Sibte Hasan Zaidi (15 April 1918 – 5 April 2008) was an Indian pathologist and toxicologist. After his training in pathology at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, United Kingdom, he returned to India to continue experimental toxicology research. During his later years, he served on national and international committees, such as the World Health Organization, to advise on the harmful biological effects of industrial toxins.
Sibte Hasan Zaidi was born in Barabanki, India. He grew up in the village town of Jarwal with his maternal uncle, due to the early death of his mother, Zakia Begum. Thereafter, he studied at Barabanki High School while living with his father, Syed Hasan Zaidi, a barrister. Upon the death of his father in 1931, Sibte Zaidi moved in with his uncle, Sardar Husain. After graduating from Christian College and Lucknow University, Zaidi entered King George’s Medical College (KGMC, now King George's Medical University) in 1940. He graduated with a medical degree in 1945. In 1948, he married Qamar Ara Shanshah Husain, granddaughter Rajah of Bhatwamau, a clinical psychologist. After Zaidi's clinical training and a brief academic appointment in Pathology at KGMC, he left for Lonson to work under the tutelage of Professor Earl J. King at what's now known as the Imperial College and the Hammersmith Hospital. During his tenure at the Hammersmith, Zaidi earned a PhD (1954) and a Diploma in Clinical Pathology (1952), both from the University of London.
Around 1950, Zaidi's mentor Earl J. King developed an interest in the health of coal miners in the Sheffield area. Zaidi assisted by providing description of the pathology and pathophysiology of coal miner’s lung. Zaidi and coworkers "produced the nearest approach to massive fibrosis by injecting into sensitized animals dust plus tubercle bacilli."
In 1955, Zaidi travelled back to India to be named Head the Division of Experimental Medicine and Deputy Director at the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow, where his research focused on mechanisms that underlie peptic ulcer, atherosclerosis, vasospasm, and eosinophilia. Through a complement of pharmacologic and animal studies, Zaidi and his colleagues demonstrated the requirement of a mucus barrier in the prevention of peptic ulcer disease. For this, he received the Sir Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award for the scientific excellence in 1963. He also made contributions to understanding the process of atherosclerosis, where he not only examined the mechanisms of hypercoagulability and thrombosis, but also developed rodent models of atherosclerotic heart disease and experimental myocardial infarction.
Between 1964 and 1965, Zaidi served as the third Director of the newly founded Indian Institute of Biochemistry and Experimental Medicine in Calcutta (renamed Indian Institute of Chemical Biology), where he established the institute's research infrastructure. Additionally, he initiated dissections and clarifications of the effect of exposure of industrial toxins on pulmonary fibrosis.
This work provided the stimulus for the emergence of a new discipline of Industrial Toxicology in India, where toxic exposure had remained an unrecognised health hazard. Zaidi became the Founding Director of the first institute in South East Asia – Industrial Toxicology Research Center (ITRC) in Lucknow (now renamed as Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, IITR). The support of then-President of India V. V. Giri, and later by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, increased awareness on the importance of the Center. Zaidi was commented in a journal entitled "Clinical Toxicology" for his role in nurturing many areas of industrial toxicology. During his tenure at ITRC, Zaidi grew the Center and continued to work on cellular mechanisms through which industrial toxins affect human health. His research was funded continuously by the Public Health Service of the United States through their PL480 scheme.
Zaidi's monograph "Experimental Pneumoconiosis" was published by Johns Hopkins Press in 1969. Over 140 publications resulted from this work.
His Editorial "Bhopal and After,"  published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, and later quoted in several articles, highlighted gaps in 1980s policy that could lead to spillage of chemicals of such magnitude.
Zaidi was awarded the William P. Yant Award for lifetime achievements and contributions to industrial toxicology by the American Industrial Hygiene Association in 1977. He also served on their Editorial Board from 1977 to 1993. The Venezuelan Society gave him the highest honour for his contributions to industrial medicine (1978). For his work in India, he was awarded the Sir Ardeshirlal Dalal Gold Medal for his contributions to occupational health (1975), and the Padam Shree (1977) by the Government of India. Zaidi was inducted as the Founding Member of the Royal College of Pathologists, and thereafter was conferred a Fellowship. He was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of India (1976), the National Academy of Sciences, India (1972), and the Indian National Science Academy (1974). These honors are listed in his official obituary published by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research. In recognition of his contributions to ITRC, the Professor SH Zaidi Memorial Oration endowed annual lectureship was established in 1998. The 12th oration was given by his son, Professor Mone Zaidi.
In 1975, Zaidi hosted "The International Symposium on Industrial Toxicology" in Lucknow, which showcased the then-cutting-edge science in the field of industrial medicine. He was thereafter inducted as President of the Asian Society of Environmental Industrial Toxicology (1975). He was also Professor at the Azad University in Kanpur, and Visiting Professor to the University of Düsseldorf on two occasions, where he participated in further studies on the action of toxic metals.
Zaidi served on the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Labor Organization (ILO). His work on the World Health Organization's Expert Committees became the basis of two key technical reports. He was also Advisor to the Occupational Health Committee of the WHO, Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UN International Registry on Potentially Toxic Chemicals in Geneva (1977-1979), Senior Consultant to the United Nations Environmental Program (1982), and WHO Consultant in Bangladesh and Burma. He established international courses on preventive toxicology under the United Nations in Switzerland, USSR, Czechoslovakia and Germany. To promote the cause of industrial medicine, he founded two further institutes for outreach research in Rangoon (1982-1984) and Sri Lanka (1979), under the aegis of the United Nations.
In India, he served as Honorary Advisor to the Ministry of Railways, a position that he retained between 1978 and 1989. He chaired the Environmental Research Committee of the Ministry of Environment of the Government of India between 1990 and 1993.
During the late 1990s and thereafter, Zaidi lived intermittently in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States with his son, Mone Zaidi, who is attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, Professor of Medicine and of Pharmacological Sciences, and Director of the Center of Translational Medicine and Pharmacology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Zaidi died at his home in Riverdale, New York, on 5 April 2008.
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