Appreciating positive efforts by Pakistanis can be a difficult task, especially because on the global stage, the country is often associated with a myriad of crises unfathomable for an average reader in the West. Nevertheless, it is also impossible to ignore those dedicated innovators who, through their genius and hard work, are attempting to turn this country into a site of great technological transformation.
With our first edition of the new year, the team of MIT Technology Review Pakistan is showcasing some of the finest Pakistani minds at work in an attempt to highlight Pakistan’s recent contributions to science.
One of these great minds is that of Shaheer Niazi, the 16-year-old prodigy who surprised scientists with his study of the electric honeycomb. Shaheer and his family were interviewed by Aima Khosa for our cover story. Here, Shaheer discusses his experiment and his family talks about unconventional learning methods, online education and barriers to collaboration among scientists.
Our focus in this edition has primarily been on recent innovations in the health sector. Our staff writers will introduce a new generation of technology researchers in Pakistan who are trying to improve healthcare by developing low-cost solutions. Read about life-saving local inventions like the Ambulator (an ambu bag ventilation system), the low-cost infusion pump and a locally-developed virtual reality surgical simulator.
Nushmiya Sukhera’s article focuses on the emerging health startups in Pakistan and how these are transforming the healthcare landscape in the country. Read about Marham, a platform that allows users to book appointments and consult doctors online. The article will bring to light Procheck, another startup tackling issues related to counterfeit medicines and much more.
In our review section you will find how a team of young researchers at a public university in Lahore developed nano versions of two widely prescribed antibiotics. These are used in the treatment of a range of bacterial infections including typhoid fever, cholera, diarrhea as well as infections of eyes, ears, skin, and respiratory and urinary tract.
You will also meet a team of Pakistani scientists who have locally developed a low-cost nanoparticle which can heal burnt skin and chronic ulcer wounds. This skin substitute supports formation of blood vessels and is based on affordable indigenous raw materials.
Before you delve into this edition, I also want to point out MIT Review’s recent successes in the field of science journalism. Before we launched this magazine, science had been one of the most neglected beats of journalism in Pakistan. Our team of staff writers and reporters not only filled this gap, they did it with excellence. We have featured an article by Mahrukh Sarwar on knocked-out genes which went on to win a national award in the category of science journalism. This article was originally published on our website and has been reproduced here for our readers.
Dr. Umar Saif, Editor in Chief
Umar Saif tweets @umarsaif