Two professors from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine recently took part in a national conference for physiologists in India — and were the only symposium chairs from outside the country.
OUWB professors serve as the only international presenters at conference in India
Ferrari, ElSayed at India conference
Suzan ElSayed, Ph.D., (left) and Thomas Ferrari, Ph.D., (second from left) speak with Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji, chancellor of the JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research, who helped kick-off the 2019 National Conference of Association of Physiologists in India by blessing the event.

Two professors from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine recently took part in a national conference for physiologists in India — and were the only symposium chairs from outside the country.

Suzan ElSayed, Ph.D., associate professor, and Thomas Ferrari, Ph.D., assistant professor — both from the Department of Foundational Medical Studies — co-chaired a symposium at the 6th Annual National Conference of Association of Physiologists.

The four-day conference ran Sept. 11-14 and was held at JSS Medical College in Mysuru, a city in southern India.

The OUWB team co-chaired a symposium on “Physiology of Virtue.” Other than the keynote speaker, they were the only guests from outside of India. For ElSayed and Ferrari, traveling to India was a first.

“I think it’s always good to be open and meet folks who are doing more or less the same job as you, but in a different country, and a different academic system," he said. “It’s a great opportunity to get together and compare notes to see if they’re doing some things the same or differently.”

Ferrari said the OUWB team was invited by the conference’s organizing secretary who visited the metro Detroit area and OUWB in July.

During their “Physiology of Virtue” symposium, Ferrari spoke on the biological implications of fidelity and the psychophysiology of self-forgiveness. Elsayed addressed the physiology of fasting.

“It just kind of hit me that it would be fun to do Physiology of Virtue, which to my knowledge, is brand new,” Ferrari said. “I haven’t ever seen that in the United States, let alone in India, where it was definitely new to them.”

In addition to the professional aspect of the trip, ElSayed and Ferrari said they each had personal interests in traveling to India.

“In my personal life I embrace a lot of the teachings from the east — India, China, and other parts of southeast Asia — so for me it was a real draw,” he said.

ElSayed said it was a “very interesting, rich experience from all aspects — including scientifically and culturally.” She added it will help with connecting even better with OUWB students who originate from India.

“It’s a very good feeling that I have been in their country and can now share that experience with them,” she said.

Ferrari and ElSayed also said their participation in the event may have opened the door to the possibility of collaboration with JSS Medical College, though they noted it’s yet to move beyond just being an idea.

“It’s (provided us with some ideas) for cross exchange with students and collaboration,” Ferrari said. “So we’re excited about that.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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