Biotechnology Seminar Series - Essam M. Abdelalim

May 22, 2023
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Essam M. Abdelalim

Essam M. Abdelalim

Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI)  
Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)  
Qatar Foundation

22nd May 2023, 4:00pm - 6:00pm (GST)

 Tecnology Innovation Institute Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE


Title:Toward precision medicine with pluripotent stem cells for diabetes
Abstract:Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by chronic hyperglycemia due to progressive loss of pancreatic β-cells. Different paths, triggered by several genetic and environmental factors, lead to the loss of pancreatic β-cells and/or function. Understanding these paths to β-cell damage or dysfunction could help in identifying therapeutic approaches specific for each path. Most of our knowledge about diabetes pathophysiology has been obtained from studies on animal models, which do not fully reflect human diabetes phenotypes. Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology is a powerful tool for generating in vitro human models that could provide key information about the disease pathogenesis and provide cells for personalized therapies. The recent progress in generating functional stem cell-derived β-cells in combination with the rapid advancement in genomic and gene-editing technologies offer several options to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of different types of diabetes. Therefore, at QBRI, we have established a pluripotent stem cell program focusing on understanding the pathophysiology of specific forms of diabetes and generating functional β-cells for cell therapy. In this talk, I will shed light on results obtained from our established iPSC-based models to study diabetes pathogenesis and our efforts on enhancing the generation of stem cell-derived functional pancreatic β-cells
Bio:Dr. Abdelalim is currently a group leader at Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) & Assistant Professor at HBKU. He earned his PhD in Medical Science from Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan and subsequently served as an Assistant Professor at the same university. At QBRI, he was able to establish the first pluripotent stem cell program in Qatar, with a particular focus on diabetes research. Since March 2014, Dr. Abdelalim has led diabetes stem cell research at QBRI, with his research focusing on using pluripotent stem cells to understand pathophysiology underlying the development of diabetes and generate functional pancreatic cells for potential cell therapy. His team has successfully established more than 100 iPSC lines from a wide range of patients with monogenic and polygenic forms of diabetes, and they have developed innovative methods for differentiating stem cells into insulin-secreting cells and insulin-target cells.  

Dr. Abdelalim currently chairs the Steering Committee of Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI)-QBRI Agreement, overseeing the HSCI-QBRI diabetes/stem cell collaboration program. He also serves on the editorial boards of “Stem Cells and Development” and “Frontiers in Endocrinology”, as well as acting as a reviewer for several funding agencies. He has received several research grants. and several prestigious awards throughout his career. As a committed educator and mentor, Dr. Abdelalim has supervised 15 graduate students at HBKU, with the work of his students receiving recognition both nationally and internationally.