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World Congress of Nephrology to Honor Iranian Scientist

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*World Congress of Nephrology to honor Iranian

A letter of appreciation will be awarded to Professor Behrouz Boroumand at the World Congress of Nephrology to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from March 13-17.

WCN 2015 is an event of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) hosted by the South African Renal Society (SARS) in partnership with the African Association of Nephrology and the Renal Care Society of South Africa.

Boroumand will receive the award for his efforts in developing new methods for kidney treatment and transplant in Iran and the Middle East.

Born in Qaemshahr, Mazandaran province, Boroumand received his medical degree from Tehran Medical University.

He began his residency training in Hackensack, New Jersey, and then did his medical residency at the Georgetown Medicine of DC General Hospital in the US, followed by a fellowship in nephrology and nephro-pathology at AFIP Washington DC.

Since its foundation in 1960, the ISN has pursued the worldwide advancement of education, science and patient care in nephrology (the medical sub-specialty dealing with kidneys).

*Iranian joins IBSP of UNESCO

Distinguished Iranian researcher, Professor Nasrin Moazzemi was appointed member of the Scientific Board of the International Basic Sciences Program (IBSP).

Operational since 2005, IBSP focuses on promoting training and research in basic sciences, science education and the use of promising advances made in basic sciences to address environmental challenges, meet human needs and improves the quality of life and education of UNESCO.

The Scientific Board is responsible for monitoring IBSP and providing advice to the director general. It supervises implementation of the IBSP from the scientific and monitoring aspects. It is thus responsible for studying proposals for developing and modifying the program, assisting in the development of national, regional and international projects related to the IBSP, evaluating project proposals and making recommendations on new measures for the successful implementation and development of the program.

Moazzemi is also a faculty member of Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology.

A microbiologist and biotechnologist, Moazzemi received her PhD in 1976 from the Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, in Canada. She is the pioneer of microalgae-based fuels in Iran.

The center established by Moazzemi in 1987 is the regional reference center of biotechnology for West and Central Asia. She is also the founder of the Persian Type Culture Collection, an affiliated member of the World Federation for Culture Collections since 1985 and the Microbial Resources Centers Network since 1992.

*Iran makes anti-Alzheimerˈs drug from saffron, for 1st time in world

Researchers of Tehran Medical Sciences University cooperating with a science-based company made and anti-Alzheimerˈs disease medicine from saffron following a ten-year research studies.

The head of the research program, Jamaleddin Jalali said that the medicine is made of saffron, which is an Iranian herb whose countless medical benefits are mentioned by renowned Iranian scientists, including Avicennaˈs book ˈCannonˈ.

Saffron has positive effect on human mood, helps augment memory, and improving the eye-sight.

He said that the science-based company, the Tehran Medical University and the hospitals affiliated to that university launched numerous tests before producing the herbal medicine ˈSafrotinˈ which can decrease the signs of the Alzheimerˈs disease noticeably.

Jalali said that there are only five effective medicines for the Alzheimerˈs disease in the world today and Safrotinˈs effects exactly match those of the best of its foreign equivalent medicines, minus their side-effects.

He referred to two famous anti-Alzheimerˈs disease medicines in the world, namely the Memantin and the Donepezil, claiming that Safrotinˈs effects are quite equal with them, and time-bound tests have proved the new medicineˈs efficiency.

He said that some three years ago an article about Safrotin was published in one of the most reputable scientific magazines of the world, which became a basis for the other researchers around the globe.

ˈ52 documentaries in the field have been presented up to now and the medicine has been registered in EUˈs Farmacoop list, while in the 12th Avicenna Festival it was praised as the top medical product of the year,ˈ added Jalali.

He said that the new drug for the Alzheimerˈs has also anti-cancer effects which have been approved by world medical circles.

*Iranian Scientist Heads the Biggest Brain Trauma Project in US

The Department of Defense-funded consortium led by Jamshid Ghajar will work to establish rigorous, evidence-based diagnosis and treatment guidelines for brain trauma.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $12 million over a three-year period to the School of Medicine to establish a multi-institutional consortium to develop a new brain-trauma classification system that will lead to effective diagnostics and therapeutics.

The principal investigator for the grant is Jamshid Ghajar, MD, PhD, clinical professor of neurosurgery and director of the Stanford Concussion Center. The consortium will involve a number of Stanford researchers, as well as colleagues at the Brain Trauma Foundation, a recognized world leader in evidence-based severe brain trauma guidelines.

