Posted on January 09, 2016

Qatar Research Leadership Program (QRLP), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), has announced that its first two Doctors of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences have graduated following their outstanding work on cancer research. Dr Hamda Al Thawadi and Dr Halema Al Farsi graduated with honours from QRLP, a programme dedicated to science and research and developed by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). The innovative initiative aims to develop and nurture Qatar’s human capacity in R&D in a bid to unlock human potential and transform the country into a knowledge-based society.

Dr Al Thawadi’s work highlights the effects microparticles from ovarian cancer have in initiating the formation of blood vessels that promote the growth of tumour cells. Her research identified that targeting these microparticles could be of therapeutic use in treating cancer in the future. Dr Al Thawadi’s work was published in the Oncotarget Journal. Also focused on ovarian cancer research, Dr Al Farsi chose a very original approach, including computer simulation, to look at genes that are protected against mutation and to discover pathways that are essential for tumour survival. Her work is in preparation for publication.

Dr Dirar Khoury, Executive Director of Research Coordination and Special Initiatives, and Acting Executive Director of Education, Training, and Development at QF R&D, congratulated the two graduates saying, “Dr Al Thawadi and Dr Al Farsi are two outstanding individuals who exceeded our hopes and have set the standard of achievement extremely high at QRLP. Their success is a reflection of our investments to become a knowledge-based society, filled with innovative people and ideas that will take us forward.”

“The future of scientific research here in Qatar is fortunate to be able to draw upon the knowledge that both doctors have accumulated in their studies. Their backgrounds in medicine, biomedical laboratory technology, and scientific research fit well into a future vision of beating cancer and similar diseases. That is why cancer research is part of the Qatar National Research Strategy, and why it is essential that we, as a society, support the brightest aspiring scientists to come up with the most promising ways of beating cancer,” Dr Khoury added.

Both doctors received their degrees from the University of Paris-Sud (Paris 11) in France, while performing their research in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, a QF partner university.