Research Projects


1. Dr Zafar-Ullah Koreshi

a. Nanoparticles in Cancer therapy

The number of cancer cases globally is expected to grow from 14.1 million in 2012 to 24 million by 2035 with lung cancer leading in males and breast cancer in females. In developing countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh about 70% of the cancer-related deaths occur due to non-availability of resources in diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment. In Pakistan, the major cancer-related deaths are from the cancer of lungs, colon-rectal and breasts while prostate and ovary cancers are on the rise. In conventional brachytherapy, radionuclides such as 125I have been used effectively for cancers include a large number of prostatic malignancies as well as many others. However, in case of prostate cancer, it has been demonstrated that 131Cs, with the shortest half-life (9.7 days) of commonly used isotopes including 125I and 103Pd, has better radiation dose delivery with fewer seeds or needles and delivers 90% of the prescribed dose to the prostate gland in just 33 days compared with 58 days for 103Pd and 204 days for 125I. Thus a dose of 115 Gy is delivered in 33 days for 90% dose while Pd takes 58 days and I takes 204 days. The number of days for which the dose is detectable in the body (97, 107, 600) is also an advantage for Cs. A further development in brachytherapy, with the objective of improving its effectiveness, has been the possibility of injecting high-Z biocompatible elements such as gold and gadolinium in solution form through fenestrations of cancer cells. The method thus requires elements of dimensions small enough to be delivered into tumor cells so that the effects of radiation are localized and restricted to the ‘bad’ cells while sparing the healthy ‘good’ cells. Nanotechnology, driven largely by the opportunities in electronics and semiconductors, has emerged as one of the frontiers of science capable of revolutionizing technology in areas including communications and computing, materials and medicine. Innovations in nanotechnology, with a better understanding of the physics at nanoscales where the high surface area-to-volume ratio results in behavior of phenomena very different from that observed in bulk materials, has led to new materials, such as quantum dots, in electronics and a wide variety of fields. In brachytherapy, gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are thus an active area of research to determine possible dose enhancement to make the therapy more effective. At Air University research is underway to build models to estimate the radiation dose for brachytherapy with gold nanoparticles. The work, in collaboration with the Nuclear Oncology Radiation Institute (NORI), will be theoretical as well as applied.

b. Design and Simulation of a compact modular 4S reactor system

The Super-Safe, Small and Simple (4S) Toshiba design is a sodium-cooled Gen-IV fast reactor aimed for sealed operation for a period of approximately thirty years. Such economically competitive systems will provide sustainable clean safe and reliable nuclear energy generation free from the risk of fissile material proliferation. Both these small “multi-purpose” 30 MW(th) and 135 MW(th) designs , with electrical outputs of 30 MW(e) and 50 MW(e) designs respectively, address Gen-IV requirements including non-proliferation, essentially due to the absence of blanket breeders typically incorporated in fast reactors, and passive safety in Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) reactor systems. Even smaller systems, such as the 20 MW(th) U battery, have been designed with long lifetime and flexibility in operation. Such small and medium sized reactors (SMRs) have the potential to be useful for off-grid applications, heating and desalination (Minato, 2007). One of the most attractive features of the 4S reactor is that re-fuelling is not required in the entire 30-year operation. Ueda et al (2005) describe 10 MW(e) and 50 MW(e) 4S designs (4S-10ML) with a metallic plutonium fuel core based on 17.5 – 24 % enriched fuel and controlled only by the movement of the annular reflector while the Uranium Zirconium fuel based design described by Tsuboi et al (2010) is kept critical in the initial 15-year period by gradual removal of a central control rod, and in the next 15-year period by upward reflector movement.Research in this area will cover simulation in neutronic and thermo-fluids of the reactor system extending to the flow of conductive metals by electromagnetic pumps.

c. Design and Simulation of a compact electromagnetic system

This research is expected to focus on the production of a Lorentz force inside a compact system to accelerate a gas consisting of ions and hit targets at high energies (~MeV) to produce novel reactions and propose innovative systems. It will be both theoretical and practical and will include electromagnetics, RF systems, vacuum pumps and gas injection systems.


