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Alfaisal Scholar Program in Research Excellence

Journal Clubs

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ASPiRE Overview

The Alfaisal Scholar Program in Research Excellence (ASPiRE) is an in-house developed program that offers participants a unique and immersive experience in medical education, basic and clinical research. The ASPiRE program contributes to Alfaisal University College of Medicine's vision in preparing physicians who actively contribute to medical research.


Journal Club Overview

The ASPiRE Journal Clubs are interactive sessions that provide students with the opportunity to better understand the different sections of a research paper by aiding with increasing proficiency in reading, analyzing, and critiquing scientific literature. By participating in the journal club, students will not only be able to work on their presentation skills but will also be confident reading and analyzing any given research article they come across in the future. Having a good background in research is very crucial for every medical student and what better way to begin this journey than through participating in journal clubs!

ASPiRE Overview
Jounal Club Overiew

Target Audience

Medical students from all universities


On-campus at Alfaisal University

Journal Club 1

Article for Discussion

miR-23b-3p rescues cognition in Alzheimer’s disease by reducing tau phosphorylation and apoptosis via GSK-3b signaling pathways


Target Audience
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Dr. Ahmed Yaqinuddin

Vice Dean of Research & Graduate Studies

Chair of Graduate Programs

Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Alfaisal University, College of Medicine

Ahmed Yaqinuddin, MBBS, PhD, FRCP (Edin) is a Senior Scientist and Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology. He is also a founding faculty member of Alfaisal University College of Medicine. He currently serves as the Vice Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at the College of Medicine, Alfaisal University. Dr. Ahmed has authored more than 60 papers in indexed, highly reputed peer-reviewed journals. He has received several grants of about SAR 4 million over the years from both internal and external funding bodies including KACST and Saudi Ministry of Health. He has also authored a couple book chapters and presented his work in numerous international conferences in symposia. His research interests include DNA methylation, biomarkers, COVID-19 research, and medical education research. He is also passionate about developing innovative teaching and learning methodologies. Several of his innovative ideas have been published and are now adopted within the medical curriculum of Alfaisal University.

Journal Club 2

Article for Discussion

Effect of Tocilizumab on Disease Activity in Patients With Active Polymyalgia Rheumatica Receiving Glucocorticoid Therapy


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Prof. Imad Tleyjeh

Prof. Imad Tleyjeh is a Consultant of Infectious Diseases at King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is an Adjunct Faculty with the Division of Infectious Diseases and Public Health and the Division of Epidemiology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Sciences, Rochester, USA, where he also holds the appointment of Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Alfaisal University.

Prof. Tleyjeh is a clinician-investigator who has written multiple book chapters and has around 125 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals with more than 30,000 citations. He is a certified instructor for the Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). He is also a member of the guidelines writing committee for Infective Endocarditis, at the American Heart Association.

Consultant and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at King Fahad Medical City

Adjunct Faculty with the Division of Infectious Diseases and Public Health and the Division of Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic

College of Medicine and Sciences, Rochester, USA

Journal Club 3

Article for Discussion

Medical Masks Versus N95 Respirators for Preventing COVID-19 Among Health Care Workers



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Prof. Ziad Memish 

Senior Consultant of Infectious Diseases & Director of Research & Innovation Center at King Saud Medical City, Ministry of Health 

Professor at the College of Medicine in Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Adjunct Professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Georgia, USA. 

Dr. Ziad is widely recognized as a pioneer in Mass Gathering Medicine and Infection Control & established the WHO collaborating center for mass gathering medicine in the Ministry of Health and WHO Collaborating Center for Infection Control in the Saudi Ministry of National Guard (Health Affairs). He was the first Deputy Minister of health for public health, KSA (2009-2014). He sits on many WHO advisory panels including the WHO IHR Emergency Committee for COVID-19, WHO SAGE Working Group on COVID-19 vaccines, WHO Strategic Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards, the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region Technical advisory group on COVID-19 and chair of the WHO Regional Technical Advisory Committee on vaccinations. 


He has presented many abstracts and plenary talks internationally and published more than 750 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. He is the editor-in-chief of 2 journals: Journal of Epidemiology & Global Health & Dr. Sulaiman Alhabib Medical Journal both published by Springer-Nature.  He has been recognized as a “Highly Cited Researchers” for his exceptional research performance by the production of multiple highly cited papers (those that rank in the top 1% by citation in the field) by the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) 4 years in a row 2018-2021.

Journal Club 4

Article for Discussion

Effect of Awake Prone Positioning on Endotracheal Intubation in Patients With COVID-19 and Acute Respiratory Failure- A Randomized Clinical Trial




Prof. Hala Tamim 

Ph.D. Epidemiology, Masters in Public Health

Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Ontario, Canada

Prof. Hala is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University and holds an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. She has a Ph.D. in epidemiology from McGill University and a Master’s in Public Health from Emory University. She has over 20 years of professional teaching and training experience.


She has extensive expertise in research methods and statistical analyses and has managed several community-based and multi-center projects. Prof. Hala’s research interests are numerous with a major focus on maternal and child health.

