Dr. Ibrahim once told me, “You are not studying to gain a certificate, you are studying to help your community.”
With these words, Amr Ehab started his interview. Amr is a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy – Ain Shams University (Class 2012).
In the beginning of his career, he took the pragmatic path to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry as a quality specialist, then worked in the Ministry of Health as a member of the regulatory authority responsible for the registration, quality control, and release of biologics and vaccines.
“I was introduced to Heliopolis University for the first time after my graduation in 2012 by one of my professors who had a really close relationship with SEKEM and Dr. Ibrahim, but I started working at HU in 2016.”, said Amr.
After receiving his Master’s degree in 2019, Amr applied for a doctoral position at Marburg University through the Jameel Education Foundation Scholarship. He was first introduced to the scholarship and Marburg University during a dinner talk with Dr. Maike Petersen and Dr. Cherine Osama on the sidelines of the 18th Annual NAPRECA conference that was hosted by HU in December 2019.”, said Amr. After some deliberation on suitable scholarships available for his chosen field, they both encouraged him to apply for the scholarship as soon as it is announced. In the following months, he was in contact with his current PhD supervisor, who has expertise in the same area of his research interest, and accepted his research proposal on developing nano-systems for Curcumin to treat multidrug-resistant bacteria using photodynamic therapy.
“I always tell my students to have the passion and willingness to develop their knowledge and skills after graduation, otherwise the pharmaceutical career, and the academic path specifically, is not theirs.”, said Amr.
Amr noted many similarities between the academic/research career at both the national and international levels according to his experience during his master’s degree, however, the main differences that exist are the abundance of resources and the significant role that research centers and institutes play abroad. He hopes that Heliopolis University will take the initiative to develop profound research centers within SEKEM community to serve the entirety of Egypt and fill a huge gap in both the scientific research and community development fields.
“I was relieved when I received the acceptance email,” Amr described his feeling.
Despite the simplicity of the application process, there were numerous obstacles. COVID-19 hit and paralyzed the world and it significantly delayed Amr in his research and travel plans. Now that the pandemic is subsiding, the move to Germany is imminent.
That was the main, but not the only challenge he met during the application. Nevertheless, he remained optimistic throughout, to start this scholarship. He is aware of the significant role that a scholarship can play in the development of the individual on different levels, and intends to make good use of it.
As the interview was coming to an end, Amr expressed his hope that in the near future the Egyptian universities will profit from the attractive pool of opportunities of our community and start attracting bright scholars and brilliant researchers to invest their knowledge and skills in developing the community and paving the way to an even better future. He dreams that one day Egypt will once again grant scholarships to the world, not the other way around.
That in return will lead to a buildup in momentum in the pharmaceutical field and scientific research in general, which will surely contribute to the successful implementation of Egypt’s Vision 2030.