Traumatic brain injury, including concussions, is the leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults around the world, according to the World Health Association. While millions of concussions occur annually, only a small proportion of clinical studies have incorporated evidence-based methods, yielding little data to improve concussion diagnosis. A key goal of the consortium is to leverage existing studies and advise future studies in order to develop evidence-based guidelines for the screening, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of brain trauma across the spectrum of severity from concussion to coma.

“Large, well-conducted clinical studies appear to have accomplished extensive data collection and could hold valuable information that can contribute to the evidence base for a concussion-classification system,” Ghajar said. “However, the publications do not report the raw data in a way that can be used to develop evidence-based guidelines. We plan to partner with investigators and methodologists from the field of systems science to conduct extensive data-mining analyses of these rich sources of information.”

As part of the consortium, a clinical-research coordinating and training center — housed at Stanford and directed by Kenneth Mahaffey, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and vice chair of clinical research in the Department of Medicine, with Jessica Little, PhD, clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery — will reach out to investigators and work directly with them to ensure that their studies deliver high-quality, reliable data to the evidence-based work of the consortium.

*Modeling immune system before stem cell transplant possible

An Iranian scientist Masoud Manjili, along with his colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University, found that it is possible to model immune system to predict stem cell behavior.

Is the human immune system similar to the weather, a seemingly random yet dynamic system that can be modeled based on past conditions to predict future states?

Scientists believe it is and they recently published several studies that support the possibility of using next-generation DNA sequencing and mathematical modeling to understand the variability observed in clinical outcomes of stem cell transplantation, ISNA said.

The modeling also provided a theoretical framework to make transplantation a possibility for more patients who do not have a related donor.

Despite efforts to match patients with genetically similar donors, it is still nearly impossible to predict whether a stem cell transplant recipient will develop potentially fatal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition where the donor’s immune system attacks the recipient’s body.

Two studies recently published by the online journal Frontiers in Immunology explored data obtained from the whole exome sequencing of nine donor-recipient pairs (DRPs) and found that it could be possible to predict which patients are at greatest risk for developing GVHD.

Therefore, in future, tailor immune suppression therapies could possibly improve clinical outcomes.

The data provides evidence that the way a patient’s immune system rebuilds itself following stem cell transplantation is representative of a dynamic system in which the current state determines what future state will follow.

*Harvard, IAU engineer heart valve scaffold

Harvard University and Science and Research Branch of Islamic Azad University researcher has engineered heart valve scaffold drawing upon molecular mechanisms and gene.

Maryam Eslami, MD and PhD in molecular genetics of the Science and Research Branch who carried out her dissertation in the Harvard University, told Mehr News Agency that with the ever-increasing cases of heart valve disorders, the probability of heart valve replacement rises dramatically.

“With this in mind, researchers seek to find new methods to engineer tissues very identical to heart valve tissue,” she said.

“Using scaffolds in the structure of heart valve with effect on the secretion of the main components of the extracellular fluid such as Type I collagen and elastin gains significance,” she said.

“In this research, we conducted different biological, mechanical and genetic experiments to examine the expression of collagen I and elastin in heart mitral valve cells cultured and encapsulated by microfiber hydrogel composite compared to those cultured and encapsulated by hydrogel and microfiber,” she said.

Eslami, who is a distinguished member of Elite Youth Research Club of the Science and Research Branch, added that cell survival and metabolic activity were identical in all scaffolds.

“However, hydrogel significantly improved the 3D distribution of mitral valve interstitial cells,” she said.

A summary of the research findings has been published in Biomaterials Applications and Cell specialist journals.

*Iran ranks 7th in nano-science production

Iran has managed to stand 7th in the world ranking of nano-science production in 2014.

Based on STATNANO report, Iran accounting for 4.25% of papers on nanotechnology, ranked seventh among the world's top countries for nano-science production in 2014.

China, US and India had the largest number of nanotechnology articles indexed in Web of Science database in 2014, Nanotechnology Initiative Council reported.

With more than two third of published articles, China still holds the first rank. Following China, USA and India stand on the second and third place with 17.3% and 7.3% of articles published, respectively.

South Korea, Germany, Japan, Iran, France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Taiwan, Russia, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Brazil, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland are next in world ranking of nano-science production in 2014.

Ranking 19th, Saudi Arabia enjoyed the highest growth rate and stood on the second place among Islamic countries in publishing nanotechnology papers after Iran.

Standing on 8th place in 2013, Iran managed to improve its rank to the 7th in the field of nanotechnology.

Based on the ranking, the top 20 countries include USA, China, Germany, Britain, Japan, France, Canada, Italy, India, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Iran, Turkey and Sweden, respectively, according to the total number of scientific papers published.

