BALTIMORE, US (Sudanow) - Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the USA, led by Dr. Abdel Rahim Hamad have won a prestigious $1 million grant award from The W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles in the USA.
The Hopkins team is one of only five researchers in the USA who have won this award in July 2019, according to a release from John Hopkins Department of Pathology.
The three-year grant will be used to;
(1) Define the identity of the X cell, which is a new lymphocyte that is a hybrid between the B and T cells.
(2) Analyze their role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease that strikes early in life and destroys beta cells of islets Langerhans, the only source of insulin in the body. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes and patients depend on insulin replacement therapy for survival.
Discovery of X cells was very surprising to scientists in the field of immunology as it has long been thought that T cell and B cells are the only cell types of the adaptive immune cells. The discovery of X cells thus opens new areas of research particularly in the field of autoimmunity and lays the foundation for answering key questions that have been elusive for understanding using current paradigms, according to the University’s release.
The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by William Myron Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company, with the goal of generating far-reaching benefits for humanity.
The program seeks to fund high-risk/high-impact work by researchers with the potential to lay the groundwork for new paradigms, technologies, and discoveries that will save lives, provide innovative solutions and add to our collective understanding of the world.
Dr. Abdel Rahim Hamad, B.V.Sc, M.V.Sc, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Hamad earned his B.V.Sc and M.V.Sc in veterinary medicine from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Khartoum, and his Ph.D in immunology from the University of Colorado Health Science Center. He completed his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and joined the Faculty in 2002.
Dr. Hamad has coauthored over 40 peer-reviewed publications and a book chapter in the fields of autoimmune diabetes, immune homeostasis and regulation. Dr. Hamad is a member of the editorial board of World Journal of Diabetes and topic editor for Frontier in Immunology. He is also active in federal government advisory committees. He is an appointed member of HAI study section and served as ad hoc reviewer for several NIH study sections and for the European Research Council. He is also a member of American Association of Immunologists and B cell working group of the JDRF Network of Pancreatic Organ donor (NPOD) and Appointed Member of NIH HAI study section.
Dr. Hamad said in an interview with a local Sudanese daily the award had come at a time of celebration for him when the Sudanese have triumphed in “an exemplary revolution that set international specifications.”
He said he and his fellow Sudanese in the US had followed the events of the revolution “minute by minute”.
“I used to spend much of my time reading and writing about the revolution, a matter that prompted my colleagues to advise me not to exhaust myself in that way, but I couldn’t comply,” he said.
He said he was gratified to win this award-grant.
“That I am the first of John Hopkins University scientists to win this award in the last 13 years is indeed an honor to me , though the University has kept contending with its research every year,” he said.
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