Professor Parvez Haris

Job: Professor of Biomedical Science and Head of Research for the School of Allied Health Sciences

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 250 6306

E: pharis@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/hls

 

Publications and outputs 

  • Overweight and underweight prevalence indices in a young (18-23 yrs-old) population in Leicester (UK).
    Overweight and underweight prevalence indices in a young (18-23 yrs-old) population in Leicester (UK). Ferreira, F.; Baldry, E.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Ali, N.; Millington, D.; Gonzalez-Munoz, M. J.; Pena-Fernandez, A. Body fatness is considered a diagnostic factor for obesity and predictive of cardiovascular and cancer disease. Different studies have described a strong correlation between body fatness determined by different methods and body mass index (BMI), although an absolute correlation has not been obtained between them, especially in a young population. Young individuals aged 18-23 years are little studied in epidemiological studies, as they are usually considered in the adult or adolescent group, despite having specific characteristics and features that make them different from both children and adults, making these type of studies of public health relevance. Aims: Assess the prevalence of underweight and overweight individuals in a young population of students at De Montfort University (DMU, UK), based on student’s body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage, depending on their ethnic background. DMU is a public English university with a high population of students with diverse ethnic backgrounds. Methodology: Undergraduate DMU students, 18-23 years-old, volunteered between 2015-2016 to participate in this study. Minimal information, including student’s sex, age and ethnic background (continental origin), was gathered. BMI values were calculated in accordance with the formula BMI = kg/m2, after appropriate measurement of height (metres) and weight (kg) in each individual. Fatness (body fat %) was directly obtained by foot-to-foot bioelectric impedance (BIA) using a Tanita scale. Results: 109 (20.5 ± 1.1 yrs-old; 32 male and 77 female) DMU students participated in this study. According to their BMI values and BIA body fat percentage , 33.0% and 28.4% of this population were overweight, and 9.2% and 7.3% were underweight, respectively. According to BMI data, 28.1% male students were overweight and 9.4% underweight, showing a greater incidence of overweight students from Asian background (15.6%), followed by European (9.4%), and African (3.1%). In this study, no underweight male Europeans were observed, however some underweight participants with African and Asian backgrounds were noted, specifically 3.1% and 6.3% underweight prevalence, respectively. Similar over/underweight percentages were observed using Tanita in this DMU students’ population, but a slightly lower percentage of European male participants were considered overweight (6.3%) with this method. In female counterparts, 35.1% and 45.5% were overweight and 9.1% and 6.5% were underweight, according to BMI and BIA methodologies, respectively. Contrary to male participants, the highest overweight prevalence according to BMI values was assessed in female African students (15.6%), followed by European (13.0%) and Asian (6.5%) backgrounds. Highest underweight incidence was detected in female participants with Asian background (6.5%), followed by European and African backgrounds both with 1.3%, respectively. As with male participants, a similar trend was recorded for overweight participants according to the BIA method, although greater incidence was observed in participants with African (20.8%) and Asian (11.7%) backgrounds. In female participants with African backgrounds no underweight participants were found. Asian participants registered the highest prevalence of underweight students (5.2%), followed by participants with a European background (1.3%). Conclusions: This observational study found that at least one-third of young individuals aged 18-23 years were overweight, which places them at increased health risk. This is three times that of the national average in this age group, 10.6%, and may reflect the ethnic differences which were observed. Work to compare anthropometric assessment methods will support risk stratification in this population group.
  • Conversion of landfill composite to activated carbon to improve landfill sustainability
    Conversion of landfill composite to activated carbon to improve landfill sustainability Adelopo, A. O.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Alo, B.; Huddersman, Katherine; Jenkins, R. O. Landfills’ heterogeneous composites waste were evaluated as precursors for generation of activated carbon (AC). A single step chemical activation process was applied involving irradiation with microwave energy and impregnation with KOH. The average percentage yield of AC from active landfill precursor was higher than that from closed landfill for all depths sampled. Increase in impregnation ratio and irradiation power decreased the average percentage yield for both landfill precursors (Active: 38.1 to 33.1%) (Closed 42.1: to 33.3%). The optimum pH range for adsorption of methylene blue was pH 6-7, while adsorption increased with increase in temperature over the range 30 to 50oC. Carbonyl and hydroxyl groups were the major functional groups on the surface of AC. The properties of the AC are potentially suitable for the removal of cationic dyes and pollutants. AC generated from the landfill composite were comparable to that from some other biomass being managed through AC generation. This is the first report to demonstrate the possible reuse of landfill composite as AC. The reuse option of landfill composite could provide a means of sustainable management of landfilled municipal waste. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Extending the geographic reach of the water hyacinth plant in removal of heavy metals from a temperate Northern Hemisphere river
    Extending the geographic reach of the water hyacinth plant in removal of heavy metals from a temperate Northern Hemisphere river Jones, J. L.; Jenkins, R. O.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) has been used for environmentally sustainable phytoremediation of water, though its use has been geographically restricted. For the first time we extend its geographical reach by investigating its potential for clean-up of water from a highly polluted British river (Nant-YFendrod, a tributary of the River Tawe). Investigations using the plant were conducted at three levels: a bench-scale study using polluted river water and synthetic solutions; an in-situ trial using water hyacinth within the Nant-Y-Fendrod; and a bankside trial to pump and treat river water. The removal of the largest number of heavy metals (21) from water in a single study using ICP-MS is reported, including Sb, for the first time. Results are promising, with bench-scale tests demonstrating up to 63% removal of Al, 62% Zn, 47% Cd, 22% Mn and 23% As, during just seven hours exposure to the plant. When extended to three weeks exposure, removal is evident in the order Al > Cd > Zn > Mn > Ni > As > V. Furthermore, in-situ mean removal of 6%, 11% and 15% of Mn, Zn and Cd respectively is demonstrated. As the world learns to adapt to climate change, studies of the type reported here are needed to exploit the remarkable phytoremediation potential of water hyacinth. open access article