*Iranian presents new graphene applications

An Iranian researcher Zahra Pedram-Razi, along with her colleagues at California University, has taken a giant step in using graphene for new electronic applications.

Few materials have received as much attention from the scientific world or have raised so many hopes with a view to their potential deployment in new applications as graphene has, ISNA reported.

This is largely due to its superlative properties: It is the thinnest material in existence, almost transparent, the strongest, the stiffest and at the same time the most stretchable, the best thermal conductor, the one with the highest intrinsic charge carrier mobility, plus many more fascinating features.

Specifically, its electronic properties can vary enormously through its confinement inside nanostructured systems. That’s why ribbons or rows of graphene with nanometric widths are emerging as tremendously interesting electronic components. On the other hand, due to the great variability of electronic properties upon minimal changes in the structure of these nanoribbons, exact control on an atomic level is an indispensable requirement to make the most of all their potential.

The lithographic techniques used in conventional nanotechnology do not yet have such resolution and precision. In 2010, however, a way was found to synthesize nanoribbons with atomic precision by means of the so-called molecular self-assembly.

Molecules designed for this purpose are deposited onto a surface in such a way that they react with each other and give rise to perfectly specified graphene nanoribbons by means of a highly reproducible process and without any other external mediation than heating to the required temperature.

In 2013, a team of scientists from the University of Berkeley and the Center for Materials Physics, a mixed CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) and UPV/EHU (University of the Basque Country) center, extended this very concept to new molecules that were forming wider graphene nanoribbons and therefore with new electronic properties.

This same group has now managed to go a step further by creating, through this self-assembly, heterostructures that blend segments of graphene nanoribbons of two different widths.

The forming of heterostructures with different materials has been a concept widely used in electronic engineering and has enabled huge advances to be made in conventional electronics.

“We have now managed for the first time to form heterostructures of graphene nanoribbons modulating their width on a molecular level with atomic precision,” scientist Dimas de Oteyza, who has participated in this project, said.

“What is more, their subsequent characterization by means of scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, complemented with first principles theoretical calculations, has shown that it gives rise to a system with very interesting electronic properties which include, for example, the creation of what are known as quantum wells.”

*Iranian to head Urological Association of Asia

An Iranian professor is appointed as the director of Urological Association of Asia (UAA).

According to IRNA, Dr. Seyyed Jalil Hosseini from Shahid Beheshti Medical University has been appointed as the periodical head of the Urological Association of Asia.

Directors of this association change annually and for the first time, an Iranian expert has been elected to the position.

Hosseini said the Asian Congress of Urology was a biennial event, but due to the high praise won by the event, it is now held annually.

“An Iranian expert has been selected due to the country’s progress in urology and for having preeminent experts,” he said.

The 12th Asian Congress of Urology was held on Kish Island on December 5 and ended on December 9. Experts of 12 countries participated in the congress.

Turkey and the UAE recently joined as members due to the efforts made by Iran’s Urology Association.

The congress featured 40 lecturers from Europe, US and Canada, 60 from Asian countries and 70 from Iran.

*TIME names Iranian scientist 2014 Person of the Year

Iranian American and award-winning computational geneticist at Harvard University,Pardis Sabeti, along with other Ebola fighters, were named TIME magazine’s 2014 Person of the Year. The Ebola fighters were chosen for their bravery and stepping-up during a time when many others were reluctant to do so.

A contagious disease, Ebola has stricken the native populations of west Africa as well as the health-care workers who treat Ebola patients. The Ebola fighters have been critical in combating the epidemic by risking their lives to treat Ebola patients and researching innovative solutions to fight the disease.

Sabeti first became intrigued by the Ebola virus after reading The Hot Zone. “It’s the type of thing you either read and say, “Oh wow, that’s terrifying,” or you read it and say, “Oh wow, I want to do that.” I read it and said, “Oh wow, I want to do that,” Sabeti explained in an interview with TIME.

In the first three weeks following the recent Ebola outbreak, Sabeti sequenced 99 samples from 78 west African patients. Her research tracked the mutations of the virus and determined that the disease was not being transmitted by animal contact, but rather human-to-human contact. The discovery gave a much needed boost to the containment strategy of the Ebola virus and helped develop treatments and vaccines for Ebola victims.

Sabeti explained how critical it is to continue sequencing the Ebola genome as the virus continues to mutate. “We need as many minds working on this important problem as we can have. We will only beat this virus together,” said Sabeti.

*Iranian professor joins European Academy of Sciences, Arts

An Iranian researcher Ali Kaveh who is a member of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) joined the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

The European Academy of Sciences and Arts Senate elected Kaveh, a structural engineering professor at Iran University of Science and Technology to join the academy.

