Qasim Ayub was born and raised in Pakistan. After graduation from medical school he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas, USA on a Thomas Jefferson Fellowship. During his doctoral research he developed a monoclonal antibody against a key inflammatory protein called tumour necrosis factor. The antibody was evaluated for its therapeutic effects in mouse models of septic shock. Back in Pakistan he assisted in setting up a state of the art molecular biology research facility. The laboratory became the focal point for the Human Genome Diversity Project's South Asian sample collection and established cell lines from several indigenous populations of Pakistan that are now available as part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel to researchers worldwide through the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain, France. This has permitted extensive analyses of genetic variation in these populations and is acknowledged internationally as a major Pakistani contribution.
Over the past decade Dr. Ayub has analyzed DNA variation in ethnic and linguistic groups from Pakistan in order to understand their origins and relatedness with world populations. Several of the novel male specific markers that were identified during these studies are now routinely used in forensic DNA analysis. In 2006 he was awarded the President of Pakistan's Medal of Excellence (Tamgha-i-Imtiaz) for contributions to science. He joined the Human Evolution Team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, in 2008 where his research focuses on the analyses of DNA variation in human populations using whole genome sequencing data in order to understand how modern humans have genetically adapted to their local environments and improve our knowledge of the genetic basis of resistance, or susceptibility, to disease ( http://www.sanger.ac.uk/research/projects/human evolution/).