Demonstration of fascinating science experiments for school children. The experiments include
- Levitation of supermagnets in proximity with superconductors
- Properties of liquid nitrogen
- Observing microbes and tissues under a microscope
- Chemical fountain
- Sodium blast
- Dancing sand
- Generating rose patterns from lasers
- Properties of laser light
Another fascinating and exciting science exhibition is organised at the Central Model School, Lower Mall Lahore. The map is below:
The cornea is the clear front of the eye and its clarity is important for the transmission of light to the retina for visual perception. The corneal surface is composed of an epithelium that is renewed by stem cells located at the periphery of the cornea, in a region known as the limbus. These so-called limbal stem cells can become deficient or dysfunctional as a result of many causes including chemical and thermal burns to the eye, hereditary causes such as Aniridia and Ectodermal Dysplasia, inflammatory diseases such as StevensJohnson Syndrome and Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid, and iatrogenic causes such as radiation therapy and topical chemotherapy. In the resulting disease of of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency the corneal epithelium cannot be maintained resulting in chronic epithelial defects and the surface becomes replaced by the conjunctival epithelium and its blood vessels which surrounds the cornea and limbus resulting in visual loss. Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency is therefore a painful and blinding disease. It is difficult to manage at the best of times.
Dr. Sajad Ahmad has developed an animal free culture method for limbal stem cells that has been used to successfully regenerate the corneal epithelium in patients with unilateral chemical burns and restore their vision. He is currently collaborating with centres in Edinburgh (UK), Oslo (Norway), Harvard University (Boston, USA) and Dublin (Ireland) to develop this technique in those centers for future mulitcenter clinical trials. He will outline this method. He was also the first to differentiate human embryonic stem cells into the corneal epithelial lineage and he will discuss this approach and the opportunities this presents.
The complexity of biological system urgently demands computational models which can produce new understanding and new medicine. Keeping in view Khwarizmi Science society and Journal Club at IRCBM, COMSATS jointly presents a seminar on agent based modeling approach in Investigating Multiscale Tumorigenesis in the Warburg Effect.
Early stage tumorigenesis includes the formation of glycolytic cells in the tissue. However, the precise multi-scale processes underlying this transformation of healthy epithelial cells into tumorigenic glycolytic phenotypes, continues to be a matter of debate. In this work, we investigate this cellular transformation by using an agent based modeling approach and decode a multifactorial mechanism which upon triggering may lead to the onset of tumorigenesis
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.
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.
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.
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.