Thursday 7 December 2023

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri

Elite scientists and experts from 37 countries take part in IST

ABU DHABI, October 17, 2022

The UAE’s Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) is committed to protecting and preserving its rich biodiversity of both animal and plant species to help maintain the balance of natural ecosystems. 
Opening the 21st World Congress of the International Society on Toxinology (IST) in Abu Dhabi, Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD said: “Over 25 years, a lot of information had been collected through a comprehensive biodiversity monitoring programme covering both land and marine ecosystems.”
She continued: “This wealth of data collected has enabled us to complete an IUCN Red List of Species and we have just recently finalised the Abu Dhabi Red List of Ecosystems for the emirate.”
Species protection
All wild species in the UAE are protected under the Federal Laws. Therefore, it is important that any collection of venoms or other toxins from the wild for research uses is done in accordance with the local and federal regulations in line with the international best practices, which assure their sustainability and animal welfare, she added.
She also said: “Our ancestors managed to benefit from the different elements of biodiversity in their daily lives and managed to live in such environment, where part of its biodiversity is considered to be poisonous and toxic with the least negative possible effect of this biodiversity in their daily livelihood.”
They were able to use this biodiversity and its related traditional knowledge to get the proper cure when effected by any toxin or poison for them and for their livestock, as well as extracting the necessary treatments and medicines from them, she added. 
“In the area of toxinology, a lot needs to be done in the UAE and in our region, especially to promote research and facilitate exchange of information and knowledge. In this context, the Congress is highly significant and that its outcomes will contribute to enhancing better-understanding and cooperation at the local and global levels,” she said. 
300 participants
The Congress, from October 16 to 21, is being organised by Amsaal, the first of its kind company in the Middle East, in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, EAD, Department of Culture and Tourism, and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company Seha at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers. 
About 300 participants interested in toxinology attended in person, while over 2,000 are participating remotely from 37 countries. Among of them 137 speakers from scientists, specialists and experts in toxicology, as well as researchers, professors of international universities, executives, and those interested in toxicology.
Dr Tarek Abd El-Aziz, Scientific Director at Amsaal, and Chair of the International Toxinology Congress, said that the large participation of specialists in the Congress confirms the prestigious international position of Abu Dhabi and its excellence in organising major international events. 
“The Congress will encompass a broad range of themes, including animal venoms, bacterial toxins, fungal toxins, plant toxins, synthesised toxins, toxin discovery and structure identification, toxin pharmacology, clinical toxinology, as the speakers from 37 countries will introduce experiences and results of their research in toxicology,” Dr El-Aziz added.
Scientific results
The Congress is anticipated to achieve outstanding scientific results, benefiting from the great support provided by many official authorities in the UAE, and the great global presence of distinguished elite of scientists and experts from different countries of the world.
Dr Julian White, President of the IST, said that the 21st World Congress of the International Society on Toxinology (IST) is one of the unique conferences of its kind, and it is being held for the first time in the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
“The participants will discuss many important topics related to toxicology, particularly clinical toxicology, as the scientific committee was keen to develop a distinguished scientific programme for this edition, based on the successes achieved in previous ones,” Dr White said.
He added: “We are looking forward to achieving more success through the participation of prominent scientists, specialists, researchers and university professors, to reach new and exciting results in toxicology.”
First-day activities
On the first day of the Congress, Dr Richard Dart-Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety (RMPDS) Colorado, USA, delivered a lecture about snake antivenom. In addition, two main sessions were organised. The first, which was moderated by Dr Julian White, President of the IST and Women’s & Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, Australia, and Dr David Williams-World Health Organisation (WHO)-Switzerland, discussed clinical toxicology – snakebites. During the session, Dr Sakthivel Vaiyapuri (University of Reading, UK) talked about the peripheral arterial-thrombosis following Russell’s viper bites, while Dr Abdulrazaq G. Habib (Bayero University Kano, Nigeria) talked about the access to snakebite medical care in Northern Nigeria through an epidemiologic & geo-spatial study. 
Meanwhile, Dr Soumyadeep Bhaumik (University of New South Wales, Australia) reviewed a qualitative study on snakebite and care during the two waves of COVID-19 in West Bengal, India. While, Dr Abdulsalami Nasidi (Nigeria-UK EchiTAb) presented a study conducted in Nigeria and UK on the impact of climate change on snakebite and the response to mitigate its impact in Nigeria.
The second session, which was titled “Basic Toxinology - Toxins and Ion Channels”, was moderated by Dr Alexander Sobolevsky-Columbia University, USA, and Dr Glenn King-University of Queensland St. Lucia, Australia. The speakers were Dr Alexander Sobolevsky, who spoke about polyamine-containing toxins and their analog, Dr Ashlee H. Rowe (Oklahoma University, Oklahoma, USA), who spoke about structure and mechanism of scorpion venom peptide, Dr Steve Peigneur (University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium), who spoke about the functional characterisation of ion channel toxins from the longest animal on Earth, and  Dr Robert Kennedy (Vestaron Corp., Kalamazoo, USA), who spoke about the commercialisation of an insecticidal peptide derived from a funnel web spider for crop protection.-- TradeArabia News Service


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