Jasarat Ilyas Jokhio
Birds in Pakistan get harmful diseases with the prevalence and incidence of various external and internal parasitic species. Climate change, pollution, aerospace and related accidents, overpopulation, deforestation and high incidence of the dangerous diseases are some of the reasons behind the death of large numbers of birds. Thus the mortality rate of all birds is increasing day by day in the country. Many of the people are working on these diseases to cope up and facilitate birds with such comfortable lives and cured wings, free of all types of parasites such as; ticks, mites, chewing lice and intestinal parasites etc. Among them a large number of scientists in Pakistan are PhD but only a few of them are post-PhD. If you want to see an emerging scientist and one of the currently top most Postdoctoral researchers who worked in the European Union then come to see such a wonderful scientist in the University of Sindh, Jamshoro where Dr. Saima Naz can be seen in the department of Zoology, imparting education, knowledge, wisdom and teaching the students from BS level to PhD with modern research methods and micro-techniques. Let’s read about her achievements and research on birds in detail.
Dr Saima Naz, who is an Assistant Professor in the department of Zoology at Sindh University has recently just returned back to Pakistan after completing the two years full time residential Post-Doctorate Degree Project from a highly reputed university of Europe; Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic, worked on the alpha taxonomical and ecological research and molecular biology research on ectoparasites of birds and mammals.. Earlier she got her PhD from University of Karachi. Prior to her two years post doctorate project with Czech government scholarship, she completed her national project successfully on the game birds of Sindh with HEC grant from 2015 to 2019, from which she explored many endemic parasites among game birds of Sindh and published her work.
During her recent postdoctoral studies, she worked with eminent scientists of the world whose services for birds’ lice are remarkable such as; Tomas, Sedmikova, Cherny, Olda, Costica, Miroslava and David Modrý etc. Currently she is also running an international research project under Czech Government Funds with the Faculty of Tropical Agriscience in Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague. Dr. Saima Naz has also produced five research papers in the highly reputed scientific journals during her Post-PhD tenure. That is the reason behind her working affiliations with the various national and international universities across the world.
Decent looking Parasitologist Dr. Saima Naz is a proud daughter of Sindh who got her education from the various educational institutions to pursue the primary education like; pre-primary (KG) from a model school at Moosa Lane Kharadar, Class I-II at Govt. Primary School Khohrha Shareef Taluka Gambat district Khairpur, Class III to V at Khushhal Khan Khattak Primary School Steel Town Karachi, Class VI from Wali Mohammad Hassan Ali Govt. School Baghdadi Lyari Karachi, Class VIII to XI at Allama Iqbal Higher Secondary School. In this way, she got her Matriculation in 1992 with A grade, Intermediate in Science in 1994 with B grade from Pakistan Steel Mills Higher Secondary School Karachi and then joined the professional field of practical life along with further studies.
Since her childhood, she was noting and implementing the good trends from her sources of inspiration who are a few ideal personalities like; her friend in Matriculation Nazia Bano, her aunt Prof. Razia Sultana Asif (Professor of Sindhi), Zoology teacher in B.Sc. Madam Shehnaz Sultana, research supervisor Prof. Dr Syed Anser Rizvi and generally as a great motivator is legend Qasim Ali Shah too whose quotes and inspiring thoughts have touched the heart and soul of millions! She says that her elder brother Dr. Muhammad Asif Khawaja is also the incredible source of inspiration and motivation since her childhood in family while as famous social activist and veteran dermatologist of Karachi Dr. Manzoor Hussain Memon is her maternal uncle whom she recognizes as the most influential Sindhi language expert.
Her childhood dream was to become a unique human being like any extraordinary medical doctor to serve humanity etc. Consequently, she completed her Graduation (BSc) in 1996 with 1st division from Madar-e-Millat Pakistan Steel Mills Degree College Malir and then Masters in Zoology in 1999 with 1st division from department of Zoology, University of Karachi. At Masters, she discovered that research is the only way to achieve the goal of her life so started collecting different data. This led her to get enrolled in MPhil (in 2004) which was later converted to PhD and she worked days and nights with candid zeal and zest to produce a baseline data on the chewing lice of the birds of Karachi. This doctoral degree was achieved by Dr. Saima Naz in 2010 under the supervision of an eminent supervisor Emeritus Professor Dr. Anser Rizvi from Department of Zoology, University of Karachi, Sindh Pakistan.
While speaking about memoirs of her past, she witnessed that there was a ‘potential scientist’ in her soul but had no any idea how to explore and spout out the inner scholar and was keenly interested to do some home experiments of cooking and gardening etc. She also used to read scientific books whether understood or not but collected many books which are still with her in the collection, but who knew that such book reader will one day be author of three published international standard books (all in 2012 by LAP Publishers Germany) and writer of more than 50 published research papers up to the date.
After completing the education, Dr. Saima started working and got various endeavors in her professional career. She was position holder in the whole Sukkur division in the lecturer test on contract basis in 2003 while as later in 2005; she got first position in test and interview throughout Sindh and secured Lecturer position through Sindh Public Service Commission and joined Government College education department. Before that, she also worked in the private sector as Lecturer in Shaheen Intermediate College Gulistan Johar in 2002-3, as a Science Teacher and then Lecturer in various private colleges during 1997-2002. She also served as Principal in a newly established Oxford School at Gulshan Iqbal Karachi in 2002-4. In schools and colleges, she was a good teacher but it did not give her research charm so she thought of joining any university. In 2013, she joined Sindh University in the Department of Zoology as Assistant Professor on merit basis.
