WCM-Q program provides early career boost for Qatari researcher
A Qatari scientist who trained through Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals has achieved a remarkable trio of successes in her young research career.
Raghad Al-Ishaq spent six months at WCM-Q taking part in the program, during which time she published two research papers in leading journals. Shortly after completing the program, Raghad learnt that her application for a Graduate Sponsorship Research Award (GSRA) from Qatar National Research Fund had been successful.
The GSRA, administered through QNRF’s Qatar Research Leadership Program initiative, supports Qatari nationals to undertake graduate research-based studies, helping them to pursue doctoral degrees at approved institutions inside Qatar or elsewhere. Raghad will begin her master’s studies at the University of Bath in the UK this month.
In terms of publications, Raghad was first author of a study titled ‘Health Implication of vitamin D on the cardiovascular and the renal system’, which has been published in Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry, a leading journal. She was also first author of a paper titled ‘Flavonoids and their anti-diabetic properties: cellular mechanisms and effects to improve blood sugar levels’, which was published in the journal Biomolecules.
The Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals is designed to equip talented Qataris with the skills and knowledge required for successful careers in research, as well as promoting Qatar’s aim to diversify the economy and become a global hub for biomedical research. The program lasts for six months between January and July each year and offers both applied and didactic training. Raghad was at WCM-Q for her second spell, having completed another WCM-Q program, the Research Internship for National College Students, in 2017.
Raghad undertook her applied training in the lab of Dr. Ali Sultan, WCM-Q professor of microbiology and immunology, where she contributed to several ongoing research projects, including a study of the human microbiome. She also worked with Dr. Dietrich Büsselberg, WCM-Q professor of physiology and biophysics, on both of her publications. As part of the didactic part of the program, she learnt about biostatistics, grant management, finance and compliance issues.
WCM-Q continues to collaborate with local institutions in offering the didactic training to those interested in Research. This year, three Qatari nationals who are currently dentistry residents at Hamad Medical Corporation completed the didactic elements of the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals program as part of their residency training.
Raghad said: “I decided to join the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals at WCM-Q to gain hands-on experience in the field of biomedical research. The internship has given me a well-rounded and comprehensive research experience and really fueled my interest in research. I now intend to follow this up with a master’s and eventually a PhD degree. On the whole, I found the experience challenging, motivating and inspiring.”
Dr. Khaled Machaca, senior associate dean for research, Iinnovations, and commercialization said: “Raghad has shown exceptional dedication to her work during her time at WCM-Q and has deservedly achieved great success. We are very proud to have been able to play a part in helping Raghad to unlock her potential, which will allow her to make meaningful contributions to the State of Qatar’s bold and ambitious strategy to diversify the economy and become a world-leader in biomedical R&D.
“We welcome all Qatari nationals with an interest in biomedical science to apply to the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals to explore potential career opportunities in the field of research.”
The Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals will begin accepting applications for the 2020 cycle in October. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2019.