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AUB presence at Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting initiated by Jana Kobeissi
7/21/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

[L-R] Nobel Laureate Peter ​Agre and Kobeissi​

There was no waste of time since the signing of AUB’s partnership with the Council and Foundation of Nobel Laureate Meetings as its undergraduate, Jana Kobeissi, soon succeeded in securing her selection amongst a few young scientists worldwide to network with 28 Nobel Laureates at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The meeting provides a platform for Nobel Laureates and the next generation of leading scientists to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience over a few days of lectures, seminars, and informal discussions.

Jana, who just completed her junior year as a chemistry student, has become AUB’s first Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting alumnus. She was one of three finalists suggested by a nomination committee at AUB to participate in the meeting. After a multi-step application and selection process, 20-year-old Jana was selected by the Scientific Review Panel of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Council to represent AUB and Lebanon. She was one of 420 outstanding young scientists worldwide to participate in the meeting. Described as “inspirational” and an example of women in research, Jana was also selected for various interviews by international media channels in Lindau as one of the youngest participants at the prestigious meeting, a woman scientific researcher, and a young Middle Eastern achiever.

From Lab to Lindau
Towards the end of her sophomore year, Jana became a research assistant to Dr. Pierre Karam, Professor at AUB’s Department of Chemistry, working on projects ranging from bio-detection to synthesis of macromolecules and assessment of antibacterial activity. She was soon given lead of a project, running various experiments that aim at tackling a universal problem: to counter the rise of microorganism resistance to antibiotics. Her work is currently under revision as a provisional patent.

Besides maintaining a 4.0 GPA and ranking in the top 1% in the Department of Chemistry and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Jana is an active cabinet member in the Chemistry Student Society and is the author of two award-winning, published short stories. 

“Jana quickly proved herself as a bright, meticulous, and dedicated researcher,” said Dr. Karam. “Her achievements were soon noticed by our department which nominated her to participate in the Lindau meeting.” 

On an ordinary week day, Jana runs between classes to the lab to check on her experiments. The day she received the acceptance to attend the Lindau meeting was no ordinary day, however. 

“I had just finished an experiment and my next class was about to start when I saw the acceptance e-mail,” she told us. “I was ecstatic, but I did not quite have the time to absorb the gravity of the moment. I barely managed to inform my mentor, Dr. Pierre Karam, and then rushed to class. It was hard not to smile after such good news!! I was even more thrilled when President Fadlo Khuri, Provost Mohamed Harajli, and Dean Nadia El Cheikh congratulated me soon after.” 
Dr. Pierre Karam, has been training many undergraduate students in his research laboratories. He believes that “the role of a faculty member is not only to educate but also provide opportunities and guidance for the young generation.” The guided exposure to scientific research proved to open new pathways for the students. 

“Jana is a great example of a student who capitalized on what AUB has to offer,” Dr. Karam told us. “Her decision to embark on this research path allowed her to mature quickly as a scientist and helped her achieve what many would simply dream of; meeting a Nobel laureate. I am sure that her achievement will inspire many students to follow her lead.”

Partnership for Leadership 
Dr. Karam is a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting alumnus himself. During his participation in 2015, he heard the name of AUB resonate in many discussions with the Nobel Laureates. Some had AUB graduates working in their laboratories, others knew or mentored some of the University’s faculty members. A partnership was seen by the AUB administration as only logical, even “necessary, given its strive to remain the regional leader in education,” added Karam.

A Memorandum of Understanding was soon signed with the Council and Foundation of Nobel Laureate Meetings, in July 2016. President Khuri called the partnership “a unique opportunity for young scientists in the AUB community to spend time in the company of some of the most impactful scientific minds of our age [that] will undoubtedly have a life-changing effect on their work and their outlook.”

Since 1951, Nobel Laureates have been convening annually with undergraduates, PhD students, and post-doctorate researchers from all over the world. The meetings focus alternately on physiology and medicine; physics; or chemistry – the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines – with an interdisciplinary meeting taking place every five years, and an additional meeting on Economic Sciences every three years. 

“My advice to all students is: APPLY,” Jana told us as she excitedly recounted stories of personal encounters with several Nobel Laureates, now her contacts. “This meeting changes how you view science, puts you in contact with many great and enthusiastic minds, and forces you to move away from your comfort zone. You will grow, as a person and as a scientist. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity, and I plan on promoting scientific outreach and spreading the Lindau spirit!”

Apart from being selected to engage in a series of exclusive Lindau meetings and seminars, the selected participants become part of a special prestigious community. As former participants, they stay connected with each other and become ambassadors of the scientific dialogue fostered by the Lindau Meeting.

“The participation of Jana is a success story on many levels,” Jana’s proud mentor, Dr. Karam, told us. “Her achievement is the fruit of the unconditional support of President Khuri and Dean Cheikh to any student-related activity; the faculty members in the chemistry department who fully entrust their students to secure invitations to such prestigious meetings; and our student body, which Jana is a great example of, who has proved, time and time again, that it can compete and shine in the local and international arenas.”
Story Highlights
  • ​There was no waste of time since the signing of AUB’s partnership with the Council and Foundation of Nobel Laureate Meetings as its undergraduate, Jana Kobeissi, soon succeeded in securing her selection amongst a few young scientists worldwide to network with 28 Nobel Laureates at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.
  • ​The meeting provides a platform for Nobel Laureates and the next generation of leading scientists to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience over a few days of lectures, seminars, and informal discussions.
 
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