American University of Beirut

Online Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine (OPPM) Postgraduate Program


Project Title: Online Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine (OPPM) - Postgraduate Program.

Project number: 617303-EPP-1-2020-1-EG-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP.

Funding agency: The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

Submitted to the call: Erasmus+ KA2 (Capacity Building in Higher Education).

Project Coordinator Institution: Alexandria University

Duration of the project: 3 years

Starting Date: 15th of November 2021

Contact:  Professor Nathalie Zgheib (AUB): ​

                 Professor Ahmed Wahid (AU):

Pharmacogenomics, the study of how an individual's genetic makeup affects the response to drugs, involves analyzing how a person's genes influence the way they process medications, from absorption to metabolism and eventual elimination. By understanding these genetic variations, healthcare providers can tailor treatment plans to suit the specific genetic makeup of each patient. Over the recent years, the field of pharmacogenomics (PGx) has seen significant technological advancements. The idea of "personalized medicine," which gained prominence toward the end of the previous century, stresses the significance of choosing the correct drug, for the correct patient, in the correct dosage. This tailored approach minimizes the risk of adverse reactions, enhances drug efficacy, and ensures optimal therapeutic outcomes. In essence, it's about optimizing treatment to fit the individual, a significant advancement in the quest for more effective and safer healthcare. This concept gained momentum with the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2001.

The OPPM project is a dual postgraduate program offering both a diploma and a master's degree. The diploma program consists of two modules. The first module comprises five mandatory courses: Molecular Biology, Bioethics, Pharmacology, Biostatistics, and Bioinformatics. In the second module, students study Introduction to Pharmacogenomics, Clinical Drug Safety, Pharmacogenomics in Practice, and Human Genetics. The Master's Degree program includes four courses: two mandatory and two elective. Mandatory courses are Analytical Technology and Application of Pharmacogenomics in Cancer. Finally, students can choose two out of three elective courses: Genomics of Common and Rare Inherited Diseases, Application of Genomics in Infectious Diseases, and Molecular Pharmacology. The Master's Degree additionally requires the completion of a thesis and practical research.

In Egypt and Lebanon, there are only few programs that utilize hybrid education methods, integrating IT and virtual laboratories. These innovative learning programs are designed to enrich the educational​ experience and broaden its accessibility beyond the borders of Egypt and Lebanon, reaching a wider audience. The curriculum encompasses both hybrid and traditional classroom courses, including physical labs as well as E-laboratories, which simulate experiments that typically require expensive equipment. This accredited program represents a significant step towards expanding the scope of advanced education in Egypt and Lebanon.​

Consortium Members

  • Alexandria University
  • AL ALFI Foundation
  • American University of Beirut
  • Beirut Arab University
  • Children's Cancer Hospital Foundation - Egypt (57357)
  • Democritus University of Thrace
  • Fayoum University
  • Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)
  • Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation (Aswan Heart Centre)
  • Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
  • Newcastle University
  • Nile University
  • Universidad de Oviedo​​

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