FaceOf: Prof. Jean M.J. Frechet, former senior VP at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Updated 12 January 2019
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FaceOf: Prof. Jean M.J. Frechet, former senior VP at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

  • Prof. Frechet’s specialties lie in chemical and biological science and engineering
  • Prof. Frechet received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles de Lyon in 1967

Prof. Jean M.J. Frechet is a former senior vice president for research, innovation, and economic development at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah. He started in June 2010 and retired early January 2019.

On Wednesday, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal revealed the winners of the 2019 King Faisal Prize, recognizing individuals and institutions for significant contributions to their field.

The winners included Prof. Abdelali Mohamed Oudrhiri from Morocco and Prof. Mahmoud Fahmy Hegazi from Egypt for Arabic language and literature, Prof. Bjorn Reino Olsen and Prof. Steven L. Teitelbaum from the US for medicine. Prof. Allen Joseph Bard for science, and Prof. Frechet from the US for outstanding contributions in the field of chemistry.

Prof. Frechet’s specialties lie in chemical and biological science and engineering, including polymer science, microfluidics, and nanotechnology. He has written for more than 800 publications, holds over 200 patents, and was also the recipient of the 2007 Dickson Prize and Arthur C. Cope Award, as well as the 2013 Japan Prize for chemistry.

He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles de Lyon in 1967, and in 1969 received a master’s in organic and polymer chemistry from Syracuse University and State University of New York. He obtained his doctorate from the same university in 1971.

Becoming a faculty member in the field of chemistry at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 1973, Frechet left for the role of IBM Professor of Polymer Chemistry at Cornell University in 1987. 


Saudi Arabian doctors save lives around the world with Albalsam International

Updated 10 min 8 sec ago
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Saudi Arabian doctors save lives around the world with Albalsam International

  • Specific teams are chosen for each trip based on the needs of the country in question, says team leader Emad Bukhari

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian nonprofit Albalsam International Organization and its team of surgeons have reportedly provided medical assistance to 2,524 patients in six different countries, including Yemen and Tanzania, it announced recently.

Albalsam, which opened in Switzerland in 2017 under the leadership of Saudi cardiologist and executive director Dr. Emad Bukhari, provides free medical services to underprivileged citizens around the world. 

The organization has seven teams specializing in different areas of medicine: Cardiovascular medicine and surgery; ophthalmic medicine and surgery; pediatric medicine and surgery; cardiac catheterization; pediatric urology; intensive care; and respiratory care.

Bukhari cites Qur’an 22:77 — “O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good — that you may succeed” — as the inspiration behind the organization.

“By the grace of God first, and then by the hard work and devotion of my team and the generous assistance of those who donate to us, we are able to do good in service of humanity,” Bukhari told Arab News.

In numbers

560 cases of eye patients.

2,524 recipients.

46 surgery for children.

Specific teams are chosen for each trip based on the needs of the country in question, he explained: “If we are urgently needed to perform surgeries, we’ll send a larger surgical team of about 10 people. If we are sending doctors to offer training or teaching, we might send four.” The necessary resources for each trip are donated by various hospitals.

The doctors do their utmost to ensure that they are able to provide follow-up care for their patients too, and monitor their recovery. 

“We do not go anywhere unless we know we have the full means to offer the proper care,” Bukhari said. 

“We ensure that the local medical teams can carry on the treatment after we leave, training them ourselves if we have to, and we even follow up on the phone or over Skype, if necessary.”

To date, the organization has provided services including open-heart surgery, cardiac catheterization therapeutic intervention surgery, cardiac ultrasound diagnosis, cataract surgery, and various pediatric surgical procedures.

Bukhari said that the organization treats all patients equally, regardless of race, creed or gender.

“Islam teaches us that saving a single life is like saving all of humanity, and that is how Albalsam contributes to the growth and expansion of its work and puts its own mark on humanitarian action.”