CAIRO: Two Egyptian graduate students have been selected to attend the prestigious Novartis Biotechnolgy Leadership Camp for their researching on Hepatitis C Virus.
American University in Cairo (AUC) graduate student, Reem Al Olaby, and graduate student of the Faulty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Maha Omar will attend the BioCamp in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
The camp gives talented individuals the opportunity to gain greater exposure to the biotechnology sector. The three day seminar allows the selected candidates to interact with professionals and learn from the leaders in the field.
With only 60 places for applicants from over 24 countries competition is fierce for the prospective postgraduate students.
Al Olaby, who developed a novel three-fold approach to tackling the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), spoke of her motivation for the project. Egypt has the highest prevalence of HCV worldwide, making it a national problem that needs to be tackled .
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease, caused by HCV., affecting the liver and can lead to liver failure or even liver cancer. With only 51 percent of infections being cured, prevention remains the better approach to fighting the virus.
The Egyptian Association for Combating Hepatitis C Infection, a concept created by Al Olaby and her colleagues, addresses the problem of HCV by focusing on increased awareness of the virus, activation of control units, and the creation of a central regulator for blood banks; with all aspects working simultaneously to reduce the rate of HCV infection.
In a two-stage competition, entrants had the task of developing a strategic plan to be implemented in a real world situation, as well as fielding challenging questions from a panel of judges. Both Al Olaby and Omar were selected for their academic excellence, professional focus and presentation skills.
Al Olaby thanked the education she had received at AUC, citing her ability to think outside the box as a contributing factor to her selection. She also looks forward to the opportunity of representing both Egypt and AUC at the conference.