Starting from one classroom and one research lab, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB) now enjoys a key position in H-12 sector of NUST City with dedicated classrooms, library, computer labs, research labs, sports facilities and much more.
A center of excellence in research, NUST Centre of Virology and Immunology (NCVI) was established in Oct 2007, to cater excellent research and teaching facilities in the field of virology and immunology in Pakistan. NCVI was renamed as ASAB.
Being the first and unique of its kind in south Asia, the ASAB had dynamic interdisciplinary under graduate program that will prepare the students for pursuits in research and teaching in virology and the molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases and immunology. Based primarily within the ASAB program, faculty included members of Virology, Molecular Biology, Plant-biology, Biochemistry, Medicine, Neurology, Pediatrics, Rheumatology, Immunology and Oncology. The research and training program involved research overlaps with other institutions in Pakistan and abroad.
The ASAB interdisciplinary research program reflected the richness and diversity of research endeavors equal to world standards. The major focus of ASAB was to understand the molecular organisation, structure and associated gene expression profile with the objectivity to arrest major viral induced pathogenesis in animal and plant kingdom. The hallmark of all viruses is to induce molecular gene expression leading to aberrant cellular alterations that are the cause of over 500 major viral-induced diseases. Viruses infect all organisms including bacteria, plants, fungi, protozoa and human population. It is estimated that ¼ of the Pakistani population is infected with one or multiple form of viruses. A glaring example is the viral hepatitis which is the most reported common cause of liver diseases in Pakistan. It is caused by 6 hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis B and C as the most virulent. The mass screening of population for deadly viruses such as hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV), human papilloma virus (HPV) and human immuno deficiency viruses (HIV) is critical for the control of liver cancer and AIDS.
The emerging epidemic in injecting and commercial sex networks has to be investigated before it enters into the main stream. The development of cost effective and sensitive assay for viral infections is critical for such evaluations. Biological control against the threat of any bioterrorism will be dealt both at academic and research level. To this end, ASAB has designed programs to cover broad areas such as basic and clinical virology, epidemiology, gene therapy, stem cells research and plant virology. To achieve that, ASAB has already participated in prestigious international research initiatives by winning the financial support and international collaborations to address hep-C spread in Pakistan. A major group of our population is suffering from various types of autoimmune diseases and allergic disorders. There is very little understanding about immunological basis of various diseases among the doctors community. The subject of immunology is given the least importance and is taught by the non- professionals in most of the medical colleges or universities in Pakistan. It is pertinent to provide the health sector the much needed scientific link between the diseases and their immunological basis to help the concerned individuals. Although there are few private centers offering allergic tests and diagnostics but these are either very basic or lack the highly skilled and trained experts. So, our goal on one hand is to train the manpower in this particular field and on the other hand to provide the best diagnostic centre of various immunological dysfunctions. Similarly, there is no public or private sector organization involved in synthesis of monoclonal antibodies. We also aim to establish a high tech laboratory in synthesis of the monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies are being widely used in the world for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. We also want to use these antibodies for the diagnosis of various diseases like cancer at early stages, autoimmune diseases, etc. and thus can help in improving the general health standards in Pakistan.
Currently, the ASAB interdisciplinary research program reflects the richness and diversity of research endeavours equal to world standards. Since its inception in 2007, the school has seen growth in both numbers and standards. The first class of our undergraduate program will graduate in 2012, our first Doctorate will be conferred in the same year and over fifty M.Phil degrees have already been awarded by the ASAB.
To this end, ASAB has designed programs to cover broad areas such as basic and clinical virology, health care biotechnology, plant biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, epidemiology, gene therapy, stem cells research and nanotechnology. To achieve that, ASAB has already participated in prestigious international research initiatives by winning the financial support and international collaborations to address Hep-C spread in Pakistan. A major group of our population is suffering from various types of autoimmune diseases and allergic disorders. There is very little understanding about immunological basis of various diseases among the doctors community. It is pertinent to provide the health sector the much needed scientific link between the diseases and their immunological basis to help the concerned individuals.