Dr. Esther Ghanem, Associate Professor at Notre Dame University-Louaize’s (NDU) Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences (FNAS), was invited as a guest speaker at the MediEuro Network Workshop 2022 at the University of Cyprus on May 16 and 17. The Workshop was organized by biobank.cy, a Center of Excellence in Biobanking and Medical Research, as part of the Cyprus Human Genome Project. Dr. Ghanem represented Lebanon as one of eight participating countries from the MENA region, namely Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, and Oman.
A form of DNA genetic screening, biobanks increase the value of patient health care by preserving not only medical records and blood tests, but also biological specimens such as DNA, blood, urine, RNA, and tissue cells. This produces a comprehensive profile and analysis of select biomarkers that would advance the research, development, and quality of treatments in Lebanon.
With NDU President, Fr. Bechara Khoury, and the Director of biobank.cy, Professor Constantinos Deltas, having both expressed their support, Dr. Ghanem aims to have a biobank unit installed at NDU with the help of the facilities available at the FNAS, Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS), and Medical House.
The first step already in progress, a biobank questionnaire, already in use in various Arab countries and approved by the NDU Institutional Review Board (IRB), is soon to be circulated among the NDU Community, surveying the attitude towards and willingness of Lebanese people to volunteer in biobank projects. This feedback will serve as a template and stepping stone to deploy biobank units in other universities and institutions across the nation.
Dr. Ghanem’s innovative plan is an example of a call-to-action to improve the well-being of our community and country. NDU is excited to see what else she has in store.