Department of Life Sciences
SBASSE is pleased to announce that the new name for the Department of Biology will be the Department of Life Sciences.
Ushered by the discovery of genetic material that determines lifeforms, and the development of the "central dogma" of biology, biological sciences in the twenty-first century are radically different from a hundred years ago. For example, the biology of today forays deep down into molecular origins and is often propelled by formidable algorithms. The silico and the vivo have therefore blended into one unified whole.
Public health has also taken an altogether new meaning, especially in the past three years, be it through the hunt for the cure of diseases that are of a truly global import, or the processing of data related to the administration of health services to large populations.
Translational research promises to shrink the gap between benchtop and the patient's bed.
The rapidly increasing knowledge of exoplanets has also opened potential life habitats beyond our very own.
To keep up with these new trends, new skills are becoming central to the discipline of biology. These skills include paradigm shifts in how we think, how we compute, and how we predict. A case in point is the study of the brain itself, which is often hailed as the last unconquered frontier. The discipline requires a melding of neuroscience, cognitive psychology, anatomy and function linkages, radiological techniques for functional imaging and systems biology.
In summary, starting from Galen's medicine, through Avicenna's treatise on Shifa, all the way up to Darwin's monumental idea of natural selection, Mendelian genetics, and Craig Venter's genomic revolution, we are now in a new world that studies life from the lens of systems, complex networks, instruments, noise, quantum information, and algorithms. The overall goal is to tackle disease, prolong life, and democratize modes of therapy.
All in all, we see a shift in the focus of biology from the encyclopedic collection of "facts" to exploration of "ideas", from the "petri dish" to the "algorithm", from the "flower petal" to the "forest", and from the "what" to the "why".
A new semantic reflects this shift in thinking.
I believe the name change from "biology" to "life sciences' adequately captures this revolutionary new mode of thinking, which we know that the Biology Department in the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering has proudly espoused in the past 14 years. With an increased emphasis on informatics, applied health, agriculture, plants, ecology, and the fusion of the old with the new, please join me in congratulating our biologists in becoming LUMS's and SBASSE's citizens under the new banner of life sciences.
Message from Dr. Muhammad Sabieh Anwar
(Professor of Physics and Dean, Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering)