Metabolic Medicine: Meet the Programme Leader, Dr. Soha Zouwail


Are you a healthcare professional who works with patients presenting with metabolic disorders including diabetes, obesity and hypertension?

As these diseases continue to increase in prevalence, the impact of upskilling with clinical biochemistry postgraduate courses like our new PGCert in Metabolic Medicine cannot be overstated.

Launching our first intake this March, there is still time to upgrade your knowledge of metabolic medicine, equip yourself with the skills and confidence to meet increased patient demand, and have the opportunity to contribute to valuable research in clinical biochemistry.

Not only is our flexible platform completely online, meaning that you can fit your studies around other commitments, we are also proud to work with some of the most highly regarded experts in metabolic medicine as your tutors on this programme. You will benefit from exemplary academic guidance and enviable networking opportunities from our faculty when you study metabolic medicine with Learna.

Meet Dr. Soha Zouwail, Consultant in Medical Biochemistry and Programme Leader for both our Postgraduate Certificate in Metabolic Medicine and Postgraduate Certificate in Calcium and Bone Medicine. We caught up with Dr Zouwail to learn more about her background and gain insights into the new metabolic medicine programme…

How did you come to specialise in metabolic medicine and can you tell us about your background in this field?

It came by coincidence, I was initially drawn to study neonatology and then I decided that it is important for me to build a career which includes a research aspect, which is how I came to metabolic medicine.

I’m from Egypt, where metabolic medicine is known as medical biochemistry. So I went into biochemistry, studied my Doctor of Medicine (MD), where my studies were related to obesity, then I went to Birmingham to do a PhD. Following that I went into specialist training in Chemical Pathology, and I have worked as a Consultant in Medical Biochemistry and clinical lead of Acute Biochemistry at the University Hospital of Wales since 2009.

What inspires you in medical biochemistry?

It’s a very diverse area of medicine to specialise in. Your focus and knowledge base is spread across different specialties. Rather than specialising in just one discipline, in metabolic medicine we specialise in multiple chronic disease and other metabolic abnormalities.

For example, in my lipid clinic I can see patients presenting with various problems such as hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes - which then requires me to address different aspects of their diet, lifestyle, and medicine in order to tackle the issue, drawing on knowledge across a range of specialties. The same applies for my Metabolic Kidney stone clinic, it’s a field where we are constantly challenged to think critically and bring together knowledge across different disciplines to resolve complex issues.

Can you tell us some of the key skills and knowledge that students will gain on this metabolic medicine course?

Students will be equipped with the knowledge required to be able to assess patients with complicated metabolic disorders. This Metabolic Medicine Certificate explores various cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes and obesity, so students will be able to assess complex patients with confidence, and reduce cardiovascular risks.

By studying on this programme and further educating themselves in clinical biochemistry, healthcare professionals will be in a better position to advise their patients with metabolic disorders, and would be fully prepared to handle patients coming and asking for certain medications based on what they have read online.
Students will be able to apply their learning to help patients make informed decisions as they develop effective plans for managing patients with metabolic disorders.

This metabolic medicine online course explores the underlying pathophysiology of three different metabolic diseases. Studying on this programme could inform and influence future research in metabolic diseases; our learning model encourages critical thinking and equips students with lifelong learning skills. Rather than simply following existing guidelines, we encourage students to apply critical thinking skills, reviewing evidence-based medicine and applying learning in clinical practice.

What are some of the challenges facing healthcare professionals in metabolic medicine at the moment and how will we help to prepare students for overcoming the challenges?

Social media poses challenges to medicine in general, with patients often seeking information online. Patients see new medications launching in the market and think that those medications are going to be suitable for them, when that isn’t always the case.

The education in this clinical biochemistry online course equips practitioners with the background knowledge to engage in nuanced dicsussions, fostering critical thinking. It empowers healthcare professionals and those in jobs in biochemistry to guide patients in making informed decisions amid the plethora of information available online.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in metabolic medicine?

Firstly, you need to be passionate about it. It’s important to understand the challenges that a career in metabolic medicine can present - patients can be complex at times. I see metabolic medicine as a kind of puzzle where you’re trying to fit lots of different specialties together to resolve underlying medical problems. It’s a good career path for people who like to solve problems and have the ability to apply critical thinking to challenging scenarios.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Cycling and travelling - I love seeing new places and travel often.

Lead the way in metabolic medicine

If you’re ready to specialise in the important and rapidly growing field of metabolic medicine, the opportunity to learn from Dr Zouwail herself and achieve a certificate in metabolic medicine could be yours.

Our programmes are designed to offer ultimate flexibility, with no set times to log in, no lectures and no seminars - instead you will log in daily to our online platform at a time that suits you, meaning you can continue to work full-time while you study.

Learning in our academic forum allows you to research, respond to and discuss clinically rich case scenarios and undertake reflective practice, led and supported by our team of expert tutors. You will learn among a peer group of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals around the world, with whom you can share best practice and gain a global perspective.

With our March deadline fast approaching, apply now to unlock endless opportunities and jobs in biochemistry, progress your career and learn from experts like Dr Soha Zouwail.