Dean Leitersdorf guest of honor at Kathmandu University graduation, meets with Nepalese president

Nepalese President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav meets with Prof. Leitersdorf

1 January 2012: Prof. Eran Leitersdorf, Dean of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine, was guest of honor and keynote speaker at Kathmandu University’s 17th graduation ceremony for students in the medical sciences, held last month in Kathmandu. Also attending the ceremony were Nepal's minister of education, Kathmandu University president, university senate members, faculty deans, other government ministers, members of parliament, and the recipients' families.

The Hebrew University has special ties to Kathmandu University and Dhulikhel Hospital, the university's teaching hospital, via the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine’s international master’s program in public health (IMPH) and designated courses in public health conducted by Hebrew University senior lecturers and professors at Kathmandu University.

This exchange has been taking place for years, assisted by scholarships from the Hebrew University, the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Pears Foundation, private donors and the Israeli Foreign Ministry's aid program MASHAV.

Prof. Leitersdorf also met with Nepal's Presdient Dr. Ram Baran Yadav (a medical doctor himself) whom, he reported, “has been in office for several years and was happy to hear about the medical education at the Hebrew University and Hadassah, the different academic programs, the possibility of expanding the training programs for Nepal's students through our Faculty of Medicine and my suggestions regarding the upgrading of the public health system in Nepal based on Israeli models."

The president dedicated an hour to meeting with Prof. Leitersdorf and reviewed the current state of medicine in his country and the complex political issues stemming from the need to provide medical treatment to over 28 million citizens, many of whom reside a great distance from medical centers. The president also expressed his desire to expand relations between the two universities and conveyed his appreciation of the extensive work done by the Israel Embassy in Nepal, including plans for developing Nepal's agriculture and water system.

While in Kathmandu, Dean Leitersdorf gave a lecture about "translational" medicine, emphasizing the need to implement research-based discoveries for Nepal's special medical needs and develop academic medical science in the country. Part his lecture looked at the essence of medical research, with illustrations from Israel and insights on the fundamental difference between basic and applied research and the need to develop both fields.

Prof. Leitersdorf, the Dorothy and Maurice Bucksbaum Professor in Molecular Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine, was elected Faculty Dean in 2009 and is the recipient of five Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine Prizes and the Fogarty (U.S. National Institutes of Health) and IAS awards. His main research interests are in lipid metabolism, atherosclerosis, molecular genetics and drugs affecting lipid metabolism. He is an Associate Editor of the journalsAtherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and a reviewer for many other scientific journals and national organizations.