The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future invites you to attend an upcoming seminar with Muhammad H. Zaman, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a Pardee Center Faculty Associate, where he will discuss his recent book, Bitter Pills: The Global War on Counterfeit Drugs. The seminar will take place on Wednesday, June 20 from 10:00 – 11:30 am at the Pardee Center at 67 Bay State Road.
The book, published by Oxford University Press in April 2018, provides a journalistic account of the increasingly common problem of counterfeit pills — which have long been an issue in developing countries — in the United States drug supply, resulting from the rise of Internet commerce, along with globalization and increasing pharmaceutical use. In the book, Prof. Zaman aims to raise awareness about counterfeit drugs and examine possible solutions to help people protect themselves. He focuses on the science and engineering behind both counterfeit and legitimate drugs, and explores the potential of a “technological fix” for the counterfeit drug problem… Continue reading.
Work by the Zaman Lab has been featured on the cover of Biophysical Journal. The article”A Computational Model of YAP/TAZ Mechanosensing” by Meng Sun, Fabian Spill, and BME Professor Muhammad Zaman has also been published in the June 6, 2016 issue.
On a quiet street tucked behind Boston University’s bustling urban campus, Muhammad Zaman says goodbye to four undergraduates and a postdoctoral student also eager to make an impact on health. The five are headed to the airport to catch a plane to Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of East Africa, where they will spend six weeks living with host families and working with local students to brainstorm health-care technologies needed in the region.
After seeing them off, Zaman, who became an HHMI professor in 2014, walks back through a door leading to his two laboratories. In the lab to the right, he studies how cancer cells interact with their environment. In the lab to the left, he focuses on global health.
Zaman grew up in a developing country, Pakistan, and experienced firsthand the poverty and lack of medical technology that are endemic to such settings. As a boy, Zaman tagged along with his mother whenever she trekked across town to pick up medications. She never went to the pharmacy on the corner by their house, Zaman recalls. For the longest time, he thought that was just the way it was done – you traveled across town for medicines. “Then I came to America and realized that’s not how it should be,” he says. Zaman realized his mother’s long trips were necessitated by her distrust in the quality of the medicines at the corner store.
In a small house in rural Kenya, a young woman gives birth to a healthy little girl. Before anyone can celebrate, the mother starts bleeding. The woman will die soon if the bleeding doesn’t stop.
Luckily, the midwife has a drug in front of her, called oxytocin. It can easily stop the postpartum bleeding and save the women’s life. She takes the medication, but nothing happens. It doesn’t work.
This story is fictitious. But the scenario is all too common.
The problem is counterfeit drugs — medications that don’t have the active ingredient or have insufficient quantities of it to be effective. In other words, drugs that don’t work.
Counterfeit drugs account for roughly $75 billion of the $900 billion global pharmaceutical market — and about 100,000 deaths a year in Africa alone. In Kenya, up to 30 percent of drugs on the market are counterfeit, the World Health Organization reported. Many “drugs” are no more than just chalk or water.
One man in Boston is trying to change that.
Muhammad Zaman, a biomedical engineer at Boston University, has designed a suitcase that detects fake drugs. Called PharmaChk, the device is about the size of a carry-on bag. When you open it up and pop a pill into the designated spot, it tells you whether the drug is real or not.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Muhammad Zaman, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Zaman was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows For advancing multi-scale 3D modeling and systems to understand cancer cell invasion and metastasis in complex microenvironments and for global health innovations.
A College of Engineering faculty member since 2009 and the College’s only Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor, Zaman heads the Cellular and Molecular Dynamics Lab, which engineers new experimental and computational technologies for major healthcare problems in both the developing and developed world, including probing the mechanisms of cancer metastasis. The lab focuses on how physical and mechanical properties of cancer cells impact their growth and movement, modeling this behavior in computer programs.
Meanwhile, Zaman is developing robust, cheap, portable and user-friendly diagnostics and analysis toolkits to address global health challenges. As director of the Laboratory for Engineering Education and Development (LEED), he works with BU students to advance technologies to detect counterfeit drugs, preserve biological reagents used in diagnostic tests and provide other in-demand healthcare solutions targeting the specific needs of resource-limited countries. He is also co-director of the Africa Biomedical Engineering Initiative, which was funded by UN Economic Commission for Africa to improve biomedical engineering education, innovation and practice in Africa. In 2014 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Universities of Global Health (CUGH), the most prestigious professional organization in the field