Dr. Mohamed H. Sayegh is currently the Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice President of Medical Affairs at the American University of Beirut. He was appointed to this position in 2009. He was a professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School since 2003, and Director of the Schuster Family Transplantation Research Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2005, he was named the Warren E. Grupe and John P. Merrill Endowed Chair in Transplantation Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Sayegh is a world leader in transplantation, renal medicine and transplantation immunobiology research. In his field, he has made substantial and landmark contributions. He has published over 200 original articles in addition to a large number of reviews, editorials and book chapters. He has also edited several books in nephrology and transplantation.
Dr. Sayegh served as Council Member and President (2000 - 2001) of the American Society of Transplantation (AST). He served as the chair of the Transplant Advisory Board of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). He also served as the Chair of the AST Program, Education and Development Committees, as the chair of the 2005 ASN Program Committee, and the chair of the Program Committee of the 2006 World Transplant Congress and the 2007 World Congress of Nephrology. He served as co-chair of the Steering Committee of the NIH Immune Tolerance Network and member of the Executive Committee. He also served as chair of the Steering Committee of the NIH consortium, Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation (CTOT).
Dr. Sayegh is an elected member of the ASCI, AAP and FRCP. He is also an outstanding mentor. He trained tens of investigators who are active leaders in renal and transplant programs around the world. In recognition of this, he was awarded the 2008 first Mentoring Award of the American Society of Transplantation. In 2010 he received the AST Basic Science Established Investigator Award.
Dr. Sayegh is a strong international leader. He served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board and member of the Board of Trustees of the Harvard Dubai Foundation. Most recently, Dr. Sayegh was elected into Arab Business’ 2011 and 2012 Power 500 - World’s Most Influential Arabs.
Professor Sayegh was elected to the ASL in 2013 for "career-long seminal contributions to renal medicine and transplantation immunobiology."
Edward M. Sion was born in the USA as were his parents, but both sets of grandparents immigrated to the USA between 1904 and 1910 from Southern Lebanon. He earned the Ph.D in astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His doctoral dissertation in theoretical astrophysics was entitled "Multi-modal Non-adiabatic Radial Oscillations and Pulsational Stability of Hot Degenerate Dwarfs".
His research specialization is the formation, structure and evolution of white dwarf stars and cataclysmic variable stars, the physics of mass accretion onto white dwarfs in close interacting binary stars. He has authored or co-authored 257 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the top five highest impact journals in astrophysics (ApJ, AJ, A\&A, MNRAS, PASP), and 619 publications in total. Among his research contributions are the first evolutionary model sequences of massive white dwarfs undergoing accretion and hydrogen thermonuclear shell flashes (Sion et al. 1979, Astrophysical Journal, 220, 636), the cool white dwarf luminosity function, demonstrating a real deficit of cool white dwarfs and hence a young age for the galactic disk (Sion, E.M. & Liebert, J. 1977, Astrophysical Journal, 213, 268), the basic spectroscopic classification system of white dwarf stars which is used worldwide (Sion et al. 1983, Astrophysical Journal, 269, 253) and the spectral evolution of cool white dwarfs
He showed empirically that the DA (hydrogen-rich) white dwarfs and non-DA (helium-rich) white dwarfs undergo spectral evolution when deepening helium convection, as a white dwarf cools, mixes hydrogen downward (Sion, E.M. 1984, Astrophysical Journal, 282, 612).
With the Hubble telescope, he carried out extensive studies of the physical properties of exposed white dwarf stars in cataclysmic variables (Sion, E.M. 1999, PASP, 111, 532) and the pioneering evolutionary calculations of compressional heating of white dwarfs undergoing time variable accretion and showed that long term compressional heating due to accretion explained the observed distribution of white dwarf temperatures in cataclysmic variables (Sion, E.M. 1995, Astrophysical Journal, 438, 876).
He is currently Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University. He served for six years as an Associate Editor of the Astrophysical Journal, He has held sabbatical appointments at Arizona State University, as Chercheur Associé, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), University of Toulouse (France), and at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. He is the recipient of dozens of research grants and spacecraft observing grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA and recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Research Award. He is the author of numerous encyclopedia articles, invited chapters and has edited or written five books. He has served on dozens of scientific organizing committees, editorial boards and advisory boards.
Professor Sion is a founding member of the ASL.
Sample of Academician's Research
Artistic image of a cataclysmic variable binary star in which a sun-like star transfers mass to a swirling disk of gas (accretion disk) surrounding a white dwarf which is a compact star composed of electron-degenerate matter. The extremely dense white dwarf contains the roughly mass of the sun crushed into a volume comparable to that of the Earth.
Among Prof. Sion's many contributions to the field of white dwarfs are his observational studies with the Hubble Space Telescope of how mass accretion affects the white dwarf's temperature, spin rate and chemical abundances and evolution and his theoretical studies of the
physics of the accretion process and the explosive phenomena on the white dwarf triggered by that process.
