My visit to Magdi Yacoub's research centre
BHF Medical Director Peter Weissberg tells us about a surprise visit to Magdi Yacoub's research centre in Aswan, Egypt.
Imagine my surprise when I bumped into Magdi Yacoub in Cairo airport en route to Aswan. My friends and I (all cardiologists and their partners) were joining our Nile cruise whilst Magdi was heading to his hospital.
He insisted that we should visit it, but we knew our guide in Aswan had other plans. “Why do you want to visit a hospital?” he asked incredulously. But at the mention of Magdi Yacoub’s name, Mohammed’s eyes widened with excitement. “You know the great Magdi Yacoub?” He spluttered, “OK, I will fix the visit, but only if I can come too!” And so he did.
State of the art research centre
Magdi showed us round his hospital with justifiable pride. He also showed us plans for a state of the art research centre to be built nearby.
We met the heart surgeons and nurses who perform minor miracles on desperately sick children for free on a daily basis. Many of the staff were from the UK or were Egyptians who had trained with Magdi Yacoub in the UK.
It turned out to be the highlight of our holiday and, it would appear, the highlight of Mohammed’s life. We had expected to encounter numerous Egyptian gods and icons on our trip down the Nile, but not to come face to face with a real live one!
Professor Peter Weissberg, BHF Medical Director
Professor Weissberg began his long relationship with the BHF in 1988 when he was awarded a BHF Senior Research Fellowship (Honorary Consultant Cardiologist) in the Department of Medicine in Cambridge. In 1994 he was appointed to the first BHF Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine in Cambridge.
Professor Weissberg's research focused on the cell and molecular biology of atherosclerosis – the narrowing and hardening of the arteries over time – which is the major cause of heart attacks and strokes.