Over the past few decades, the Internet has removed a huge barrier between people and massive amounts of information. Every day, more and more becomes available, to anyone, anywhere, anytime, with the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. And yet just as this barrier roots itself in history, a new one reveals itself more than ever. Language.
Genetic research has evolved from mapping the entire human genome to deciphering areas along it that relate to a specific disease. The next phase involves research localized to specific parts of the world in order to discover patterns in heritage and genetic susceptibilities to disease. A group of such projects based on the local Qatari population has so far yielded results that shine light on the specific ancestral background of the local population and also points to areas of the Qatari genome that could potentially allow prediction and intervention. These projects are led by Dr. Ronald Crystal, Chairman of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Because of their ability to become any type of cell in the body and potentially restore damaged tissues, stem cells have long been the focus of research. Yet progress in the field of stem-cell-based regenerative medicine has all but reached a standstill. Researchers based in New York City and Doha are working on an approach that involves the endothelial cells that make up the vascular system as a supportive “niche” for growing stem cells
Compared to studies in the fields of biology and engineering, nonlinear dynamics might not be so obvious in terms of its worth. In reality, it is an area of physics research that permeates the natural world and a field integral to so many others. Dr. Milivoj Belic won the 2012 QNRF Research Team of the Year Award for his prolific contributions—accounting for more than ten percent of Texas A&M at Qatar’s publicationsâÂÂÃÂin this field
For the first time, fine detail about the wind and wave conditions around the coast of Qatar has been recorded. By arranging the most sophisticated equipment available on the edge of a 500-meter pier extending into the Gulf, a research team at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) has collected detailed readings of air and wave currents around the peninsula. Their findings highlight a dearth of information on coastal conditions that have the potential to offer vital insights into many sectors.
The tools used in oil and gas exploration pummel through a myriad of harsh conditions to get data for underground mapping. However, pressure, 150°C+ heat and the vibration during drilling challenge the process. To start with, the downhole conditions are among the most unsuitable for power supplies, be they cords or batteries. Researchers in Qatar are looking at a way to improve the power source for drilling equipment, which could greatly enhance its performance and capabilities over time.
By working through unexpected findings, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) have moved closer to understanding a process that could contribute to more intelligent cancer therapies. The college’s Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Dr. Khaled Machaca, is principal investigator on a project involving zinc and its role in cancerous cell division. While at first, the team suspected zinc to have an influence on a widely known cancer target, they were soon lead to a more profound effect of the mineral’s changed levels.
By now, you have heard of the term ‘cloud computing.’ In fact, you’re probably using a cloud service every day without even realizing it—web mail platforms like G-mail and Yahoo fall completely within the cloud-computing genre, as does social media. We’re gradually trusting clouds more and more to store, compartmentalize and manage our social and professional lives. Meanwhile, the technology grows invisibly larger, absorbing our data and expanding toward a critical mass that researchers say is already flipping the concepts of hardware, software and data on their heads.
Steel alloy pipeline is the mode of transport for natural gas and its byproducts. To prevent the escape of hazardous materials and costly maintenance shutdowns, these massive tubes must be airtight and durable. They must also be supple enough for welding and molding. These two demands are hard to meet without breakdowns in the system.
An expert in signal analysis, Professor Boualem Boashash, of Qatar University’s College of Engineering, worked for the US and Australian military for years. But over time, he decided he’d rather apply his skills to a different sector of society.
From your average spaghetti strainer to the screen on your windows, filters are a part of our everyday life. In their simplest form, they keep debris out of air and water. Yet as filter technology advances, so does the level of precision around what we can keep out.
Ongoing work at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) is investigating how intracellular calcium (Ca2+) signaling pathways are involved in the very beginning of life as they prepare the egg for fertilization and the initiation of embryogenesis. The National Priorities Research Program-funded work also has wider implications. Since all cells use Ca2+ signals, these studies could impact the treatment of various pathological conditions including infertility, hypertension, and cancer.
Since the introduction of television and other forms of mass communication, such as the internet, concerns have been raised throughout the world for their impact on people's lifestyles. Of particular concern has been the influence of such technologies on the lives of vulnerable groups such as children. It has been shown in numerous studies that time spent by children at TV/computer screens, in association with sedentary lifestyle habits, greatly increases the risk of obesity. However, very little work has been done on the impact of this phenomenon on low vision.
Respiratory tract infections are the second-leading cause of death, worldwide, for children under five years of age. Given that statistic it is remarkable that until recently we had very little information on what viral agent was causing these infections in over half of all cases. However work carried at Hamad Medical Corporation and Qatar University suggests that a previously unknown pathogen, known as human metapneumovirus (hMPV), may be responsible for infection in a substantial proportion of cases.
A unique partnership between researchers in Finland and Qatar is aiming to make the cultivation of desert truffles a sustainable ecological and agricultural concern for the region. The work, funded by QNRF, brings together Dr. Asmaa Al-Qaradawi of Aquamed Research and Education in Doha and Dr. Salem Shamekh, Director of the Juva Truffle Center in Finland. Dr. Shamekh had shown that it is possible to cultivate and farm European truffles in Finland, despite the country's harsh winters. He is now hoping, along with Dr. Al-Qaradawi, that his expertise can also be applied to desert environments.
