ABOUT Jalees Rehman

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I love to read books. When I am not reading books, I work as a stem cell biologist and as a cardiologist. I am currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmcology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I originally trained as a chronobiologist, investigating the circadian rhythms of bioluminescent algae at the University of Munich. After completing medical school in Munich, I moved from Germany to the United States. My research career meandered quite a bit, and involved cell adhesion molecules of leukocytes, the growth of blood vessels, cocaine-induced heart attacks, mitochondria in cancer cells, endocannabinoids, pulmonary hypertension and, finally, stem cells. I found nearly every aspect of biology quite exciting, and this is perhaps why I have chosen stem cell biology as my research focus. It allows me to combine and integrate so many aspects of biology. My laboratory currently studies the biology of embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as their therapeutic potential. My personal blog is entitled Fragments of Truth. I can be contacted at jalees.rehman[at]gmail.com.

 

Jalees Rehman: All Posts

 
 

Empathy, Connectedness and Responsibility: German Academics Discuss the Refugee Crisis

Posted 4 February 2016 by Jalees Rehman

Nearly half a million applications for asylum submitted by refugees were processed by German authorities in 2015, according to the German Federal Office for Refugees and Migration. The number of people who were officially registered in Germany as potential asylum seekers was even far higher-roughly one million in 2015 – which suggests that Germany anticipates an even higher number of official asylum applications for 2016. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defied many critics even in her own party and cabinet by... Read more

We Have Become Exhausted Slaves in a Culture of Positivity

Posted 4 January 2016 by Jalees Rehman

We live in an era of exhaustion and fatigue, caused by an incessant compulsion to perform. This is one of the central tenets of the book "Müdigkeitsgesellschaft" (translatable as "The Fatigue Society" or "The Tiredness Society") by the German philosopher Byung-Chul Han. Han is a professor at the Berlin Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) and one of the most widely read contemporary philosophers in Germany. He was born in Seoul where he studied metallurgy before he moved to... Read more

The Dire State of Science in the Muslim World

Posted 8 December 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Universities and the scientific infrastructures in Muslim-majority countries need to undergo radical reforms if they want to avoid falling by the wayside in a world characterized by major scientific and technological innovations. This is the conclusion reached by Nidhal Guessoum and Athar Osama in their recent commentary "Institutions: Revive universities of the Muslim world", published in the scientific journal Nature. The physics and astronomy professor Guessoum (American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates) and Osama, who is the founder of... Read more

Blissful Ignorance: How Environmental Activists Shut Down Molecular Biology Labs in High Schools

Posted 10 November 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Hearing about the HannoverGEN project made me feel envious and excited. Envious, because I wish my high school had offered the kind of hands-on molecular biology training provided to high school students in Hannover, the capital of the German state of Niedersachsen. Excited, because it reminded me of the joy I felt when I first isolated DNA and ran gels after restriction enzyme digests during my first year of university in Munich. I knew that many of the students at... Read more

Feel Our Pain: Empathy and Moral Behavior

Posted 14 October 2015 by Jalees Rehman

"It's empathy that makes us help other people. It's empathy that makes us moral." The economist Paul Zak casually makes this comment in his widely watched TED talk about the hormone oxytocin, which he dubs the "moral molecule". Zak quotes a number of behavioral studies to support his claim that oxytocin increases empathy and trust, which in turn increases moral behavior. If all humans regularly inhaled a few puffs of oxytocin through a nasal spray, we could become more compassionate and... Read more

The “Invisible Web” Undermines Health Information Privacy

Posted 29 July 2015 by Jalees Rehman

"The goal of privacy is not to protect some stable self from erosion but to create boundaries where this self can emerge, mutate, and stabilize. What matters here is the framework— or the procedure— rather than the outcome or the substance. Limits and constraints, in other words, can be productive— even if the entire conceit of "the Internet" suggests otherwise.          Evgeny Morozov in "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism"   We cherish privacy in health matters... Read more

How Viruses Feign Death to Survive and Thrive

Posted 20 July 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Billions of cells die each day in the human body in a process called "apoptosis" or "programmed cell death". When cells encounter stress such as inflammation, toxins or pollutants, they initiate an internal repair program which gets rid of the damaged proteins and DNA molecules. But if the damage exceeds their capacity for repair then cells are forced to activate the apoptosis program. Apoptotic cells do not suddenly die and vanish, instead they execute a well-coordinated series of molecular and... Read more

The Long Shadow of Nazi Indoctrination: Persistence of Anti-Semitism in Germany

Posted 25 June 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Anti-Semitism and the holocaust are among the central themes in the modern German secondary school curriculum. During history lessons in middle school, we learned about anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews in Europe during the middle ages and early modernity. Our history curriculum in the ninth and tenth grades focused on the virulent growth of anti-Semitism in 20th century Europe, how Hitler and the Nazi party used anti-Semitism as a means to rally support and gain power, and how the Nazi... Read more

Funding Fever: Researchers Will Use Genome Editing to Increase Support for Science Among Politicians

Posted 12 June 2015 by Jalees Rehman

"If we achieve what we are working on, I will have a job forever." "We have reason to believe that there is a single gene that distinguishes those people who give funding for scientific research and those who do not give. When we find that gene, we are going to be able to introduce it into individuals and change them so that now they are going to become donors." "The question that really motivates my research is how can I... Read more

Murder Your Darling Hypotheses But Do Not Bury Them

Posted 28 April 2015 by Jalees Rehman

"Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings." Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863–1944). On the Art of Writing. 1916   Murder your darlings. The British writer Sir Arthur Quiller Crouch shared this piece of writerly wisdom when he gave his inaugural lecture series at Cambridge, asking writers to consider deleting words, phrases or even paragraphs that are especially dear to them. The minute writers fall in... Read more