Griffs Under 40: Abdallah Bitar '03, MD, PhD
Buffalo, NY - Abdallah Bitar conducted research in Dr. Mary O’Sullivan’s chemistry/biochemistry lab at Canisius College where he created synthetic organic compounds to test against a unique enzyme found in trypanosomes. Trypanosomes are parasites - or agents - that cause illnesses such as African sleeping sickness and Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that can be life-threatening.
That experience put Bitar on a dual career path which now enables him to continue his research and also practice medicine.
“When I was an undergraduate, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the bench (research) but was always intrigued by the bedside, in the hospital,” Bitar recalls.
Bitar earned his MD. and PhD at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. An internal medicine and research residency at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA followed and Bitar began to focus on cardiology. Today he is nearing completion of a cardiology fellowship at Scripps Clinic after which he will continue training to become an interventional cardiologist.
Throughout his cardiology fellowship, Bitar volunteered at the Eric Paredes (EP) Save-a-Life Foundation, which offers free electrocardiogram screening for high school students in high poverty areas of San Diego. He also volunteered at clinics offering free healthcare and screenings for homeless, poor and uninsured patients.