research-student

Group Members

Laith Abu-Raddad, PhD

Laith Abu-Raddad
Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad, PhD, Principal Investigator of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group, Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research, and Director of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Biomathematics Research Core
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Dr. Abu-Raddad is an Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and Director of the Biostatistics and Biomathematics Research Core at WCM-Q. He focuses on studying the epidemiological factors and population processes shaping infectious disease spread in human and animal populations. He joined WCM-Q in 2008 while serving as an Assistant Professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, USA. He held positions as Research Scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington; as Postdoctoral Research Associate at Imperial College London, United Kingdom and as NSF-JSPS Postdoctoral Research Associate at Osaka University, Japan. He completed his Ph.D. study in Computational and Mathematical Physics at Florida State University. He serves as a consultant or advisory member for a number of key public health projects for organizations such as the World Bank, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and World Health Organization.

Dr. Abu-Raddad's research interests are multidisciplinary with emphasis on studying the epidemiology and ecology of infectious diseases using analytical and computational approaches in addition to conventional epidemiologic study designs. He was the lead author or co-investigator of several high impact studies in recent years such as in relation to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis C virus and SARS. His current main research interests include studying the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, HSV-2 and HPV; investigating the role of biological cofactors in HIV epidemiology; assessment of the impact of different HIV interventions such as vaccines and male circumcision; studying the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in the Arab and Muslim Worlds; studying tuberculosis epidemiology and assessing the impact of novel TB diagnostics, drug regimens and vaccines; studying the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus in the Middle East and North Africa; simulation of community randomized controlled trials and studying the ecology of multiple-strain infectious diseases.


Ghina Mumtaz, MSc

Ghina Mumtaz
Ghina Mumtaz, MSc, Senior Epidemiologist and Research Specialist
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Ghina Mumtaz is a Senior Epidemiologist currently holding the position of Research Specialist at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). In this research group, Ghina is involved in epidemiological research on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) using multiple epidemiologic approaches. The primary focus of her work is on characterizing the epidemiology of HIV and other STIs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She has been involved, under the umbrella of the MENA HIV/AIDS Synthesis Project, in a series of systematic reviews to draw the evidence on the epidemiology of HIV in terms of HIV prevalence, mode of transmission, associated risk behaviors, HIV knowledge, molecular evidence and others among various population groups in the MENA region. Ghina has also been involved in the Morocco Modes of Transmission Analysis project, where the contribution of the different population groups to HIV incident cases in this country was assessed. In addition, she is involved in the design of HIV and other STIs bio-behavioral surveillance surveys in the region.

Prior to joining WCM-Q, Ghina worked for six years as an epidemiologist, project manager and database statistician in the field of perinatal and neonatal health at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) in Lebanon, designing and participating in several research projects and contributing to several scientific publications in this field. Ghina earned her M.Sc. degree in Epidemiology and Population Health and her B.Sc. degree in Biology from the American University of Beirut.


Hiam Chemaitelly, MSc

Hiam Chemaitelly, MSc
Hiam Chemaitelly, MSc, Epidemiologist and Research Specialist 
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Hiam Chemaitelly is an Epidemiologist currently holding the position of Research Specialist at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). She is involved in the conduct of scientific studies using mathematical modeling and conventional epidemiologic methods in relation to infectious disease epidemiology research. Her emphasis is on studying the HIV epidemiology in sub-Saharan Africa including developing and understanding of the role of biological cofactors in HIV epidemiology, analyzing and understanding the patterns of HIV sero-discordancy among stable sexual partnerships, assessing the role of sero-discordant partnerships in fueling the HIV epidemic and examining the impact of HIV interventions on reducing HIV incidence among sero-discordant couples. In addition to using mathematical models, she is involved in the data management and statistical analysis of different datasets such as the Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) and the HIV Biomarker Surveys for multiple countries.

Prior to joining WCM-Q, Hiam was an instructor at the University of Balamand where she taught epidemiology, biostatistics and research methods for undergraduate students as well as medical students. Her earlier research activities focused on addressing the mental health of vulnerable populations in urban underprivileged communities; the impact of environmental and physical school structure on health; maternal and neonatal health; measles outbreaks among children in Lebanon; domestic violence and argileh (shisha) smoking. Hiam earned her M.Sc. degree in Epidemiology and Population Health and her B.Sc. degree in Environmental Health from the American University of Beirut.


Susanne Awad, MSc

Susanne Awad
Susanne Awad, MSc, Biomedical Engineer
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Susanne Awad is a Biomedical Engineer currently holding the position of Research Specialist at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). She is currently involved in studying the epidemiology of infectious diseases through the use of mathematical modeling. More specifically, her research project focuses on the development of mathematical models to understand the role of sexual network structure in HIV epidemiology and the impact of different forms of heterogeneity in such networks. The research project also aims to develop models to describe the impact of different HIV intervention strategies. Prior to joining WCM-Q, Susanne was an Engineer at Ibn Annafees Medical Company in Qatar. Her earlier research activities focused on the simulation of new non-invasive procedures to remove tumour cells using laser diodes. Susanne earned her M.Sc. Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark.


