A young researcher from Kashmir has once again created a niche for himself, this time in the arena of drug discovery and evaluation. He has been selected as a research fellow at Northeastern University, a high ranking university located in Boston USA. The university has signed an agreement with Moderna, the biotechnology company.
Javid Iqbal is joining Northeastern postdoctoral research as the inaugural fellow. He will use Big Data to help design a more efficient drug-development model so that scientists can be more confident that treatments, such as the COVID-19 vaccine, will be effective once they reach clinical trials, according to a statement from Northeastern and Moderna.
Iqbal, a clinical pharmacist who has studied from the Department of Pharmacology at University of Kashmir will begin the fellowship in July. He says that it’s an opportunity to bridge the gap between academia and industry. “What we do in academia doesn’t always translate to the industry we’re studying,” he says. “Here, I’ll be able to develop clinical models which will assist in developing drugs that are administered at the right dose and the right concentration and that produce the right effect.”
“Our hope is to design a process that makes it easier, faster, and less expensive to get promising drugs to the clinical trial phase and eventually to the people who need them,” says Mansoor Amiji, university distinguished professor in the departments of pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering, who will be supporting the fellowship from Northeastern.
The process by which a drug goes from the lab bench to pharmacy shelves is a long and expensive one, filled with rigorous testing and clinical trials along the way. At each step, scientists refine the dosage and potency to ensure maximal benefit with the least amount of risk.
First, scientists have to decide which disease to affect, and determine which molecule in the body to target in order to do so, Amiji says. Then, they develop a strategy: How can they create a compound that interacts with the targeted molecule in the desired fashion?
Iqbal will be part of this exciting process. “I hope to be joined by more and more researchers from Kashmir in this journey of research and science,” he says.