As a testament to the societal impact of their research, Dr. Muhammad Tariq, Associate Professor, Department of Biology at the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) at LUMS, and his team have recently been awarded a PKR 1 million grant by the Shahid Hussain Foundation (SHF) under their Public Health Research Grant 2019. With this prestigious grant, Tariq Lab, in collaboration with Dr. Shaper Mirza, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, SBASSE, will analyse the epigenetic landscape of diabetes.
Commenting on the impact of this research area, Dr. Tariq said, “Pakistan has nearly 15 million adults with Type 2 diabetes, and we are likely to become the fourth largest country in the world to have this disease by 2030. Since diabetes leads to the development of cardiovascular diseases and other complexities, it has become imperative that we develop an understanding about the association of lifestyle and dietary changes that lead to the development of diabetes in the Pakistani population. Our lifestyle, dietary behaviour and external environment all affect our health by interacting with our genetic and epigenetic make up."
Dr. Tariq added, “Building on a strong public health research cluster developed by Dr. Shaper Mirza at LUMS, I have decided to strategise our epigenetic research programme and investigate the epigenetics of diabetes in our population, which is unique in their lifestyle and dietary behaviour. I strongly believe we will discover some novel epigenetic factors in the long run that will help to better understand such a rampant prevalence of this disease in Pakistan.”
The Public Health Research Grant (PHRG) supports multidisciplinary academic and professional teams and has a competitive selection process overseen by a Review Committee comprising experts in Public Health who award proposals based on their innovation, research significance and learning impact on public health in Pakistan. PHRG also considers the sustainability and utilisation of the research, thereby ensuring the continuation of important studies. The selection committee found Dr. Tariq’s proposal to be in line with the goals of the Shahid Hussain Foundation and were impressed by its potential.
Set up in 2016, the Shahid Hussain Foundation believes that communities thrive in an environment where access to healthcare is adequate, reliable and affordable and encourages research, debate, dialogue and discussion that supports this vision.
Dr. Tariq noted the support of LUMS in receiving this grant and said, “LUMS has developed a world-class research culture and enabled us to develop high quality research programmes in Biology. This unwavering support and commitment will go a long way in the development of public health and disease related research in Pakistan.”