Currently, Dr Boumelhem is engaged in developing a new diagnostic blood test aimed at revolutionising the early detection of liver disease.
“Early disease detection is crucial as it allows for prompt intervention and tailored treatment approaches, ultimately leading to improved outcomes and a brighter prognosis for patients,” he says.
At the heart of the diagnostic breakthrough is a protein known as fibroblast activation protein (FAP). Dr Boumelhem’s research has shown elevated FAP levels are a reliable biomarker for liver diseases and that these levels can be easily measured through blood samples.
“The creation of a brand-new blood test that can accurately measure FAP levels will provide immediate insights into an individual’s risk of liver disease. Such a test allows for more timely treatment strategies and reduces the need for liver biopsies, an invasive procedure which is presently employed for diagnosing disease,” he explains.
Beyond the laboratory, Dr Boumelhem is a self-confessed gym junkie and when time allows, a keen gamer.
“I’ve always been a video game enthusiast. I still remember the excitement of getting my first Game Boy for Christmas,” he recalls.
“As a child, I’d play the ‘Legend of Zelda’ for hours on end. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on games and of course I’ve bought the newer gaming consoles as the technology has evolved.”
Dr Boumelhem’s journey into the world of fitness and weightlifting began during his university years when he was studying science.
“I was learning all about physiology as an undergraduate student and then applying this knowledge to my training sessions. I was really focused on improving my strength and fitness, eating the right foods and adopting a healthy lifestyle,” he says.
By his mid-twenties, Dr Boumelhem had transitioned into powerlifting, pushing his physical limits in the squat, bench press and deadlift.
“The journey of gradually increasing my strength and challenging my physical boundaries gave me a real sense of confidence and self-belief,“ he shares.
These days, Dr Boumelhem has transitioned away from the powerlifting but maintains a steadfast commitment to a consistent gym routine.
“Life can be busy and time is limited but I still love my gym time. I now do lighter weights with some cardio thrown into the mix. Exercise just makes everything better, from my physical health to my mental well-being,” he says
Learn more about Dr Boumelhem’s vital work in the Liver Enzymes in Metabolism and Inflammation Program.