2. Dr. Zareena Kauser

a. Control of a Transhumeral Prosthetic Arm

Progress in the field of Bio-Mechatronics has provided numerous ways to better mimic the form and function of human limbs, thus allowing the design of better prostheses for amputees. A prosthetic arm is used to compensate for the lost functions of the amputated arm. A number of commercial prosthetic arms have been developed in the recent past. However, they have not been widely used due to their often limited functionality and restrictive cost. This research is focused to control the movements of Transhumeral Prosthetic Device using EMG signals and force sensors. By integrating the simulation with real time measurement of EMG signals from selected muscles which would help in data acquisition and classification for arm movements. Feedback controllers will be designed to control position, velocity and force etc.

b. Design, Modeling and Control of Surgical Robot

According to reports of World Health Organization, every year around the world, between 250 000 and 500 000 people suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI). Males are most at risk in young adulthood (20-29 years) and older age (70+). Females are most at risk in adolescence (15-19) and older age (60+). Studies report male-to-female ratios of at least 2:1 among adults, sometimes much higher. A number of problems can change the structure of the spine or damage the vertebrae and tissues around it. They include Infections, injuries, tumors, conditions as ankylosing and scoliosis, and some changes come with age like spinal stenosis and herniated disks. Spinal diseases often cause pain when bone changes put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. They can also limit movement. The vast majority of disk injuries occur in the lumber region of the lower back. Only 10% of these injuries affect the upper spine. This research will focus on a surgical robot and procedures. The research will start with brief description of spine problems, surgical options and involvement of robotics in modern robotic surgeries. Then mechanism design, analysis, modeling and control will be designed and simulated for the assistive robot.

c. Control of a Paraplegic Device

Paraplegia refers to paralysis of lower-limbs and is most commonly caused by spinal cord injury. It involves the impairment of either sensory or motor function of the lower half of the body. To improve the standard of living for such patients, various rehabilitation practices have been developed which include therapeutic sessions and use of assistive devices. This research focuses on the modeling and control of an assistive device for paraplegic patients. for "sit to stand" motion and mobility. The research may enhanced through utilization of brain signals.


3. Dr. Umer Khan

a. Reconfigurable energy enhanced architecture for efficient utilization of stored energy (ongoing, approved for funding from HEC)

The proposed project mainly focuses upon the optimization of energy cost, batteries life by improving the charging and discharging properties and the dynamical characteristics of the batteries. This project can also be thought of as a means to persuade residents of Pakistan that reconfigurable architecture along with battery management system is the next most viable option to save energy.

b. DESIGN, FABRICATION & ACTUATION OF LOWER LIMB EXOSKELETON FOR PARALYZED INDIVIDUALS (proposed)

The purpose of the research is to design and develop an assistive device that offers mobility functions to the individuals suffering from lower limb impairments. The device will be a wearable electromechanical system that will enable the patients to stand and walk on their own and allow them to execute daily life functions. In the longer run, this device will be controlled using neural activity.


4. Dr Rana Iqtidar

a. Design, Development and testing of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) based inertial sensors, grippers, energy harvesters and mechanical amplifiers
b. Failure analyses of microsystems
c. Tailoring the properties of electrospun nanofibers with nanoparticles (NPs) for energy, environmental and biomedical applications.


5. Dr. Shakil R. Sheikh

1. Design and Fabrication of Vertical Axis Curtate Wind/Water Turbines:

The aim is to design and fabricate a vertical axis wind turbine with automated blade angle correction (alignment of the blade to maximize lift by adjustment of angle of attack) depending on fluid speed and angle of incidence. This will increase the efficiency of the turbine. It is planned to make a small scale prototype for this purpose that can be used as proof of concept.

2. Development of a Solar Powered Automatic Drip Irrigation System:

The variation of spatial and temporal distribution of available water for irrigation makes significant demand on water conservation techniques. Hence solar powered Automated Irrigation System provides a sustainable solution to enhance water use efficiency in the agricultural fields using renewable energy. This system allows farmers to apply the right amount of water at the right time. This system can automatically irrigate the fields according to the pre-defined conditions. It allocates water according to the crop water requirement and availability of solar radiation.