The European Academy of Sciences and Arts is a learned society of around 1,500 top scientists and artists who approach the questions facing Europe and the globe in various publications. Among its members are 29 Nobel laureates. Not focused on financial gain, the academy is funded by the European Union, Austria, public agencies and private sponsors, while remaining ideologically and politically independent.

Founded in Salzburg, Austria, in 1990 by the heart surgeon Felix Unger of Salzburg, the cardinal archbishop of Vienna Franz Cardinal König and the political scientist and philosopher Nikolaus Lobkowicz.

Since the early 2000s, the academy has been developing a university project called Alma Mater Europaea, sometimes with the subtitle of European University for Leadership.

In March 2007, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts issued a formal declaration in which they stated, “Human activity is most likely responsible for climate warming. Most of the climatic warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Documented long-term climate changes include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. The above development potentially has dramatic consequences for mankind’s future, and welcomed Live Earth and Save Our Selves initiatives, for beginning the process of mobilizing the people to take action on this matter.

Members are nominated by a committee and elected by the Senate of the Academy, for example because of merits for research and society. Membership is an award and appreciation of scientific work. The members of the academy are organized in seven scientific classes of humanities, medicine, arts, natural sciences, social sciences, law and economics, technical and environmental sciences and world religions. 

*Iran's Mirzakhani among top 15 inspiring women

Iranian-born mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani ranked third among 15 inspiring women of 2014, according to CNN public call for introducing the world’s most inspiring women in 2014.

As one of Sharif University of Technology graduates, she won the 2014 prestigious “Fields Medal.” She was the first woman to ever win the award, otherwise known as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics” in recognition of her contributions to the understanding of the symmetry of curved surfaces.

Mirzakhani, who is currently a professor at Stanford University in the US, has already won several prestigious awards, including the Satter Prize from the American Mathematics Society in 2013, and also the Gold Medal of Mathematics Olympiad in 1995.

In 2005, when she was only 30 years old and teaching at Princeton University, she was selected by the Popular Science Magazine as one of the 10 superior brains in North America

*Iranians help provide alternative to adhesive bonding

Researchers at Sharif University of Technology, in collaboration with their counterparts at Waterloo University in Canada, have synthesized an improved friction-stir welded joint by using aluminum alloy and high density polyethylene.

Aluminum alloys and high density polyethylene are utilized in a variety of industries, including automotive and construction.

The feasibility of friction-stir welding between AA5059 alloy and high density polyethylene sheets was examined.
The bonding mechanism, joint strength and micro-hardness were also considered.

Results of the study indicate that AA5059 aluminum and high density polyethylene sheets can be successfully joined with a combination of secondary bonding and mechanical interlocking of the materials, which provides a potential alternative to adhesive bonding or mechanical fastening.

Adhesive bonding (also referred to as gluing or glue bonding) describes a wafer bonding technique by applying an intermediate layer to connect substrates of different materials. These connections can be soluble or insoluble.

The commercially available adhesive can be organic or inorganic, and is deposited on one or both substrate surfaces.

*Iranian article designated “Hot Article”

An article by Professor Ehsan Khamehchi from Amirkabir University of Technology was selected as “Hot Article” by OnePetro affiliated to the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

OnePetro is a unique library of technical documents and journal articles serving the oil and gas exploration and production industries.

The article, which was published in OnePetro in 2006, is entitled Underground Gas Storage in Serajeh Gas Field.

This work attracted great interest and was downloaded 700 times by December 2014.

Natural gas, like many other commodities, can be stored for an indefinite period in natural gas storage facilities.

Gas storage is principally used to meet load variations. Gas is injected into storage during periods of low demand and withdrawn from storage during periods of peak demand.

SPE is a not-for-profit professional organization whose mission is to collect, disseminate and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources and related technologies.

This will be beneficial to the public and provide opportunities to professionals for enhancing their technical and professional competence.

*Two Iranian scientists among BRIght Futures finalists

Two of three 2014 BRIght Futures finalists are Iranian scientists, Hadi Shafiee and Nasim Annabi.

Hadi Shafiee, PhD, Division of Renal Medicine, BWH Department of Medicine has developed a low-cost, flexible microchip that can detect HIV and measure viral load in infected individuals at the point-of-care, Mehr News Agency reported.

Shafiee said monitoring HIV levels in a person’s blood, known as viral load testing, is the most accurate and preferred method to see whether treatment is working.

“Yet the majority of HIV viral load testing options available today are expensive, laboratory-based, time-consuming and complex,” he said.

Shafiee noted that the research team is working on developing an affordable, simple and rapid diagnostic platform that can detect HIV in less than 30 minutes.

