biology

Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering

Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
24 January 2008
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

Biomaterials are defined as materials that are used in medical devices or are in contact with biological systems. Their application can range from skeletal systems (bone implants, knee joints, dental implants etc), cardiovascular systems (stents, catheter, heart valve etc), organs (artificial kidney, heart lung machine, skin etc) and senses (contact lens, corneal bandage etc). The field of biomaterials uses ideas from medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, materials sciences, engineering, ethics, law and health care. Biomaterials are usually integrated into devices or implants hence the interdisciplinary aspect is important for progress. The field brings together researchers from diverse academic backgrounds. They must communicate clearly. Some disciplines that intersect in the development, study and application of biomaterials include: bioengineer, chemist, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, materials scientist, biologist, microbiologist, physician, veterinarian, ethicist, nurse, lawyer, regulatory specialist and venture capitalist. Biomaterials can be metals, ceramics, polymers, glasses, carbons, and composite materials. Such materials are used as molded or machined parts, coatings, fibers, films, foams and fabrics. One of the major applications of biomaterials is in the field of tissue engineering. This field combines the knowledge of engineering, life sciences and clinical practice to solve the problem of tissue loss or damage, aimed at facilitating the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissue. The essence of tissue engineering is the use of living cells, together with degradable scaffolds and growth factors in development of implantable parts or devices for the restoration of body function. A major component in the revolutionary field of tissue engineering is the development of the suitable scaffold for seeding cells, growth factors and subsequent growth of tissues. There has been a considerable effort devoted to improving material and biological properties of scaffolds used in bone tissue engineering during the past decade. We developed and investigated different porous scaffolds with improved material properties and biological functions. An introduction to various scaffold materials developed in the lab along with future challenges will be presented towards the end.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Dr. Hassna R Ramay
LUMS School of Science and Engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore

DENGUE FEVER

A possible threat to our lives?
Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
30 November 2006
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

The Asian Tiger mosquito is generally associated with the spread of dengue fever; biting around the ankles and knees close to the ground in the daytime, rarely at night. Any source of stagnant water such as in the automobile tires, open containers, trash cans, holes in the tree trunks, broken vases, which gather rainwater, are an excellent breeding place for the tiger mosquito. The situation in Pakistan has deteriorated over the past years; solid steps are needed to bring hygiene conditions an integral part of our life styles. Vectors are breeding every where and so are the microorganisms. The entire picture is ultimately leading to the worst imaginable situation, where this year dengue, and in the years to come other dipterous related diseases will be there to welcome us. There is a dire need to make short and long term planning by including our environment as the major concerns of the future issues. Our research team, at the Department of Agro-entomology, has initiated work in this direction and we will be developing strategies to forecast the out breaks of mosquitoes and onset of disease. These steps will help in better management of mosquitoes through the development of potent plant extracts.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Dr. Waseem Akram
Department of Agro-entomology, Agriculture University, Faisalabad
Supplementary Documents: 

Cancer Detection with Bioinformatics

Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
20 December, 2003
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

Studies of the DNA sequence are paving the ways to diagnose diseases at much early stages leading to possible cures of cancer. Presence of mutated genes could be considered a risk for undesired production of proteins resulting in diseases like cancer. This seminar will highlight the biology of the microarrays, different classification techniques to diagnose cancer and the necessary tools to increase the accuracy of diagnosis.

