Maria Dalamaga

Laboratory Medicine, Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital / Mass Eye and Ear, Boston, Massachusetts
2019-2020 Fulbright Visiting Scholar

I was invited at the Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute / Mass Eye and Ear, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Department of Ophthalmology) in Boston, Massachusetts as a Visiting Associate Professor for 3 months under the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program. It has been a great experience both from a scientific and cultural view as well as from a human perspective mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During my three month-period, I successfully completed my research program Understanding systemic lipids in the pathogenesis of Age-related Macular Degeneration: an omics approach, which focused on the role of the metabolomic changes, and especially the role of lipids in the pathophysiology of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

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My Fulbright grant period was much affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a clinical pathologist / biopathologist, I have seen a fusillade of infectious diseases in hospitals, labs and travels: brucellosis, malaria, hepatitis A, typhoid, AIDS, etc. But now it was a new feeling. Three out of 12 physicians and scientists of our institution contracted COVID-19. To my amazement, one of them, the youngest and the most optimistic, who underestimated the risk of infection, ended up hospitalized and treated next to the ICU department for two weeks. I did everything I could to avoid becoming infected as one does not know the individual outcomes. I tried to assist students and neighbors who contacted me for medical advice.

Overall and despite the difficulties and the frustration I faced, my Fulbright grant period was one of the best and life changing experience. Beyond any accomplishment, the whole experience forced me to think about what and who is essential in life.

DALAMAGA Maria

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

FULBRIGHT FOUNDATION - GREECE

Scholarships for US and Greek Citizens
Educational Advising / Study in the USA

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