Dow Institute for Advanced Biological and Animal Research (DIABAR)


DIABAR began its journey as a Laboratory Animal Sciences (LAS) in 2008 comprising a total 4.07Acre area, later on it was upgraded by the establishment of its extension laboratory as Advanced Research Laboratory (ARL) in January 2017. In continuation of innovation various sections are established; most importantly Basic Biological Manufacturing Facility (BBMF) designed as per DRAP approval, Quality Operation Sections established as per regulatory standards including Quality Control Laboratory (QC) & Quality Assurance (QA) and R&D Sections, all are now collectively working under the umbrella of DIABAR from 2021. 

A journey of transformation is going on with the hope to get International Accreditation and Licensing to work as an exclusive pre-clinical & toxicological testing service provider and as basic manufacturer of biologicals in the country and South Asia. Presently DIABAR has five major sections as per DUHS approved organogram shown below: 1. Research and Development (R&D) Section 2. Advanced Research Laboratory/Pre-Clinical & Toxicology Contract Laboratory 3. Basic Biological Manufacturing Facility (BBMF) – Venom Collection and Processing Laboratory (VCPL) – Plasma Collection and processing laboratory (PCPL) 4. Quality control operations 5. Central Animal House Facility We are unique in the country as producers of basic biological raw material under the designated facility BBMF. VCPL is a nested facility for the collection and processing of venom to serve as raw material provider and as bio-bank of big 4 which has been used for the immunization of horses to collect hyper immunized plasma. 

Two major projects are our prime targets to improve the health system of the country with the aim to decrease economic burden by indigenous production of biological plants using local strains. 1. Anti-snake venom (ASV) production against big 4 snakes of Pakistan 2. Inactivated Rabies Vaccine production under GCF-790 awarded by World Bank The Dow Institute for Advanced Biological & Animal Research (DIABAR), is continuously working on the concept of Venom Bank for bio-therapeutics and cosmetics purpose. Due to our running Anti-Snake Venom Project, our prime target is Pakistan’s Big-4 Venoms detailed Venomics, Biological & Toxicological profiles and Therapeutics Index in different animal disease and cell based models, these data is also beneficial for Anti-Snake Venom project indigenously in the country especially Next-Generation anti-snake venom and marketing of snake venom as a raw material, this is first time the Pakistani venom is explored on these aspects, we have completed our data on 4 batches of venom regarding general quality control tests as per our previously approved methods. 

Under the entitlement of “DUHS Venom Project BIG-4” with the approval and Agreement of Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Saeed Quraishy, we are designing a series of Projects for pilot studies and applied for different funding agencies for conducting comprehensive R&D projects leading to commercialization.


 Dr. Talat Roome 

I am honored to serve as a Director “Dow Institute for Advanced Biological & Animal Research ”. DIABAR is a state-of-the-art facility meeting the international standards; it has four major sections ranging from preclinical toxicology testing facility to Research and Development (R&D) section extended to central animal house and a Basic Biological Manufacturing Facility (BBMF) for the translation of R&D projects. Quality control section helps abide by the international standards and guidelines for the production of biological products whereas, all logistics and working in DIABAR are strictly regulated by its QMS. 

We are unique in the country in maintaining a diverse group of experimental animals and a wonderful equine system for the manufacturing of biological products. Our passion for research facilitates the scientific community from different domains of the health sector; it empowered us to have thought leadership in addressing the health challenges being faced by the country during the worst economic crises. Establishment of the DIABAR is a great addition in the list of country’s most accomplished research and development institutions to deliver results on health and health-related Sustainable Development Goals. Over the past 20 years, we have leveraged our expertise in providing high-quality research and services for research students, academic institutions and other stakeholders in Health and pharmaceuticals. 

DIABAR serves a hub of scientific activities; our Advanced Research Laboratory facilitates interdisciplinary research from vast avenues of academia and industry on the other hand Preclinical Toxicological laboratory offers wide range of toxicity testing services using both in-vitro and in-vivo approaches, dedicated experimental animal models are also being used for precise results. We comply with FDA approved protocols and animal ethical guidelines for testing of drugs and natural extracts etc. Quality control section of DIABAR not only fulfills institutional needs rather it outsources its testing facilities. Through our work, we have established strong ties with government and private sectors across the country, and brides’ strong collaborations with renowned institutions around the globe. 

