Dr. Shahid Karim, assistant professor of Biological Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi, presented his research group’s ongoing insect genomics research to a worldwide audience through a teleconference hosted by Sindh Agriculture University in Tandojam, Pakistan on Friday, October 2, 2009.
Karim’s lecture was part of a genomics workshop conducted by Sindh Agriculture. The presentation, “Insect Genomics: Targeting the Physiology of Invasive Insect Pests” included information on the DNA sequencing of the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) project. Genomics is the study of DNA sequences, genes and their functions.
“The Japanese Beetle causes U.S. agricultural losses in the amount of over $470 million each year,” said Karim. “This research is important to our Pakistani audience because Pakistan is an agriculturally driven country and agricultural insect pests decrease their annual harvests.”
Karim, who does extensive research on ticks targeting tick-borne illnesses, has expanded his research to the Japanese beetle and focusing on invasive insect pests.
“In the U.S., the Japanese beetle is huge problem in landscaping, golf courses, and agriculture,” said Karim. “People are looking for new methods to control these pests and we believe by targeting the physiology we could end up with new and novel targets.”
Karim’s research has been featured in Pakistani media including the Pakistan News Service.
The teleconference was viewed by faculty, graduate and undergraduate veterinary students, representatives from Sindh Agriculture Research Department, and attendees from the Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Pakistan Atomic Energy Research Center, and team members of the Pakistan United States Agency for International Development (USAID) joint project (Pak-US).
The Pak-US project is a collaborative effort between Pakistani universities and U.S. Universities. Karim is co-principal investigator with a professor from the University of Rhode Island on a grant funded by the USAID.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences implemented the Pak-U.S. program to increase the strength and breadth of cooperation between Pakistani scientists and researchers in the United States.
Dr. Abdullah Arijo, chair of veterinary parasitology at Sindh Agricultural University, said Karim’s teleconference brought new information to the attendees.
“This is a wonderful to have this teleconference presented to us in Pakistan because so many things were brought to us. This is a very new concept and a way for us to get practical information,” he said.
“We do not have access to the same technology as Dr. Karim, and this teleconference helps us a lot. I hope to conduct many more teleconferences and appreciate the effort from the university and Dr. Karim’s research team.”
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.