Professor Makram Suidan
Professor Suidan is the Interim President of the Rafik Hariri University located in El-Mechref, Lebanon. He obtained his BSc in Civil Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 1971, and his MSc and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1973 and 1975, respectively. He was Assistant Professor from 1976-1980 at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Associate Professor and Professor at the University of Illinois from 1980-1989. From 1990-2011, he was the Herman Schneider Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he served as Environmental Program Director from 1990 to 1994, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 1995 to 1998, and Director of the School of Energy, Environmental, Biological, and Medical Engineering. In 2011, he joined the American University of Beirut as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. In October 2018, Professor Suidan was named Interim President of the Rafik Hariri University.
Professor Suidan's research interests include the assessment of water quality, the development of sustainable methods for waste-water treatment for removal of toxic pollutants, and the physical, chemical and biological remediation of natural and engineered systems. He has received several honors and awards, among which are his 2008 award of the Frederick G. Pohland Medal from the Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors (AEESP)/the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), which honors an individual who has made “sustained and outstanding efforts to bridge environmental engineering research, education, and practice”, and his election as a Life Member of the American Water Works Association in 2006. He has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books and close to 250 publications in conference proceedings.
Professor Suidan was elected to the ASL in 2016 for "his world-class contributions to understanding environmental water pollution and sustainable water quality practices”.
Sample of Academician's Research
Professor Suidan and colleagues developed a novel mechanistic model that describes the aerobic biodegradation kinetics of soybean biodiesel and petroleum diesel in batch experiments. The model fits the observed data of degradation of petrodiesel and biodiesel, as the results are supported by kinetic, genetic, and metabolic evidence related to microbial decay rates, uptake mechanisms, and the metabolic pathway by which these compounds are assimilated into microorganisms. The model provides a robust tool in analyzing the biodegradation of such materials.
Professor Samir Z. Zard was born in 1955 in Ife, Nigeria. His training as a chemist started at the American University of Beirut, then at Imperial College, London, and finally at the Université Paris-Sud, France, where he received his doctorate under the supervision of Professor Sir Derek Barton, FRS and Nobel Prize Laureate. He is currently Director of Research - Exceptional Class (Directeur de Recherche Classe Exceptionnelle) at the French National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS) and Professor of Organic Chemistry at École Polytechnique in France. He is a former Chairman of the Chemistry Department at École Polytechnique and was the head of its Organic Synthesis Unit for 14 years.
Professor Zard is a world leader in the field of radical chemistry. His main research interests concern the study and development of new reactions and processes, with a particular emphasis on the chemistry of organosulfur and organofluorine derivatives, alkynes, nitro compounds, and radicals. The numerous new reactions that he and his research group have developed are now used by synthetic chemists in various applications, including the synthesis of pharmaceuticals. One such reaction is the powerful RAFT-MADIX process for controlled polymerization, which allows the industrial production of block polymers. Professor Zard has authored or co-authored more than 350 scientific publications and 38 filed patents, and he has presented over 630 invited lectures and seminars, including more than 80 plenary lectures at international gatherings.
Professor Zard was a Fellow of the Chemistry Research Promotion Center of the National Science Council of Taiwan in 1997 and Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 2004. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2011, Honorary Member of the Sociedad Argentina de Investigación en Química Orgánica in 2011, and Foreign Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, Portugal (2015). He received an Honorary Doctorate from the American University of Beirut in 2016.
Professor Zard has received numerous additional scientific awards and honors, culminating with his promotion as Chevalier des Palmes Académiques in 2003 and his receipt of the Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2007. Additional recognitions include the Prize of the Organic Chemistry Division of the French Chemical Society (1992), the Clavel-Lespiau Prize of the French Academy of Science (1995), the Rhodia Prize (2000), the Dargelos Prize (2006), the Novartis Chemistry Lectureship (2006-2007), the Silver Medal of the CNRS (2007), the Presidency of the Bürgenstock Conference (2007), Prix de l’Innovation of the École Polytechnique (2008), the Grignard-Wittig Award of the German Chemical Society (2008), and the Grand Prix Joseph-Achille Le Bel of the French Chemical Society (2012).
In further recognition of his work, Professor Zard was honored by lectureships from several organizations and universities. He was Astra-Zeneca USA Lecturer (1999), Sherbrooke-Bohringer Ingelheim Canada Lecturer (2000), Bürgenstock Lecturer (2001), Merck Sharpe & Dohme Lecturer (2003), Novartis-UC Irvine Lecturer (2008), Novartis-Berkeley Lecturer (2008), Bristol-Myers Squibb-Scripps Institute Lecturer (2008), Woodward Lecturer at Harvard University (2010), Bohringer Ingelheim-University of British Columbia Distinguished Lecturer (2010-2011), 1st Barton Lecturer in Creativity in Organic Synthesis at Imperial College (2012), Birch Lecturer at Australia National University (2015), and Liversidge Lecturer at the University of Sydney (2015).
