HBKU Participates as A Partner at Functional Genomics Symposium

HBKU Participates as Academic Partner at Functional Genomics Symposium

08 Dec 2018

Organized by Sidra Medicine, the symposium aims to advance big data in the field of genomics and precision medicine

HBKU Participates as Academic Partner at Functional Genomics Symposium

Doha, December 8, 2018 – Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) is participating as an academic partner at Sidra Medicine’s fourth annual Functional Genomics 2018 Symposium, held under the theme of Big Data to Clinic at the Qatar National Convention Centre from December 8 - 10.

HBKU is represented through the participation of three of its science-focused entities, which are the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS) and Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI).

The symposium provides a platform for experts to discuss cutting-edge advances in genetics, genomics and “big data” in the field of medicine. The interdisciplinary international community of attendees aims to assess how best to use big genetic and clinical datasets to provide novel insights into the biology of disease. Scientific challenges including implementation, scalable data infrastructures, and developing novel therapeutics, are some of the topics that are being explored.

On Day 1 of the conference, Dr. Omar Albagha, principal investigator at QBRI and professor of genetics at CHLS, participated with a cross-disciplinary host of speakers to address various aspects of genome variability and function, with a specific focus on the genetics of disorders affecting children. Dr. Albagha’s discussion on Genetic Architecture of Health and Disease-related Traits in the Qatari Population highlighted the contribution of common genetic variations to health and disease traits, as well as the country’s progress towards the utilization of precision medicine.

Sara Al-Khawaga, who is enrolled in CHLS’ PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences program, also conducted a session to discuss the Incidence, Clinical Spectrum, and Molecular Mechanisms of Permanent Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus in the State of Qatar.

On Day 2, Dr. Edward Stuenkel, dean of CHLS, is co-chairing a session on Exploring the Consequences of Mutation in Model Systems. He will aim to list the advantages of utilizing animal models for gene discovery; describe the impact of non-self mutations in human disease; and explain what spatial transcriptomics can reveal about biology.

Kholoud Al Shafai, a PhD student at CHLS, will be co-moderating a Women in Science workshop to demonstrate the achievements of women in the field as they assume top positions.

Day 3 will also witness the participation of Dr. Henning Horn, assistant professor at CHLS, in a session titled The LINC Complex is Essential for Gametogenesis, which will discuss the characterization of recently discovered mutations that are linked to male infertility.

Throughout the symposium, CSE will be exhibiting at the HBKU booth and engaging with visitors with the aim of promoting the college’s ongoing work and programs.

Commenting on CHLS’ participation, Dr. Edward Stuenkel said: “Sidra Medicine’s annual symposium provides a crucial platform to evaluate advancements in the field of genomics. We are looking forward to useful contributions at the symposium and to advancing our research in this area, while mutually benefiting from the wealth of expertise that surrounds us.”

Dr. Omar Albagha said: "Many disease-related traits such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels are genetically determined. The Qatar Genome program is a great resource for investigating the genetic basis of these disease traits. Unraveling the genetic contributions of these traits will also pave the way for precision medicine in Qatar. Our research team (in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine -- Qatar) is currently investigating genetic contributions to more than 60 disease-related traits. We will provide some insights into this project at the Functional Genomics 2018 Symposium."

Dr. Dena Al-Thani, assistant professor at CSE, said: “CSE is pioneering a data analytics in health management degree – a program that was specifically launched to tie into Qatar’s ambitions for capacity building. By participating at the Functional Genomics Symposium, we aim to showcase CSE’s potential and impact, as well as engage in meaningful discussions with our counterparts.”

HBKU regularly collaborates with local and international partners to promote dialogue and advance knowledge on its key focus areas. Advancing innovation is one of the University’s clear objectives and is manifested in its ongoing academic and research endeavors.

For more information about CSE, CHLS and QBRI, visit www.hbku.edu.qa.

About Hamad Bin Khalifa University Innovating Today, Shaping Tomorrow


Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF), was founded in 2010 as a research-intensive university that acts as a catalyst for transformative change in Qatar and the region while having global impact. Located in Education City, HBKU is committed to building and cultivating human capacity through an enriching academic experience, innovative ecosystem, and unique partnerships. HBKU delivers multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs through its colleges, and provides opportunities for research and scholarship through its institutes and centers. For more information about HBKU, visit www.hbku.edu.qa.

About Sidra Medicine

Sidra Medicine provides specialized healthcare to women, children, and young people from Qatar and around the world. It is a private hospital for public benefit.

Established by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Sidra Medicine embraces best practice medical education, innovative biomedical and clinical research and discovery, and exceptional patient and family focused care. This unique combination makes Sidra Medicine one of the handful of healthcare organizations in the world that embeds the concept of personalized medicine into its very ethos of treatment and care.

Sidra Medicine provides comprehensive specialist healthcare services for children and young people, as well as maternity and gynecology care for women. Some of its unique children’s specialist services include Cardiology, Neurology, Urology and Plastics & Craniofacial Reconstruction. It is also treats and cares for pregnant women with fetal complications.

The ultramodern healthcare organization is a testament to Qatar’s pioneering spirit and sustained commitment to its human and social development.

To access Sidra Medicine services, and learn more about our contribution to global healthcare, education and research, please visit www.sidra.org.