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The 3rd Biomedical Research Symposium

The 3rd Biomedical Research Symposium was held at the Palestine Red Crescent-Head Quarter at Al-bireh, on the 13th of April 2013. The symposium was organized by the Palestinian Forum for Medical Research (PFMR) in cooperation with Al Quds University.

The event started with a welcome note by Prof. Hisham Darwish, coordinator of the organizing committee, Dr. Yousef Najajreh, Dean of Scientific Research at Al Quds University and Dr. Fahmi Jubran, Dean of Medical School at Al Quds University. This was followed by Dr. Rami Aqeilan, the President and a founding member of PFMR who discussed the importance of biomedical research for Palestinians and the goal of PFMR to promote collaboration between Palestinian researchers.

After these introductory notes, the scientific program of the symposium started. The morning session included four lectures. The first was about the WW domain interactions, which regulate the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, given by Dr. Zaidoun Salah, Assistant Professor at Al Quds Bard Honors College and a Board member of PFMR. This was followed by a talk about remodeling of molecular interactions, which was given by Dr. Tariq Adwan, Assistant Professor at Al Najah University. The third lecture discussed the Dopamine Transporter 3’- UTR VNTR polymorphism which modulates learning from positive and negative feedback and was given by Dr. Ibrahim Mughrabi, a researcher at Al Quds University. The first session ended with a talk given by Ms. Amal Abu Rayyan, a Masters student at Bethlehem University, who presented her study on the novel splice site mutation in Myosin VI.

The second session included a talk given by the Symposium’s keynote speaker: Prof. Abd Al- Roof Higazi from University of Pennsylvania and Hadassah Medical Center, who presented his work on the new approaches of neuroprotection.

The third session started with a student talk given by Mrs. Lama Tarayrah, a PhD student at John Hopkins University, who presented her work on how histone demethylase dUTX  antagonizes JAK-STAT signaling to maintain proper gene expression and architecture of the Drosophila testis niche. This was followed by Dr. Abed Mansour, a postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science, who gave a lecture on the epigenetic mechanism of stem cells induction.

The excitement continued in the afternoon session. A talk entitled ‘ Analysing falls in coronary heart diseases mortality in the West Bank between 1998 and 2009’ was given by Prof. Niveen Abu Rmeileh from Al Quds University. This was followed by Prof. Akram Kharoubi from Al Quds University who talked about Diabetes mellitus in Palestine. The session ended with a talk given by Ms. Rania Abu Sair, a Masters student at al Quds University who presented her study on the alloantibodies prevalence and ABO blood groups frequencies among Palestinians.


The final session included two talks by Dr. Riyad Khander, an Assistant Professor at Al Najah University who discussed the  reduced neutrophil superoxide production in response to psychological stress.  This was followed by a talk about the microns in municipal solid waste and public health given by Ms. Maryam Amro, a Masters students at Palestine Polytechnic University.

The symposium concluded with awarding the best three student presentations. Three of the graduate students were awarded the 3rd Biomedical Research Symposium plaque and these were Ms. Amal Abu Rayyan, Dr. Ibrahim Mughrabi and Ms. Maryam Amro.

The first prize was given to Ms. Amal Abu Rayyan, who is currently a Masters student at Al Quds University and working on her thesis under the supervision of Dr. Moein Kanan.

The second prize was given to Dr. Ibrahim Mughrabi, who holds a medical degree from Al Quds University and is currently working in the neuroscience research unit with Prof. Hisham Darwish.

The third prize was given to Ms. Maryam Amro, a Masters student at Palestine Polytechnic University.

Following the talks, there was a general discussion on the future aspiration of PFMR moderated by the PFMR Board. The participants and PFMR Board members discussed the challenges faced by the Palestinian researches and the need to approach the Ministry of Health and University administrations to fulfill their role in supporting research, implementing new strategies that can promote scientific research and making the data available.  The PFMR Board discussed future plans to work closely with students through workshops that answer their needs and provide them with the support they need.


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