  • Multivariate analysis of the effects of age, particle size and landfill depth on heavy metals pollution content of closed and active landfill precursors
    Multivariate analysis of the effects of age, particle size and landfill depth on heavy metals pollution content of closed and active landfill precursors Adelopo, A. O.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Alo, B.; Huddersman, Katherine; Jenkins, R. O. Multivariate analysis of a heavy metal pollution survey of closed and active landfill precursors was carried out in order to compare environmental risk levels in relation to age, particle size and depth of the precursors. Landfill precursors (77) were collected and analyzed for 15 USEPA toxic heavy metals using ICP-MS. Heavy metals concentrations in closed landfill precursors were significantly higher than those in the active landfill for 11 of 15 heavy metals investigated (closed landfill order: Fe > Al > Mn > Cu > Pb > Ba> Co > Cr > Ni > Cd > As > Se > Ti). Cluster analysis and correlation studies indicated the distribution of the metals was more influenced by landfill precursor size than by depth of the sample. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that 10 of 15 of heavy metals of both landfill precursors were from similar anthropogenic sources. Heavy metals pollution indices (Igeo > 5, EF > 40 and CF > 7) of both active and closed landfill precursors exceeded limits in the order of Zn > Cd > Pb > Cu > Ag, indicating a major potential health risk influenced by age and particle size of precursor. Zn, Cd, Cu and Pb of both landfill precursors exceeded the USEPA set standard for assessment of human health risk for each of the metals (1×10 -4 to 1× 10-3). This study highlights the need for the integration of a clean-up process for precursors from both types of landfill to reduce possible environmental pollution during a reuse process. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Human biomonitoring research at De Montfort University: school and university participants' recruitment experience
    Human biomonitoring research at De Montfort University: school and university participants' recruitment experience Pena-Fernandez, A.; Ali, N.; Millington, D.; Lobo-Bedmar, M. C.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Involving teachers in scientific research can increase schoolchildren’s interest in studying science from an early stage which is critical to increase the numbers of high-school students studying scientific subjects. This will impact on the number of students enrolled in university science degrees to satisfy many basic human needs. A group of academics at De Montfort University (DMU, UK) have involved the Ravenhurst Primary School (RPS) in biomedical research, specifically a human biomonitoring (HBM) study involving schoolchildren (aged 6-9 years) and university students (aged 18-22 years) in Leicester (UK) to determine their nutritional status and exposure to metals. We have adopted a school-based approach to recruit participants from both educational arenas following the recommendations for executing HBM studies in Europe [1] with some modifications. Permission from the school authorities was requested after gaining ethical approval from the DMU Research Ethics Committee (Ref. 1674). Parental/student consent was obtained by invitation and appointment letter, with the project details and ethical and data protection aspects written in simple language. Appropriately developed flyers, posters and information leaflets for each audience were also used to enhance the recruitment processes. Scheduling and facilitating flexible face-to-face appointments was critical for collecting the human samples needed for the project (urine and scalp hair) as well as comprehensive details about participants’ diet and anthropometric measurements. The involvement of teachers and lecturers in conjunction with a registered general nurse (school nursing) was of paramount importance for achieving these goals, as they were encouraging participation throughout the process. During the appointments, parents and participants were debriefed in more detail about the project and the relevance of performing HBM to improve health in the community. The school-based approach achieved the following results: a) the recruitment of a relevant number of participants (12 schoolchildren and 111 university students); b) the provision of a satisfying educational experience for parents, teachers/academics and participants in both educational arenas; c) the involvement of school-children in scientific research; d) the acquisition of awareness of the impact of environmental contamination by metals on human health; e) informing participants about their diets and body composition (e.g. percentage of body fat) promoting the necessity of adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. In conclusion, the project was successful in involving School teachers, University lecturers, schoolchildren, University students and community health workers in a research project. It provided an opportunity for educational development, promote staff motivation and students’ interest and involvement in scientific research. Teachers updated their biomedical knowledge and skills by participating in this research and learnt new methods to engage schoolchildren (by promoting healthy lifestyles, protect the environment, etc.). This could help increase students’ interest in studying science subjects at University and motivate them to embark on a future scientific career. Finally, the UK education system should do more to engage schools and teachers in performing scientific research and thereby make the scientific curriculum more practical that will facilitate students’ learning and engagement.
  • Serum Albumin Modulates the Bioactivity of Rosmarinic Acid
    Serum Albumin Modulates the Bioactivity of Rosmarinic Acid Brito, E.; Silva, A.; Fale, P. L. V.; Pacheco, R.; Serralheiro, A.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Ascensao, Lia; Serralheiro, M. L. M.
  • We must not forget that 99% of the total number of molecules present in a living organism is water
    We must not forget that 99% of the total number of molecules present in a living organism is water Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) The file attached to this record is the author's final version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link
  • Estimated Dietary Intakes of Toxic Elements from Four Staple Foods in Najran City, Saudi Arabia
