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Sustainable Laboratories in the Middle East and North Africa

Participant Biographies:

Sherif R. Zaki, M.D., Ph.D. Since joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1988, Dr. Zaki has held several leadership positions in molecular and experimental pathology, including his current position as is the chief of the Infectious Disease Pathology Branch in the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, Georgia. During his tenure at CDC, Dr. Zaki has successfully led the effort to bring the pathology laboratory to the forefront of the agency’s work in responding to public health threats posed by various infectious disease agents.

Through the application of classic and evolving new technologies, Dr. Zaki and his team have made significant contributions to advancing the understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of emerging infectious diseases. In particular, their work has focused on West Nile virus, Anthrax infections, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), avian influenza, and a variety of potential bioterrorism threats. For his leadership, scientific contributions, and commitment to CDC’s public health mission, Dr. Zaki has been widely recognized and awarded, including receiving the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s Awards for Distinguished Service - the Department’s highest honor - nine times.

Rajae El Aouad, M.D., is director of Morocco’s National Institute of Hygiene (NIH) and a member of the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology (AHIIST). Her previous appointment as chief of the Immunology Virology Department at NIH allowed her to create and develop several laboratory services: the National Reference Center of Diagnostic and Follow-up of HIV; World Health Organization (WHO) Reference Centers for Poliomyelitis and Enteroviruses; Measles, Rubella, and Influenza: the Infectious Diseases Molecular Biology Laboratory; the Histo-compatibility Laboratory; the Auto-immune Diseases and Primary Immuno-Deficiencies Laboratories; and, more recently, the P3 Facility for Avian Influenza.

Dr. Aouad has devoted a large part of her career to improving public health laboratory services in Morocco by implementing a national program of quality control for laboratories, organizing training seminars and workshops for laboratory professionals, and creating the Bureau of Laboratories to help handle this task. In 1997, she was nominated as a WHO expert of public health laboratories in recognition of this achievement. More recently, she has been granted principal investigator and coordinator for two research projects on tuberculosis as well as two research projects on HIV, both focused on the Moroccan population. Dr. Aouad is a member of several national and international scientific societies and has built a solid network of reputable partners among world-class universities, public health institutions, the private sector, and national and international non-governmental organizations.

Maha Mohamed Kamel Mahmoud, Ph.D, is the science advisor for the Ministry of Higher Education at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where she works to promote Egyptian/U.S. scientific collaboration. After receiving her undergraduate medical training, M.Sc., and Ph.D. in medical biochemistry from Cairo University, Dr. Mahmoud continued her training at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, and Hahneman University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Now recognized as one of the pioneers of molecular biology research in Egypt, Dr. Mahmoud has published over 40 scientific papers in molecular biology and biochemistry with ten publications in molecular cancer biology research. She has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, for 25 years. From 2000 to 2003 Dr. Mahmoud worked with the Egyptian National Science and Technology Information Network to create programs for tele-medicine and enhance medical informatics. She has also worked on tele-medicine projects during the two years she spent at Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois working on molecular biology research.

Rola Nasrallah is the water quality coordinator at the Ministry of Energy and Water in Beirut, Lebanon. After receiving her degree from the American University of Beirut, Nasrallah went on to receive her Master of Sciences in environmental sciences from the same university. She has been trained in a variety of water management requirements by the World Health Organization as well as the Lebanese Water Management Program.

In addition to her role at the Ministry of Energy and Water, Nasrallah is an instructor at the Arab Open University as well as a member of the Social Science Research Network and Environmental Representative of the Development of Beirut Southern Coastal Zone Organization. Nasrallah has studied many different arenas of environmental management, including differing perceptions of the environment by community members, indoor air quality, and waste management.

Robert S. Senseney is the Senior Advisor for Science Partnerships in the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Oceans, and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. He guides science diplomacy efforts with the Arab and Muslim world and is the lead negotiator for S&T Agreements with North Africa, establishing a suite of Agreements which work to build regional unity through science collaboration. In 1994, he established technical exchange arrangements between U.S. national laboratories and technical research institutes in Egypt and Morocco related to scientific research, and the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Mr. Senseney is also the U.S. Chair of the U.S.—Egypt Joint Board for Science and Technology.

Prior to joining the Department of State, Mr. Senseney served for 12 years in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of International Programs, supporting technical information exchange and training programs between U.S. and foreign regulatory agencies.

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