Posted on August 07, 2017

Five aspiring scientists took an important step towards building successful careers in research recently when they graduated from the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals of Weill Cornell Medicine–Qatar (WCM-Q).

Kholoud Al-Najdi, Fatima Al-Dasim, Amal Saif, Wadha Al-Marri and Shaikha Al-Abdul-Jabbar spent six months working alongside WCM-Q’s world-class scientists in the college’s state-of-the-art laboratories. In addition to learning a comprehensive range of research competencies, including practical lab skills, how to conduct clinical research and knowledge of research administration, the interns were also able to gain hands-on experience of biomedical research by contributing to ongoing scientific studies carried out at WCM-Q.

In recognition of their successful mastery of these skills and competencies, the interns were presented with certificates of graduation at a special ceremony held at WCM-Q. Dr. Khaled Machaca, Associate Dean for Research at WCM-Q, said: “All of us at WCM-Q have been truly impressed by the dedication, enthusiasm and raw talent of these young scientists during their time here with us. Through the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals these young people have gained essential skills and experiences to become outstanding members of Qatar’s new generation of researchers and innovators, as well as leading contributors to the growing R&D sector of the Qatari economy toward the 2030 vision of a knowledge-based economy.”

This is the seventh annual cycle of the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals, which was launched in 2011 and to date has helped 33 graduates take the first step on the path to a successful career in research. The internship cycle runs from January to July each year. In addition, this year the program expanded its robust interaction with the SIDRA Nationals Development Program by hosting two SIDRA trainees as full-time participants in the program and four additional trainees who participated in the didactic parts of the program. Close collaborations among different biomedical institutions to enhance research training nationally goes a long way toward preparing the next generation of researchers.

All of the interns who completed the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals this year are graduates of leading universities in Qatar. This year’s cohort graduated from Qatar University, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and Texas A&M University at Qatar.

Texas A&M University at Qatar chemical engineering graduate Kholoud Al-Najdi spent her six months at WCM-Q interning in Research Administration. Kholoud said: “Transitioning from being a university student to a working professional can be intimidating, so this program was the ideal opportunity for me to make a smooth transition. I got to work in a comfortable and welcoming environment as part of the research training team in research administration. Although the program was challenging in the beginning, the research training team was always there to help me. They cared about what we had to say and were always open to suggestions.”

Fatima Al-Dasim, a graduate of the Biomedical Sciences program at Qatar University, participated in Clinical Research under the guidance of WCM-Q Professor of Psychiatry and leading researcher Dr. Ziad Kronfol. Fatima said: “Being involved in this program has improved my research skills remarkably. The courses of the program guided me through the ethics of research, writing a proposal for grants, applying for IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval, recruiting subjects, practicing lab work and analyzing data using statistical software. I would definitely encourage graduates to seize this chance if they are considering medical research as a prospective profession. Joining the Biomedical Research Program for Nationals is an outstanding opportunity for any scientist.”

WCM-Q has now begun accepting applications for the 2018 cycle of the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals, and the deadline to apply is November 5, 2017. To learn more about the different research training programs at WCM-Q or to apply, visit https://qatar-weill.cornell.edu/research/research-training-programs/overview

Graduates of the Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals 2017

  • Wadha Al-Marri

Alma mater: Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Biological Sciences

WCM-Q mentor: Dr. Jeremie Arash Tabrizi, Associate Professor of Genetic Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Employment: Graduate Associate in Research at Sidra Medical and Research Center

  • Kholoud Al-Najdi

Alma mater: Texas A&M University at Qatar, Chemical Engineering.

Interned in Research Administration

Mentor: Christy Poppe,

  • Amal Saif

Alma mater: Qatar University, Biomedical Sciences

WCM-Q mentor: Dr. Joel Malek, Assistant Professor of Genetic Medicine/Director of the Genomics Core

  • Fatima Al-Dasim

Alma mater: Qatar University, Biomedical Sciences

WCM-Q mentor: Dr. Ziad Kronfol, Professor of Psychiatry

  • Shaikha Al-Abdul-Jabbar

Alma mater: Qatar University, Biomedical Sciences

WCM-Q mentor: Dr. Khaled Machaca, Associate Dean for Research.

Employment: Graduate Associate in Research at Sidra Medical and Research Center

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