News & Press releases

The 9th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference Opens Virtually
Under the patronage of the Sheikh Hamdan Bin ‎Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, and organized by the Center for ‎Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS), the 9th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference ‎‎(PAHGC) opened today.  The conference is being held virtually from the 8th to the ‎‎9th of December, 2021, with more than 500 delegates from all over the world in ‎attendance.‎
The focus of the 9th edition of this conference ‎is on the challenges and ‎opportunities for genomics in the Arab World. ‎The main topics to be discussed in ‎the conference include big data genomics in ‎Arabs, new insights into rare disease, ‎genomics and society, and the genomics ‎of infection and immunity.‎
In his opening speech Dr. Mahmoud Taleb Al Ali, Chairperson of the conference ‎and Director of CAGS, said, “It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 9th ‎Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference. This is the first conference we hold after ‎the passing of our patron, the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who ‎was not only a true visionary but a man of great accomplishments, who left an ‎eternal mark not only on Dubai and the UAE, but on the whole world. ‎
‎“Through his various philanthropic endeavors, the late Sheikh Hamdan’s ‎contributions to the fields of humanitarian aid, education, environment, and ‎medicine are enormous. The latter was especially dear to his heart, and he was ‎always keen on advancing healthcare systems in the UAE and across the world. ‎The establishment of the prestigious Sheikh Hamdan Award for Medical Sciences ‎was one of his efforts to this end. The Award has, over the last two decades, ‎played a major role in recognizing the tremendous achievements of scientists and ‎researchers in the field of scientific medicine, at the international, regional and ‎local levels, as well as in encouraging and supporting young researchers”, he ‎added ‎
He went on to explain the selection of the theme of the conference in keeping ‎with the vision of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was ‎always keen on addressing the many challenges faced in healthcare and who ‎always encouraged us to build upon the opportunities in this realm. ‎
‎ “One of the major objectives of this conference is to bring together diverse ‎expertise and resources pertaining to the field of medical genetics in the Arab ‎World, thereby facilitating multidisciplinary research. Especially keeping in mind ‎the theme of this year’s conference, we have tried our best to maximize ‎participation from across the length and breadth of the Arab World. The 9th ‎PAHGC is therefore, a virtual, free to access conference”, he added.‎
He also pointed out that the four conference modules were selected based on ‎their relevance to the current status of human genetics and genomics, especially ‎in the region. He explained that in selecting the speakers, the scientific committee ‎has tried to represent as many Arab countries as possible, in order to showcase ‎the research being done across the Arab nation. ‎
At the end of his speech Dr. Mahmoud thanked everyone who was involved in the ‎conference, especially the Sheikh Hamdan Award for Medical Sciences, hoping for ‎it to remain a pioneering intellectual and scientific legacy for the sake of ‎advancing scientific research and the health sector in all parts of the world.‎
He also thanked the sponsors and supporters of the conference and the members ‎of CAGS and the conference committees, for their continuous guidance for the ‎conference series and the center.‎
The activities of the first day of the conference included 9 lectures given by a ‎group of distinguished lecturers Dr. Khaled Fakhro gave a lecture entitled ‎‎“Towards Genomic Medicine at Scale for Arab Populations”, while Dr. Habiba Al-‎Safar gave a lecture entitled “A Population-Specific Major Allele Reference ‎Genome from the United Arab Emirates Population”.  Dr. Brian Meyer discussed ‎the topic of “From Population Genomics to Precision Medicine”, and Dr. Rana ‎Dajani gave a lecture entitled “Who are we Really?”. Dr. David Bentley, in his ‎sponsored talk, discussed the topic of “Genomes for Genetic Disease Diagnosis”. ‎In the afternoon session on rare disorders, Dr. Valerie Delague discussed the topic ‎of “From gene discovery to treatment: the story of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease ‎type 4H”, while Dr. Maryam Al-Shehhi gave a lecture entitled “Whole Exome ‎Sequencing Paving the Way for Rare Diseases Diagnosis in Arab Countries”. Later, ‎Dr. Hela Azaeiz discussed the topic of “Unraveling the Genetic Complexities of ‎Hearing Loss to Empower Precision Medicine” and Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri gave a ‎lecture entitled” Rare Diseases: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Journey of ‎Undiagnosed Patients.”‎
It worth mention that Conference hosted a forum run by the newly formed Arab ‎Association of Genetic Counselors. The forum was open to all registered delegates ‎and discussed issues relevant to genetic counseling in the community. ‎
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