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Research Capabilities

The College of Medicine & Health Sciences continues to contribute to the UAEU's mission of being a leading research-intensive University. Our current research efforts are targeted towards solving health issues relevant to the UAE and the wider population, e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular & neurological diseases, genetic & immunological diseases, cancer, and injuries & accidents. Research can either be laboratory-based or clinical/community based.

A range of research grants are available for academic and scientific staff and graduate students. Our faculty can also apply for national and international grants, and collaborate with researchers abroad on multidisciplinary projects. CMHS researchers actively publish their research in international peer-reviewed journals and have made some significant scientific breakthroughs. The CMHS continues to be a leader in developing and supporting biomedical research.

Research areas within each department include:


Anatomy

  • Effect of pancreas transplantation on the metabolic parameters of animal models of diabetes.
  • Role of neuropeptides on insulin and glucagon secretion from the pancreas
  • Morphological basis of diabetes complications.
  • Aetiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Repair of articular cartilage by the introduction of cultured chondrocytes or stem cells.
  • Cellular bioenergetics of the central nervous system
  • Investigating the role of epigenetics in type 2 diabetes.
  • Gain better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in psychiatric illnesses.
  • Studies the reorganisation of the neuronal circuitry in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord after peripheral nerve injury.
  • Investigating the types of primary afferent fibers that are critical for the development of neuropathic pain and identifying the ascending spinal projection pathways which are responsible for transmitting visceral pain to the brain.
  • Investigating the mechanisms of deep brain stimulation.
  • Proliferation and differentiation programs of gastric and mammary gland stem cells.
  • Potential use of isolated gastric and dental stem cells in tissue engineering for regenerative medicine.
  • How shuttle changes in expression of genes mediated by epigenetic regulatory interactions leads to metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Biochemistry

  • Molecular toxicology and cellular oxidative stress.
  • Peptides with therapeutic potential from frog skin.
  • Protein misfolding and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Sphingolipid signaling and its role in cancer therapy.
  • Mechanisms of Transcriptional Regulation in Chromatin.
  • Neuromodulation of the immune response.
  • Molecular Basis of Pathogenesis.
  • Study the function of Parkinson’s disease associated genes.

Family Medicine

  • Use of reflective portfolios tutor support and feedback to students in a family medicine clerkship.
  • Improving patient care by providing physicians with clinical decision support at the point-of-care.
  • Geriatrics, preventive medicine and obesity.

Internal Medicine

  • Allergy & Asthma.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Dermatology.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Genetics.
  • Hypertension.
  • Hematological diseases.
  • Nutrition-antioxidant & oxidative damage.
  • Obesity.
  • Renal disease.
  • Rheumatic disease.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Stroke/neurological disorders.

Institute of Public Health

  • Occupational toxicology and public health.
  • Statistical modeling of diabetes and cardio-vascular complications, neuro-degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s), advanced survival analysis and mixed effects modeling.
  • Occupational and environmental health.
  • Non-communicable chronic diseases epidemiology and prevention.
  • Lifestyle and health and evidence-based medicine.
  • Surveillance and control of infectious diseases.
  • Injury surveillance/trauma registration.
  • Tobacco addiction and HIV/AIDS prevention in the UAE.
  • Infectious diseases and public health services.
  • Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease.
  • Work-related injuries and mental health.
  • Human performance optimization of personnel employed in challenging environments.
  • Exercise prescription for public health.
  • Measurement issues related to human physiological monitoring.
  • Epidemiology of non-communicable diseases amongst migrant workers.
  • Mental and psychological health and in the promotion of women's occupational wellness.
  • Traffic safety and non-communicable diseases.

Medical Education

  • Student and Faculty Perceptions of Faculty Evaluation.
  • Effective Use of a Medical School Curriculum Management System Integrated Medical Education.
  • Effective Use of an Electronic Assessment System including question management and data banks as well as assessment delivery and analysis.
  • Profile of Medical Students’ Learning Styles.
  • Factors that determine Medical Students’ Residency Choice.
  • Students’ Self-Assessment.
  • Students’ research activities through the lens of Transformative Learning Theory.
  • Developing high quality single best answer multiple choice questions (MCQs): Description of an enhancement-focused strategy.
  • YouTube video enhancing senior medical students’ learning.
  • Students’ access to patients in obstetrics & gynecology.

