This is a historic milestone for QU, with the first PhD graduate from the College of Pharmacy and QU-Health cluster at Qatar University,Dr. Islam Eljilany, completing his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

A doctorate graduate of Qatar University’s College of Pharmacy (QU-CPH), Dr. Islam Eljilany successfully completed the oral defense of his PhD thesis on May 5th, 2021.

His thesis titled “Clinical and economic impact of genetic and non-genetic factors on INR normalization in preoperative management of warfarin patients” compared the clinical and economic impact of genetically guided versus non-genetically guided management of anti-coagulant warfarin among Arab patients undergoing surgery.

The PhD project of Dr. Islam was supervised by Dr. Hazem Elewa (QU-CPH Associate Professor of Pharmacogenetics), Dr. Daoud Al-Badriyeh (QU-CPH Associate Professor of Health Economics, CPH), Prof. Abdel Naser Elzouki (Chief of General Internal Medicine in Hamad General Hospital at Hamad Medical Corporation, HMC), and Dr. Larisa Cavallari (Associate professor at Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translation Research, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, in the USA).

The PhD Program provides a broad foundation of pharmacy related interdisciplinary training, followed by intensive training in advanced aspects of pharmaceutical sciences, research philosophy and modern techniques. The curriculum is a total of 60 credit hours in the program of study. This is in line with numerous PhD programs of highly reputable regional and international institutions. The curriculum will incorporate formal lectures, group projects, research presentations, journal clubs and writing review articles, to develop the students’ ability for critical thinking, intensive scientific writing, and problem-solving skills through research.

Dr. Islam said, “The project is innovative in different aspects, nationally and internationally, incorporating surveys, clinical evaluation, and genetic association studies, as well as health economic analyses. Regionally, the work established the first-time optimization of the duration of preprocedural warfarin (a blood-thinning drug) interruption by examining the effect of genetic mutations of enzymes that regulate warfarin action, and other non-genetic factors on the elimination of warfarin effect. Here, in the Arab population living in Qatar, the study demonstrated that mutations in the gene responsible for warfarin metabolism might indeed affect the patient response to warfarin and, hence, this can be used to define the required warfarin discontinuation period before surgery. Internationally, when looking at the difference between the cost of genetic testing and the generated benefit of accurate estimation of warfarin interruption duration before surgery. Within this context, we are the first to report the cost-effectiveness of genetic testing. We reported that, based on local practices; the incidence of bleeding was generally higher when heparin is added during periprocedural warfarin management, this management approach (i.e., bridging) is associated with an overall cost-saving”.

Dr. Hazem Elewa, the main supervisor for Dr. Islam and an expert in pharmacogenomics stated, “The insights provided for the first time by the Ph.D. project about the influence of genetic polymorphisms on warfarin effect in the Arab population could personalize warfarin periprocedural management”.

About Dr. Islam, Dr. Daoud Al-Badriyeh added, “Islam was most successful and has put his heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest details in this project. Islam loved the area of his research, which is very important. He finished in the minimum required duration for the PhD completion, and he generated 8 research articles in international peer-reviewed journals. His resolution to succeed is impressive and will surely take him places”.

Dr. Abdelali Agouni, Associate Professor at CPH & the founding coordinator of the Ph.D. program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, also added, “Graduating the first Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Sciences in Qatar and the first Ph.D. in health disciplines at QU is a historic moment and a matter of great pride. It has been a privilege to be part of this unique journey. This achievement reflects the major advancements of Qatar University in the fields of health in general and Pharmacy in particular”.

Prof. Feras Alali, Professor and Director of Research and Graduate Studies of QU Health (QU), commented, “We are proud at QU Health for this historic achievement. Our relatively new collaborative research-based PhD program is already making strides and impact. The significance and outcome of the PhD thesis research of Dr. Islam was impressive and aligned with Qatar’s national health strategy in addressing national health needs”.

Dean of CPH, Dr. Mohammad Diab, commented, “It is such a huge milestone to watch the first graduate for our Ph.D. program under the umbrella of QU health. This is a turning point for the College of Pharmacy, of course, proving that its capabilities and advancement goes above the beyond graduating undergraduate students and excelling in graduating highly qualified Ph.D. students ready to advance healthcare in Qatar. There is no doubt that this is also in line with Qatar's national vision to improve healthcare in Qatar and cater to national needs for knowledgeable and expert scientists in the field of pharmacy to advance healthcare in Qatar and achieve breakthroughs in medical care. This achievement highlights the high academic level reached by the University witnessed by the steady progress of the University in international academic rankings such as the QS Ranking 2021 where QU ranks among the top 300 Universities Worldwide in the subject of Pharmacy & and Pharmacology”.