The School of Life Sciences and the International Center for Biotechnology and Health at IUB organized a seminar on November 11, 2016 entitled “DNA Technology in Forensic Science.” Professor Sharif Akhteruzzaman, Chairman, Department of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, University of Dhaka and National Technical Adviser, National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory, Dhaka Medical College spoke to a mesmerized audience. He explained how the complexity of biochemical pathways and DNA technology seems to take an exciting turn when we take a glance at the fascinating applications in our daily lives. While DNA technology is often used to explore various disease pathways at a molecular level, a different extent of fascination and curiosity lies in unraveling the events of crime scenes and natural disasters where numerous dead bodies need to be recovered and identified.
The content of the seminar was designed to embrace the absorptive capacity of diverse listeners. He successfully conveyed a deeper understanding of the function and relevance of microsatellite sequences in nuclear DNA and of mitochondrial DNA to forensic science. Professor Akhteruzzaman emphasized the essential role of forensics in critical national crises such as the tragedies at Rana Plaza, Tazreen Fashion Garments, and the BDR mutiny. The process of DNA identification of victims in these cases was conducted under his direct supervision. He explained the applicable timeline of the DNA technologies that are used in his lab, the challenging cases that he and his team address daily, and the technical improvements he can envision.
Professor Omar Rahman, the Vice Chancellor of IUB, welcomed the speaker and recognized the significance of efficient and reliable technologies in forensic science. The Dean of SLS, Professor Rita Yusuf, offered the formal vote of thanks, acknowledging Professor Akhteruzzaman’s contributions to science and society as a whole. The speaker was introduced by Ms. Mariz Sintaha, Senior Lecturer, SLS. The seminar was well attended by senior academic and administrative heads, faculty, and students who contributed to a vibrant and thought-provoking question and answer session.