Truth be told, the LUMC Global program has been running for a bit more than a year now, but we want to look back at some of our achievements in our slightly more than a year anniversary. Because it has been quite a year for the LUMC Global Initiative in which we have set up multiple projects stimulating international collaboration to work on global health(care) challenges in (bio)medical education and research.
Multiple Global PhD projects
As of today, as many as eight Global PhD projects with partners across the world have been initiated, some of which have already started, like Tanzanian student Jeremia J. Pyuza, who was recently featured in one of our articles. Jeremia is working on research focused on the role of parasitic infections and different geographical locations on the immune system and vaccination. Jeremia will travel to the LUMC on several occasions to use and learn about technology not available at KCMC for his research whilst bringing his experience and data on endemic populations to the LUMC. He will use the skills gained to continue his research for patients in Tanzania. It is one of many projects in which we hope to contribute to global health(care) issues by actively collaborating with international partners, like the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in the case of Jeremia. These collaborations also exceed the PhD project by also adding opportunities for student exchange between the institutions, similar to our half minors. We will feature more Global PhD students in articles in the near future!
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
With the LUMC Global initiative, we actively contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, primarily the third goal: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Our LUMC Global PhD projects are great examples of contributions to this goal, but also the work of several of our LUMC colleagues, like Prof Mirjam van Reisen and her research with VODAN-Africa researchers on designing a FAIR digital data health infrastructure to help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Or recently appointed professor Meta Roestenberg, who stresses the importance of international collaborations to meet the challenges of increasingly more expensive and complex development of new vaccines for infectious diseases. Or what to think of an entire master’s program Vitality & Ageing, aimed specifically at the subject of SDG goal 3.
We have collaborated in setting up international events in Life Sciences & Health. We started by supporting broad international participation in the FOS course Cutting-edge Immunology: from chemistry to metabolism. We also proudly look back at the Symposium New Technology in the Diagnosis of Poverty-related Parasitic Diseases with the specific efforts of Dr Lisette van Lieshout and the TU Delft Global Initiative with whom we’ll also work on several other projects.
One event that stands out is the expert international webinar we organized with our Fetal Therapy department, during which Prof Dick Oepkes received a royal distinction for his outstanding career in the field. Lastly, we can take pride in the community events we organized, for instance on collaborations in China (Mensen taggen).
We are looking forward to World of Health Care 2021, where we will facilitate a session of Prof Andrew Webb together with his Ugandan partner Dr Johnes Obungolach in which they will explain how innovations developed for an African setting can lead to better diagnosis and treatment around the world.
In addition to direct funding support to our LUMC Global fellow’s and students, we aim to unlock knowledge of outside funding opportunities that support international mobility in research and education. Please check out our website for a first overview. By staying connected to the Life Sciences & Health community fostering international collaboration, such as the Dutch Embassies, the IA netwerk, Health~Holland and Task Force Health Care, we want to make sure our medical center is involved in valuable opportunities to improve global health(care).
It is with the latter that we want to spur everybody on to get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter or LinkedIn to see how we can collaborate and make the world a healthier place for everyone. We’ll continue our mission to increase international student mobility and research projects, and excite people to join the vibrant Life Sciences & Health communities in Leiden to ultimately contribute to better health(care) for everyone.
As LUMC Global Chair Maria Yazdanbakhsh, who recently was awarded the prestigious Spinoza Prize, stresses: “International collaboration is key to tackling global problems, and by international, I do not mean only the Global North but also the Global South. The more diversity, the more we can learn and inspire each other to reach our goals and live our dreams.”
The Janssen-Cilag International N.V COVID-19 vaccine has received authorization for emergency use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on March 11. Developed with fundamental support from the Molecular Virology group of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), it is the fourth vaccine to be administered in the European Union. The Netherlands has ordered more than 11 million vaccine doses.
For many students from the LUMC’s academic programmes, studying abroad is an indispensable experience. Doing part of your studies abroad is a special experience, not only because of the sense of adventure of being abroad, also to develop a broader perspective on Life Sciences & Health, a highly international field. So, you can imagine the LUMC’s International Office’s struggle to have to tell students ‘no’ for a study experience abroad in the midst of the corona pandemic. In addition, the many lockdowns worldwide increased the workload dramatically for the International Office. Evelien Hack, Head of the International Office and Sandra van Deursen, senior administrative assistant, share how corona has impacted studying abroad.
The Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and Ixaka Ltd. have announced a research collaboration on 30 March 2021, to better understand REX-001, Ixaka’s lead cell therapy product. The project will be led by Professor Paul Quax, Head of Experimental Vascular Surgery at the LUMC, to support accelerated development of REX-001 in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI).