Yogyakarta – This month, we have the chance to know better our network Steering Committee (SC) member from Yogyakarta, Dr Abu Tholib Aman, MSc, PhD.
Dr. Tholib is a Medical Doctor and a former Vice Dean for Post Graduate and Research. He got his Medical degree from Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), his MSc from the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and his PhD from University of Bristol, United Kingdom with a scholarship from International Institute of Biotechnology.
He has been interested in microbiology and infectious diseases since he was a medical student. Soon after returning from UK, he got a scholarship to study Clinical Microbiology at University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. Not long after returning from Austria, he was awarded a specialist in Clinical Microbiology by the Colleges of the Indonesian Society for Clinical Microbiology in 2002. He also received some scholarships to study the implementation of clinical microbiology for the patient’s management at University Hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany.
His involvement in multi-center research started soon after he got his PhD. In 2002-2005, he was responsible for laboratory detection of rotavirus from patient with diarrhea and also for determining the serotype of the rotavirus isolates in the Asian Rotavirus Surveillance Network. The surveillance involved many countries in Asia and was supported, among others, by the U.S.A and Bill Gate foundation. Since rotavirus serotyping had never been conducted in Indonesia, he was sent to CDC in Atlanta, Georgia to conduct the first serotyping using molecular method (genotyping by RT-PCR). Afterward, he continued his involvement in rotavirus research, especially in the Indonesia Rotavirus Surveillance Network, and now he is a consultant for the current clinical trial of rotavirus vaccine in Indonesia.
Dr Tholib is also involved in a number of research projects. One of them is the development of vaccine for tuberculosis. Faculty of Medicine UGM is one of members of tuberculosis vaccine Consortium with the main purpose of developing vaccine against tuberculosis; hence he is the PI for Yogyakarta site.
Dr. Tholib’s numerous experiences in managing research delivered him to be the Head of Research and Community Services unit at the Faculty of Medicine, UGM from 2005 to 2009. He was also the Head of the Microbiology Department for two periods (2003-2009). He was appointed as the Vice Dean for Research, Postgraduate and Collaboration, Faculty of Medicine in 2008. Between his tight schedules, he is able to allocate some of his time for several organizations. He served as the Head of Indonesian Society for microbiology (PERMI), Yogyakarta Chapter for two periodes (2002-2005 and 2005-2008), and a member of the Executive Committee of PERMI (2005-2008). His involvement in organizations expand to the Indonesia Society for Clinical Microbiology (PAMKI), where he serves as the Chair of Yagyakarta Chapter and as a member of the Executive Committee of PAMKI (2009-Now), responsible for foreign collaboration.
Dr. Tholib was really excited and enthusiastic when INA-RESPOND was established. He joined INA-RESPOND when he was the Vice Dean of Gadjah Mada University, and his commitment for the network continues unabated. He is fully aware that INA-RESPOND as a research network will provide a lot of capacity building opportunities to improve the quality of research (facilities as well as the human resource) and increase the number of research conducted at the Faculty of Medicine UGM- Sardjito Hospital in Yogyakarta and other hospitals throughout Indonesia.
AFIRE study, which started around two years ago as the first INA-RESPOND research, involves several clinical specialists, ranging from Internists and Pediatricians to Clinical Microbiologists and Clinical Pathologists. This setup poses some challenges in management and coordination. In respect of the implementation of new values, the quality of research being conducted now is supervised in a slightly different way from other multicenter, multi-country study that he has had before, making management and coordination especially good communication a crucial factor in making a study successful. Moreover, since the emphasis is more on clinic, the involvement of Institutional Review Board (IRB) is very important.
The experience in managing AFIRE study is invaluable for Sardjito hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, UGM, as well as for dr. Tholib as a researcher. Dr Tholib realizes that INA-RESPOND will give benefits not only to science itself but also to every party involved. That is why he is really committed to making the network and all its studies a success.
It is dr. Tholib’s hope that all INA-RESPOND’s current studies conducted at sites will run smoothly, and that in the future, more and more studies will be conducted at RS Sardjito, Yogyakarta. He emphasizes that there are vast potential resources for clinical research in Yogyakarta as well as in other part of Indonesia.