Yousra Mohamoud, MSc

Yousra Mohamoud
Yousra Mohamoud, MSc, Research Specialist
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Yousra Mohamoud is an Epidemiologist holding the position of Research Specialist at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). She is currently involved in a research project that aims to synthesize the epidemiological evidence on hepatitis C virus (HCV) in different population groups in MENA and to characterize the potential for HIV transmission through the parenteral route using the synthesized epidemiological evidence on HCV as a proxy measure. Prior to joining WCM-Q, Yousra was a Biostatistician working in the field of healthcare economics at Integrity Management Services, LLC, in Virginia, U.S.A. Her earlier research activities focused on developing alternative methods for the early screening of cervical cancer in remote populations in the U.S.A. and investigating the prevalence of the human papilloma virus (HPV) among HIV infected women in Malawi. Yousra earned her M.Sc. degree in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and holds a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology and Public Health from the University of Maryland.


Silva Kouyoumjian, MSc

Diego Cuadros
Silva Kouyoumjian, MSc, Research Specialist 
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Silva Kouyoumjian is an Epidemiologist currently holding the position of Research Specialist at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). She is involved in epidemiological research on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) using multiple epidemiologic approaches. The focus of her work is on characterizing the epidemiology of HIV and other STIs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) using systematic reviews, data synthesis and quantitative assessments. Moreover, she is conducting HIV Modes of Transmission (MoT) analyses in several MENA countries where the contribution of the different population groups to HIV incident cases in these countries is being assessed.

Prior to joining WCM-Q, Silva's research activities focused on applying mixed methods statistical analyses to explore risk behavior among youth in the MENA region including substance abuse and sexual risk behavior. She combined quantitative and qualitative research methods to understand the factors associated with skills-based sex education among adolescents and teachers in Lebanese schools. She has also studied the role of reproductive healthcare professionals in dealing with and preventing gender-based violence. She earned her M.Sc. degree in Population Health from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.


Adona Canlas

Diego Cuadros
Adona Canlas, Research Group Coordinator 
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Adona Canlas holds the position of Research Group Administrator at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. She provides administrative support to the group’s research activities for several research projects. She is also involved in the maintenance of procedures as they relate to grants, contracts, and other administrative tasks.

Prior to joining IDEG, Adona worked as an Executive Secretary and Document Controller at SPK Construction in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She also held the position of Mathematics Instructor at the University of the Philippines and Roosevelt Science High School in Rizal, Philippines. Adona earned her B.Sc. degree in Mathematics from the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, Philippines.


Karima Chaabna, PhD

Karima Chaabna
Karima Chaabna, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research 
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Karima Chaabna is an Epidemiologist holding the position of Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). Her research focuses on characterization of the disease burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the role of sexual networks in the epidemiology of STIs. Her research aims to understand the drivers and scale of STI transmission in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Prior to joining IDEG, her main research interests lied in the fields of descriptive and analytic cancer and infectious disease epidemiology in MENA and Africa. Her research focused primarily on assessing the patterns and trends of AIDS-related cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer using data from the cancer registries of Setif (Algeria), Sousse (Tunisia), Gharbiah (Egypt), Kyadondo County (Uganda) and Harare (Zimbabwe). Karima was also the principal investigator for a retrospective study that assessed HIV/AIDS prevalence and mortality time trends, HIV/AIDS patient profile, as well as hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence in lymphoma patients. The study was conducted in collaboration with the infectious disease and hematological services of the Regional Teaching Hospitals in Algeria. Furthermore, she was involved in another retrospective study that aimed to assess HCV genotype geographical distribution in Algeria, and was also involved in two clinical trials assessing the variability in antibody response to influenza immunization. Karima completed her Ph.D. in Epidemiology at Claude Bernard University, France, in 2013.


Sarwat Mahmud, MPH

Sarwat Mahmud, MPH
Sarwat Mahmud, MPH, Research Specialist
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Sarwat Mahmud is an Epidemiologist holding the position of Research Specialist at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q). She is involved in conducting research characterizing the epidemiology of infectious diseases in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is primarily conducting systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and meta-regressions to synthesize epidemiological data on hepatitis C virus in MENA. She is also conducting other statistical and epidemiological analyses on datasets that relate to infectious diseases in MENA.

Prior to joining IDEG, Sarwat had worked as an Assistant Hospital Scientist at Westmead Hospital, a large-scale public health and diagnostic microbiology lab in Sydney, Australia. She earned her MPH degree from the University of Sydney and holds a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the same university.