DIABAR also focuses on academia; we strongly encourage youngsters across the country to join us for collaborative research work and training. We also provide experimental 100 class facilities for animal surgical procedures to researchers and faculty members. We also support postgraduate students to carry out their experimental work with the provision of full resources. Our vision is to strengthen the health and economic sector of the country by indigenous production of biopharmaceutical products including vaccines. Keeping in view the country needs our major projects to focus on the production of anti-snake venom against big 4 of Pakistan and manufacturing of inactivated rabies vaccine using local virus strains. 

Being a Director of the institute; I constantly encourage and support the DIABAR team to work day and night, I’m very delighted to follow our honorable Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Saeed Quraishy’s Vision for the betterment of our health system and my self-commitment is to keep serving for the national cause. I’m quite hopeful to meet the strategic plans of Dow University of Health Sciences by bringing up the quality products at national level as a Basic Biological Manufacturer. 

We want to bring up the facility as an International Accredited Laboratory with licensing to work as Pre-clinical & Toxicological research and screening service provider using animal models etc., for all this up gradation and to meet aforementioned milestones DUHS has been continuously supporting us to build the infrastructure.

Introduction & Overview

Dow Institute for Advanced Biological & Animal Research (DIABAR) is an emerging institute having integrated facilities of Research and Development, Preclinical Toxicology testing laboratory, Quality control and Basic Biological Manufacturing Facility (BBMF) supplemented with the institute’s own animal house; a resource center of experimental animals and a fully established equine system for the manufacturing of biological products. 

All sections of our facility are fully equipped with latest instrumentations and highly qualified full scientific staff. Our Research and Development (R&D) section has been extensively involved in executing interdisciplinary research from various domains of the health sector. We use dedicated experimental animal models on wild type and genetically modified rodents and non-human primates (Rhesus Macaque) to carry out project based customized experiments with modified protocols; we have built strong collaborations both with national and international institutes/industries. We have recently acquired a US Patent from one such study and several high impact international publications. 

We have established the capacity to test Vaccines and Toxoids against challenge studies models targeting Rabies Vaccine, Covid-19 Vaccine and anti-tetanus. We welcome equally to both industry and academia for any collaboration of mutual benefit and of great national interest. Preclinical toxicological testing facility of DIABAR provides a vast range of toxicity testing services to academia, pharmaceutical, textile and other human consumables production industries. For animal’s surgical procedures: Toxicity Testing facility is also being available for scientists from other institutions. We also offer animal handling training programs for undergraduate and postgraduate students and professionals from the health sector. 

To translate R&D projects into commercialization we have a well established Basic Biological Manufacturing Facility (BBMF) which ensures the transformation of ideas into applied projects. Venom Collection and Processing Laboratory (VCPL) is the sub division of BBMF which is the unique in the country in collecting venom from big 4 snakes most prevalent in Pakistan, we have a well-established collection pipeline which assures the timely provision of snakes in enough quantities. We also have in-house bio-repository of processed Plasma as collected in our Plasma Collection and Processing Laboratory (PCPL) which is not only serving the institutional needs for immunization of horses for the production of hyper-immunized plasma but also a good resource for the biological raw material for other industries. 

Our major ongoing projects namely the Anti-Snake Venom (ASV) against big 4 snakes of Pakistan and Inactivated Rabies Vaccine production are unique projects in the country with the hope to provide significant support to the health sector. Quality control section ensures the stability and integrity of biologicals at each level of production. QC also offers a wide range of testing to the outsiders as well. The other major project GCF-790 awarded by the World Bank has a great importance in improving the health system of the country by producing inactivated Rabies Vaccine using local viral strains. We are not limited to the above mentioned projects; our collaborative work for the production of recombinant COVID vaccine and others in the pipeline for the production of monoclonal antibodies. Quality Management System (QMS) of DIABAR manages all Standard Operating Procedures and forms up to 300 SOPS as per International guidelines and approved by the director. Routine audits by QMS are the step towards accreditation and licensing. 

DIABAR made several strong collaborations with world’s renowned institutes for the exchange of technology and training of staff. We have been known as experts in development of disease animal models with subsequent molecular analysis and cell signaling pathways to discover the pathogenesis. These dedicated animal models have also been used to uncover the drug action. We aim to strengthen university-industry networking and encourage young scientists across the country to pursue their academic training/career at DIABAR and welcome all collaborations from academia and industries.

Services Research Facilities

Dow Institute for Advanced Biological and Animal Research supplies laboratory animals to undergraduate and post-graduate students and departments of DUHS and other universities/research institutes/ Labs for the assistance of their academic plans and research proposals. The facility provides adequate experimental place and the required conditions under controlled environment to carry out projects with the necessary infrastructure for obtaining biological samples. Technical help and availability of the trained personnel facilitates and support the animal handling procedures under strict guidance. Animal house facility also provides commercial services for the preclinical testing and toxicity screening of drugs of Pharmaceutical industries at the standard protocols.

