Dr. Shaper Mirza holds a BSc (Hon) degree from University of Karachi and a doctorate from The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Her PhD studies involved understanding mechanisms of nasal colonisation by a Gram-positive pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. More specifically the work was focused on understanding the interaction of a human mucosal protein lactoferrin with pneumococcal surface proteins and its downstream effects on colonisation by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Dr. Mirza received several awards and honours during her PhD which included a student travel grant award for Gordon Conference on Structure and Functions of Lactoferrin, held in Hawaii 2005; Gail Castle award for best poster presentation as PhD student and Gail Castel Award for best post-doctoral presentation.
Prior to joining LUMS in 2015, Dr. Mirza served as an Assistant Professor since 2008, at The University of Texas – Houston Health Science Center in the Division of Epidemiology Human Genetics and Environmental Health. While working at the Brownsville (Texas) regional campus Dr. Mirza started elucidating the relationship between immune impairments in type-2 diabetes and their impact on pneumococcal infections in individuals with type-2 diabetes. Her studies are the first to demonstrate impairments in immune mechanisms in type-2 diabetes that are critical for protection against pneumococcal infections.
Dr. Mirza joined LUMS as an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering. Dr. Mirza’s specialised areas of teaching at LUMS include immunology and bacterial pathogenesis, where she continues to develop her studies on association of immune impairments in diabetes with pneumococcal infections. While teaching at LUMS, Dr. Mirza has also developed a lab as part of her programme, which is currently investigating the role of hyperglycemia, characteristic of type-2 diabetes in impairment in immune functions of neutrophils and CD4+T cells. Information derived from these studies will be valuable in developing more targeted vaccines for prevention and control of invasive pneumococcal disease in this high-risk population. Given the global increase in the incidence of type-2 diabetes, the work is of significant public health relevance.
Dr. Mirza is a recognised researcher in the areas of molecular pathogenesis. She has authored several papers in high impact factor journals and serves as an editor for two journals.