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Building Research Networks and Friendships, Fulbright Fellow Looks Forward to Future Collaborations

December 14, 2017

Salmaan Inayat-Hussain, Ph.D., is on a six-month Fulbright Malaysian Professional Exchange Program Fellowship at the Yale School of Public Health, where he is working closely with researchers for a better understanding of the health risks associated with chemicals used in petroleum and natural gas. In Malaysia, Inayat-Hussain works for PETRONAS, an oil and gas company, and is their head of Global Product Stewardship and Toxicology. He is living in the area with his family and plans to return to Malaysia in February 2018 and use his research findings to improve chemicals management in his company and also share with industrial and academic colleagues in Malaysia through seminars and workshops.

You received a Fulbright to study at the Yale School of Public Health. What do you hope to accomplish while you are here?

SI-H: The purpose of this program is for professionals to broaden and share our industrial experiences through consultation, participation in seminars, workshops and other professional enrichment programs in the United States for 6 months. During my stay at Yale School of Public Health, I will be researching a systematic risk-based approach for managing chemicals in petrochemical industries.

What are the potential health implications of these chemicals?

SI-H: These chemicals are detrimental to the reproductive health of humans, causing adverse effects on both male and female fertility. Some chemicals are also known to cause toxicity during pregnancy.

What is your expected outcome and long-term goals from this project?

SI-H: This project aims to systematically assess and prioritize chemicals used in petrochemical industries specifically with regards to reproductive health hazards. Databases from Yale and PETRONAS which is my employer will be utilized for hazard classification. Priority setting will be performed using the new chemical risk assessment framework matrix, RISK21. The expected outcome from this project is a joint publication of a priority list of reproductive health chemicals and their risks to human health through drinking water. This publication will serve as an industrial guidance for the determination of safer alternatives as part of sustainable chemical stewardship. My long-term goal is to be able to create a synergy between industry and academia where I can share the best industrial toxicology practices with academic colleagues to ensure a continuous collaboration between PETRONAS and Yale.

Describe your experiences at the Yale School of Public Health.

SI-H: It has been a great experience working at Yale especially with Dr. Vasilis Vasiliou whom I have known since 1999 when we both worked in Colorado. The decision to choose Yale was a fortuitous one. I have enjoyed collaborating with colleagues not just in the School of Public Health but also in the School of Medicine. It is very rewarding to be able to conduct this project which has direct impact and benefit for industry.

What has been the biggest surprise?

SI-H: The variety of opportunities to attend seminars, workshops and other events including by OISS throughout the Yale campus is astounding. It has been extremely rewarding not just to keep up with the current scientific knowledge, but also it provides a unique opportunity to build network and friendship. Furthermore, I would like to commend OISS for the excellent events and activities planned for spouses (and scholars) which make us feel connected with the Yale community.

When was your first trip to the United States? What are some of the things you have been doing in your free time?

SI-H: I first visited the United States in 1991 and this is my third research attachment in the country. The first two were at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado. This is my first trip to New Haven. My family and I are really impressed with Yale architecture and the art galleries. On weekends, we have been visiting small towns and enjoying the local cuisine especially the lobster rolls and the pizzas!

Submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on December 14, 2017