Journal Club 5

Article for Discussion

Death and Chronic Disease Risk Associated With Poor Life Satisfaction: A Population-Based Cohort Study


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Prof. Ashraf Elmetwally

Professor of Epidemiology,

King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Associate Editor, BMC Health Services Research Journal

Docent of Epidemiology, Tampere University, Finland

Professor Ashraf Elmetwally is an Egyptian medical doctor with a Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Tampere University in Finland. After finishing his residency program in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Medicine and the theoretical part of his Ph.D. in Epidemiology, he worked as an epidemiologist at the Rheumatism Foundation Hospital in Finland (2003-2005), as a lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Aberdeen, UK (2006-2008). 


After earning his Ph.D. in 2009, he went on to work as a faculty and program coordinator of the health sciences program at Sharjah Higher colleges (2009-2011) and then joined the College of Public Health and Health Informatics at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as an assistant professor (2011-2015), associate professor (2016-2020) then full professor (2020 till present) of Epidemiology. Prof. Ashraf also earned the academic title of Docent from Tampere University, Finland, in 2016. 

He has seven years of experience (2014-2020) as a director of the MPH Master program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at KSAU-HS. He teaches basic and advanced courses in epidemiology and biostatistics and enjoys the experience of online education. He has around 100 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals and 4 book chapters. His research interests include clinical and population-based epidemiology, pharmaceutical research, pain and musculoskeletal diseases, medical questionnaires validation, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Prof. Ashraf was honored with some research and teaching awards, including the "Young Investigator Award" from the British Society of Rheumatology (2006), "First Prize for best research" from the British Pain Society (2007), and "President Award for best professor researcher" from KSAU-HS (2021). 


Lastly, he is the editor in Chief of the Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries and an associate editor for BMC Health Services Research Journal.

Journal Club 6

Article for Discussion

Mechanical Valves Versus Ross Procedure for Aortic Valve Replacement in Children: Propensity Adjusted Comparison of Long-term Outcomes  


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Prof. Zohair Y. Al Halees

Distinguished  Senior Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgeon & Consultant,

Heart Center, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre,

Adjunct professor of Surgery, Alfaisal University,

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President of World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery

Dr. Al Halees held many positions within the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSHRC) and was instrumental in establishing the department of cardiovascular diseases in 1987. This evolved into the King Faisal Heart Institute in 2003, and now known as the Heart Centre. He was also appointed as adjunct professor of Cardiac Surgery at the American University of Beirut Medical School, Lebanon since July 2013, where he frequently visits to perform complex cardiac surgeries. In addition, he holds the position of adjunct professor of surgery at Alfaisal University Medical School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2016).


Dr. Al Halees is currently the President of World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHS) and a member of many national and international associations including the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), the Society of Thoracic Surgery (STS), the European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS), the European Heart Society, French Society for Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Gulf Heart Association, Pan Arab Congenital Heart Defects Association (PACHDA), Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Saudi Heart Association in addition to being an honorary member of many other Arabic and International Associations/Societies.


Dr. AlHalees sits on the editorial board of many peer-reviewed international cardiac journals like the Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, Journal of Heart Valve Diseases and World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery in addition to being on the advisory board of many others. He is often invited as a manuscript reviewer for various national and international cardiothoracic journals.

 He published 426 articles and book chapters and 145 abstracts. He is a reviewer and member of the editorial board of various peer-reviewed international journals.


From the great works done by Dr. Halees, he received many recognitions and awards that included King Abdulaziz First Degree Medal of Honor, awarded to him directly from the hands of late King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.

Upcoming Article

Journal Club 7

Article for Discussion

Use of warfarin and risk of urogenital cancer: a population-based, nested case-control study



Prof. Hani Tamim

Professor of Medicine

Program Director, Master of Science in Health Research Management, College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Dr. Hani Tamim received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon in 1994. His Master of Public Health was obtained from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1995. In 2003, he finished his Ph.D. at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with his dissertation on the effect of antidepressants on the risks of cancer development. Moreover, Dr. Tamim was enrolled in a two-year post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with his major project being the effect of Proton Pump Inhibitors on the risk of gastric cancer. In 2005, he then took a post at the College of Medicine and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as an assistant professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Between 2011 and 2021, he worked at the American University of Beirut as a professor, mainly directing the biostatistics unit at the Clinical Research Institute. Since September 2021, Dr. Tamim has been working at the College of Medicine at Alfaisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Tamim’s research interests include cancer research, pharmaco-epidemiology, research methodology, case-control studies, as well as statistical analyses of epidemiological data. Dr. Tamim’s publication record exceeds 500 publications and includes different disciplines, such as cancer, surgery, critical care, obstetrics and gynecology, quality of life, nephrology, and pediatrics, as well as other methodological papers. More specifically, his cancer publications are related to the effect of different drugs (antidepressants, antibiotics, warfarin, acid-suppressive drugs, etc.) on cancer development (breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, urogenital cancers, etc.).

Contact Info

Contact Info

You are welcome to contact us at any time should you have questions.

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