“Our microchips can be made using printing technology that is currently available to everyone, even those in low- and middle-income countries,” he said.

“The test is as simple as using a glucose meter and the cost per microchip is only a few pennies.”

Nasim Annabi, PhD, Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, another candidate for the 2014 BRIght Futures Prize, has developed a surgical glue that can be used to seal air and body fluid leakages after surgical procedures.

About her research project, she explains, “After an operation, wounds are often closed using sutures, staples or surgical meshes. However, there remains a void in surgical sealants that can immediately seal wounds to stop body fluid leakage.”

Annabi said the stretchy surgical glue has been developed from a human protein called tropoelastin.

“The glue sticks well to different tissues such as lung and heart tissue, and is biocompatible, since it is made of human protein and can naturally break down in the body over time,” she said.

“The glue can be used in complicated cases, such as with patients suffering from an air leakage after lung surgery, or patients undergoing surgeries that require connecting blood vessels. Additionally, it can be used during minimally invasive surgeries where it can be delivered through a small needle and cured in seconds, thereby reducing operating time and improving outcomes.”

The $100,000 BRIght Futures prize will be presented at the third annual BWH Research Day on November 20. The recipient of the prize will be decided by public vote.

*Sharif University robots help treat cancer children

Researchers in Sharif University of Technology have accelerated the treatment of cancer in children using humanoid social robots.

The research paper submitted to Sixth International Conference on Social Robotics University of Technology, Sydney, by Sharif University of Technology researchers Minoo Alemi, Ali Meghdari, Ashkan Ghanbarzadeh, Leila Jafari Moghadam, Anooshe Ghanbarzadeh, titled ‘Impact of a Social Humanoid Robot as a Therapy Assistant in Children Cancer Treatment,’ was awarded the best paper title.

Children suffering from cancer are subjected to higher levels of anorexia, anger, depression, and anxiety during chemotherapeutic treatments. The problem is a real challenge to psychologists in dealing with these children. Researchers in Sharif University of Technology Center of Excellence in Design, Robotics, and Automation found an effective new method to relieve these children from the distress and anger thus induced by cancer treatment processes through design of a humanoid robot.

*Gold Medal and “Best Inventor 2014” Award at Iranians’ Hands

Max Mohammadhassan Mohammadi and Ali Mohammadi, Iranian brothers from the KTH/Uppsala University team, won the Gold medal trophy and the “Best Inventor 2014” award in eHealth at the World’s Digital Health Forum.

Ali is a KIT and Uppsala University master student (KIC Inno-Energy) and Max Mohammadhassan is a member of INDEK’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management Master of Science Program.

Their invention tries to screen and diagnose several types of diseases including heart disease and cancer at a significantly earlier stage and in a much faster way by using artificial intelligence.

They received this award because of invention a smart service design by using the patient data and combining it quantified-self trend, considered as a disruptive innovation in Medicine as well as Healthcare.

The same day the Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine was announced, the results were shown at the Life Science Open Innovation Symposium in Paris.

*Iranians building cheaper infrared cameras

Two Iranian researchers Abouzar Mosleh and Amir Ghatmiri along with their colleagues at Arkansas University, USA, have designed photonic device integration for producing cheaper and better infrared cameras.

The new technique using high-index glasses enables photonic device integration on substrates such as semiconductors, glasses, polymers and graphene, ISNA wrote.

The integrated photonic devices used in imaging and sensing are usually built through multiple microfabrication steps.

These may include film deposition, lithographic patterning, or etching on a substrate. The selected substrate stipulates the fabrication methods and processing compatibility requirements.

For example, silicon photonics relied on standard CMOS processing technologies developed by computer chipmakers, whereas inkjet printing offers a versatile integration route compatible with the thermal and mechanical characteristics of soft polymers.

These substrate-specific constraints mean photonic device design rules and fabrication protocols often cannot be transferred between platforms. Consequently, photonic integration technologies on common substrates are well advanced, but their counterparts on unconventional materials are still in their infancy.

Examples of these less commonly used bases include plastics, metals and optical crystals, which potentially offer new functionalities for renewable energy, imaging, sensing and display applications.

The study aimed to transcend these limitations by developing “substrate-blind” platform technology. The new approach enables photonic integration on a variety of unconventional materials and leverages a well-established knowledge base and technical know-how derived from semiconductor photonics.

*Iran marks highest patent activity among OIC countries

International Organization of ISESCO announced that Islamic Republic of Iran has demonstrated the highest patent activity, ranking first among 57 Islamic countries.

Based on a report titled ‘The Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation’ and on the order of Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Iran ranked first among 57 Islamic countries in the field of science and research. 