 

Resource People: 
Speaker
Dr. Iqbal Gondal
Monash University, Australia
Chair
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Akhtar
DG, School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab

Computer Models for the Differential Control of Gene Expression

Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
18 May, 2002
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

We have developed computer models for the control of the activation of the calcium dependent transcription factors. Upon stimulation by foreign proteins, T-lymphocytes display spontaneous oscillation in calcium cellular concentration. Depending on the frequency of these oscillations, either one or more transcription factors are activated. The active transcription factors translocate to the nucleus and initiate gene expression. The model suggests a mechanism by which this differential gene expression occurs. This model faithfully reproduces a wide variety of experimental data. It also suggests key control points for these biochemical signalling pathways, which might suggest novel targets for immunosepressant drugs.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Prof. Dr. Saleet Jafri
School of Computational Sciences, George Mason University, USA
Chair
Dr. Waheed Akhtar
Director, Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab

Micro/Nanobiotechnology

Interfacing Life Sciences and Engineering
Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
14 May, 2001
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Centre for Solid State Physics, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

The merger of life-science and engineering, specially at the micro and nanoscale, can bring about some very exciting and practical possibilities for the development of "integrated systems". Micro and nanoscale engineering can be used to solve important problems in life-sciences such as detection of biological organisms, while concepts from life sciences such as bio-inspired assembly can be used to meet significant engine manufacturing. Future integrated systems will utilize nano-scale phenomena,and micro-scale components used to interface the nano-scale components to the macro-world. This talk will present the interdisciplinary work in progress in our group in the development of these integrated systems, for example; detection of microorganisms and the determination of their viability within micro-scale bio-chips and bio-reactors, fabrication of ultra thin silicon cantilevers for high sensitivity detection of molecular byproducts of cells, integrated silicon nano-wire chemical sensors, and exploration of DNA and protein based assembly of micro and nano-particles and silicon devices.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Dr Rashid Bashir
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, USA
Chair
Dr. Shahzad Alam
PITMAEM, PCSIR

Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine

Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
14 May, 2001
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

Biotechnology has affected different aspects of medicine in diverse ways from prevention to treatment. Great progress in new fields of medicine today, is due to recent developments in molecular biotechnology. Recombinant DNA technology or Genetic Engineering as basic tools of molecular biology has revolutionized medical science. The use of biotechnology in medicine is growing rapidly and is opening opportunities to develop new, more effective drugs and other therapeutics. Studying the genetics of humans is allowing us to understand what happens when genes go wrong in inherited diseases and to start to develop new therapies that treat the genetic cause, not the symptoms. By studying the genetic make-up of viruses, bacteria, or fungi, we can understand how they cause disease and develop better drugs and antibiotics that target them more specifically. These biotechnological approaches will be explored in different areas of medicine including prevention, pathology, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases during this talk.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Fazli Rabbi Awan
Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University
Chair
Dr. Waheed Akhtar
Director, Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab

Human Genome

Achievements and Prospects
Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
27 September 1999
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

Genome - the complete set of genetic information - determines the nature, form and activities of a living organism. Human genome, present in 23 pairs of chromosomes, consists of 3.2 billion pairs of A,T,C & G repeated over and over again in varying order. Announcement of double helical structure of DNA in 1953, cloning of first gene in 1973 and completion of the human genome sequence in June 2000 are the most outstanding landmarks of all life sciences. A race between the Human Genome Project (HGP), a publicaly funded consortium, and Celera Genomics, a private company, led to completion of human genome sequence much earlier than initially planned. Celera Genomics using a so-called shot gun sequencing strategy coupled with high speed computers using novel software went ahead of the HGP. In spite of the entire sequence known, the complete understanding of chemical structure of all the genes and how they work are decades away. Computer analysis shall be instrumental in locating all the genes within the 23 chromosomes in the human genome, which may turn out to be first step in solving all the mysteries. It will be possible to detect the genetic disorders at an early stage and to design gene therapy procedures accordingly. Pharmaceutical companies are working to create drugs tailored to a patient's genetic profile, boosting effectiveness and drastically reducing side-effects. Current developments have led to new social, philosophical and ethical issues which shall need to be tackled wisely.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Dr. Muhammad Waheed Akhtar,
Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore

Life: A Product of History

Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
24 September 1999
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

