Dr Mohammad Alhadj Al’s report

The 17th EASD Young Scientists Training Course in Heidelberg, Germany October 2010

I graduated from Medical School at the University of Aleppo in 2000. Having completed an MSc, I am now carrying out research as part of a PhD Degree in Diabetes and Endocrinology.This research involves a multicentre clinical trial in the UK  (PEPIDIA) and the TolSkin study focusing on preparing the skin for a “Diabetes Vaccine”. I am currently Clinical Research Fellow Diabetes/Endocrinology, University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

 The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) holds every year the Young Scientists Training Course. By organizing the Scientists Training Course, EASD hopes to attract new talent to diabetes research, in addition to fostering research in new centres throughout the world.

I had been selected by the selection committee of the EASD Scientists Training Course to attend the course in Heidelberg, Germany from 4 to 9 October 2010. Generously, Simon Wolff Charitable Foundation awarded me a Travel Grant to attend this course.

This Training Course was designed to provide the young researchers in the field of Diabetes Mellitus a comprehensive view on basic and clinical research. The course focused on the complications of Diabetes Mellitus and the role of reactive metabolites which are endogenous agents -able to accelerate aging- in the development of long-term complications such as; chronic disease in the kidney, eye, heart or nerves.

The course topics covered a wide spectrum of cellular, molecular and biochemical experimental approaches to assess reactive metabolites of Diabetes Mellitus in humans and some animal modules. Each topic was introduced by lectures, followed by laboratory work in small groups in the research laboratories at Heidelberg Hospital. The sessions provided a very beneficial interaction between the lecturers and the participants.

The participants in the EASD Science Training Course were invited to present their area of research and interest. Therefore, it was a very good opportunity for me to present my ongoing research in the field of developing a ’’Vaccine’’ for Type 1 Diabetes. I presented the experimental aspects of the TolSkin Study which was designed to enhance the immunological action of a ‘’Vaccine’’ for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus or Juvenile Diabetes by applying topical therapies –creams of Steroid or Vit.D – at the site of injection before injecting the ‘’Vaccine’’.

The knowledge and skills provided in the course were very useful to me and all participants, as that will help us to set up some of the techniques we have learned in that meeting in our home institutions.

The meeting was not only a source to gain knowledge and learn new practical stills, but it was a valuable event to start networking with others young researchers from around Europe and to exchange knowledge and experience with them.

Once again, I would like to thank the committee of Simon Wolff Charitable Foundation for their initiative to support the young scientists in general and for supporting me in particular to present my work in a very interesting course in the field of Diabetes Mellitus.

Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali
Clinical Fellow Diabetes and Endocrinology
Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology
University of Bristol