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Cancer research & poverty alleviation dominate talks at MIT

by The Media Office

L. Rafael Reif, President, MIT and Khalaf Al Habtoor

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor met with the President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in October and discussed collaboration with the well-known institute following talks with top professors, including Nobel Laureate Phillip A Sharp.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman, Al Habtoor Group paid a visit to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday 27 October 2016 to discuss collaboration on key issues including poverty alleviation and cancer research. Al Habtoor held a series of meetings with academics and the President of MIT, L. Rafael Reif, the 17th President of the private research university.

The Chairman met with Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., who is Institute Professor and Professor of Biology at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. They discussed the advancements made by MIT in cancer research and diabetes. Dr. Sharp is a world leader of research in molecular biology and biochemistry. His landmark achievement was the discovery of RNA splicing in 1977. This work provided one of the first indications of the startling phenomenon of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. This discovery, which fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of the structure of genes, earned Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

“I commend the work the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is doing to tackle some of the world’s biggest diseases,” Al Habtoor said. “It is making advancements every single day.”

Al Habtoor, who just announced a USD 20 million investment to kick-start a global Poverty Alleviation initiative at the 25th Arab-US Policymakers Conference in Washington DC, also met with Esther Duflo, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Economics Department, MIT. Professor Duflo informed Al Habtoor about the progress made by J-PAL in helping alleviate poverty around the world.

Al Habtoor said, “J-PAL is doing a great job. I would like to do whatever I can to assist, and I urge wealthy individuals, governments and corporations to put a priority on fighting poverty. It cannot be tackled by one or two people alone. It has to be a collective effort of a network of academics, NGOs, international organisations and donors. That is the only way to succeed,” he said. “Poverty is the root cause of terrorism. If we combat poverty, then we are a step closer to fighting terrorism.”

Al Habtoor also met with Eric Grimson, Chancellor for Academic Advancement. It was the second meeting between the two following a meeting earlier in the year in Dubai.

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