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Five students from King Saud University have signed on to study infectious diseases at world-renowned Yale University, through a partnership between the two schools established  in June 2010. Saudi Arabia is expanding its joint ventures with international universities in its pursuit of becoming a leader in science and research.

This agreement allows KSU students to train in the most advanced technologies at Yale’s International Training Center for Global Infectious Disease Research (ITC-GIDR), a collaboration established in 2006 among Yale, the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Noguchi Institute at the University of Ghana in Africa.

Female student Maysoon Al-Ansari studied for two months at Yale’s School of Medicine. Two other students are preparing to spend two months there, and two others will spend a full year at Yale, where they will take part in joint Yale-KSU research.

KSU’s first director of the program with Yale, pharmacology professor Dr. Amal Jamil Fatani, the dean of the Center for Female Scientific and Medical Colleges, participated in the international conference “Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics for Invectious Diseases on Nov. 3-5, 2010, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. There she presented, along with a female colleague in the Yale program, a paper titled “Correlation of MRS molecular epidemiology with antibiotic susceptibility and clinical data.”

This was the second time a director of the KSU-Yale joint program participated in an international conference. In Septtember 12-15, 2010, Dr. Ali Somily, microbiology adviser and head of the micro-organisms unit in the pathology division of KSU’s College of Medicine, participated in the 50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC 2010) in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States.

Dr. Michael Cappello, director of the Yale program, also took part in that conference. A professor of pediatrics (infectious disease), epidemiology (microbial diseases) and microbial pathogenesis, Dr. Cappello is also co-director of Yale’s International Adoption Clinic, and director of Yale’s Program in International Child Health and its World Fellows Program. He presented a lecture on the protection from contagious diseases and vaccines for virus strains migrating from other continents.

The KSU-Yale program aspires to bolster research cooperation and international training to face the challenge of cross-border epidemics and upgrade the weapons to use in the war against diseases and micro-organisms that have acquired immunity against conventional antibiotics. Established as the first medical college in Saudi Arabia in 1967, King Saud University’s College of Medicine has been spearheading the war against disease -- locally, regionally and internationally.

During a visit to Yale in August, Drs. Fatani and Somily addressed ways of enhancing research and training cooperation between the two universities. Agreement was reached on several research projects in epidemiology, medical drug research, vaccine preparation, subduing the antibiotics resistance of micro-organisms and genetic mapping of epidemics.

Thus, an alliance was forged between KSU and Yale, and KSU became a participant in the ITC-GIDR.

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