Dr Waleed Alsalem nominated for UK Alumni Award

News article 11 Feb 2019

LSTM’s alumnus, Dr Waleed Alsalem, has been shortlisted for a prestigious UK Alumni Awards 2019 awarded by the British Council.

The annual awards celebrate outstanding individuals who receive an education in the UK, paying tribute to the impact that they have had in their chosen fields, and how that was sparked by their studies in the UK. The National Awards in Saudi Arabia are split into three categories, with Dr Alsalem being a finalist for the Professional Achievement Award.

Studying for 5 years at LSTM, after receiving his MSc in Vector Biology, Dr Alsalem was awarded his PhD in Tropical Medicine in 2015 under the supervision of Senior Lecturer, Dr Alvaro Acosta-Serrano. In his PhD, he studied novel ways to prevent and control the transmission of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Middle East. He was also the first to report the hyperendemicity of this disease as a result of the Syrian crisis.

Dr Acosta-Serrano said: "Waleed's work on cutaneous leishmaniasis has had a huge impact in the Eastern Mediterranean region as it has helped to raise awareness on the spread of this terrible disease. After returning to Saudi Arabia, he has expanded his interests into other neglected and emerging infections, which nowadays represent not only key health problems in the region, but also critical global security threats. I'm very impressed with Waleed's accomplishments so far".

Dr Alsalem is the CEO of the National Health Laboratory (NHL) at the Ministry of Health, where he has implemented an ambitious three-year plan, reorganising the entire structure and enabling the laboratory to accomplish such feats as receiving and processing 300,000 newborn tests annually for metabolic disorders, as well as establishing seven national biosecurity references centres within the NHL. Dr Alsalem also works as a voluntary advisor at the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSHARC), looking cholera management to assess, manage and address outbreaks. Since 2016, he also serves as Associate Editor for PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony in Riyadh in March.