Medical research scientist Asma Bashir at work at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute on Monday. John Varughese/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Al Jalila Foundation chief executive officer Dr. Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama is optimistic of the UAE’s capability to broaden more its contributions to improvements in global public health.
On Monday and on a sideline interview from the press tour of the recently inaugurated Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, Al Olama also expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for supporting the AJF mission towards “medical education and research.”
The Al Jalila Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in 2013. Its nine-storey headquarters within the Dubai Healthcare City, houses the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute that relies on public and private donations, hopefully not only within the UAE but from overseas as well.
“We are filled with great pride that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, an initiative of the Al Jalila Foundation. My team and I are honoured that His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed, entrusted us with his vision to position the UAE at the forefront of medical innovation and what started as a dream has now become a reality,” he said.
Located on the seventh to ninth floors, the laboratories of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, with the capacity to host works of over 200 researchers, is fully equipped with the latest technology and instruments-mostly from the US-which have the standards to detail accurately to its minutest-every veteran, novice and aspiring medical practitioner-academic-student-scientist has to know about the “molecules, proteins, lipids, fats and DNA (of every human being),” according to biochemist Dr. Riad Abdel Bayoumi and physiologist Dr. Thomas Adrian.
Bayoumi and Adrian showed to newsmen and photojournalists, the newest USB-sized gene sequencing gadget, two COVID19 equipment, and a technology enabled to separate cells.
Bayoumi, Adrian and endodontist Dr. Mohamed Jamal are among the 70 faculty members at the nearby Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medical Sciences are into their respective research projects such as one that delves on Regenerative Medicine in Dentistry. They are glad that they work with MBRU students like Yasmin Monjazebi, taking up her Master’s in Dentistry.
Bayoumi, Adrian and Jamal said research is an integral part of Medicine as it has been proved that this has improved or prolonged life, in the past half a century.
“At least from the 1960s,” said Adrian.
From the interview, Al Olama recalled that Sheikh Mohammed had envisioned the importance of investing in medical research years back: “And now with COVID19, the world has realized that indeed medical research (holds the key). His Highness is a visionary leader.”
He said breakthroughs and solutions to public health problems would only be made available through the “creation of the culture of research” which must be a collaboration and a teamwork between and among specialists from every area or field of interest in Medicine.
Thus, the floor plan of Dubai’s first biomedical research institute had been laid out in such a way that it is open sans cubicles except for rooms such as for Bacteria Culture.
Al Olama said that for now and as a result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19), the AJF and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, leans heavily on the investigation on everything that has to be known and learnt about SARS-CoV2. Each successful research grant applicant would receive Dhs500,000.00.
Yet, Al Olama also stressed that research on infectious diseases need not be abandoned.
Al Olama was grateful for the establishment of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute as this bolsters the necessary ongoing and forthcoming research projects on five identified UAE and region-wide health concerns namely cancer (research grant currently valued at Dhs11.8 million), cardiovascular diseases (Dhs2.8 million), diabetes (Dhs4 million), obesity (Dha3.1 million), and mental health (Dhs3.3 million).
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