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Exchanging science and culture

November 13, 2012

Over a period of five months, IRIS coordinated several cultural activities throughout Iowa for Dr. Hammadi Al-Hilali, who participated in the Iraq Science Fellowship Program hosted by Iowa State University.

Hammadi recently returned home to Iraq on Nov. 2 with new insights on not only scientific research, but also American life.

During his time in Iowa, Hammadi attended the Annual Meskwaki Powwow Festival in Tama, Iowa, experienced the simple life by staying with a family in rural Iowa for a weekend and attended the Iowa State University vs. Western Illinois football game in Ames.

Hammadi, head of the Medical Microbiology and Parasitology Department in the College of Medicine at Al Qadissiyah University, seemed to have taken on Des Moines too. He graciously served as an expert panel member for the World Food Prize Youth Institute discussions, toured the State Capitol and even visited the biology department at Drake University.

Checking out the biology department

IRIS insured that Hammadi had opportunities to experience the wonderful cultural aspects of Iowa while being hosted by Dr. Jessie Trujillo and Dr. Peter Nara at ISU. Several activities, including the Meskwaki Powwow, were conducted by IRIS’ Executive Director Del Christensen and his spouse Dr. Debora Christensen.

While participating in the State Department Exchange Program, Hammadi spent much of his time focusing on the genetic diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. He holds a Ph.D. in immunology and focuses his research on medical diagnostic serology and vaccination approaches. Additionally, he works as a consultant at the immunology unit at Al-Diwaniya Teaching

Dr. Hammadi’s home province of Al-Quadisiyyah, Iraq

Hospital in the Al-Qadisiyyah province of Southern Iraq.

The Iraq Science Fellowship Program is a public-private partnership implemented by CRDF Global and funded by the U.S. Department of State. IRIS partners with World Learning for the fellowship which gives Iraqi scientists, technicians and engineers the opportunity to study, research and work alongside their colleagues at host institutions in the United States in order to increase Iraqi professional and technical capacity while promoting infrastructure and workforce development in the fields of science and engineering.

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