Microbiology & Immunology

  • Study of human organ specific autoimmune diseases using experimental models .
  • Role of cytokines and innate immunity in autoimmune diseases.
  • Regulatory pathways, susceptibility and pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders.
  • Modulation of immunity to infection by cytokine-expressing bacterial vectors.
  • Immunotherapy of experimental tumors using live, attenuated bacteria .
  • Role of Toll-like receptor pathway in immunopathogenesis of bacterial infections.
  • Molecular and cellular pathological aspects in autoimmunity.
  • Effector mechanisms in immune-mediated diabetes and neuropathology.
  • Molecular epidemiology of multi and pan-resistant Gram negative pathogens.
  • Population genetics and epidemiology of community and hospital acquired MRSA.
  • Pathogenesis of Acinetobacter baumanii infections.
  • Retroviral RNA packaging and RNA transport.
  • Retroviral vectors and DNA vaccines.
  • Regulation of viral gene expression.
  • EBV latency and persistence.
  • Role of EBV in the pathogenesis of human malignancies.
  • EBV and Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Viruses and cancer biology.
  • Immune modulation by parasite glycans.
  • The projects involve state-of-art methodologies and techniques in molecular biology, immunology and various fields of microbiology.

Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Fetal growth behavior during maternal fasting.
  • Fetal growth and pregnancy out come in GDM.
  • Fetal abnormalities.
  • Placenta perfusion studies.
  • Medical education: learning style and acquisition of clinical skills.
  • Epidemiology of Pelvic Flood Dysfunction.
  • Management of Pelvic Flood Dysfunction.
  • Gynecological laparoscopic surgery – Evaluation of laparoscopic courses and their impact on clinical practice.
  • Knowledge, attitude & practice towards the Human Papillomavirus infection & vaccine.
  • Cervical screening.

Pediatrics

  • Laboratory and clinical research in neonatology, neurology, infectious diseases, pulmonary, genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, immunology, cardiology, pharmacology, toxicology, gastroenterology, hematology and oncology.
  • Epidemiological studies relevant to UAE (eg. Tuberculosis, vitamin D deficiency).
  • A birth defect registry for Al Ain Medical District was established, and the registry gained membership in the International Clearing House for Birth Defects.
  • Metabolic disorders common in the UAE.
  • Growth curves for the entire UAE population.
  • Epidemiology of congenital heart disease.
  • Fetal growth by customized birth weight percentiles.
  • Role of maternal overweight and obesity on neonatal outcomes.
  • Biomarkers for potential use in identifying renal tubular damages associated with urinary tract infections.
  • Usage of anti-epileptic drugs (e.g., vigabatrin and lamotrigine) by pregnant women.
  • Determine the impact of folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementations on the frequency of these anomalies.
  • Use of fetal blood cells for toxicology analysis.
  • Effects of respiratory pathogens and other toxins on lung tissue bioenergetics (cellular respiration and ATP content) and caspase activation.
  • Effects of various cytotoxic agents on human and animal tissues.

Pathology

  • Determine the mechanisms of diseases common in the UAE: cardiovascular disorders, lipid abnormalities and diabetes mellitus.
  • Cost-benefit of laboratory investigations.
  • Epidemiological studies of lymphoma in Arab populations.
  • Identify the molecular basis of genodermatoses.
  • Identify diseases, genes and mutations underlying recessive disorders.
  • Elucidate the cellular mechanisms underlying human genetic disorders
  • Determining the causes and mechanisms of human diseases prevalent in UAE, with particular emphasis on cardiovascular disorders, lipid disorders and gestational diabetes
  • Cost-benefit of laboratory investigations.
  • Reference intervals in clinical chemistry and hematology for the UAE population.
  • Epidemiological studies of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the Gulf Arab population.
  • Identification of the molecular basis of genodermatoses.
  • Correlating genotypes and phenotypes in cystic fibrosis.
  • Collection of a DNA database for UAE nationals and their families.

Physiology

  • Basic neurophysiology and experimental clinical neurophysiology.
  • Aging and neurodegenerative disorders.
  • cardiovascular function and diabetes.
  • Gastrointestinal electrophysiology.
  • Pathophysiologic mechanisms of air particulate pollution.
  • Diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy and clinical studies on lower gastrointestinal hormones in diabetes and obesity and the role of novel growth-related genes in cancer.
  • Gene expression in cancer cachexia.
  • Novel therapeutics in cancer.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Science

  • Biological and genetic research.
  • Diagnosis and classification of psychiatric disorders.
  • Epidemiological studies as well as other primary health care and community based projects to investigate psychiatric morbidity among adult, geriatric and child population.

Radiology

  • Imaging in cancer.
  • Radio contrast media (RCM) research.
  • Assessment of genetic diseases and congenital malformations
  • neuro-imaging.
  • Basic radiological research – including animal studies

Surgery

  • Malignant gastroduodenal disease.
  • Acute care surgery and trauma management.
  • Trauma management, injury prevention.
  • ‘Point-of-care’ critical care ultrasound and acute care surgery.
  • Regional distribution and propagation of electrical activities in the isolated guinea-pig urinary bladder.
  • Slow wave conduction disturbances proximal and distal to ileal end-to-end anastomosis following ileocystoplasty.
  • Curcumin provides incomplete protection of the kidney in ischemia-reperfusion injury.
  • Effect of Aliskiren on renal dysfunction following ischemia-reperfusion injury.
  • Acute care surgery, particularly pancreatitis and abdominal sepsis.
  • Study of the management of peripheral arterial disease in Gulf countries.
  • Comparing clinical outcomes of various refractive procedures such as Advanced Corneal Surface Ablation and Femtosecond Thin-Flap LASIK.