Central animal house have different general purpose animal species, procedure and research facilities. The department has well maintained and productive rodents breeding and stock facility. There are 47 well-constructed stables for horses, four frog ponds, and separate sheep, monkey and snake houses. Daily monitoring of breeding, stock, quarantine and experimental animals practice are recorded through a qualified veterinarian and trained technical staff.

  • Rodents (Rats, Mice, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits)
  • Equine (Horses)
  • Sheep & Goats
  • Snakes
  • Frogs

The Laboratory Animal Sciences and Advanced Animal House Facility & Research Laboratory is state of the art facility having its own offices, logistical rooms, 100 class Quarantine area with positive pressure Laboratories, Animal Procedure room and Experimental room providing the researchers with the opportunity to make the vision of researchers a reality.

This laboratory is fully equipped with all basic research needs to carry out experimental work and manipulation, animal surgical procedures, treatment of cells with drugs with nuclear & membrane dyes, short incubation and performing isolation of cells, tissue microscopy, cell culturing, advanced behavioral monitoring systems to deal and facilitate for experimental diseased models in an exquisitely controlled environment with 100 class quarantine area & positive pressure. Strict daily monitoring (24 hours CCTV record) for biosafety is maintained as per QMS rule.

Various faculty members of the University are carrying out their sophisticated research activities. i.e.: Drug Discovery Projects, Diagnostic strategies and pre-clinical studies, Ideal for development of diseased models like Hyperlipidemia and Atherosclerosis, Immune and Inflammatory models, Pilot studies for the development of Hepatocellular carcinoma and other Immuno-compromised models and Intracellular Cell Signaling, Development Novel Anti-inflammatory agent from Natural Products, Immune-based Inflammatory Animal study models, Molecular Mechanisms of Immune & Inflammatory Diseases, Evaluation of Anticancer activities of different drugs, Stem cell research.

This facility comprises of separate Quarantine, Breeding, and Stock area for the accommodation of Genetically Modified Mice. Quarantine area is designed to keep genetically modified rodent under observations & to protect them from any pathogen and environmental contamination.

This unit has clean room, established with HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) filters following 99.99% efficiency to provide constant clean, turbulence free unidirectional down-flow of air removing any dust and airborne particles with 12 hours dark & light cycle with the maintenance of temperature and humidity.

The Research laboratory is highly developed carrying all basic research needs and equipped with necessary animal behavioral monitoring systems and other important research tools making the laboratory a quintessential place to conduct advanced and specialized research work.

Procedure Room is for observation of animal’s behavioral, physical & metabolic activities and their physiological responses with the help of advanced monitoring systems, equipment required by the daily based diseased models.

Experimental room carries all basic research tools and equipment for the isolations of cells, DNA & RNA extraction, cell culturing, microscopy and many others.

There is dedicated Autoclave area for sterilization of surgical instruments, laboratory instruments and other materials such as chemicals, glassware etc. Animal cages are also sterilized in this autoclave area.

Rodents feed is prepared in this area. Animals are fed with palatable, non-contaminated, and nutritionally adequate food daily.

This area is allocated for the record of animals’ health, staff record – both technical and non-technical, All SOPs relevant to the animal care and husbandry & Equipment manuals, breeding, stock, and purchase records, Minutes of institute, Animal Ethics Committee experiments conducted with the number of animals used. Death record, clinical record of sick animals and Training record of staff involved in animal activities.

Future Prospects

Departmental future plans are to upgrade the facility to achieve the research needs for specialized research:

  • Incorporating (IVCs) system for dealing with sensitive diseased models on immune-compromised rodents.
  • Evaluation of Anticancer activities of different drugs in in vivo carcinoma model.
  • Stem cell research in in-vivo models.
  • Affiliation and accreditation with International Laboratory Animal Associations for Ethics and policies.
  • Development of different disease models.
  • Start training programs regarding ethical use of animals in biological and biomedical research
  • Commercialization the facility for the scientist outside the DUHS to promote education & research in the country and to develop collaboration for the national interest. Additionally, the services will be charged to create the revenue for Dow University of Health Sciences.
  • To import SCID and Nude mice and establish their colony for the identification of novel biomarkers for understanding cellular and molecular events & to introduce novel drugs for the betterment of human health.

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