Sunday, November 5, 2017

International Conference on biomedical engineering held in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Quite a few acclaimed experts of biomedical engineering enlightened the audience by sharing their experiences in the recently held conference in Karachi. 

The International Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences was organized by a private sector university with the collaboration of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) as a part of the 200th birth anniversary celebration of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the great reformer and educationist. 

As many as 23 PhDs presented their paper on the occasion including four from the US, Canada, UK and Spain besides presentation of 43 posters. 

The Chairman of the Biomedical Engineering department of the host university, Prof Dr M A Haleem stated that thirst for knowledge has been a focus of mankind since the beginning of civilization. 

"Innovation and exploration of nature is also important in Islam and is the teaching of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH)" Prof Haleem observed during his thought-provoking speech on the occasion. 

"We all know that knowledge only becomes valuable when it is disseminated and applied to benefits of humankind", Prof Haleem remarked and hoped that this conference will be a platform to gather and disseminate the latest knowledge in biomedical engineering. 

He pointed out that the growing field of biomedical Engineering is a field that applies engineering principals to explore biological system in health and disease. It has application in nano-medicine. Nano robotics are used to diagnose site of disease I human body and also to administer medicine at specific site. Synthetic tissues are used to replace diseased or degenerated parts. The knowledge of engineering, medicine and biological system are therefore equally important for a biomedical engineer. 

During the last 35 years, 11 of the Nobel prize-winners for medicine have had a background in chemistry, physics or engineering, he disclosed adding that Chemistry Prizes have been awarded for biomedical engineering related discoveries such as making artificial muscles, limbs and nerves (conductive polymers) and enabling tagging of proteins to observe disease processes such as cancer (green fluorescent protein). 

According to him, Physics Prizes related to biomedical engineering include key developments in medical imaging, sensors and ophthalmology, whilst graphene-based nano-materials offer opportunities for tissue engineering, molecular imaging and drug delivery applications while Medical imaging is also used for computing vision and making bionic eye.

Brain mapping studies are done to locate parts of the brain involved in memory formation, learning and many other important functions. 

Prof Haleem informed that the department established in 1996 was the first biomedical engineering department in Pakistan. Since its inception it has produced a number of MS during last few years and very soon it is going to start PhD program for which NOC is given by the HEC. 

In his speech on the occasion, Prof Dr Samir Iqbal, now a Professor at School of Medicine, UT Rio Grande Valley and previously Associate Professor at Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, University of Texas at Arlington, disclosed that USA has developed a novel cancer cell detection method that will improve early diagnosis through a tool that tracks cellular behaviour in real time using nanotextured walls that mimic layers of body tissue. He said that determination of biomarkers can help in early diagnosis of many cancer types. 

Prof. Dr. Naweed I. Syed, Professor and Scientific Director at Cumming School of Medicine in University of Calgary, Canada talked about his research based on creating the neurochip and said he has made a way possible to know the communication between a tissue and an electronic device 

This discovery has started a flux of drug testing research for neurodegenerative diseases and disorders. A new set of clinical trials are in progress. 

He said that the electrical signaling in brain cells can be studied in detail with this technology. The brain cells of a patient suffering from epilepsy have been studied. The brain cell activity can be studied in powerful detail now. All the results and findings can then be stored in a database for further research 

Prof. Dr. Javier Poncela Gonzalez is Professor at ETSI Telecommunication, University of Malaga (UMA), campus de teatinos, Spain. His research focuses on analyzing the performance of protocols designed for the control of Medium Access in the underwater environment using Underwater Acoustic Wireless Sensor Networks (UW-ASNs). 

The sectors that can benefit most from this research are industries dealing with biomedical instrumentation, oil and gas, fisheries, UW instrumentation, armed forces, research and exploration bureaus, etc. 

Existing terrestrial Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol which mostly use radio waves for communications are unsuitable for underwater atmosphere and underwater sensor networks (UWSNs) using acoustic wireless networking finds application in the supporting tools for such applications. 

Dr Engr Muhammad Salman Haleem, currently working in Big Data Centre, School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, recipient of prestigious EPSRC-DHPA (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council- Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award-UK) for pursuing his PhD and graduated from NED University of Engineering and Technology and Illinois Institute of Technology, USA for B.Engg.and M.S.E.E respectively, has developed the novel software tool for automatic determination of features associated with the retinal diseases. 

He said that automating steps in the retinal diagnostic process has the great potential to reduce the time eye clinicians need to look up at the images which can expect more patients to be screened and early treatment can be provided in a time-efficient manner. 

From among the national presenters, Prof. Dr. Bhawani Shankar Chowdhry, a distinguished National Professor and Dean, Faculty of Electrical, Electronics, Biomedical & Computer Engineering Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Jamshoro, gave a keynote talk on 'Improving Biomedical Engineering Education to Brighten up Career Prospectus: A Multidimensional Approach.' 

Prof. Dr. Darakhshan Jabeen Haleem, former Dean Faculty of Science University of Karachi and among the top scientists of Pakistan, currently working as meritorious Professor of Neuroscience at Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) presented an internationally patented work from her laboratory. 

She said that chronic pain conditions such as Osteoarthritis and low back pain are the prominent causes of disability across the world. 

Prof. Dr. Ather Inam is Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University Hospital, PhD from Northwestern University Institute of Neuroscience, USA and FRCS from Canada and Ireland. He received Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Excellence Award in Neurosurgery Pakistan. 

He discussed various methods of synthesizing neural cell cultures. He described how to obtain and culture neural cells from rat embryos as well as embryonic chick embryos. 

Prof. Dr. Kamran Azim currently working as Dean at Muhammad Ali Jinnah University presented his work which performed at PCMD Karachi. He showed how genomics data can be applied for diagnosis and management in personalized medicine. 

Prof. Dr. Jawwad Shamsi emphasized about applications of advanced technologies from Computer Science in Biomedical Engineering. He demonstrated how the innovative applications from computer science (machine learning techniques and wearable devices can be used in medical sciences such as remote patient monitoring, assistance in disease diagnosis.

Dr Engr Zeeshan ul Haque developed the computational nerve model of the foot by determining the nerve conduction velocity in various myelinated nerve fibre of the foot. The developed functional model will be used in the future studies to investigate different functional outcomes of large fibre neuropathy. 

Dr Nabeel Anwar has presented his non-invasive neuro-stimulation techniques which possess unique possibility to alter neural activity in the brain. These techniques has established a causal relation between specific cortical areas and perceptual, motor and cognitive functions as well as to their ability to modulate these functions and in turn modulate cognitive behaviour.

Dr Riazuddin emphasized upon the use of genomics data available for various subtypes and use of bioinformatics approach to identify the mass signature associated with the specific subtype of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). He said that those mass signatures when combined with the mass spectrometry data gives us the direct confirmation of the type of HCV. 

Prof. Dr. Nasir Raza, Dr. Huma Ikram, Dr. Noureen Samad and Dr. Darakhshan Saleem from various universities of Pakistan emphasized their work in developing biomedical tools for diagnostics and treatment of neurological diseases and psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Fazli Wahid, Dr. Shabeer Ahmed Mian, Dr. M. Ajmal, Dr. Tariq Javid, Engr. Wajih Abidispoke on functional bacterial cellulose-based nanocomposites, study of authoritative control of field assisted desorbed amino acids, nano-phosphors for biomedical and display applications, biomedical image processing using R, and neural plasticity and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome with photic simulation respectively.