Prof. Azzazy with his research group
Professor Hassan Azzazy, associate dean for graduate studies and research and professor of chemistry, has won the prestigious National Excellence Prize in Advanced Technological Sciences. The award, announced this week by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, recognizes exceptional applied research activities of scientists. “This award is very significant because it recognizes my research efforts that combine nanotechnology and biotechnology concepts and tools to develop innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for infectious diseases,” said Azzazy. “The timing of the award is also special as it comes in the post-revolution era where scientific research has been declared as a national priority. I am also pleased because this award recognizes the efforts of the bright graduate students in my research group,” he added.
In assessing a finalist’s eligibility for the award, the academy considers the number and impact of the scientist’s publications over the past five years. Professional activities of the candidate including community outreach activities, organization of professional workshops, conferences, administrative duties, and his or her contributions to the infrastructure of science and technology are also considered.
Azzazy has published 16 articles over the past 5 years, all in international peer-reviewed journals. He is the founder and leader of Novel Diagnostics and Therapeutics, a research group at AUC’s Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center (YJ-STRC.) In addition, Azzazy has chaired the chemistry department at AUC for threeyears, serving as director of thefood chemistry graduate program. He is also the associate dean of graduate studies and research.
Azzazy has been invited to speak at numerous international conferences, universities, and research centers. He serves on the editorial board of several international journals and has organized several workshops related to molecular diagnostics, drug design, and clinical laboratory medicine. He is the founder and director of the first medical technology training program recognized by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Azzazy also supervised numerous M.Sc. and PhD students. He is the recipient of AUC’s Excellence in Research Award in 2008 and Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.
“My research group developed nanogold assay prototypes for detection of the hepatitis C virus. This achievement has been published in international journals and conferences and was cited twice in the prestigious Nature magazine in 2011. I have also filed three separate patent applications related to this technology with the U.S. patent and trademark office,” said Azzazy.
Azzazy is now working on a number ofprojects; one of them focuses on developing and optimizing advanced versions of nanogold diagnostic assays for detection of hepatitis C virus and tuberculosis, a project that has recently received significant funding from the Qatar National Research Foundation as well as funding from a major American diagnostic company. “My research team is also developing smart drug nanocarriers to treat tuberculosis. This research is carried out in collaboration with researchers at Vrijie University in Amsterdam and the National Institute for Material Sciences in Tokyo,” noted Azzazy. “The third project is focused on the development of new drugs to prevent entry of hepatitis C virus into liver cells. Significant bioinformatics work has already been done in collaboration with researchers at Mayo Clinic Foundation and University of California Davis,” he said.