Professor Zard is a founding member of the ASL.
Xanthates (dithiocarbonates) are a general and efficient source of various radicals: alkyl, acyl, alkoxycarbonyl, alkoxythiocarbonyl, triphenylstannyl, etc... These radicals can be obtained by homolytic rupture (after chemical or photochemical initiation) of either the C-O bond ("Barton-McCombie type radical") or the C-S bond.
Unlike most of the other radical methodologies, xanthates allow intermolecular trapping of the intermediate radical species by non-activated olefins . This feature enabled Prof. Zard and his co-workers to achieve a short and convergent total synthesis of (±)-matrine, a tetracyclic alkaloid.
The main advantage of this method relies on the fact that the adduct is a xanthate too. This allows to move on to new radical reactions with different traps, and to build complex systems from very simple starting materials.
In some cases, particularly with xanthates coming from carbohydrates, a reduction can be performed through a catalytic hydrogen transfer from cyclohexane. This transformation is probably the most spectacular proof of polar effects in radical chemistry.
Fuad Nehmetallah Ziyadeh was born in in 1955 in Beirut, Lebanon. His hometown is Aghmid in Mount Lebanon’s Aley District. He attended intermediate school at Choueifat’s National College and high school at Beirut’s International College. He obtained his B.S in Biology and Chemistry with distinction in 1976 and then MD degree with distinction in 1980 from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Following two years of residency training in Internal Medicine at AUB Medical Center, he joined the Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, where he completed 4 years of clinical and research fellowship training in Nephrology under the dirctrorship of Drs. Zalman Agus and Eric G. Neilson. He then was invited to join the Division’s faculty as Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1986 and rose through the ranks to be tenured Associate Professor in 1994 and then Professor in 1999. He remained associated with the University of Pennsylvania till 2007. Among the many positions held there, he served as co-director of the Kidney Stone Center and co-director of the Nephrology Fellowship Program and the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Fellowship Training Grant.
Dr. Ziyadeh is currently Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at AUB since November 2007. At AUB, he previously served as Acting Head of the Division of Nephrology (2002 sabbatical year), Acting Chairman of the Department of Physiology (2005-2009), and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Faculty of Medicine (2005-2009). Since 2012, he has been serving as Chairperson of AUB's Institutional Review Board (IRB).
In his career as physician-scientist, Professor Ziyadeh made seminal contributions to the field of kidney complications of diabetes, and his peers consider him a leading authority in this field. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage renal failure worldwide. Professor Ziyadeh’s laboratory identified several effector molecules in diabetes mellitus that cause kidney injury, chief among them are high glucose concentrations, nonenzymatically-glycated Amadori-albumin, angiotensin II, and leptin. His research has positioned Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-beta) front and center as causative agent of, and a critical therapeutic target for, diabetic kidney disease.
Professor Ziyadeh developed the first cell culture system in 1990 as a suitable model of diabetic kidney disease, with high ambient glucose inducing cell hypertrophy and extracellular matrix biosynthesis through activation of the key cytokine TGF-beta. The transcriptional activation of TGF-beta in glomerular mesangial cells was found to involve several regulated steps, including a glucose-responsive element in the promoter, the MAP Kinase/ERK signaling system, and the mitochondrial superoxide–induced hexosamine pathway. Professor Ziyadeh adopted and propagated the use of the obese db/db mouse as the most appropriate spontaneous model for type 2 diabetes and its kidney complications. As proof of concept, chronic treatment of diabetic mice with neutralizing anti-TGF-beta monoclonal antibodies prevented diabetic nephropathy. This disease was even reversed in the diabetic mice that already had manifested kidney complications. Most recently, Professor Ziyadeh has identified another mediator, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) which is derived from the glomerular visceral epithelial cell (podocyte), as the potential autocrine or paracrine agent causing the major manifestation of diabetic proteinuria in diabetic mice. He has also pursued with several colleagues original physiological and genetic studies in humans as translation of his preclinical findings, and the results have become stepping stones for new potential therapies of diabetic kidney disease in clinical trials.
Professor Ziyadeh has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1987. He published more than 150 journal publications and more than 50 book chapters, including co-editing a book entitled, “Hormones, Autacoids, and the Kidney”. The impact of his work is gleaned from the 10,000 citations that his journal publications have received and his Hirsch index of 52. He delivered a large number of invited lectures at universities and major scientific meetings worldwide and also chaired and organized international meetings. He trained and mentored in his laboratory a large number of students and more than 30 post-doctoral fellows from numerous countries from around the globe, most of them have since assumed academic positions in leading institutions.