    Estimated Dietary Intakes of Toxic Elements from Four Staple Foods in Najran City, Saudi Arabia Mohamed, H.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Brima, Eid Ibrahim Exposure of the inhabitants of Najran area in Saudi Arabia to the toxic elements As, Cd, Cr, and Pb through foods has not been previously investigated. Exposure to such elements is an important public health issue, so the study described here was performed with the aim of determining estimated dietary intakes (EDIs) for these metals in Najran area. The As, Cd, Cr, and Pb concentrations in four staple foods (rice, wheat, red meat, and chicken) were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. A food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was completed by 80 study participants. These data were used to estimate dietary intakes of the metals in the four staple foods. The mean As, Cd, Cr, and Pb EDIs in the four food types were 1.1 × 10−6–2.6 × 10−5, 1.42 × 10−5–2.2 × 10−4, 3.4 × 10−4–8.0 × 10−4, and 2.3 × 10−5–2.1 × 10−3 mg/kg bw day, respectively. Hazard Quotients (HQ) for all elements did not exceed one. The highest Pb concentration was found for chicken and the source of this toxic element in this food needs to be investigated in the future. The lowest As concentration was found for wheat highest in rice. The EDIs for all elements in the four food types were below the provisional tolerable weekly intakes set by the World Health Organization (WHO). open access article
  • Analysis of the teaching status of Toxicology at a UK University.
    Analysis of the teaching status of Toxicology at a UK University. Pena-Fernandez, A.; Lobo-Bedmar, M. C.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Evans, M. D. The European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX) has recently published a statement paper to highlight that toxicology training and expertise is being eroded in the European Union. Toxicology as a subject appears to have been integrated into other bioscience disciplines and is mainly offered as part of a taught postgraduate degree in toxicology which dominates the course provision in Europe. Our analysis of the undergraduate courses offered in UK Universities did not reveal a single course that contained the word “toxicology” in the title of the course. Thereafter, we reviewed the teaching of toxicology in bioscience undergraduate courses offered at De Montfort University (DMU). The courses reviewed were: Biomedical Science, Health and Wellbeing in Society, Speech and Language Therapy, Medical Science, Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science, Forensic Science and the MPharm degree in Pharmacy. None of these courses dedicate a complete module to the study of toxicology although they teach some aspects of toxicology following the subject-specific threshold standards described by the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. With the aim of introducing some specialised teaching in toxicology at DMU, a pilot teaching experience was implemented in the Medical Science degree in 2016/17. This involved teaching second year students basic concepts of the toxicology focusing on human health risks associated with exposure to metals such as lead. The students (n=41) completed a research-led workshop (3 hours) to identify the risks and also developed appropriate responses to protect the public. A questionnaire-based survey revealed that the vast majority (85%) of the students would like to receive more toxicology training in their course. Although our results are preliminary, the findings are promising and the approach developed could be adopted in other courses to increase the teaching of toxicology for future health care workers.
  • Comparison of antibacterial activity of Nigella sativa oil against clinical isolates using a controlled disc diffusion method
    Comparison of antibacterial activity of Nigella sativa oil against clinical isolates using a controlled disc diffusion method Sidat, Y.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Laird, Katie; Jenkins, R. O. Objective: To compare the antibacterial potency of cold press Nigella sativa oil against 49 clinical isolates. Method: A controlled disc diffusion method based on British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy antibiotic susceptibility testing guidelines was used. Results: Reproducible results were obtained that allowed comparison of intra species sensitivity. Staphylococcus aureus isolates (18) from skin and soft tissue infections were highly susceptible (31 to 51mm zones of inhibition, ZOI), with significant differences (p<0.01) in sensitivity between many of the isolates, but no significant difference (p >0.05) between methicillin-sensitive and -resistant isolates. Streptococcus spp. isolates (6) from skin and soft tissue infections produced consistently lower mean ZOI (22 to 27mm). Haemophilus infuenzae isolates (4) from respiratory tract infections showed little variation in ZOI (22 to 23mm). Conversely, two respiratory tract Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates showed markedly different sensitivity (p<0.01) to the oil (24 and 40mm). For the first time, antibacterial activity of N. sativa oil against Neisseria gonorrhoeae is reported (29 to 38mm). All Gram-negative isolates (14) - Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Enterobacter cloacae, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa - were uninhibited by the oil, while ZOI for Gram-positive isolates exceeded those obtained for first line antibiotics used to treat the relevant infections. There was no evident link between isolate antibiotic resistance profile and extent of growth inhibition by the oil. Conclusion: N. sativa oil has potential for combatting antibiotic resistant Gram-positive infections at various body sites, including sexually transmitted disease. Significant strain variation in sensitivity to the oil within some species is revealed. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Click here to view a full listing of Parvez Haris' publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Application of diverse biophysical techniques such as FTIR, NMR, CD, MALDI-TOF, ICP-MS, Fluorescence as well as Synchrotron based spectroscopic methods, for characterisation of medically important peptides, proteins, macromolecular interactions including protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions.  Studies are also performed on cells, tissues and biofluids.
  • Development of spectroscopic and bioinformatics tools for application in the fields of proteomics, metabolomics, disease diagnosis, screening and treatment.
  • Structure-function studies of novel antimicrobial agents, based mainly on peptides and proteins, to counter antibiotic resistance.
  • Role of metals in health and disease through analysis of metals in the environment, diet and the human body.
  • Understanding the complex relationship between diet, exposure to pollutants, nutrition, life-style, ethnicity and health through human biomonitoring studies.
  • Improving human health and the environment through development of novel, environmental friendly, strategies for removal of toxic contaminants from water and the food-chain.
  • Studies of migrant health with particular focus on the relationship between health and practices such as betel quid chewing, geophagy.