Compared to studies in the fields of biology and engineering, nonlinear dynamics might not be so obvious in terms of its worth. In reality, it is an area of physics research that permeates the natural world and a field integral to so many others. Dr. Milivoj Belic won the 2012 QNRF Research Team of the Year Award for his prolific contributions—accounting for more than ten percent of Texas A&M at Qatar’s publications—in this field
Breast cancer is the top cancer among women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
The disease is rooted in a complex mix of genetics, increased life expectancy and lifestyle choices as well as environmental factors.Â
Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. At the heart of the vision for the country's development is a decreased dependence on natural resources and an increased reliance on a knowledge economy. This vision demands much in terms of aligning infrastructure to support education and research. But more than that, it demands the right people to bring, discover and transfer knowledge. Attracting them is one thing, retaining them is another. For the first time, a researcher in Qatar is putting Doha under the microscope to make suggestions about its development.
Time for a lecture. The professor enters the room, sets down her folders and speaks to a hall full of students who are navigating the web, falling asleep, messaging friends on their mobile devices or doodling in their notebooks. The class is expensive and the information will impact their future. But somehow the students can’t focus. The professor, frustrated, leaves the lecture hall wondering why ‘kids today’ are so distracted, why they don’t care. But is youth and modern distraction really the problem? A team of researchers based in Doha says ‘not necessarily,’ and they’ve been sharing evidence to this effect around the region and Europe.
Killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Dr. Bernardine Dias, associate research professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, was a witness to the devastation, which impacted her both personally and professionally. Her work in the field of robotics from that point forward was in part dedicated to how technology can enhance disaster response.
In 1997, a movie called Gattaca hit the screens and got everyone talking about what life would be like if you could predict a person’s future based on their genes. The ethical implications of precise genetic prediction would be massive, as babies would be judged harshly before birth. Research has come a long way since the 90s, however, and Gattaca is now more comic than compelling.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has long been a leading cause of death worldwide. Yet the relationship between CVD, diabetes and obesity — termed the metabolic syndrome — has become a critical consideration, more than studies of each condition individually. In Qatar, the rate of obesity and diabetes, among the native population, is among the highest, worldwide, so the need is great and the push is strong to make progress along these lines.
A Qatar-based research team is working to predict where and when wireless frequencies are vacant so that the spectrum can handle up-and-coming technologies. Wide, open air. You wouldn’t think it would be expensive, but it’s one of the most valuable natural resources a nation has. In fact, there’s a lot of real estate in the air that we use constantly but rarely think about.
In the 1920s, two German scientists—Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch—developed revolutionary chemical reactions that could transform gas into liquid. These reactions proved particularly valuable to natural gas-based fuel processing. Since the Fischer-Tropsch days, engineers around the world have been working on ways to tweak these gas-to-liquid (GTL) reactions to produce more products, more efficiently and with less environmental impact. An international research team headquartered at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) is making remarkable progress along these lines.
Perhaps the strongest reflection on the true nature of society is found in the way people live, particularly the design and decoration of their homes. The concept of gender-segregated households in the Middle East presents many considerations along these lines. In many countries the idea has succumbed to modern designs and trends. A strong exception exists in the Gulf, however. Researchers based in Qatar and Canada have recently uncovered the highly sophisticated reasons behind this practice.
Children learn and practice their vocabulary through interaction with parents and friends as well as through formal instruction at school. However, for deaf children, sign language is the main method of communication. Despite the importance of strong vocabulary skills for understanding text, effective verbal communication and integration into society, the average deaf student graduates from American high schools with a fourth grade reading level. This can be partially attributed to the fact that 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents who are rarely fluent in sign language.
Expanding on vocabulary is essential to English language learners looking to improve their communication skills. A UREP-funded research team, representing students and faculty from Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar (WCMC-Q), along with faculty from Qatar University, and the College of the North Atlantic Qatar, searched for ways to take advantage of online learning and incorporate it into the vocabulary-learning process.
In our everyday life, we experience a number of natural changes around us. Such changes are governed by certain principles of nature and if these principles can be written in the form of mathematical equations, many natural phenomena can be explained or predicted in advance.
Asma al-Thani and her colleagues at Qatar University and Hamad Medical Corporation have recently published the conclusions of their UREP-funded research into the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in women attending a gynecology/oncology clinic in Qatar.
Work on the QNRF-funded project to develop a bibliographic database on Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics (IMSE) and to establish an International Islamic Bioethics Information Resource (IIBIR) is well underway.
Mental disorders are widely recognized as a major contributor to the burden of disease worldwide. In most countries, over a third of the population report sufficient criteria to be diagnosed with mental illness at some point in their life, and many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. But until now Qatar lacked a comprehensive study on the prevalence of mental disorders in the general population, despite evidence that outpatient visits to Hamad Hospital's psychiatry unit have increased considerably over the last 10 years. A recently completed study, conducted with a US $258,000, two-year grant from QNRF, provides the first systematic look at the prevalence of common mental disorders among Qataris and identifies high risk groups in the Qatari population.
Two pharmacologists from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, drawing on funds from a US $1.05 million grant from QNRF, are looking into the complex ways diabetes and cardiovascular disease are linked. In initial research under their three-year grant, the researchers have shown that high glucose levels damage cells lining blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart problems.
Underground gas and water distribution networks suffer from physical deterioration that results in damage and breakdowns, and, consequently, in fluid leakages. These leakages represent a growing problem due to the strategic importance of gas and water. Surveys indicate that leakages account for more than 50% of water losses in distribution networks in many countries where water is considered a scarce natural resource. Investigators, Dr. Adnan Abu-Dayya, Dr. Mazen Hasna, Dr. Tamer Khattab, and Dr. Abdullah Kadri of Qatar University and Dr. Daniele Trinchero of Politecnico di Torino are conducting research on designing and developing a system capable of monitoring, detecting, locating, and possibly predicting leakages in underground fluid distribution pipes. The research project was made possible thanks to a three-year grant for US $997,000 from QNRF.