Professor Ziyadeh has held several key academic positions in national and international associations including Associate Editor of Diabetes (the official journal of the American Diabetes Association), Physician-Secretary of the American Board of Internal Medicine/Nephrology, and member of the International Foundations of Medicine Oversight and Governing Committee of the US-based National Board of Medical Examiners. He served on the editorial boards of nine kidney or diabetes journals, numerous extramural grant review study sections in the US and around the world, and was elected to the membership of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He was also elected Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American Society of Nephrology, the American College of Physicians, and the Royal College of Physicians (London). He received the Elkinton Teaching Award from the University of Pennsylvania, the Gottlieb Award from the American Diabetes Association, the Kugel Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Sheikha Suad. Sobah/AUB Alumni Association Research Award, and the Gold Medal Award for distinguished academic achievements by an alumnus from the Medical Chapter of the AUB Medical Alumni Association.
Professor Ziyadeh was elected to the ASL for "lifetime contributions to the understanding and treatment of kidney disease in diabetes mellitus."
Sample of Academician's Research
The specific inhibition of TGF-beta activity over a period of 4 weeks of treatment attenuated diabetic renal hypertrophy, prevented mesangial matrix expansion and glomerulosclerosis.
The role of TGF-beta in the underlying pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy.
In earlier cell culture work, it was suspected that there may be an important connection between the hypertrophic and sclerotic changes of diabetic nephropathy and the profibrotic properties of the cytokine Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-beta): TGF-beta expression and bioactivity were found to be increased in renal cells exposed to high concentrations of glucose or angiotensin II. This stimulated expression of TGF-beta mediated the effect of high glucose or angiotensin II to provoke cellular hypertrophy and stimulate synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins such as fibronectin and type IV collagen, which are characteristic features of kidney fibrosis. In a proof-of-concept experiment published in 2000 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Ziyadeh et al prepared neutralizing antibodies to TGF-beta and administered them intraperitoneally to diabetic db/db mice, an animal model of diabetes mellitus type 2. The mice are hyperglycemic as early as the second month of life and later manifest all the features of diabetic glomerulopathy by 4 months of age. The specific inhibition of TGF-beta activity over a period of 4 weeks of treatment attenuated diabetic renal hypertrophy, prevented mesangial matrix expansion and glomerulosclerosis (see figure), decreased significantly the expression of extracellular matrix proteins, and preserved kidney function, while the degree of hyperglycemia was not affected. This study validated the fundamental role that TGF-beta plays in the underlying pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy.
Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D., an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, serves as Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital. She holds the Ralph D. Feigin Chair at Baylor College of Medicine where she is also a professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Neuroscience and Molecular and Human Genetics.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Professor Zoghbi received her undergraduate degree in biology from the American University of Beirut and began medical school at the American University of Beirut in 1975. The civil war in Lebanon broke out during her first year of instruction, forcing her to move to the United States where she transferred to Nashville’s Meharry Medical College. She completed a pediatric residency as well as a residency in pediatric neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in 1985. Seeing children with incurable, inherited neurological diseases piqued her interest in research and led her to take on a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular genetics under the mentorship of Dr. Arthur Beaudet at Baylor where she joined the College’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1988.
Professor Zoghbi is considered a leading neurogeneticist in the international community and has made many seminal discoveries in neurological disease research (see sidebar). Her interests range from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration.
Professor Zoghbi serves as a member of several editorial boards and professional organizations including the McKnight Foundation Neuroscience Board and the Lasker Jury. She has maintained strong ties with Lebanon and serves as a Trustee of the American University of Beirut. Among her honors are the 2013 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize from The Rockefeller University, the 2013 Dickson Prize in Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh, the 2011 Neuroscience Prize of The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, the Michael E. Debakey Excellence in Research Award, The Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association, the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society of Pediatric Research, the IPSEN prize in neuronal plasticity, the Bristol Myers-Squibb Neuroscience Distinguished Achievement Award, and the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2000, and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. In 2014, she was awarded the March of Dimes Prize for discovering the gene responsible for Rett's Syndrome, which causes intellectual disabilities in girls.
Professor Zoghbi was elected to the ASL in 2013 for "outstanding achievements in unraveling the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders in children."
Sample of Academician's Research
Dr. Zoghbi's discovery, in collaboration with Dr. Harry T. Orr, that Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract and that such expansion leads to protein misfolding has had profound ramifications since many late-onset neurological disorders involve accumulations of mutant protein in neurons.
Zoghbi’s work in neurodevelopment led to the discovery of the geneMath1, which governs the development of several components of the proprioceptive, balance, hearing and vestibular pathways.
Zoghbi’s group also discovered that mutations in MECP2 cause the neurodevelopmental disorder Rett syndrome.