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1.  Evaluation of the first year of the Oxpal Medlink: A web-based partnership designed to address specific challenges facing medical education in the occupied Palestinian territories 
JRSM Open  2014;5(2):2042533313517692.
To (1) evaluate educational needs of clinical students at Al-Quds University Medical School in the West Bank; (2) address these needs where possible using synchronous distance learning, with clinicians in Oxford providing case-based tutorials to undergraduates in the West Bank via an online platform (WizIQ) and (3) assess the impact of this education.
Review of online OxPal Medlink database for tutorials held between March 2012 and April 2013. Needs assessment and evaluation of student and tutor experiences through online questionnaires, focus groups and semi-structured interviews.
Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford, UK, and Al-Quds University Medical School, Abu Dies, Palestine.
Doctors at Oxford University Hospitals and fourth-, fifth- and sixth-year medical students and faculty members at Al-Quds Medical School.
Main outcome measures
Number of tutorials, student participation, student-rated satisfaction and qualitative feedback from tutors and students.
Students demonstrated strong theoretical knowledge but struggled to apply this in presentation-based scenarios. Between March 2012 and April 2013, 90 tutorials were delivered to 60 students. Feedback: >95% respondents rated tutorials as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ and ‘Very’ or ‘Fairly’ relevant to their future practice in Palestine. Students reported the programme had modified their approach to patients but requested better synchronization with concurrent attachments and clarification of learning outcomes.
OxPal Medlink is a novel, web-based distance-learning partnership designed to overcome some of the challenges to local medical education in the occupied Palestinian territories. Evaluation of the first year indicates teaching is relevant to local practice and of high quality. This approach may have the potential to strengthen local capacity for medical education.
PMCID: PMC4012652  PMID: 25057373
distance learning; education; Internet; teaching
2.  Drug Release from Electric Field Responsive Nanoparticles 
ACS nano  2011;6(1):227-233.
We describe a new temperature and electric field dual-stimulus responsive nanoparticle system for programmed drug delivery. Nanoparticles of a conducting polymer (polypyrrole) are loaded with therapeutic pharmaceuticals and are subcutaneously localized in vivo with the assistance of a temperature-sensitive hydrogel (PLGA-PEG-PLGA). We have shown that drug release from the conductive nanoparticles is controlled by the application of a weak, external DC electric field. This approach represents a novel interactive drug delivery system that can show an externally tailored release profile with an excellent spatial, temporal, and dosage control.
PMCID: PMC3489921  PMID: 22111891
stimulus responsive materials; drug delivery; conductive nanoparticles; polypyrrole; controlled release
3.  Fumarate Is Cardioprotective via Activation of the Nrf2 Antioxidant Pathway 
Cell Metabolism  2012;15(3):361-371.
The citric acid cycle (CAC) metabolite fumarate has been proposed to be cardioprotective; however, its mechanisms of action remain to be determined. To augment cardiac fumarate levels and to assess fumarate's cardioprotective properties, we generated fumarate hydratase (Fh1) cardiac knockout (KO) mice. These fumarate-replete hearts were robustly protected from ischemia-reperfusion injury (I/R). To compensate for the loss of Fh1 activity, KO hearts maintain ATP levels in part by channeling amino acids into the CAC. In addition, by stabilizing the transcriptional regulator Nrf2, Fh1 KO hearts upregulate protective antioxidant response element genes. Supporting the importance of the latter mechanism, clinically relevant doses of dimethylfumarate upregulated Nrf2 and its target genes, hence protecting control hearts, but failed to similarly protect Nrf2-KO hearts in an in vivo model of myocardial infarction. We propose that clinically established fumarate derivatives activate the Nrf2 pathway and are readily testable cytoprotective agents.
► Cardiac fumarase deletion (cFH1-KO) results in mice with elevated cardiac fumarate ► cFH1-KO is compensated for by amino acid influx into the citric acid cycle ► Nrf2 and its target genes are activated in the hearts of cFH1-KO mice ► Fumarate-related Nrf2 activation is cytoprotective and may be of therapeutic use
PMCID: PMC3314920  PMID: 22405071
4.  Novel missense mutations in exon 15 of desmoglein-2: Role of the intracellular cadherin segment in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy? 
Heart Rhythm  2010;7(10):1446-1453.
The diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy can be challenging. Disease-causing mutations in desmosomal genes have been identified. A novel diagnostic feature, loss of immunoreactivity for plakoglobin from the intercalated disks, recently was proposed.
The purpose of this study was to identify two novel mutations in the intracellular cadherin segment of desmoglein-2 (G812S and C813R in exon 15). Co-segregation of the G812S mutation with disease expression was established in a large Caucasian family. Endomyocardial biopsies of two individuals showed reduced plakoglobin signal at the intercalated disk.
To understand the pathologic changes occurring in the diseased myocardium, functional studies on three mutations in exon 15 of desmoglein-2 (G812C, G812S, C813R) were performed.
Localization studies failed to detect any differences in targeting or stability of the mutant proteins, suggesting that they act via a dominant negative mechanism. Binding assays were performed to probe for altered binding affinities toward other desmosomal proteins, such as plakoglobin and plakophilin-2. Although no differences were observed for the mutated proteins in comparison to wild-type desmoglein-2, binding to plakophilin-2 depended on the expression system (i.e., bacterial vs mammalian protein expression). In addition, abnormal migration of the C813R mutant protein was observed in gel electrophoresis.
Loss of plakoglobin immunoreactivity from the intercalated disks appears to be the endpoint of complex pathologic changes, and our functional data suggest that yet unknown posttranslational modifications of desmoglein-2 might be involved.
PMCID: PMC2994644  PMID: 20708101
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy; Desmoglein-2; Desmosome; Genetics; Missense mutation; Plakophilin-2; ARVC, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy; Cx43, connexin43; DSC2, desmocollin-2; DSG2, desmoglein-2; DSP, desmoplakin; GFP, green fluorescent protein; GST, glutathione-S-transferase; ICS, intracellular cadherin segment; PG, plakoglobin; PKP2, plakophilin-2; RV, right ventricle

Results 1-4 (4)