Translational research and commercialisation of biomedical materials

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The Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials (IRCBM) was established at COMSATS IIT, Lahore, in 2008 to make high quality, low cost biomedical materials for orthopaedic, dental, cardiovascular and ophthalmic surgical applications. The dire need for such a research centre was felt with great concern in October 2005 when more than 800,000 people lost their lives and almost doubled the number got in-capacitated due to amputations. The idea to establish IRCBM was put forward by Dr. Ihtesham ur Rehman, currently an Associate Professor at University of Sheffield, UK, to the Rector of COMSATS IIT, Dr. Junaid Zaidi, H.I., who graciously materialized this idea into a successful reality.

The vision of IRCBM is to improve the lives of ordinary Pakistanis by promoting and conducting application oriented interdisciplinary research in the field of Biomedical Materials in Pakistan also by translating ongoing research into low cost high quality commercial products in order to get rid of reliance on expensive imports. Aqif Anwar Chaudhary, Ph.D. in Biomaterials from Queen Mary University of London, is the present Head of Department, IRCBM, and has got approved many research projects for his enthusiastic team of scientists. Dr. Saadat Anwar Siddiqi in the capacity of Advisor IRCBM is putting in all his 40-year experience for shaping the Centre to achieve its goals and objectives.

Since its establishment, IRCBM has been striving for achieving its proposed goals through a smartly chalked our research plan. A highly skilled and dedicated team consisting of scientists from many multi-disciplines such as Dentistry, Chemistry, Physics, Metallurgy, Life sciences, Engineering, Microbiology, is working on many research projects funded by government of Pakistan and also by foreign agencies. In a short span of time state-of-the-art laboratories for the synthesis of Bio-ceramic and polymer based materials, specially designed Bio-lab with clean room and cell culturing facilities have been made functional and a regular appearance of research papers in highly reputed international journals is being observed.

The IRCBM is also providing a national service to the researchers in material characterization through its laboratories that have the facilities of FTIR, Universal mechanical testing Machine, DSC/TGA and computerized metallurgical optical microscope.

Presently the research activity at IRCBM is being pursued through the functioning of its four main groups based on research areas of Polymer and Composite (PC), Ceramics and Coatings (CC), Dental Materials (DM), and Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering Group (CBTE) Research Groups. Every group has its leader and they regularly meet to discuss their achievements and future plans and needs.

One of the most important aspects of research and development work is to share and learn ideas from other fellows who are working in similar areas at different places of the world. Conferences, symposiums and topically arranged seminars are the most suitable occasions for such kind of activity where the most leading scientists and experts are invited for deliberations of their latest discoveries. IRCBM has the legacy of arranging such an International Symposium on Biomedical Materials. This year, (15-17 December 2014), the 4th International Symposium on Biomedical Materials will be focused on the theme: Translational research and commercialization. The first three symposia of this series focused on “Current Research and Future Signposting” and “Recent Advances and Challenges”. This year the papers are invited in the following topics: Skin Repair and Regeneration, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Nanotechnology, Cell Based Therapies, Drug Delivery, Biomimetics and Nature Derived Biomaterials, Current Clinical Approaches, Implants, Coatings and Medical Devices, Biomedical Materials Applications. The required information can be accessed at http://ircbm.ciitlahore.edu.pk/Symposium/4/ and Abstract Submission Deadline is 22 September 2014 at isbmabstract@ciitlahore.edu.pk

The Symposium has already gained popularity due to its previous reputation for combining the researchers, clinicians, surgeons and industrialists, all the stake holders, under one roof. In such brain storming sessions, the participants discuss every aspect of the biomedical materials for translating the research from lab to clinics. It is heartening to know that more than eleven leading researchers from UK and rest of the world have confirmed their participation in the 4th Symposium. Some of them are Prof. Serena Best, University of Cambridge, Prof. Jonathan Knowles, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, London, Dr. Gareth Williams and Prof. Jawwad A. Darr, UCL, UK, Prof. Sheila Mcneil, Dr. Chris Holland and Dr. Ihtesham ur Rehman, University of Sheffield, UK, Dr. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna, the University of Hong Kong, and Dr. Matej Drobnic, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU.

The University of Health Sciences, Lahore, has joined the hands with IRCBM to co-host the 4th International Symposium on Biomedical Materials. Under this joint venture it is expected that participation of so many wizards of Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering and medical doctors, clinicians and surgeons, the RandD work being undertaken at IRCBM would get strengthen and the objectives would be achieved in a shorter period of time.

As the theme of the Symposium is “Translational Research and Commercialization” the topic will be covered by Prof. Sheila Mcneil (UK) who has been producing artificial skin for burn patients a spin off from her research at Sheffield University. It is expected that this forthcoming 4th symposium on biomedical materials will bring far reaching results evolved from the open discussions between foreign and local material scientists and clinicians.

The writer is Advisor, IRCBM, COMSATS IIT, Lahore.


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Published in: Volume 05 Issue 36

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=12017