The Faculty of Pharmacy at Tishk International University organised the 4th International Pharmacy Workshop titled Gene Editing as a New Therapeutic Approach for Incurable Diseases, held on December 11th, 2022, in the Conference Hall, Education Building, TIU. The workshop invited local and international speakers who specialise in the field of gene editing. Several scientists shared their valuable knowledge of incurable diseases and approaches to treatment discovery, and students and staff members also contributed by showcasing various posters regarding these topics. 

During the workshop, each speaker shared their valuable expertise regarding the use of gene editing technologies to create innovative and novel therapeutic approaches that can be used in the treatment of incurable diseases that have impacted the health of many people worldwide. The increase in autoimmune diseases and genetic diseases in the past years significantly affect the lives of many. Despite the effort and the advancement in modern and novel medicine, many incurable diseases remain, reaching almost 2500. These diseases could even be fatal in some cases, leading to the death of the patient in a matter of days, weeks, months or years. In an attempt to find approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases, scientists have made vast steps in understanding the roles of genes in such diseases. The workshop was attended by Dr. Idris Hadi, Head of the Board of Trustees at Tishk International University’s President, Assistant Professor Dr. Abdulsamad Salahaddin Ahmad, Vice President Dr. Mehmet Ozdemir, Pharmacy Faculty’s Dean Professor Dr. Vedat Koksal as well as Dr. Esra Bayrakdar, Head of Department.

Dr. Parua Walzi, the workshop’s host, welcomed the guests and presenters and invited Assistant Professor Dr. Abdulsamad S. Ahmad, President of TIU, to present his opening speech, where he welcomed the participants and expressed his appreciation to the workshop’s organising team. He highlighted the importance of this workshop and how gene editing is a leading subject in the medical field. 

The first speaker, Assistant Lecturer at Tishk International University, Mr. Mohammed Rasul, delivered a presentation titled An Overview of the Role of Genomic Engineering in Incurable Diseases,  where he introduced the role of genetic engineering in the modern world for the treatment and diagnosis associated with incurable diseases. He gave an informative presentation regarding the epidemiology of the incurable disease and the usage of editing genetic information to further enhance research towards findings that could help find better and more advanced treatments.

The second speaker of the workshop, whom we had the honour of her joining us all the way from the United Kingdom, the creator and leader of the Genome Engineering Laboratory of the University of Westminster, Dr. Kalpana Surendranath, delivered a presentation titled The Laboratory Face of CRISPR: Opportunities and Challenges in Higher Education and Research. Her presentation gave a deep insight into the work done using CRISPR, a family of DNA sequences found in the genomes of prokaryotic organisms such as bacteria and archaea. Dr. Kalpana Surendranath gave us the opportunity to look through the work done in the labs of the University of Westminster by research students and the challenges they faced. The opportunities for further research and development regarding genetic engineering were also discussed.

Our last speaker, the Head of the Biology Department and Assistant Lecturer at Tishk International University Mr. Harmand A. Hama, delivered a presentation titled CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Genome Editing Offers Cure for HIV. The presentation discussed the advancements in genetic engineering and the possibility of finding treatment and cures for HIV through such approaches. HIV is an incurable disease that has impacted the human population and has become one of the deadliest and slowest diseases; however, findings show that scientists and modern medicine can help us overcome the dilemma related to such disorders.

The closing ceremony involved a closing speech by the Dean of Pharmacy, Professor Dr. Vedat Koksal, in which he expressed his utmost appreciation for the work done by the faculty in the preparation of such an event and the valuable knowledge shared among the participants of the workshop. Finally, certificates were given to the speakers and organisers of the workshop in appreciation for their hard work and extensive preparations for this event.