On the occasion of the Italian Research Day in the World, which will be celebrated on Thursday, the embassy of Italy in Doha has created a social media campaign to promote Italian researchers working in Qatar, as well as the network of contacts between research centres and universities in the two countries.
The communication campaign has been produced in partnership with Sidra Medicine, a state-of-the-art hospital for women and children and a member of Qatar Foundation.
The Sidra Medicine Research team, which includes more than 35 different nationalities, is actively engaged in precision medicine, from improved diagnostics of rare genetic diseases to cancer research and new therapies, aiming to boost patients’ immune responses through innovative approaches in personalised medicine.
”Sidra Medicine hosts a group of Italian researchers who studied in some of the best universities in Italy and worked in top-class facilities and research centres. In Qatar they have been engaged for years in developing projects beneficial to patients and the entire community.
"Let’s not forget that their work consistently contributes to the growth of scientific research that is becoming increasingly important in the relations between the two countries now,” Italian ambassador Alessandro Prunas said in a press statement.
“The embassy of Italy in Doha continually carries out scientific diplomacy targeted actions aimed at enhancing the value of Italian research and, more specifically, the importance of our researchers in Qatar, an excellence we are very proud of,” the envoy said.
The communication campaign of the embassy, which will be kicked off by a video of Prunas on Thursday, consists of a series of testimonial video clips for social networks – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – showing the Italian researchers at Sidra Medicine.
The video clips illustrate research projects with a strong relationship with Italy and daily activities of the researchers, focusing also on their educational and professional experiences.
“The Italian Research Day in the World is an opportunity to highlight that Italian researchers are a symbol of excellence for our country and a resource for the international scientific community. In Qatar they have brought an added value to research studies recognised by Qatari authorities that deeply appreciate the Italian higher education,” Prunas said.
The Sidra Medicine researchers who have collaborated with the embassy of Italy to create the social media campaign and shared their professional stories are:
Davide Bedognetti, director of the Cancer Programme, oncologist and researcher, who is developing a genomic test that will allow to understand which treatment the individual cancer patient can benefit from and to elucidate the role of the immune system in the control of metastatic evolution.
The aim is to develop ultra-personalised immunotherapeutic treatments. He is also adjunct associate professor at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University of Doha and associate professor at the University of Genoa.
Chiara Cugno, director of the Advanced Cell Therapy Core Laboratory, paediatric oncologist and haematologist, who together with her team, set up a laboratory to deliver advanced cell and gene therapies to treat genetic diseases and cancers.
She also carries out research activities in the field of childhood cancers, specifically leukaemia, in co-operation with IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo of Pavia.
Sara Deola, physician and researcher, is conducting a study on clinical complications after bone marrow transplantation from a donor, called allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
The research project followed by Dr Deola, is in collaboration among others with the Bone Marrow Transplant Center of Bolzano Hospital in Italy, and aims to deepen the understanding of post-transplant complications.
Dr Cristina Maccalli carries out a research project in co-operation with San Raffaele Hospital in Milan to generate engineered immune cells to redirect their anti-tumor functions for hematological malignancies.
In co-operation with University of Palermo she is studying cancer stem cells to better understand the mechanisms behind the responsiveness of patients to therapies in the framework of precision medicine.
These projects are conducted also in collaboration with local and US institutions.
Massimino Miele, manager of the Advanced Cell Therapy Core Laboratory, contributes to the development of cell and gene therapies in bone marrow transplantation. He deals with research and applications of regenerative medicine.
Miele promotes principles and standards – as well as their implementation — of regulatory bodies such as the European JACIE-FACT and the Italian National Transplant Centre.
Annalisa Terranegra, researcher and adjunct professor at Qatar University, formed a research team named Laboratory of Precision Nutrition. She is studying the mechanisms underlying the role of food and nutrients on gut microbiota and epigenetic mechanisms.
Also thanks to local and internationals collaborations, among which University of Milan and in the future Politecnico di Torino, the laboratory is currently running many studies on diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases and perturbation of the mother-baby axis during the pregnancy and early baby life.
Sara Tomei, scientist in the genomics field and manager of the Omics Core Facility, Integrated Genomics Services at Sidra Medicine, provides centralised genomic services, including DNA and RNA isolation, DNA sequencing and high-throughput molecular profiling.
Her interest is focused on the application of cutting-edge genomic technologies to improve the diagnosis and therapeutics of human diseases.
Dr Tomei is currently leading a national effort to apply genomic technologies for the study of the prehistorical Qatari population, in collaboration with the Qatar Museums and the University of Rome Tor Vergata.