DoH and Penn Medicine to expand collaboration on translational research and second labs in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, UAE, June 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector, signed a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (“Penn Medicine”) to expand partnership in education, research and innovation programmes. Both parties will further collaborate on translational research ecosystem development, as well as launch innovative collaborative research involving “second labs” that leverage and build capabilities in Abu Dhabi and at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA in leading-edge areas of science.

DoH and Penn Medicine to expand collaboration on translational research and second labs in Abu Dhabi

The MoU has been signed by Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei, Executive Director of the Research and Innovation Centre at DoH and Mick Merritt, Chief Operating Officer and Lead for Global Clinical Programmes, at Perelman School of Medicine at Penn Medicine.

Through this MoU, DoH and Penn Medicine seek to design and develop a translational medicine ecosystem based on Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). In addition, the MoU seeks to explore the potential of launching two multi-year collaborative research programmes. One focuses on the expanded application of artificial intelligence to identify new potential antibiotics. The other focuses on longitudinal follow-up and genetic analysis of people with Alzheimer’s in Abu Dhabi that will facilitate cross-population comparative analysis and unique attributes that ultimately enable global prevention and early diagnosis.

With the aim of bridging the gap between preliminary research and practical applications in medical practices, translational research seeks to translate research discoveries from laboratory findings and clinical studies into practical applications to improve human health.

Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei,  Executive Director of the Research and Innovation Centre at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, said: “With a successful history of collaboration with Penn Medicine, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi is thrilled to build on this partnership which underscores the crucial importance of synergy between academia and regulatory bodies in enabling research development and innovation. Abu Dhabi continues to spearhead global collaboration on the global stage and facilitate knowledge and experience sharing in reflection of its commitment to driving forward a future where innovative healthcare solutions are accessible to all.”

This collaboration will potentiate the development of a translational medicine and therapeutics ecosystem to further enable capacity development and the creation of novel discoveries and treatments in Abu Dhabi. This will involve the development of research training and educational programmes for healthcare professionals to upskill the workforce in various healthcare domains including medical science, biomedical research and health technology.

Glen Gaulton, PhD, Vice Dean and Director of the Center for Global Health at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine said: “Penn Medicine has become a global leader in precision medicine and innovation that has resulted in more than 25 new drugs and therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past several years. These accomplishments were catalysed by the transformational investment in ITMAT 20 years ago which has developed a translational research ecosystem enriched our human capital and incentivised interdisciplinary and translational research. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues in Abu Dhabi to replicate this structure in parallel with investment in “second labs” to foster interactions focused on specific challenges and opportunities in translational research. This will advance the capacity of Abu Dhabi to pursue its vision to become a true innovator in biomedical sciences and a regional leader that will make a global impact.”

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