The molecular biologist who studied human diversity
Syed Qasim Medhi (13 February 1941 - 28 September 2016)
Syed Qasim Mehdi (13 February 1941 – 28 September 2016) was a Pakistani molecular biologist who was a founding member of the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), which assessed human diversity by studying human migration, mutation rates, relationships between different populations, genes involved in height and selective pressure. His research has revealed new mutations in the tumour suppressor gene p53 in breast cancer patients, as well as new genes involved in night blindness, non-syndromic deafness and microphthalmia in Pakistani families. In his career, Mehdi published over two hundred publications and was a renowned personality in the scientific circles of Pakistan as well as overseas. He held a number of notable appointments, including chairman of the Center for Human Genetics at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, as well as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Karachi. In the last years of his career, Mehdi proposed a direction for the future of biomedical research in Pakistan where he envisioned the application of molecular medicine to control infectious diseases.