We Speak Science (WSS) is a non-profit science education institute, established in 2014 by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). Its mission is to enhance science education in developing neighborhoods throughout the world whereby science education is severely lacking. A competition for the best science poster launched by WSS took place in September 2019. An open worldwide call resulted in 1432 submissions from undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world, among these, the USA, UK, Italy, Macedonia, France, Greece, Finland, Netherlands, Albania, and Kosovo. The posters were judged and selected by an international panel of scientists and lecturers at Harvard University. Although the level of the participants was very high and the covered topics were very interesting, graduate students from Harvard and Kosovo collaborated together and their scientific work stood out.

This image shows Ernad Kosumi, Prof. Dr. Hilmi Islami, Prof. Dr. Shpend Elezi, Dr.sci. Milaim Kosumi holding the WSS Poster Winner.

The research project was based on breast cancer and polycystic kidney disease. The group was led by Anthony Michaels (Harvard University) and Ernad Kosumi (Ph.D University of Skopje). Other group members included, Jessica Grace, Prof. Dr. Hilmi Islami, Prof. Dr. Shpend Elezi, Dr.sci. Milaim Kosumi, Rina Mehmeti and Veton Guraziu. Ernad Kosumi explains “Ciliopathies are associated with a wide and diverse spectrum of clinical phenotypes that include retinal degeneration, left–right asymmetry defects, polydactyly, anosmia, mental retardation and obesity.

However, one of the most common defects seen in most ciliopathies is cystic dilatation of tubules that develop in the kidney as a result of failure to detect flow through the tubules of these organs. Research in this field is critical to find a cure to such devastating diseases”. When asked about the difficulty of research, Ernad humbly replied: “If you are passionate about something (no matter what) you should pursue your dreams. Follow your scientific passion, find what drives you in science and don’t be afraid of anything”. He also highlights the importance of teamwork, “This success is a result of teamwork and I would like to thank my colleagues for the amazing work done, and the professionalism that each one of them have shown has impressed the entire team immensely. This Award comes as a real boost for me as a young clinical researcher to proceed on this pathway of improving my clinical skills, expertise and science and it shows how investing knowledge, time and effort can produce meaningful results that can help both patients and community. I would like to cordially thank my mentor Dr. Zalli for her contribution and encouragement. I want to express my deepest gratitude for believing in me. You have been an exemplary and visionary mentor, a great leader who has dedicated her life to the service of humanity. I appreciate and treasure everything you have taught me”.