3. Development of Automated Smart Home Systems:

Home automation is the automatic control and monitoring of household appliances and house features like doors, windows, fans and so on. This project presents the overall design of wireless Home Automation System. This system improves the standard living at home, saves energy and money and it also provides support to elderly and disabled people in home. This project not only focuses on controlling the home appliances and devices automatically but it will also enable the user to control them through a web application or smartphone application. It is planned to cover some basic, frequently used modules which are in general required for every household.

4. IR Based Field Deployable Human Detection System:

The basic objective of the project is to develop a day/night human presence sensor within a reasonable radius of the user. Air borne (user following quadcopter) based sensors shall be used to detect human presence within a given radius of the user. The human presence shall then be wirelessly displayed on a small user carried LCD screen, alerting the user of human presence. The system may be useful for search & rescue missions, especially in disaster hit areas.

5. Analysing Strategies for Cost Effective Net-Zero Energy Buildings in Different Climatic Zones of Pakistan:

We see that a major portion of Total Energy (>50%) and Electric Energy (>60%) in Pakistan is being consumed by Residential and Commercial buildings. This huge consumption ratio is impacting negatively on the energy available to our Industry and thus the growth in Pakistan GDP is being stunted badly. It is therefore, imperative that a detailed study be carried out to ascertain the wasteful usage of energy in buildings due to poor design and non-usage of the latest energy conservation technologies as well as determine the cost effective methods of integrally incorporating the use Renewable energy sources for producing electricity, within the building design to meet majority of the lighting, heating and cooling requirements of existing and new buildings. That is, to make these buildings self-reliant on energy needs. If the concept of reverse metering of electricity is applied, and maximum options for energy generation are used within building design, it may be possible for the buildings to sell additional electricity (over and above their own requirements) they produce during daytime, to the grid; while buy back the same electricity at night-time to fulfil their requirement. Thus the feasibility of introducing the concept of Net-Zero Energy Buildings can be introduced in Pakistan.

6. Development of Solar Powered LED Smart Street Lighting System.

The major objective of the study was to design and develop a Smart Solar Powered LED Street Lighting System. The project is different from conventional street lighting systems not only in the sense that it uses solar energy, but more importantly, it is also a standalone device that provides for an efficient energy management program that ensures effective maintenance and reduced energy wastage due to malfunctioning lighting controls. In addition, it is much cheaper to fabricate and maintain as compared with its commercially available counterparts. One important feature of the project is that it automatically controls the brightness of the LED lamp depending on a particular time of day, especially in cases where full level illumination is not needed, thus reducing power consumption. It automatically activates and deactivates lighting depending on the hours whereby daylight is sensed, thus ensuring a continuous cycle of charging and discharging the storage battery for maximum efficiency. All of these functions are possible since the project uses a controller, allowing for variable settings of time activation as well as brightness level, depending on the preference of the end-users. The project functioned according to expectations, being a cheaper and environment-friendly alternative as compared with its commercially available counterparts. It also provided a cost-effective approach to managing street lighting systems in a wide variety of applications.

7. Development and Analysis of Energy Efficient Sustainable Building Materials:

With the rapid development and modernisation, cities are growing at a very fast pace and the buildings are the main component of cities. Building construction in the world annually consumes around 25% of the global wood harvest, 40% of stone, sand and gravel and 16% of water. It generates 50% of global output of GHG and agents of acid rains. The manufacturing process of building material contributes to Green House Gases such as CO2 to the atmosphere to a great extent. The natural disasters like global warming, ozone layer depletion, unexpected seasonal variations and decreasing land surface have now moved the centre of attraction from development to sustainable development. Since we have limited resources and energy, our development should focus on conserving the energy. Due to the continuous exploitation of natural resources, there is an urge to produce environmentally responsive building material for the construction of new buildings to meet the rapid urban growth. Sustainable buildings are designed, constructed, maintained, rehabilitated, and demolished with an emphasis throughout their life cycle on using natural resources efficiently while also protecting global ecosystems. Selection of appropriate building material helps to use the energy efficiently. In the rapidly changing scenario of building sector, planners, architects, engineers and builders are looking for new materials and technologies to adopt in future constructions that benefits like energy efficiency, resources and water conservation, improved indoor air quality, life cycle cost reduction and durability. This paper presents a brief study of sustainable aspects of building materials and a tool for Life Cycle Assessment criteria that helps in selecting proper building materials.

By Web Team AU