First Advances in Precision Medicine Event Tackles Epigenetics

First Advances in Precision Medicine Event Tackles Epigenetics

29 Nov 2021

Inaugural international conference showcases advances in Qatar’s epigenetics research for personalized therapy

Dean Edward Stuenkel from the College of Health and Life Sciences

The College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and Qatar Genome, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation, are hosting the First Advances in Precision Medicine (APM2021) Conference from November 29 to December 1. The collaborative international assembly focuses on promising advances in epigenetics and precision medicine related to clinical decision-making, diagnosis, and the treatment of diseases such as cancer, as well as cardiovascular, metabolic, autoimmune, and neurological diseases. 

The fast-evolving epigenetics field studies how our lifestyle and environment can cause inheritable changes that affect the way our genes work. World-class researchers and clinicians attending the conference are highlighting exciting recent developments as they consider the diverse epigenetics mechanisms that contribute to disease development and how they can be targeted for personalized therapy. 

The inaugural edition is supported by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), Frontiers, Mannai Trading Co., and Dovetail Genomics. 

The conference’s opening was delivered by Dr. Fatemeh Darakhshan-Rassam, Program Manager, Biomedical Science and Health, QNRF, and featured a keynote speech by renowned international expert Dr. Shelley Berger, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Keynote lectures, paper presentations, talks by early-career researchers, and poster sessions will address the role of epigenetics in a diverse set of diseases while introducing the epigenetics changes that occur during aging and their transgenerational heritability. 

In particular, the conference showcases epigenetics research conducted in Qatar. CHLS faculty contributing to the program are Dr. Borbala Mifsud, Assistant Professor; Dr. Nady El Hajj, Assistant Professor; Dr. Omar Albagha, Professor; Dr. Ehsan Pourkarimi Daryakenari, Assistant Professor; and Ilhame Diboun, Postdoctoral Researcher. Other contributions are from Mona Abdi and Shimaa Sherif, PhD students in HBKU’s Genomics and Precision Medicine program, as well as Hibah Shaath and Muhammad Kohailan, PhD students in HBKU’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences program.

Dr. Georges Nemer, Professor and Head of the Genomics and Translational Biomedicine Division at CHLS, said: “The exchange of knowledge, information, and innovative ideas is central to progress in precision medicine and clinical care, both regionally and globally. We are very pleased to inaugurate this conference and combine CHLS’ efforts in genomics and precision medicine with those of the internationally recognized Qatar Genome, working with outstanding international partners from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the European Institute of Oncology. This inaugural conference is exciting in that it addresses scientific discoveries within the epigenetics-driven field of precision medicine and its immense potential for understanding and treating major diseases.”

Dr. Said Ismail, Director of Qatar Genome, added: “We are delighted to organize the first of this conference series with collaborators who share our mission to spur development in the field of precision medicine. An overarching aim of the First Advances in Precision Medicine Conference is to provide a platform for information exchange among professionals and foster advancements in clinical and therapeutic applications of precision medicine that benefit society while aligning with Qatar’s national vision.”