Houssein Ayoub, PhD

Houssein Ayoub, PhD
Houssein Ayoub, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research 
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Houssein Ayoub is a Mathematical Modeler who is currently holding the with Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). He is currently involved in studies to understand the population dynamics of infectious diseases. A main current focus in his research is the development of mathematical models to examine aspects of hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemiology and assessing the public health impact of HCV vaccination.

Prior to joining IDEG, Houssein was a Lecturer and Research Assistant at Bordeaux University. His research for the doctoral dissertation focused on understanding T cell proliferation in lymphopenia conditions using mathematical modeling. Subsequently, he studied optimal control of the fisheries system in French Guiana using also mathematical modeling. Houssein completed his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science at Bordeaux University.


Soha Dargham, MPH

Soha Dargham, MPH
Soha Dargham, MPH, Epidemiologist / Biostatistician Research Specialist 
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Soha Dargham is a Biostatistician, currently holding the position of Research Specialist at the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Biomathematics Research Core at the Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q). Soha contributes to study design of projects ranging from clinical trials to observational studies as well as instrument design, sample size calculations and power analyses. She also conducts various statistical analyses such as bivariate and multivariable regressions using both parametric and non-parametric tests. In addition, Soha contributes to the educational activities at the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Biomathematics Research Core through instruction and organization of training seminars and workshops offered to different audiences at WCM-Q.

Prior to joining WCM-Q, Soha held the position of Administrative Intern at the Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Program at the Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, USA. She promoted research partnerships, implemented quality nurse-led research, collaborated on nursing research projects (development of database, data collection and analysis, and report writing), and identified nursing research priorities to strengthen the research climate and infrastructure. Soha earned her MPH, specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.


Rami Al Rifai, PhD

Rami Al Rifai, PhD
Rami Al Rifai, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research 
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Rami Al-Rifai is an Epidemiologist, currently holding the position of with Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). He is involved in epidemiological research on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) using multiple epidemiologic approaches.

Prior to joining IDEG, Rami worked as a Post-Doctorate Senior Research Associate within the Department of Global Health Promotion at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. During this period, his research activities focused on quantitative research methods by utilizing rich datasets to estimate prevalence and to understand factors associated with different public health outcomes such as anaemia among pre-school age children, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and cesarean section deliveries in Jordan, and reproductive healthcare services utilization in emergency settings in Sudan. He also worked to understand the impact of socialization between domestic and migrant foreign workers working in multinational workplaces on their unsafe sexual behavior. Rami completed his PhD degree in Epidemiology and Global Health at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) in 2014. He also holds a M.Sc. (2007) and B.Sc. (2004) degrees in veterinary medicine and surgery from Jordan University of Science & Technology.


Alex Smolak, PhD

Alex Smolak, PhD
Alex Smolak, PhD 
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Alex Smolak is a Consultant with IDEG working on bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in MENA. His expertise lies in several areas of infectious disease epidemiology with emphasis on quantitative methods, such as analyses of large hierarchical datasets, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and meta-regressions. His analytical perspective stresses the importance of social structures and social determinants of health to understand disease patterns and barriers to uptake of interventions. He provides technical expertise on different aspects of the research and its translation to policy and programming products.

Alex’s scientific research has been published in leading specialty journals such as JAIDS and AIDS and Behavior. His commentary and work has received press in respected outlets such as Nature Middle East and the International AIDS Society. He has received funding from National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Fulbright among others. Most of his research has been conducted with Muslim populations in MENA, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. Alex completed his PhD degree in Social Work at Columbia University in 2013. He also holds a MPHIL in Social Work (2012) from Columbia University, Master of Social Work (2006) from University of Washington and B.A. in Psychology (2004) from The Evergreen State College.


Sonia Chaabane

Sonia Chaabane
Sonia Chaabane, Postdoctoral Associate in Healthcare Policy and Research 
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Sonia Chaabane is an Epidemiologist currently holding the position of a Postdoctoral Associate at IDEG at the Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q). She is involved in epidemiological research on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A current focus of her work is characterization of the epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in the Middle East and North Africa using systematic reviews, data synthesis and quantitative assessments.

Prior to joining WCM-Q, Sonia's research activities focused on the use of medically assisted reproduction (MAR) and the risk of adverse neonatal outcomes. She conducted observational studies aiming at assessment of the risks of multiple pregnancies and major congenital malformations associated with the use of different modalities of MAR in a Quebec birth cohort. She also conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the literature and evaluate the risk of multiple pregnancies and major congenital malformations associated with the use of ovarian stimulation alone and intrauterine insemination used with or without ovarian stimulation. Sonia holds a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), a Master’s equivalent degree and a Ph.D degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, specialized in medication and population health, from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Montreal and the Research Center of Ste-Justine University Hospital.