When there is will, there is a way, suits Dr. Saima Naz whose untiring efforts are part of modern history of Sindh. Phthirapteran studies were totally neglected in Sindh Pakistan but she revitalized this field. Research on chewing lice and intestinal parasites of birds, mammals and fishes are her fields of expertise. She received Pakistan Research Productivity Award (PRA) in 2016 with A category by Pakistan Council of Science and Technology, Islamabad. Dr. Saima Naz is herself an author of six new species while as various scientists respect her, such as; on the remarkable performance and recognition of her research work on describing new species of Chewing Lice (Phthiraptera) in Pakistan (the only world-known taxonomist of chewing lice in the country), the senior chewing lice-taxonomist Daniel Gustafsson et al., 2018 honored Dr. Saima Naz to put her name on a new species of a chewing louse as Brueelia nazae recovered from a small finch bird from Pakistan. (Reference: Gustafsson, D.R., Chu, X., Bush, S.E. and Zou, F., 2018. Ten new species of genus Brueelia Keler, 1936 (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera: Philopteridae) from nuthatches (Aves: Passeriformes: Sittidae), tits and chickadees (Paridae), and goldcrests (Regulidae); Acta Parasitologica; 63(3): 527-557, DOI: 10.1515/ap-2018-0063).
Dr. Saima Naz is the superb motivated girl of Sindh Pakistan. Notwithstanding the opposition in all steps of life by various resistant factors, she has been achieving many successful icons and has a repute position among the global scientists community of Phthirapterology, Parasitology and Systematic Sciences. Various distinguished awards are in her account. Few of these are; Czech Government Scholarship for Post-Doctoral Research Work, awarded by Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic during 2019-2021 for Post PhD, an award of travel grant from Higher Education Commission, Islamabad of Rs. 0.309 million to present paper in ICP6, Czech Republic, the golden commemorative badge for the appreciation on significant work on Phthiraptera awarded by The Foundation of University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic in 2018. She was awarded with The Best Poster in 4th International Conference of Agriculture, Food and Animal Sciences, Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam in 2019 and on 3rd Position in the Poster Presentation Competition throughout Pakistan at the One-Health International Conference (OHC-2017), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. Dr. Saima Naz also won 1st and 3rd Positions in Poster Presentation throughout Pakistan, at 1st National Science Conference, Govt. Sadiq College Women University, Bahawalpur in 2017 and in the 36th Pakistan Congress of Zoology (International) at Department of Zoology, University of Sindh, Jamshoro in 2016, respectively.
Additionally, Dr. Saima Naz considers her all students (even PhD scholars) like her children and family members because she has multidimensional personality who is not only the most positive teacher but also a good mentor, facilitator, researcher, poetess, reader, writer, author and founder of a unique place in University of Sindh which is known as “APRL Museum of Parasitology” – the first Museum of its kind in Sindh Pakistan, where a huge variety of precious parasites is preserved to facilitate the scientists and research scholars in the field of Parasitology. Moreover, she will continue the quality production of M.Phil and Ph.D. researchers under her supervision. She has been recommended to continue her work with such quality and social benefits and extend her research with the collaboration with other departments of the faculty like Microbiology and Biotechnology and high up the research in molecular biology and biotechnology techniques, the recommendation was made by the meritorious Professor Dr M. S. Kalhoro, the worthy Vice Chancellor, University of Sindh Jamshoro. Earlier when she was moving foreign for Post PhD Degree, she was head of Parasitology section and also a Laboratory called as Advanced Parasitology Research Laboratory (APRL)-a part of the major discipline of Zoology (Parasitology) where quality research work is being carried out on various aspects of Parasitology. It was established in 2009 with a meager facilities but later in 2016 the lab was enhanced and equipped up to possible microscopic to laboratory experimental equipment with the help of Higher Education Commission (HEC) research project No. 4514 under NRPU program. The project covered the various parasites like helminthes, lice, mites, ticks and flies of migratory and game birds of the province Sindh. APRL contains a museum which is known as APRLMP. Museum of Parasitology (APRLMP) is the first museum of Parasitology in Sindh, Pakistan. The laboratory also contains a huge collection of different parasites including endoparasites and ectoparasites of birds, mammals and fishes; also the host animals preserved as stuffed form. These parasites are preserved and are obtained from the various research studies carried out by the scholars of Parasitology. The micro and macro techniques which are commonly practiced here are; classical and computerized drawing of species, taxonomical study and histopathology investigations, Epidemiology of various diseases.
Up to now, there are a total number of 24 MPhil and 2 PhD scholars who have successfully completed their research from this laboratory. Currently 4 M.Phil and 5 PhD scholars are working on the parasites of birds and mammals at the standard level that can meet the international research requirements. Besides, there are various achievements of these scholars who worked here and secured top positions in the various poster and oral paper presentations competitions held in the International conferences at national level (Bahawalpur, Lahore, Faisalabad, Tando Jam, Karachi) and International level in various countries like; Czech Republic, Turkey and Romania.
After visiting various countries (such as; Australia, Germany, Greece, Austria, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia etc) for the purpose of research, knowledge and achievement of recreation, she has created various professional contacts and working affiliations with the international centers of excellence in Parasitology, laboratories and museums of Parasitology which will liaise the creative skills of the scholars of either countries. Dr. Saima Naz shall very soon start Molecular Research using different models on the parasitological aspects. APRL laboratory is open for every research scholar from the department as well as outside the department who is interested to work on various parasites all around the region.

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