JKU Scientist Ahmed El-Gazzar Presented with an Award for Research in Osteoporosis

JKU researcher Ahmed El-Gazzar was recently presented with an award in recognition of his work in the area of osteoporosis research.

Ahmed El-Gazzar
Ahmed El-Gazzar

In Austria, over 370,000 women and 90,000 men suffer from osteoporosis.  While conducting research into the inherited form of this widespread disease, JKU researcher Ahmed El-Gazzar made a new discovery. He was recently presented with an award in recognition for his outstanding work. 

Osteoporosis, meaning “porous bone”, is a widespread malady often associated with old age and often affects women after menopause. While in many cases the disease is hereditary, there are also a number of underlying diseases which, regardless of age (children and adults), cause secondary structural skeletal weakness in terms of bone fragility. Aside from inherited forms, there are also cases of rare inherited (primary) bone fragility that are currently being treated by pediatric specialists.

In recognition of outstanding research in regard to an initial description and characterization of a new genetic etiology for osteoporosis, the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Metabolism (ÖGKM) has presented JKU researcher Dr. Ahmed El-Gazzar (head of the research lab at the JKU Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Prof. Wolfgang Högler) with the coveted research award.

Dr. El-Gazzar’s research focuses on discovering genetic etiologies and cellular mechanisms in cases of genetic bone fragility. By studying cultures of skin cells from an affected patient in the lab, the researcher identified the disease mechanism: A disorder in the collagen type 1 pathway. The project also includes researchers from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, and Canada.

Using state-of-the-art technology, Dr. El-Gazzar aims to correct the underlying gene cell mutation in an effort to heal the cells. The project findings will provide a solid basis to support targeted treatment in the future.

About Dr. Ahmed El-Gazzar

Dr. Ahmed El-Gazzar studied genetics/microbiology at the University of Vienna. After earning his PhD, he received an Erich Schrödinger Fellowship to work at the renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, USA. Dr. Ahmed El-Gazzar has served as a research laboratory director at the University Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (under the direction of JKU dept. head Prof. Wolfgang Högler) since 2019. He has been the recipient of numerous awards presented in recognition of his work.