Dubai: The Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences for 2021-2022, with a total prize value of Dh2.8 million, was presented to international vaccine pioneers and other medical stalwarts in Dubai on Wednesday evening.
Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Supreme Chairman of the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance and Patron of the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, honoured the 14 winners of the 12th term of the medical award.
The ceremony was held at the Museum of the Future in the presence of Sheikhs, ministers, and officials from the health sector in the UAE.
Tribute to Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid
In his welcome speech, Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hamdan Medical Award, said this terrm’s ceremony greatly missed the presence of its Founder, the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
He paid tribute to the late Sheikh Hamdan’s big heart and generosity, which have been inspiring models for the nation. “He formed a unique example in his devotion to improve the life of millions as well as his appreciation for the significance of science and knowledge. His belief in achieving and appreciating excellence has had the greatest impact in inspiring new generations to continue the progress, keeping his legacy and impact alive”, added the Minister.
A video on the late Sheikh Hamdan’s contributions to various fields was also screened to pay tributes.
Focus on infectious diseases
The theme of this term of the Award focussed on the topic of infectious diseases.
“‘Infectious Diseases’ was chosen to be the topic for this Awards’ term as a contribution to the efforts aimed at supporting the health sector and enhancing its readiness in line with the UAE’s vision and its objectives for the sector,” the minister said.
He pointed out that the UAE attaches great importance to its people and their health. “The health sector, therefore, will remain at the forefront of the nation’s priorities and an important part of the UAE’s vision for development.”
Congratulating the winners, he commended their efforts to support medical sciences and develop research paths, in ways that contributed towards enhancing the quality and well-being of life.
A video reviewing the works of the winners was also screened.
Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan honoured the winners by presenting them with their trophies.
The Grand Hamdan International Award was presented to the co-developers of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine.
Professor Ian Hector Frazer from the Faculty of Medicine of University of Queensland, and the founding CEO and Director of Research of the Translational Research Institute, and the late Dr Jian Zhou, the Lion Principal Research Fellow, and Chair of the HPV Structure Protein Laboratory at the Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research of the University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine, represented by his son, were presented with their Awards.
Medical Research Excellence
There were two winners of the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence as well. On the topic of prevention, the awardee was Professor F. Marc LaForce, Clinical Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone School of Medicine, and Director of the Meningitis Vaccine Project, in recognition of his role in providing a vaccine against the meningococcal bacteria that causes meningitis to sub-Saharan Africa.
The second awardee in this category, in the topic of immunity, was Professor Dr David Ho, the Clyde ‘56 and Helen Wu Professor of Medicine at Columbia University and the Founding Scientific Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Centre. Prof. Ho was recognised for his studies in unravelling the dynamic nature of HIV replication in vivo and revolutionizing the basic understanding of this horrific disease.
Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services
Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan also honoured the winners of the Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services. These were Professor William M. Novick, who founded the International Children’s Heart Foundation, based in Memphis, and the Al Basar International Foundation, KSA.
While Prof William’s foundation works to make heart surgeries available to those who are unable to access or afford it in 30 countries in areas with limited resources, the A Basar Foundation provides its services through “eye camps” in 45 countries.
In the Arab World category of Awards, the winner of the Hamdan Award for the Best Medical College, Institute or Centre in the Arab world, was the College of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. The Hamdan Award for Distinguished Personalities from the Arab World was presented to Professor Fowzan Alkuraya, an authority in the area of Mendelian genetics.
In the UAE Awards, the Genetics Department at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital was the winner of the Hamdan Award for Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector.
Sheikh Rashid also honoured four personalities as the winners of the Hamdan Award for Honouring Individuals working in the Field of Medicine and Health. These included Dr Wael Al Mahmeed, Staff Physician in the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi, who established a research grant by the name the ‘MBRU – AlMahmeed Collaborative Research Award’; and Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, Chair of the Clinical National COVID-19 Committee, and late pioneers Dr Ahmed Kazem and Dr Muawiya Al Shannar who were honoured posthumously.
Original Research Paper
The Hamdan Award for Original Research Paper Published in the Hamdan Medical Journal was awarded for the paper titled ‘Identification of a Novel OXCT1 Frameshift Mutation by WholeExome Sequencing and Evidence for NonsenseMediated mRNA Decay.
Authors Abdullah Al Mutery, Zamzam Yousef, Mona Mahfood, Abdelaziz Tlili , Jihen Chouchen, University of Sharjah, received the award.