In the 7th Islamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, ISESCO announced that Tunisia, Malaysia, Turkey and Iran were the biggest spenders on R&D in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while Tunisia, Jordan, Turkey and Iran have the highest number of researchers as a proportion of their populations. Turkey and Iran also publish nearly half of the OIC’s scientific papers, while Iran applies for, and is granted, the most patents.

The OIC countries with the most researchers includeTurkey (124,796), Iran (107,810) and Egypt (89,270). Research and development expenditure of $6.4 billion makes Iran the OIC’s second largest R&D spender after Turkey. 

Turkey and Iran were the most prolific OIC countries in 2012 in terms of publication output, with 24,562 and 23,885 scientific articles respectively. Nearly half of the total OIC articles that year originated from these two countries which, along with Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan account for 77% of articles published by the OIC members.

For the period 2000–2011, Iran demonstrated the highest patent activity in the OIC with 6,527 applications in 2006. Underlining its relatively strong business sector within the OIC, Malaysia followed Iran with 6,452 applications in 2011.

*Iranian helps design ICO Residency Curriculum

An Iranian faculty member of Mashhad Medical University helped design the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) Residency Curriculum.

Dr. Siamak Zarei-Qanavati, an associate professor, also played a significant role in developing the ICO Residency Curriculum and training ophthalmology fellowship, ISNA said.

Zarei-Qanavati was also one of the main examiners and judges in the fields of cornea and external eye diseases as well as refractive surgery.

He said the curriculum was finalized by ICO, adding that the curriculum will be implemented as an instruction for ophthalmology in various countries.

The associate professor added that a number of professors from Germany, the UK, USA, South Korea and South Africa also participated in writing the sections on cornea and external eye disease as well as refractive surgery.

Zarei-Qanavati hoped that the educational curriculum will be used in Iran to improve fellowship training.

*Iranian scholar joins US academy of inventors

An Iranian scholar and an associate professor at the University of South California joined the US National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The NAI is an elite group of inventors, which includes 21 Nobel laureates from across the world, ISNA reported.

The institute now involves 414 leading inventors, 16 of whom have won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and 10 have received the Great Seal of the US.

Dr.  Behrokh Khoshnevis, who is a graduate of Sharif Polytechnic University, is well-known worldwide because of his newly-developed three-dimensional printing system.

His robotic system is able to construct a 2,500-square-foot building in 18-19 hours with the help of four people.

Khoshnevis is now working on systems for the quick construction of buildings on the moon and Mars.

*Iranian selected as Elsevier juror

Hadi Parastar, assistant professor of the Department of Chemistry at Sharif University of Technology, is selected as a juror of Analytica Chimica Acta journal by the world’s leading academic publishing company Elsevier.

Parastar received his MS and PhD from Sharif University of Technology in analytical chemistry-chemometrics during 2005-11.

He obtained his BS from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad in pure chemistry in 2005.

Analytica Chimica Acta is an international journal devoted to all branches of analytical chemistry.

The journal published by Elsevier provides a forum for the rapid publication of original research and critical reviews dealing with all aspects of fundamental and applied modern analytical science.

It welcomes the submission of research papers that report studies concerning the development of new and significant analytical methodologies.

In determining the suitability of submitted articles for publication, particular focus will be placed on the degree of novelty and significance of the research and the extent to which it adds to existing knowledge in analytical chemistry.

*Iranian helps predict efficiency of TB treatment

An Iranian researcher, Homeira Zahiri, and her colleagues at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found that two medical imaging techniques called positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) could be jointly used as a biomarker to predict the efficiency of antibiotic drug regimens used to treat tuberculosis (TB).

The institute is part of the US National Institutes of Health.

With multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) on the rise worldwide, new biomarkers are needed to determine whether a particular TB drug regimen is effective, ISNA reported.

Traditionally used to detect cancer, PET imaging shows how organs and tissues are functioning. When used with X-rays generated from CT scans, PET scans provide a more complete picture of the area of the body being examined.

In two separate studies, NIAID scientists and collaborators demonstrated the utility of PET/CT imaging in monitoring the antibiotic treatment’s effects on both TB-infected monkeys and humans.

In the first study, researchers monitored macaques treated with two antibiotics by observing changes on PET/CT scans as well as determining the amount of bacteria remaining after treating the animals’ lungs – the standard method for assessing TB therapy effectiveness.

The researchers applied the same approaches to TB-infected people taking one of the antibiotics and found that changes in human PET/CT scans over the course of treatment were comparable to those seen in monkeys.

