positive feedback from the participants are a really good sign for the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences. It speaks of the research capacity of the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences and its faculty. This experience will not only help in organizing future training workshops in the department but will also increase the outreach of the research portfolio of the department to the research and academic fraternity as well as to the community. The collaborative nature of this will play an important role in developing research and academic collaborations between the researchers from the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences and other universities both at the individual level as well as at the departmental level. Dr. Jawad Hassan, HoD NDBS, distributed certificates to all participants and congratulated the organizing team for the successful conduct of the workshop.
Dr Deeba Amraiz, Dr Munazza Fatima and Dr Liaqat Ali from the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences, participated in the four-day ModPad-MoV 2021 training program about Molecular Diagnosis, Pathogen Determination and Molecular Vaccinology Techniques, organized by China CDC (Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
The aim of the training program was to facilitate/improve the laboratory capacities of NUMS in conducting molecular detection assays and implementing molecular diagnosis and vaccine development for the potential microbial pathogens.
It will also help to establish linkages between China CDC and NUMS and scaling up laboratory capacities for prevention and control of pandemic and epidemic-prone diseases in Pakistan in close collaboration with chines experts.
The Zauq Group is a dynamic business group with an extensive portfolio of innovation, R&D and digital transformation across South East Asia, Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Shafeeq Haider, Director Life Science Zauq Group accompanied by Mr. Rizwan Buttar Chief Innovation Officer and Mr. Zahid Ali, visited NUMS to explore opportunities for collaboration in areas of mutual interest. Prof. Aisha Mohyuddin, Dean MDS enlightened the visitors about research and academic activities and future goals of NUMS. The Zauq Group presented an introduction of their company and highlighted possible areas for future collaboration. Faculty members from the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences (NDBS) participated in discussion on the challenges and opportunities in commercializing their research. The faculty of NDBS has already secured several research projects from HE C, PSF and other funding agencies worth more than 80 million PKR and is committed to providing solutions to indigenous problems.
Dr. Hussain Mustatab Wahedi from the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences has been selected for the highly competitive TWAS – 2021 Innovation and Science Diplomacy Workshop to be held from 9th to 13th of August 2021. This event is part of the series of TWAS Regional Workshops on Science Diplomacy, aimed at introducing science diplomacy and innovation diplomacy key concepts and issues to the bright young scientists from all over the world. Science Diplomacy front will explore the multi-faceted dimensions of the intersection between Science and Foreign Policy. The Innovation Diplomacy front will address contemporary topics and strategies for technological development, including International Technology Transfer, Foreign Investment in R&D, Science & Technology Diasporas, and Cross-boundary Innovation programs. A total of 143 young scientists from around the world and only two from Pakistan have been selected for this prestigious event.
Industrial effluents are high priority effluents that need to be treated as they contaminate the underground water and rivers, resulting in adverse health effects in our population. Nowadays, bio-based technologies are being adopted for waste water treatment as these are cost-effective, environmentally friendly and less hazardous for the associated sites. This project titled “Development of efficient Biological water purification systems for industrial wastewater” awarded under HEC-TTSF grants scheme, is the first step towards commercialization of this technology for industries. This project will provide a solution for a national issue and help the government to achieve SDG-6 “Clean Water and Sanitation”. Moreover, by the implementation of this technology the end-user will not only meet the National Environmental Quality Standards of wastewater discharge but also get the benefit of reusing the treated water for gardening, toilet flushing and agriculture.
Grant Information Funding Agency: Higher Education Commission
Grant Value: 8.2 Million PKR
Project Duration: 24 Months
PI Details: Name: Dr. Mahwish Ali
Designation: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences
Specialization: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Dr. Shumaila Naz, Assistant Professor in the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences was invited as a speaker to give a talk on “Prevalence, Management and Control of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Pakistan” in the NIPD-TDR-WSH workshop on multisectoral approaches (MSA) for the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases..
The workshop was organized by the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases (NIPD) of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), with TDR and the WHO/WSH teams, with an aim to share the experiences in preparing a response before and during the health emergencies, and to strengthen collaboration in research and implementation in MSA in the era of COVID 19.
The workshop was attended by professionals related to the fields of medical and biological research, from Asia, Europe, Africa and America.