Memorial lecture for the late scientist Dr. Qasim Mehdi and Inaugurates the first Clinical and Transplant Immunology laboratory in the country

A memorial lecture was held at SIUT to pay homage to one of the greatest scientist of Pakistan, Prof Qasim Mehdi. Director of SIUT, Prof Adib Rizvi, highlighting the contributions of Dr Qasim Mehdi said that he was a renowned member of the World Human Genome project of the region who did pioneering work on evolutionary genetics in Pakistan and contributed to the human genome diversity project USA. His major discoveries were on genetics and genes responsible for several diseases in Pakistan. He was Director General of the Biomedical and Genetics Engineering division at Dr. A.Q. Khan Laboratory. Dr Mehdi moved to SIUT in 2008 and established the Center of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine (CHGMM). He conducted research on transplantation genetics and markers of rejection. During a short span after the establishment of the CHGMM, he produced 5 PhDs in the field of transplant sciences and the center published a large number of papers in international journals. In recognition of his outstanding contribution, the Government of Pakistan honored him with Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz.

Dr Shagufta Khaliq who had a long association with him gave citation of Prof Qasim Mehdi. She highlighted his achievements in the field of genetics and diversity of genes in Pakistani population.

SIUT had invited Prof Medhat Askar, Director of Transplant Immunology at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas Texas and Clinical Professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine to give the memorial lecture. Dr. Medhat is a renowned Transplant Immunologist and President Elect of the American Board of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Dr. Medhat’s lecture “Two birds with one stone: Career advancement via teaching and training in transplant profession” focused on the importance of continued medical education and training for progress in both clinical care and medical research. Memorial lecture was followed by a scientific session where Dr Askar talked about emerging trends in transplantation such as applications of pharmacogenomics as a tool for precise transplant medicine.

After the memorial lecture, Dr Askar, inaugurated at SIUT, the first Clinical and Transplant Immunology Laboratory for advancement of this field in the country. The new lab will focus on advanced tissue typing, detection of antibodies, transplant of highly sensitized and ABO incompatible transplants thereby helping hundreds of patients whose transplant is not possible at the present moment at SIUT.