Areas of teaching

  • Biochemical Disease Processes
  • Biomedical Techniques
  • Protein Structure-Function
  • Advanced Topics in Biomedical Science
  • Bioinformatics

Qualifications

PhD, BSc (Hons.)

Courses taught

  • BSc Biomedical Science
  • MSc Biomedical Science
  • MPharm Pharmacy
  • MSc Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC, CChem)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (FRSPH)
  • Member of the Biochemical Society (since 1986)

Professional licences and certificates

Chartered Chemist (CChem)

Current research students

  • First Supervisor: 5 PhD students
  • Second Supervisor: 5 PhD students

Externally funded research grants information

Funding for research has been obtained from various sources including the UK Research Councils (EPSRC, BBSRC), the British Council, the European Union etc. For example, principal investigator, from DMU, on a research consortium consisting of 15 leading European Universities (awarded EU grant of €3.15 million of which €198490.46 is allocated to De Montfort University) investigating the human health impact of geogenic elements in groundwater and soils in the European Union. This was a 4 year project that started in January 2007.

Professional esteem indicators

  • Editor-in-Chief: Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging
  • Editorial Advisory Panel Member: Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering
  • Editor: Biochemical Journal (until 2008)
  • Editor: Analytical Cellular Oncology
  • Editorial Advisor: Molecular Membrane Biology
  • Committee Member and treasurer of the Protein and Peptide Science Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Committee Member of the Molecular Structures Theme Panel of theBiochemical Society (until March 2012)

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