LAHORE: Dr. Zakir Ullah, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, has been awarded a research grant of PKR 7.1 million by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to study the regulation of specific genes that are turned off during the development of the human placenta.
The research group led by Dr. Zakir Ullah focuses on understanding the behaviour of specialised stem cells which make the placenta, a special organ essential for child development during pregnancy. In this research project Dr. Zakir Ullah will decipher how nature allows specific types of placental cells to accumulate large quantities of DNA to become ‘polyploid’ giant cells during embryonic development. He will focus on suppression of death response genes in polyploid cells. Death response genes are inactivated in a number of diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Successful completion of the project will help researchers understand the basic mechanisms of human development and molecular circuits that are disrupted in diseases.