World-renowned genomics expert appointed as October research forum approaches
- Qatar: Wednesday, October 03 - 2012 at 17:06
- PRESS RELEASE
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute 'QBRI' has appointed Dr Philippe Froguel to head its planned Genomic Medicine Research Center. Dr Froguel is a world-renowned pioneer in the field of genomic medicine, the study of the genetic composition of living organisms, and currently serves as Chair in Genomic Medicine at Imperial College, London.
His more recent research has focused on the existence of a so-called 'skinny gene'. Froguel's expertise is particularly relevant for Qatar, where obesity and diabetes rates are among the highest in the world.
The appointment provides a timely boost to Qatar's genomics research programme ahead of the upcoming Joint Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum and Arab Expatriate Scientists Network Symposium, which will be held 21 to 23 October.
"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Professor Philippe Froguel to the team," said Dr Abdelali Haoudi, Acting Executive Director at QBRI. "He comes to us from an internationally recognised institution well-known for their contribution to the field. As a key figure in the genomics field, his extensive work and very high quality scientific contributions to the study of genomes, and in particular with application to diabetes and metabolic disorders, will no doubt be vital to the success of QBRI," he added.
Genomics is just one facet of the biomedical research projects underway in Qatar that will provide topics for discussion at the 2012 forum. It has been jointly organised by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and the Arab Expatriate Scientists 'AES' Network to showcase the country's latest research in a wide variety of areas. They include health and biomedicine, energy and environment, computing and information technology, behavioural and social sciences, arts, humanities, and Islamic Studies.
QBRI will join organisations from across the country in presenting reviews of the progress made over the past year. For the institute, this includes increased collaboration with international research institutions, and expanded local research capacity.
Additionally, two new research initiatives on stem cells and cancer have been launched by QBRI. The first investigates ways to more effectively engineer stem cells to fight leukaemia, while the second concentrates on stem cells and cancer. The latter project has already been submitted for publication, and will be presented at the Forum in October. Research on cancer, metabolic disease and diabetes, and other biomedical-enabling research platforms are additional areas of focus for QBRI at the forum.
An integral aspect of the upcoming forum is to encourage collaboration among Arab scientists around the world in order to help address the region's needs through research. Several members of the prestigious AES Network have joined the QBRI team in Doha since last year's event in order to assist with stem cell exploration and genomics of diabetes.
"QBRI is making great strides in helping to rebuild the scientific talent pool within the Arab World. This progress is vital for the future of the region. The 2012 forum is designed to serve as a platform to facilitate the sharing of information and building of partnerships, which will eventually help reverse the drain of intellectual talent from the region," commented Mr Faisal Al Suwaidi, President of Research and Development at Qatar Foundation.
While bringing international expertise to the labs, QBRI is also training younger scientists in biomedical research. Junior QBRI scientists are studying genomics at Imperial College London, and training as research assistants at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in the US.
Both the Annual Research Forum and the Arab Expatriate Scientists Network are Qatar Foundation initiatives, rooted in the State of Qatar's national strategy to foster a community of research excellence and world-class education. The Qatar National Research Strategy will be unveiled at this year's forum, to be held at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
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