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Zhila Maghbooli (Iran) named 1st awardee of TSF’s Diagnostics Fellowship

Posted by: The Sumaira Foundation in News & Announcements

January 15, 2024 — The Sumaira Foundation is thrilled to announce Dr. Zhila Maghbooli, from the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran, as the first awardee of TSF’s Diagnostics Fellowship.

TSF’s Diagnostics Fellowship is a short-term educational program, which allows neurologists and basic scientists from around the world, especially from lower-to-middle income countries, to learn advanced diagnostic techniques in neuroimmunology under the mentorship of internationally recognized expert diagnosticians. 

Through the Fellowship, Dr. Maghbooli spent four weeks—October 21 to November 20, 2023—at the Oxford Autoimmune Neurology Diagnostic Laboratory, Oxford, United Kingdom, learning how to set up and run a live cell-based assay to detect myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibodies for the diagnosis of MOGAD. She was mentored by Dr. Patrick “Paddy” Waters and his team. Dr. Waters is a Co-Director of the Laboratory and serves on TSF’s international Medical Advisory Board.

Speaking about the Fellowship, Dr. Waters says, “Everyone and all countries should have access to accurate antibody testing. I am thankful to TSF for their support through their Diagnostics Fellowship which allows us to share the systems we have spent more than a decade optimizing. We envisage TSF Fellows adding a neuroimmunology arm to their existing diagnostic laboratories which will improve local patient care with rapid, accurate diagnostics.

Dr. Maghbooli is grateful for her experience and the support she received from the entire team at the Oxford Laboratory. She says, “This Fellowship empowered me to gain invaluable experience in the field of MOGAD diagnosis. I’m taking all I’ve learnt back to my team in Tehran and look forward to giving patients in our country access to these tests.”

From TSF’s perspective, the Diagnostics Fellowship is an important part of their mission to help patients worldwide, including and especially in lower- to middle-income countries, and provides an incredible opportunity to potentially improve diagnostic accuracy for rare neuroimmune diseases globally. 

In 2024, Dr. Waters plans to welcome Fellows from Sri Lanka for a similar experience under the Fellowship program.

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