PMFG 2023: Day Three Highlights

  • Launch of new genetic study to enable better fertility treatment and pregnancy outcomes
  • Global advancements in pediatric precision medicine - from genomics to disease modeling

13 November 2023, Doha, Qatar – Functional Genomics and its application to advancing women’s health was a key session on the third day (Day 3) of Sidra Medicine’s annual Precision Medicine and Functional Genomics (PMFG 2023) Conference.

PMFG 2023 Conference Co-chair Dr. Matteo Avella highlighted the holistic approach to women’s health, wellness services which are being underpinned by research at Sidra Medicine.  “We are on an exciting path to precision medicine as scientists and clinicians from Women’s Services are now working on new studies related to the nutritional, environmental and genetic factors related to fertility and IVF.”

“Infertility, which affects 16.5 to 17.8 percent of couples globally, often stems from complex genetic factors which can impact a couple’s ability to conceive a healthy pregnancy. Understanding these processes is crucial for effective fertility treatments. Our approach, is a major step towards developing advanced diagnostics and therapeutics to ensure a healthy pregnancy outcome for our IVF patients,” continued Dr. Avella.

Prof. Johnny Awwad, Chair of Women’s Services and Dr. Avella opened the morning session, ‘Unveiling the Secrets of Germline Cells, Fertilization & Fertility Preservation & Restoration through Functional Genomics’. The session focused on several talks related to functional genomics strategies for female and male fertility.


Prof. Awwad highlighted the urgency of precision medicine to support couples facing infertility challenges due to genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. “As a reproductive medicine physician, it is heart breaking when we inform some of our patients that their IVF cycles have not been successful. We wanted to give our patients every chance to have a baby. This is why we are embarking on studying the genetics of infertility and using our state-of-the-art next generation sequencing technologies to uncover new genes that can regulate the ability for men and women to conceive a child.”

Taking a holistic approach, the study which is being fully funded by Sidra Medicine, will also look into the lifestyle factors affecting fertility.

“While the role of environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle in the preconception period is well known, there is still a lack of clarity on how nutrition affects the quality of eggs and embryos of women undergoing fertility treatment.  Our study, is also investigating the interaction between nutrients and gene function and the impact on the outcome, in women undergoing treatment at our IVF clinic.  We believe this aspect of our study, is very unique and one of its kind,” continued Prof. Awwad.

Together with fertility investigations, Sidra Medicine recently launched a unique mother and child cohort, which aims to use a multi-omic approach on a variety of samples and clinical data collected at different time points from the same pregnant woman and her infant. The results of the study will also seek to identify biomarkers for predicting pregnancy complications and the early onset of chronic pediatric diseases.

The afternoon session on Day 3 focused on the ‘Advancements in Pediatric Precision Medicine: From Genomics to Disease Modeling’, with presentations by speakers from Australia, Denmark, Qatar, UK, and USA who shared insights on pediatric diabetes, leukemia, neurodegeneration and immune systems as well as opportunities in genome projects and the use of human organ chips for disease modeling.


  • Morning Session: Functional Genomics in Cancers
  • Keynote lecture by Dr. Ted Laetsch (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA): Precision Medicine for Rare Pediatric Cancers: Lessons Learned and Future Directions
  • Afternoon Session: Precision Medicine in Cancer in collaboration with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)

For details and the agenda, please visit: