The HBKU Division of Life Sciences’ mission is to perform outstanding basic and translational health research while providing exceptional training and research-based education to graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.
One of the strengths of the division is the research programs developed by faculty members that include disease models with an emphasis on translation to benefit clinical outcomes. The creation of multi-disciplinary teams will be a major focus, allowing the division to attract the necessary resources to maintain and build the requisite technologies to support its research goals. Through collaborations, the technologies and expertise within the Division will benefit a wide range of research themes within other HBKU institutions, including cancer, neurosciences, genetics, and infectious diseases.
It is well established that diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular conditions as well as mental health issues are in constant progression in Qatar and the region. While these diseases seem unrelated to each other, recent findings clearly established that their high prevalence in many areas of the world in general, and in Qatar in particular, is due to a combination of environmental pollution and heredity factors. The elevated levels of consanguineous marriages in Qatar and the Gulf region in general promote the expression of genetic mutations that trigger or favor these diseases, yet many of the specific genes involved remain elusive.
We also now know that the malfunction of defined molecular and cellular mechanisms produce clear pathologies, and that many diseases continue to progress despite the best treatments. In addition, secondary pathologies can emerge due to biochemical or cellular mechanisms unrelated to the primary cause of the disease. These pathologies not only complicate the diagnosis and treatment, but can also be more lethal than the primary disease itself. Despite the fact that the high prevalence of many of these and other diseases in Qatar could be explained by such unusual connections, there is no education and training programs available in the country to prepare scientists able to address these important health issues.
The Division of Life Sciences’ objective is therefore to fill this gap. It establishes world-class postgraduate programs to train the next generation of scientists to use their gained biological and biomedical knowledge for the improvement of diagnostics and therapeutics. By successfully completing these programs, graduates within the division will be well equipped to interface and collaborate with clinical and translational researchers to move basic research discoveries into the clinical setting.