Trained as an Immunologist and Molecular Microbiologist, Dr. Shaper Mirza is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering. Before joining LUMS, Dr Mirza served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas-Health Science Center, Brownsville and Houston campuses.
Working with a cohort of 2500 Mexican Americans living on the Texas-Mexico border, Dr. Mirza demonstrated the role of hyperglycemia in poorly controlled diabetes on immune impairments. She further demonstrated that hyperglycemia impairs immune cells in the body leading to increase in susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. This was the extension of her work that she performed during her PhD at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where focus of her studies was host-pathogen interaction, in infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Her research elucidated the mechanism(s) deployed by S. pneumonaie for causing infections and immune responses mounted by the host to restrict infections. The work was the first to demonstrate a role for host mucosal protein lactoferrin in preventing upper respiratory tract infections by S. pneumonaie.
Prior to her PhD studies, Dr. Mirza was instrumental in developing molecular diagnostics for rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B at the Department of Pathology-Aga Khan University-Karachi. Further, her work led to development of diagnostic serological and molecular methods for Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) and Dengue fever.
Dr. Mirza was among the first five Fogarty Fellows from Pakistan. She was awarded the Fellowship to work on Sexually Transmitted Infections in Pakistan. She is currently an active member of American Society for Microbiology, American Diabetes Association, Pakistan Biological Safety Association, and Pakistan Infectious Diseases Society.