The Government College University (GCU) Lahore has received a huge grant of five million euros from German Science Foundation (DFG) for the development and commercial production of low-cost orthopedic implants in Pakistan. The foreign grant involves funding for the National Center of Excellence on Biomaterial Materials Science and Tissue Engineering, which will be established at GCU Lahore.
The 67th Syndicate meeting of GCU Lahore, chaired by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Syed Asghar Zaidi, approved the project and the establishment of the National Center of Excellence, and the associated academic department which will offer BS, MS, and PhD programs in Materials Science Engineering, Biomaterials, and Tissue Engineering.
The Syndicate also approved nine other projects worth Rs 587 million, including the development of a comprehensive Campus Management System, the upgrading of 130 classrooms to smart classrooms, the renovation of the Stephenson Natural History Museum, the establishment of a centralized life sciences lab, and the construction of a new sports gym, and the solarisation in the main campus and the new campus.
The German project, titled “Low-cost bioactive glass-based composite coatings for orthopedic implants,” aims to use state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to fabricate different types of orthopedic implants coated with bioactive glasses. The 3D printed implants will address the issue of corrosion and uncontrolled release of toxic metal ions from current stainless steel and titanium-based orthopedic implants.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Zaidi proudly said that the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project, Dr Eng Muhammad Atiq Ur Rehman, will serve as the founding director of the National Center of Excellence. Engr Jawad Manzur will be the deputy director.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Zaidi said the project aims to make implants more affordable for the low-income population. The current orthopedic implants in Pakistan can be expensive and are susceptible to corrosion and toxic metal ion release. However, the cost of imported implants can reach 70,000 rupees, making them unaffordable for many in the low-income country.
Dr Eng Muhammad Atiq Ur Rehman told the syndicate that the project will use 3D printing technology to create orthopedic implants, such as bone plates and screws, coated with bioactive glass-based composites. Bioactive glasses can be doped with different ions for therapeutic benefits and improved tissue regeneration. Dr Atiq and his team have also researched the use of natural herbs for skin regeneration.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi, called the 67th Syndicate meeting as one of the most successful and historic in the life of the GCU. He said it was a fitting way to celebrate 20 years of attaining the university status.
The Syndicate members praised the Vice-Chancellor and his team for their comprehensive preparation and briefing about the projects, saying that these landmark projects will take GCU to new heights.
The meeting was also attended by Senator Dr Zarqa Suharwardy, Rashid Latif Khan University Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr M Khalid Khan, Chairman Lahore Board Dr Mirza Habib, industrialist Mr Anwaar Ahmad Khan, and representatives from the law, finance, and higher education departments.