In the second study, which solely focused on human patients with TB, investigators observed that early changes in PET/CT scans at two months into the course of treatment could more accurately predict patient outcomes at 30 months than traditional sputum cultures.

Sputum analyses can be unreliable and are limited in their ability to accurately predict treatment response and disease relapse.

Based on the findings, PET/CT technology could be used in clinical trials of investigational drugs or diagnostics to predict the efficacy of a treatment regimen early on, potentially shortening the duration of a trial and saving resources, according to the researchers.

*Iranian innovator wins gold in ARCA 2014

An innovator from Tabriz has won the gold medal in World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) ARCA 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia.

Innovation by Farhad Sheidaei, researcher and lecturer of Tabriz University, has been awarded the gold medal for “smart energy saving mobile wire in home appliances connected to PC and TV”, Mehr News Agency reported.

Sheidaei is also a winner of several prizes. He was listed as one of the ten outstanding researchers of 2011, and his work was considered one of the best five innovative designs from among those submitted by the University of Applied Science and Technology branches.

The Iranian researcher has also won several medals in international hi-tech competitions held in Switzerland, Russia, Poland and Malaysia.

The innovation submitted in ARCA 2014 in Zagreb was supported by Tabriz Municipality.

Other members of the team won a silver, bronze and Croatia’s Special Prize, to catapult the team to the top position.

ARCA 2014 is sponsored by Croatian Science and Economics and WIPO, in which organizations and innovators from 17 countries participated.

*Iran developing HIFU machine

Jahan Tavakkoli and his colleagues at the Industrial Development & Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO Group) are developing a prototype of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) machine.

Tavakkoli, PhD, is associate professor of Ryerson University’s Department of Physics in Toronto, Canada.

HIFU, or sometimes FUS for Focused UltraSound is a highly precise medical procedure that applies high-intensity focused ultrasound energy to heat and destroys diseased or damaged tissues through ablation. It is a hyperthermia therapy, a class of clinical therapies that use temperature to treat diseases such as prostate cancer. It is also one modality of therapeutic ultrasound, involving minimally invasive or non-invasive methods to direct acoustic energy into the body.

When high frequency sound waves are concentrated on body tissues, those tissues heat up and die. To use this as a cancer treatment, the specialist targets the area containing the cancer.

Results from trials have suggested that HIFU can be a successful treatment for prostate cancer. Doctors have used it for cancer that has just been diagnosed, or for cancer that has come back in the prostate after earlier treatment.

Tavakkoli obtained his postdoctoral fellowship in biomedical engineering in 1998 from the University of Toronto, Canada. He received his PhD in biomedical engineering in 1997 from the University of Claude Bernard.

*Iranian among top world scientists

The latest ranking of Thomson Reuters institute, which is based on the number of references made to an article, shows Professor Domiri Ganji is among the top 1 percent of world scientists.

The research was conducted between 2002 and 2012.

Ganji is a university professor of Babol Noshirvani University of Technology and the head of National Elites Foundation in Mazandaran province.

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“The institute’s priority is the number of references made to the article,” Ganji said, adding that his article has been referred to over 10,000 times during this period.

Ganji noted that this is for the first time Thomson Reuters has granted a formal and valid license for such a selection.

*Iranian nephrologist receives ISN Pioneer Award

International Society of Nephrology’s (ISN) 2014 Pioneer Award in the Middle East went to Iranian Professor Behrooz Broumand.

Director of ISN introduced Professor Behrooz Broumand as the 2014 Pioneer awardee in the Middle East and said, “based on the investigations conducted by the Central Committee and the International Society of Nephrology Board committee, Prof. Behrooz Broumand was selected as a pioneer in nephrology. His contributions to the creation and development of new techniques for the treatment of renal diseases and kidney transplant in Iran and the ME have been highly significant.”

The ISN pioneer diploma will be presented to Behrooz Broumand at the annual meeting of the International Society of Nephrology in March 2015, in Cape Town, South Africa.

It is worth mentioning that some Arab physicians and experts from th Middle East had been holding high hopes to be the recipient of this award, but the central committee finally selected Dr. Broumand as the Pioneer awardee.

Behrooz Broumand, a member of ISN, was born and educated in Iran. He received his diploma, doctor of medicine from Tehran Medical School and his medical degree from Tehran University. He began his residency training in Hackensack, New Jersey and then did his medical residency at the Georgetown Medicine of DC General Hospital, followed by a fellowship in nephrology and nephropathology at AFIP Washington DC.

He is certified from the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Nephrology. Dr. Broumand is currently Professor of Medicine, IUMS. He was President of the Iranian Society of Nephrology from 1976 to 1980 and again from 2000 to the present time. He served on the Editorial Board of Nephron and Archives of Iranian Medicine.