Research Priority Groups

The CMHS has established different Research Priority Groups to facilitate research. These include:

  • Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease (DCD)
  • Genetic and Development Research (GDR)
  • Immunoregulation and Infection (IIRG)
  • Neuroscience Research Group (NRG)
  • Oncology Reseach Group (ORG)
  • Trauma Group (TG)

Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research Priority Group

The Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research Priority Group (DCRG) was established in the autumn of 2001 alongside other research priority groups. The DCRG works closely with the Al Ain Diabetes Research Group and the Emirates Diabetes Society.

The group aims to:

  • Facilitate diabetes and cardiovascular research in the College of Medicine.
  • Enhance basic and clinical research capabilities of established diabetes investigators.
  • Act as a channel for research funding.
  • Act as a resource for new faculty members and for those who may want to start research in diabetes/cardiovascular diseases.
  • Present scientific research at national and international scientific conferences.
  • Publish scientific research in national and international scientific journals.
  • Cooperate and liaise with any local, national or international agency with similar research interests.
  • Train post-doctoral, doctoral, masters and bachelor’s degree students.
  • Act as a resource unit on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Genetics and Development Research Priority Group

Consanguineous marriages are prevalent in the UAE population and therefore recessively inherited single gene disorders occur more frequently in the UAE than in other populations with over 170 recessive disorders have been reported so far. In addition, the incidence of multifactorial diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases have been steadily rising in the UAE over the past few decades. This is mainly due to the rapid socioeconomic growth and a significant rise in life expectancy as a result of improved health care systems. The rapid increase in the prevalence of multifactorial diseases also suggest genetic predisposition to those diseases revealed by rapid changes in lifestyle including diet.

The mission of the Genetics and Development Research Priority Group is to provide the highest quality research into the basis of genetic diseases prevalent in UAE, provide high quality healthcare and education. In support of its mission, the group strives to (1) define the extent of genetic, developmental and multifactorial disorders in the country; (2) be the leading source of research into the causes and pathogenesis of these disorders and (3) seek new approaches to diagnosis, treatment and prevention of such disorders. Our mission is also to educate the next generation of health care leaders by providing continuing professional development to physicians with up to date courses and to educate the public by providing information on different genetic disorders and approaches to prevention.

Immunoregulation and Infection Research Priority Group

The main aim of the Immunoregulation and Infection Research Priority Group (IIRPG) is to promote basic and clinical research in immunology, microbiology, and related disciplines. Through its wide membership, which encompasses investigators in a diverse number of departments in the College of Medicine and Health Sciences and affiliated hospitals, the Group aims to facilitate inter-departmental collaborations in basic and clinical research broadly related to immunological disorders, infectious diseases, and microbial pathogenesis.

Neuroscience Research Priority Group

The United Arab Emirates University Neuroscience Group was officially formed in 2006 by a decree from the Vice Chancellor of the University. The group consists of basic scientists and clinicians with a common interest in the nervous system. The primary goal of the group is to strengthen collaborative research ties between its members and promote neuroscience research in the UAE and the region. The group develop educational programs at the University that lead to higher degrees in Neuroscience, organize seminars, congresses and workshops, and participate in scientific activities of other groups in the field of neuroscience. Moreover, the group develops educational programs, provides professional development activities, information and educational resources for neuroscientists at all stages of their careers in the UAE and the region.

Oncology Research Group

The Oncology Research Group (ORG) comprises colleagues at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences, the College of Sciences; UAEU and the Abu Dhabi Health Authority, who share an interest in oncology research. The objectives of the group are:

  • To promote cancer research – being a catalyst for research activity
  • To create a forum for collaboration between Faculty members, basic scientists and colleagues in clinical disciplines, faculty staff and colleagues of the Abu Dhabi Health Authority dealing with oncology.
  • To create and maintain an inventory of:
    • research activities
    • resources available
    • basic research expertise
    • available clinical services
    • specialty interests – subspecialties
    • individuals – registry of interest in Oncology
  • To act as a reference group regarding cancer research and funding.
  • To act as an advisory body to the Abu Dhabi Health Authority regarding cancer issues of national interest, e.g. breast cancer screening, cervical screening, and risk factors.
  • To create a unified list of all cancer-related educational activities countrywide.
  • To act as an advisory body for education regarding cancer, organizing lectures on cancer, cancer conferences and meetings at a local and national level.
  • To promote quality control in the management of patients with cancer.

Trauma Group

The Trauma Group has made major contributions in trauma education and research both nationally and internationally. The “hands on training” in point-of-care ultrasound has continued to flourish.

May 21, 2014