Humans are endeavoring to know nature since their origin with the development of structurally complex, conscious mind and later with the development of tools. The tools enable us to explore the depth, in atom, on the one side and the vastness, of universe, on the other extreme. In earth's history, polymerization of simpler organic compounds had formed macromolecules that developed the ability to reproduce its own kind by consuming raw material from the surroundings. Later the demarcation of the replicating matter with the emergence of membrane system permitted to discriminate in various chemicals to let pass or not pass though it. This further led to emergence of electrical and chemical messaging systems. These steps gradually originated life on planet earth. The development in the forms of matter, in time scale, indicates that the key to the changes in the form of matter is the adaptations it acquires to sustain it in the ever-changing surroundings (environment). The process of adaptations in the historical time factor is referred to as evolutionary development in matter. As life developed to more complicated forms, the ability to adapt is enhanced. This has resulted in emergence of a huge variety of the life forms in different environments. The above argument illustrates that sustainability (health) of a form can be understood on the basis of its structure and the performance by the structure for its keep up. The failure in functional capacity, undoubtedly, is due to a change in structural set up and this is referred as failure of sustainability (disease). In the organization of life, from atoms to molecules to macromolecules, to biomolecules, to cell organelles to cells to tissues to organs to an organism and ultimately to community, molecular understanding carries importance in health and disease. In recent times, it has been understood that life actually adjusts its sustainability or failure of the adaptations to survive at its basic organization level i.e. the molecular level. Therefore Human Genome Project, as we understand at present, has far more implication for medicine and biology. The molecular elucidation of basic language, on the basis of structural composition, of life and its expression enables us to provide technological support in sustainability of life. It has been well established, now, that in order to understand health and disease it is necessary to keep in view the molecular basis of the organization of life and its ability/failure to adapt in the changing conditions. The examples of sickle cell genes with resistance to malaria; bone formation diseases related with collagen; respiratory distress syndrome; arteriosclerosis resulting in coronary artery diseases; hirsutism i.e. masculinization in females; obesity etc. may be explained in the above context. It is also an essential attribute of knowledge to secure life in rapidly changing conditions on planet earth due to massive social production activity and to introduce is successfully on other celestial bodies.

Resource People: 
Speaker
Dr. M.A. Cheema
Department of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore

Genetic Therapy

Registration: 
Open to all.
Date: 
15 May 1999
Time: 
11:00 am
Venue: 
Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore
Abstract: 

Advent of Recombinant DNA Technology has made it possible to detect defective genes and replace them with "good" genes. Consequently the genetic diseases, which result on mutations can now be cured. The first successful gene therapy experient was done on a 9 year old Indian girl Ashanti in 1990 in USA, who was suffering from a fatal immunological disease - SCID, which is caused by a mutation in ADA gene. The scientists introduced the the "good" copy of the gene in her body and were successful in curing her of this fatal disease. This encouraged other researchers and now several methods are being tried to cure genetic diseases. The 21st Century is the era of Gene therapy and keeping in view tremendous advancements made in the Recombinant DNA technology, it is expected that cure for several genetic defects would be available within the next decade.

Some Expert Comments:

  • The detection of defective genes and their replacement works quite well in vitro, but not in-vivo.
  • There are no cures to genetic disorders based on mutations. I assure you this is incorrect; there has not been a single case of gene therapy curing a genetic disorder. Efforts to transduce normal copies of genes into patients with genetic disorders have been successful to varying degrees, but no cures yet.
  • In Ashanta's story, there was no cure - simply incorrect. It was nonetheless a hallmark in biomedical research; it hinted at the promise gene therapy held.
  • As far as the claim that genetic therapy may cure several disorders in the next decade, only time will tell. I would not venture to be so prophetic. A few years ago Harold Varmus, then director of the National Institutes of Health, assembled a panel of experts to assess the status of the field of gene therapy. You see, for quite some time many in the field had been feeling that gene therapy was being pushed to the patient's bed prematurely. The panel's conclusion was right on the mark: the field needs much more research at the fundamental levels, such as development of safe, efficient, and specific gene delivery vectors.
Resource People: 
Presenter
Dr. A.R. Shakoori
Department of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore