Dr Qasim Majid is a postdoctoral researcher within the Talman lab and the initiator of Art Meets Science.
Originally from Manchester, Qasim has lived and studied in Newcastle and London. Having completed his PhD from Imperial College London, Qasim relocated to Helsinki at the height of the pandemic in 2020 to commence his postdoc.
His postdoctoral research work investigates the effect the cells of the blood vessels (endothelial cells) have on the beating heart cells (cardiomyocytes) and whether the former can cause the latter to grow and divide to replace the beating cells lost during a heart attack. Alongside his research activities, Qasim delivers lectures and supervises young researchers in the lab. Qasim remarks that “organising Art Meets Science on top of these many responsibilities for the last 1.5 years has therefore been challenging yet incredibly rewarding”.
When asked to share his inspiration behind starting Art Meets Science, Qasim discusses the misinformation campaign brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic: “misinformation continues to plague public discourse. As a man of science, I feel as though I am in a privileged position in which I can attempt to address this pandemic of mistruths. As such, I proposed Art Meets Science to my lab head, Dr Virpi Talman & thereafter the Dean of the Faculty, upon arriving at the University of Helsinki during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020”.
Reflecting on his experience thus far, Qasim remarks “It has been incredibly fun yet extremely challenging balancing the organisation of this event with my other duties. Nevertheless, it has been a pleasure corresponding with all the artists on a regular basis and learning about their work. Through this project, I have grown to understand pieces of art and the field of art a little better. To this end, one can draw similarities between the two (i.e., the creative process and the multiple iterations required to achieve the final form) as well as differences such as the pursuit of facts to completely understand something versus the ambiguity & personal interpretation afforded by art”.
Thinking ahead to the upcoming exhibition, Qasim is most excited to finally meet all the participants in person and engage with the public. Having invited school-aged children to the event, Qasim is hoping to inspire the next generation of scientists and artists.
You can read more about the research conducted within the Regenerative Cardiac Pharmacology group on their website.