WEP 2020: A futuristic approach to medicine

The 2020 KAUST Winter Enrichment Program took place from January 12 to 23 under the theme of 'Personalized Medicine.' Photo by Khulud Muath.

By Dona Alburi, KAUST News

The 11th edition of the University's two-week Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) offered members of the KAUST community and beyond an immersive encounter with a wide selection of lectures and workshops under the theme of "Personalized Medicine."

Held from January 12 to 23, WEP 2020 was chaired by KAUST Associate Professor Niveen M. Khashab and co-chaired by KAUST Professor Khaled Nabil Salama. The WEP team brought together internationally and locally distinguished speakers, who covered a variety of topics, such as health management technology and digital health.

Personalized medicine, also known as "precision medicine," is centered around the individual's unique genetic makeup. Although WEP 2020's theme was specific to the biological and medical fields, the various keynote lectures and workshops encompassed all the disciplines offered at KAUST.

The "enrichment" in WEP comes from the program's ability to focus on several aspects, including academic, cultural and healthy lifestyle.

Attendees of the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program admire an exhibition of microbes on the University's campus. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.

On the program's opening day, HRH Dr. Maha Bint Mishari AlSaud, vice president of external relations and advancement at Alfaisal University, gave a talk on the "Precise Art of Medicine."

In another WEP keynote lecture, Rene Frydman, a gynecologist whose work led to the birth of the first in vitro fertilization baby, addressed the importance of a personalized approach in infertility assessments.

Experts from the University, the Kingdom and the world discuss digital health during a 2020 Winter Enrichment Program panel discussion. Photo by Khulud Muath.

Aside from lectures, audience members of all ages engaged with the creative aspect of science through Tom Pringle's show (AKA Dr. Bunhead).

Dr. Bunhead draws the audience into science through a lively presentation during his Winter Enrichment Program show. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.

Students were also given the opportunity to produce a five-minute film on research at KAUST in the "Lab to Film" workshop, which was led by film producer Todd Nims. The films were shown during the program's closing ceremony.

KAUST students take part in the Winter Enrichment Program's "Lab to Film" workshop on campus. Photo by Khulud Muath.

Through movies like "Game Changers," the Science Fair and the poster competition, the community was scientifically enriched through different platforms.

For a break, a "Mindfulness" workshop was offered by Sandra Katakalea to focus on the importance of breathing and being present.

Aspiring young scientists participate in the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program's Science Fair. Photo by Khulud Muath.

The event concluded with a performance by Tim Blais, the creator of A Capella Science, in collaboration with the KAUST chorus.

The 2020 Winter Enrichment Program gave participants the chance to enter a richly fascinating world of education on campus. Photo by Khulud Muath.

This year's event created a lively, informative and collaborative atmosphere for all the attendees, including those who followed the event through live coverage on the KAUST official YouTube and Facebook channels.

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