Intro: Shaikh Tahnoon Bin Khalifa Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Biomedical Engineering bachelor’s student at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, recently completed an 8-week summer internship at St George’s Hospital in London. Here are excerpts of an interview with Shaikh Tahnoon on his personal experience.
Question: How long was the internship at the prestigious Genetics Laboratory of St George’s Hospital in London?
Answer: My summer internship at Genetics Laboratory of St George’s Hospital in London lasted for about eight weeks. It was a great experience.
Q: Who did you work with at the London hospital? Who was your mentor during the internship?
A: During the internship, I worked with Dr Anand Saggar, Consultant Clinical Geneticist, at St George hospital in UK who was also my mentor. His specialty is Clinical (medical) genetics while his sub-specialties include hereditary Cancer Genetic Testing, and Paediatric Genetics.
Dr Anand Saggar is a Senior Consultant in Clinical Genetics at St Georges NHS Trust and Senior Lecturer in Medicine. He has a comprehensive record of experience in genetics, respiratory medicine, diabetes/endocrinology, cardiology, intensive care, nephrology (kidney disorders) and neurology. He is also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Dr Saggar has published over 40 papers. He was a founder trustee and is currently chairman of the Scientific and Clinical Research Advisory Board of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity (UK). He is also President of the Medical Genetics section at the Royal Society of Medicine.
Q: How was this internship organized?
A: Genetics is one area that greatly interested me. So I contacted Dr. Habiba Alsafar, Acting Associate Dean for Student Affairs, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Associate Professor at Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, and Director of Khalifa University Center for Biotechnology. It was Dr Alsafar who arranged for the internship through the UAE Embassy in London and Dr Saggar was kind enough to accept me in his clinic and laboratory.
Q: In what area does this DNA analysis and cell culture experiments help? What are the future benefits?
A: I was interested in personalized medicine using DNA-based technology, which has a huge future benefit for better life quality for the society. I would like to see the UAE community benefit in this area and that was the reason why I was keen to do my internship.
Q: Were there other students along with you at St George’s Hospital internship program in London?
A: I was the only intern under Dr Saggar during the eight-week internship in London.
Q: What do you feel about your internship in London?
It was an awesome eight-week internship experience for me at the Genetics Laboratory of St George’s Hospital in London. I learned a lot from Dr Saggar about clinical genetics and I believe that we can implement start-of-the-art diagnostic tools in genetic testing in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Q: What would you like to do after completing your biomedical engineering bachelor’s degree at Khalifa University?
I am looking forward to pursue my postgraduate studies in medicine and / or health sciences, after completing my Biomedical Engineering bachelor’s degree at Khalifa University. I know Khalifa University offers a lot of options for those interested in science, engineering and new technology subjects for Master’s studies and I believe I can academically enrich myself here in Abu Dhabi.
I also would like to add that I am really grateful to Khalifa University, especially the faculty members who have always been very supportive in guiding me in my academics. And special thanks to Dr Habiba Alsafar for taking the extra effort to ensure that I got the right kind of experience through this internship program.