LUMS Faculty Wins Public Health Research Grant 2020
Since its inception, the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) has been a hub for groundbreaking research where faculty produce research in their respective fields. The faculty at the School keep raising the bar for impactful research. This year, the studies of Drs. Safee Ullah Chaudary, and Syed Shahzad ul Hussan, Associate Professors, Department of Biology, have been awarded the Public Health Research Grant 2020 (PHRG) by the Shahid Hussain Foundation (SHF). In addition to this, another winning study features Dr. Shaper Mirza, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, SBASSE, as the co-investigator.
SHF works to support education and health access in Lahore, and launched the Public Health Research Grant three years ago to support innovative research in Pakistan. The Grant is an effort to undertake a research project within Pakistan that is not only headed by a team comprising of local experts, but is also funded locally. This helps in fostering a culture of meaningful research and learning within the Pakistani community and provides an understanding of the complexities within the country’s healthcare sector, eventually leading to a viable health policy solution.
This year’s winning projects have been selected after an exhaustive review process. The LUMS faculty-led selected projects for the PHRG 2020 are: ‘Deployment of Health Level Seven International’s (HL7) Fast Health Interoperability Resources Standard for the Hospital Information Management System (HIMS) at Shalamar Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan’ submitted by Dr. Safee Ullah Chaudary and ‘Discovery of New Potential Therapeutics Against Coronavirus by Targeting Viral Cellular Entry and Replication’ submitted by Dr. Syed Shahzad ul Hussan, co-investigating with Dr Mark Windisch, Institut Pasteur, South Korea.
Dr. Hussan’s research project is aimed at finding a cure of COVID-19 by interfering with the normal life cycle (replication cycle) of the causative agent of this disease, named SARS-CoV-2. Looking to find ways to prevent the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the human body cell and also stopping it from multiplying if it gets inside, could be a major breakthrough.
“Identification of any molecule capable of blocking the SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry or replication inside the cell will be the main goal of this project. If successful, the identified molecule, potential drug, will be subjected to further studies towards drug development in the follow up period,” says Dr. Hussan.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chaudhary’s project aims undertake a pilot evaluation of the compatibility of Health Information Management System (HIMS) at Shalamar Hospital with Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. He emphasises that, “HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability standard is the latest and most efficient standard produced for health data interoperability, till date. In Pakistan, health data interoperability is the missing link across health care centres in Pakistan. The goal of this project, therefore, is to implement the HL7 standard for Shalamar Hospital by extending the incumbent health information management system to acquire and process HL7 standardised health data. The proposed project can help the Hospital further expand its health data interoperability with stakeholders like patients, hospitals, emergency services, paramedic services, public health agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. This project will place Shalamar Hospital in the elite league of hospitals practicing the HL7 standards and, therefore, contribute to the evolution of Pakistan’s healthcare sector in a significant way.”
Dr. Chaudhary praises the research environment at SBASSE, LUMS and says, “The leadership of Dean, Dr. Sabieh Anwar, unparalleled research support from Department of Biology, and administrative facilitation was key in the conceptualisation and design of this project”.
LUMS wishes all the winners the best of luck for their endeavours!