Dr Muneeb Faiq, 34, a highly acclaimed clinical researcher from Kashmir, working on glaucoma, neuro-degeneration and diabetes at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, in a groundbreaking study has discovered a new type of diabetes, ‘Diabetes Type 4’, for which he has been awarded  “The Best PhD Scholar Award” at AIIMS.

He is the first Kashmiri to get this award. His research on glaucoma is widely acclaimed and considered to be extremely useful working guide for glaucoma specialists who treat children and their families with this blinding disorder.

This type of diabetes is uniquely different from the one accompanied with high blood glucose levels, because it afflicts the brain and ocular tissues specifically – a leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide.

Dr Muneeb has had a keen interest in research focused at Brain-specific Diabetes interphase with regards to regulation of dietary behaviour, energy metabolism and its clinical implications in humans. His brain diabetes theory of glaucoma was reported by media all over the world.

In 2012, Muneeb propounded and put forth the “Encephalization Hypothesis of Diabetes” – a theory that explains the manifestation of diabetes primarily as a human disease. According to this hypothesis, diabetes is a peculiar and uniquely human disease with an evolutionary handcuff to increasing brain size in hominids. Muneeb and his co-workers proposed that due to certain unique aspects of human evolution, physiology, anthropology and anatomy, humans have a special predisposition for diabetes.

In 2014, Faiq and his research group propounded a radical hypothesis about glaucoma proposing it to be a brain specific form of diabetes. This hypothesis revolutionized the understanding of glaucoma.

He has been awarded for his research on wound healing in glaucoma surgery at the 8th International Congress on Glaucoma Surgery held in Muscat in February last year and in May 2016, his research on functional genomics of glaucoma was adjudged as most innovative research on vision sciences at the annual meeting of Association of Research on Vision and Ophthalmology held in Washington, USA.

His research has paved way for finding potential compounds that can be used as drugs to treat these children. A recent statement released by AIIMS said that the identified different compounds in various combinations and permutations can be a great hope for an effective therapy and a way to rescue vision in these children. He has been bestowed with the International Affiliate Award for this work.

Martin Cohen a British philosopher and writer describes him as a contemporary scientist with interesting philosophical insights and even quotes his opinions about the contributions of great scientists of all time.

 – Jibran Nazir


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