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Obituary: Dr Fazlul Karim

Dr Fazlul Karim, MB, BS, MPhil, PhD, FCPS

Members will be very sorry to learn of the death of Dr Fazlul Karim, former Reader in Cardiovascular Physiology in the School of Biomedical Sciences, on 19 July 2003.

Born in 1936, Dr Karim graduated MB, BS from Dhaka Medical College in 1961, proceeding to an MPhil in Renal Physiology at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, University of Karachi, which he was awarded with distinction in 1964. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Physiology at JPMC in the same year, becoming Assistant Professor in 1966. During this period, Dr Karim was engaged in research work on hypothermia and renal haemodynamics and on baroreceptor and venous tone. Thus, Dr Karim was already an experienced research worker when he joined the then Department of Physiology at Leeds in 1968, as a Commonwealth Scholar, to read for a PhD on the nervous control of the heart and circulation through reflex activation of the sympathetic efferent nerves. Dr Karim was appointed to a Lectureship in 1971 and was awarded his doctorate in 1973. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1980 and to the title and status of Reader in 1997.

As an integrative physiologist, who for many years worked in close collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Cardiovascular Studies, in particular Professor Roger Hainsworth, Dr Karim made a number of distinguished contributions to the study of the interactions between the physiology of the lungs, heart, circulation and kidneys. His research on renal nerve activity during atrial receptor stimulation became a standard reference in the field, as did his work on the role of adenosine in producing an increase in blood flow to skeletal muscle during exercise. Dr Karim published a series of important papers in leading journals, including the Journal of Physiology, the American Journal of Physiology, Pflugers Archives and Circulation Research. His work was of considerable significance to the better understanding of medical conditions such as congestive heart failure and hypertension. International recognition of Dr Karims work was reflected in his appointment as Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta in 1980 and as Royal Society Kan Tongpo Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong in 1993-94.

Dr Karim taught extensively to medical, dental and science students, who responded positively to his enthusiasm and devotion to his subject, qualities which, together with his cheerful and outgoing personality, also made Dr Karim a very popular colleague with his peers. In 1993, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons, in recognition of his contribution towards maintaining the standards of the Fellowship Examination of the College and promoting undergraduate medical education in Bangladesh. Dr Karim retired from his University post in March 2000.

Dr Karims funeral, at which a number of his friends and former colleagues were present, took place on 22 July. He is survived by his wife, Monwara, and their three sons and one daughter.


Published: 21 July 2003