The ISN has over 9,000 professional members from more than 126 countries. In addition, ISN closely collaborates with over 75 national and regional nephrology societies around the world, representing about 20,000 professionals.

The ISN aims at reducing the incidence and impact of kidney disease worldwide. ISN the leading international organization for all issues related to the science and practice of nephrology.

*Iranians find how galaxies evolve in cosmic web

An international team of researchers led by Iranian Dr. Behnam Darvish, jointly with another Iranian Professor Bahram Mobasher, has answered fundamental questions on ways of formation and evolution of galaxies.

How do galaxies like our Milky Way form and how do they evolve? Are galaxies affected by their surrounding environment?

The international team led by astronomers at the University of California, Riverside, proposes some answers, ISNA reported.

The researchers highlight the role of the “cosmic web” – a large-scale web-like structure comprised of galaxies – on the evolution of galaxies that took place in the distant universe, a few billion years after the Big Bang.

In their paper, published in the Astrophysical Journal, they present observations showing that thread-like “filaments” in the cosmic web played an important role in this evolution.

“We think the cosmic web, dominated by dark matter, formed very early in the history of the universe, starting with small initial fluctuations in the primordial universe,” said Darvish, a PhD graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside, who is also the first author on the paper.

“Such a ‘skeletal’ universe must have played, in principle, a role in galaxy formation and evolution, but this was incredibly hard to study and understand until recently.”

The distribution of galaxies and matter in the universe is non-random. Galaxies are organized, even today, in a manner resembling an enormous network – the cosmic web.

This web has dense regions made up of galaxy clusters and groups, sparsely populated regions devoid of galaxies, as well as filaments that link very dense regions.
“The filaments are like bridges connecting the denser regions in the cosmic web,” Darvish said. “Imagine threads woven into the web.”

It is well known in astronomy that galaxies residing in less dense regions have a higher probability of actively forming stars (much like our Milky Way), while galaxies in denser regions form stars at a much lower rate.

“But the role of intermediate environments and, in particular, the role of filaments and the cosmic web in the early universe remained, until very recently, a mystery,” said co-author Mobasher, a professor of physics and astronomy at UCR and Darvish’s adviser.

What greatly assisted the researchers is a giant section of the cosmic web first revealed in two big cosmological surveys (COSMOS and HiZELS). They proceeded to explore data from several telescopes (Hubble, VLT, UKIRT and Subaru). They then applied a new computational method to identify the filaments, which, in turn, helped them study the role of the cosmic web.

They found that galaxies residing in the cosmic web/filaments have a much higher chance of actively forming stars. In other words, in the distant universe, galaxy evolution seems to have been accelerated in the filaments.

Because of the complexities involved in quantifying the cosmic web, astronomers usually limit the study of the cosmic web to numerical simulations and observations.
However, in this new study, the researchers focused their work on the distant universe – when the universe was approximately half its present age.

“We were surprised by the crucial role the filaments play in galaxy formation and evolution,” Mobasher said.

Next, the team plans to extend this study to other epochs in the age of the universe to study the role of the cosmic web/filaments in galaxy formation and evolution across cosmic time.

*Iranian researcher picked as IUPAP commission member

A faculty member of Sharif Poly Technique University Mohammad-Reza Ejtehadi has been selected for membership in the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) commission for the second time.

Members of the union for the next three years were selected in the IUPAP 28th general assembly meeting in Singapore.

The Iranian scientist has been selected as one of the 14 members of the IUPAP commission.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) is an international non-governmental organization whose mission is to assist in the worldwide development of physics, to foster international cooperation in physics, and to help in the application of physics toward solving problems of concern to humanity.

It was established in 1922 and the first General Assembly was held in 1923 in Paris.

IUPAP carries out this Mission by: sponsoring international meetings; fostering communications and publications; encouraging research and education; fostering the free circulation of scientists; promoting international agreements on the use of symbols, units, nomenclature and standards; and cooperating with other organizations on disciplinary and interdisciplinary problems.

IUPAP is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

The Union is governed by its General Assembly, which meets every three years. The Council is its top executive body, supervising the activities of the nineteen specialized International Commissions and the four Affiliated Commissions – it typically meets once or twice per annum. The Union is composed of Members representing identified physics communities.

At present 60 Members adhere to IUPAP. The Members are represented by Liaison Committees. Members of the Council and Commissions are elected by the General Assembly, based on nominations received from Liaison Committees and existing Council and Commission members.

Source: Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Real Iran, ISNA, Iran Daily, Mehr News, IRNA

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