North­eastern Uni­ver­sity hosted a del­e­ga­tion of Algerian inter-​​ministerial leaders last Wednesday, including Djamel Ould Abbès, the Min­ister of Health, Pop­u­la­tion and Hos­pital Reform.

The U.S.-Algeria Busi­ness Council facil­i­tated the meeting, which also included rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Min­istry of Industry, SMEs (Small and Medium Enter­prises) and Pro­mo­tion of Invest­ment; the Min­istry of Labor, Employ­ment and Social Secu­rity; and the Embassy of Algeria in Wash­ington, D.C.

The goal of the meeting was to share the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research being con­ducted by fac­ulty mem­bers in the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences and to foster poten­tial part­ner­ships between Algeria and the Uni­ver­sity in the biotech­nology sector.

Northeastern’s robust col­lab­o­ra­tion with hos­pi­tals, com­mu­nity health cen­ters and phar­ma­ceu­tical research labs in Boston and around the world makes the Uni­ver­sity an ideal partner for Algeria, said Judith Barr, an asso­ciate pro­fessor in the School of Phar­macy who helped orga­nize the event.

She com­pared Algeria’s biotech ambi­tions to those of Sin­ga­pore, which has invested hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to build infra­struc­ture, fund research and devel­op­ment and recruit top inter­na­tional scientists.

Algeria is intent on devel­oping a biotech­nology pres­ence,” said Barr, who also serves as the director of the National Edu­ca­tion and Research Center for Out­comes Assess­ment in the phar­macy school. “They look at North­eastern as a model and as a collaborator.”

Ould Abbès, who vis­ited the Mass­a­chu­setts Biotech­nology Council and the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of State as part of his two-​​day tour of Boston, met pri­vately with North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and Provost Stephen W. Director.

He praised Northeastern’s diverse fac­ulty and stu­dent body and expressed inter­ested in col­lab­o­rating with the Uni­ver­sity. “I was greatly impressed by the diver­sity of coun­tries and cit­i­zens of every reli­gion and eth­nicity at North­eastern,” Ould Abbès said, adding, “I found an incred­ible spirit of sol­i­darity and fra­ter­nity present at the University.

We are very keen on estab­lishing close coop­er­a­tion between Algerian uni­ver­si­ties and Northeastern.”

Alexan­dros Makriyannis, director of the Center for Drug Dis­covery and Behrakis Trustee Chair in Phar­ma­ceu­tical Biotech­nology, gave the del­e­gates an overview of his research. In one major study, he is exploring the effect of cannabin­ergic drugs on pain, appetite and cen­tral ner­vous system diseases.

Makriyannis invited the del­e­gates to return to Boston to col­lab­o­rate with North­eastern. “I’ve been in Boston for six and a half years and I’m happy here,” he told them. “North­eastern is an excel­lent place.”