Tess Ames
4th February 2021

Researcher Blog | Taking the wrong train to the right destination!

It all started with my kids’ doctor set.  my magical stethoscope healed everyone it touched! It was at this time when I dreamt of becoming a doctor.


However, as I grew older, my growing passion for engineering disciplines and phobia of blood and needles made me realise that although I would love to engage with patients and their treatment, medicine was definitely not the right job for me.

Working towards my new dream, I worked very hard to join the engineering major at high school. However, life doesn’t always go according to plan and my family had to relocate to a new place where all the engineering major classes were filled.

Believing in God’s plan and that there is always good in everything, I joined the biology major and continued to put in all the necessary effort, working hard until I graduated from high school with the top school rank.


upon joining the faculty of Pharmacy at Ain Shams University, I realised for the first time what “perseverance pays off” actually means, and how the wrong train can end up taking you to the perfect destination as long as you never lose hope and continue to do your part.

Right from the first semester, I fell in love with the pharmaceutical field and how it brilliantly integrates engineering principles, along with physics, maths, chemistry and biology to develop drugs and cure patients. This was the right destination, and one I never knew could exist! It was such a perfect match where not only my dream to work in engineering related subjects became true, but also my early childhood dream of helping patients.

During my undergraduate degree and while working with my friends on patients’ counselling and education, we decided to start Eshraket Khair charity organization at the faculty of Pharmacy. Our aim was to collect one pound weekly donations from all our colleagues and dedicate the amount collected every month to support patients who are not covered by medical insurance.

Despite the simplicity of the idea, its impact was massive and was a great success!


Eshraket Khair won the first rank for innovation and charity organizations in the Middle East, After which the idea rapidly spread to several other faculties!


While engaging with patients in Eshraket khair, I realised that patients’ comfort and quality of life is not only about money. Sometimes, the medicine is available and even cheap, but the patient doesn’t adhere to the regimen either because of the very high side effects profile or because of the repetitive dosing schedule which becomes burdensome, especially for patients with chronic diseases, and in the elderly population who are usually on a polypharmacy.

The ability of Pharmaceutical Engineering and Pharmaceutics to address many patient compliance issues by exploiting ideas from different scientific domains grabbed my attention from the first day of my undergraduate degree, and made me determined to be a researcher in this innovative and smart field. Despite the extremely competitive process of academic staff selection for Egyptian Universities, once again, perseverance paid off and I was nationally top ranked over pharmacy graduates which allowed me to start an academic career at the Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy at one of Egypt’s top Pharmacy Schools at Ain Shams University soon after graduation.

After this, winning the Erasmus Mundus scholarship to do the “NANOMED Erasmus Mundus Joint Maters Degree in Nanomedicine for Drug Delivery” allowed me to learn about different drug delivery research fields and move to different drug delivery labs across France, Greece, Italy, and the UK. This mobility not only added to my research experience, but also allowed me to meet and learn from excellent and great professors in the field.

After finishing my master’s degree, I was looking for a PhD that has a wide perspective and could both strengthen my research skills and teach me about filling the gap between academia and industry while fulfilling an unmet clinical need to help increasing the patients’ quality of life.

Once again, God rewarded my hard work and put me where good luck guided me to ORBITAL, a perfect match for everything I wanted for my PhD including expertise, multidisciplinarity, mobility, as well as excellent training opportunities. Despite the COVID delays and the exceptional circumstances of 2020, I had no option but to appreciate the lessons 2020 taught me!

This past year took, but it also gave.


Despite the endless difficulties and losses we all encountered , having more time to share with family and friends, even if virtually, the endless self-development and learning options, and even the flexibility of working hours from home were things we never thought were possible. 2020 also gave an excellent opportunity for meditation, self-evaluation and practicing gratitude for the endless blessings that were always taken for granted. Cherishing these lessons and continuing to believe that there is good in every bad, I shall continue to treasure the hidden opportunities in every difficulty and do my part on every train I take while looking forward to a brighter tomorrow where we all will be celebrating our survival and laughing at the memories of these days.

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