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Qatar Foundation
Annual Research Forum
Proceedings 2010
Table of Contents
p37 - BMP9
The spectrum of Mediterranean fever (MEFV) mutations in an Arabic cohort
Abstract Review Panel
p38 - BMP10
Preliminary results of multilingual, multicultural survey design
Scientific Committee
p39 - BMP11
Ethical issues in genetic research
p40 - BMP12
Cyanobacteria and BMAA exposure from desert dust –a possible link to sporadic ALS
among Gulf War veterans
p41 - BMP13
Characterization of the LPIN2 gene and its protein and examination of its role in psoriasis
p42 - BMP14
Patient opinion of the Doctor-Patient relationship in a public hospital in Qatar
p43 - BMP15
Influence of the glycemic load (GL) on subjective and objective measures of sleep quality
in insomnia
p44 - BMP16
Detection and classification of human movement (DC-MOVE)
p45 - BMP17
Nascent HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men appear to be emerging in the
Middle East and North Africa
Biomedicine - Oral Presentations
p16 - BMO1
Building a biomedical research program in Qatar
p17 - BMO2
High-risk human papillomavirus infection among women attending women’s hospital in Qatar
p18 - BMO3
The identification of CNVs in patients and their association with diseases and phenotypes
p19 - BMO4
Mutations in GJB2, GJB6 and mDNA 1555A>G variant explain only a minority of cases of
nonsyndromic hearing loss in the Qatari population
p20 - BMO5
Vitamin D and bone density in Qatari adults
p21 - BMO6
Population genetic structure of the people of Qatar
p46 - BMP18
Cardiovascular risk factors in metabolically diverse, non-diabetic Qatari women
p22 - BMO7
A novel DNAH11 mutation in a Qatari family with primary ciliary dyskinesia
p47 - BMP19
Regulation of mammalian odorant receptor genes
p23 - BMO8
Development of a novel switchable CE-MS interface with predictive trajectories for
high-throughput proteomics studies
p48 - BMP20
Mutations in IL1RN in bone and skin inflammation
p49 - BMP21
Associations of adipocytokines and anthropometric measurements of the newborns of
pregnant women with abnormal screening of 50g glucose tolerance test in State of Qatar
p24 - BMO9
Factors influencing rehabilitation outcome in adult traumatic brain injury in Qatar
p25 - BMO10
Electrocardiographic characteristics of West-Asian and African Male athletes: the Qatari
pre-participation screening experience
p50 - BMP22
Homozygosity mapping identifies additional loci for primary ciliary dyskinesia in two
Qatari families
p26 - BMO11
WCMC-Qatar stem cell research program
p51 - BMP23
The genetic association of CYP2C19 allele with clopidogrel treatment in myocardial infarction
p27 - BMO12
Are novel semisolid filled hard gelatin capsules superior to currently marketed
Metformin tablets?
p52 - BMP24
Molecular analysis of phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene from dried blood spots from
Libyan phenylketonuria patients
p28 - BMO13
Biological characterization of Qatari and regional endemic plant extracts for
cosmetic purposes
p53 - BMP25
Repeated sprinting on natural grass impairs vertical stiffness but doesn’t alter plantar loading
in Qatari soccer players
p54 - BMP26
Developing a childhood prevention programme for children in the State of Qatar
Biomedicine - Poster Presentations
p55 - BMP27
Neuromuscular alterations may not trigger the earlier exercise cessation in a hot environment
p29 - BMP1
Multimerization of the transient receptor proteins TRPV6 and TRPC1
p56 - BMP28
Atypical Rett syndrome diagnosis by molecular testing
p30 - BMP2
Production of novel proteins therapeutics for cancer treatment
p57 - BMP29
Cognitive decrements do not follow neuromuscular alterations during passive heat exposure
p31 - BMP3
Evidence of intense ongoing endemic transmission of hepatitis C virus in Egypt
p58 - BMP30
p32 - BMP4
Screening for and cloning and molecular characterization of two new oligopeptidase B
encoding genes
Gender differences in body composition, inflammatory markers and risk of metabolic
abnormalities in Arabs
p59 - BMP31
p33 - BMP5
Potential role of inositol 1,4,5 - triphosphate receptors in the pathogenesis of hypertension
Novel poly (diol-co-tricarballylate) biodegradable elastomers! What makes them excellent
carriers for controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering applications?
p34 - BMP6
Molecular characterization and structure determination of human ADAMTSL4
p60 - BMP32
Factors influencing breast cancer screening practices among Arab women living
in the State of Qatar
p35 - BMP7
The impact of interventions on HIV transmission among couples in sub-Saharan Africa
p36 - BMP8
Polymorphism in adiponectin receptor gene type 1 (ADIPOR1) in individuals with coronary
artery disease with and without type 2 diabetes in the state of Qatar
Table of Contents
Biomedicine - Student Posters
Energy & Environment - Poster Presentations
p61 - BMPS1
Metal toxicity at the synapse: presynaptic, postsynaptic and long-term effects
p88 - EEP1
Adaptive transmission for spectrum-sharing cognitive systems
p62 - BMPS2
Gene identification in Mendelian forms of familial epilepsy
p89 - EEP2
Biopesticide research and development: for safer agriculture, food and environment
p63 - BMPS3
Role of mesenchymal stem cells in enhancing ovarian cancer metastasis
p90 - EEP3
p64 - BMPS4
Enhanced EGFR expression and function in calreticulin deficient cells
Incipient fault diagnostics of rotating electrical machines using adaptive neuro-fuzzy
inference system
p65 - BMPS5
Label-free intrinsic imaging capillary zone electrophoresis analysis to detect
homocysteine from blood serum for the detection of genetic metabolic disorders
in new-born babies in Qatar
p91 - EEP4
First-ever research on the basic ecology of the Ethiopian hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus)
in Qatar
p92 - EEP5
Potentials for commercialization of novel Fischer-Tropsch reactor technology
p93 - EEP6
Supported gold nanocatalyst for low temperature CO oxidation and combustion of volatile
organic compounds (VOC)
p94 - EEP7
Study of interrelationship between atmospheric turbulence with oceanic wave motions
p95 - EEP8
Genetic and environmental variation among Qatari date palm cultivars assessed by DNA markers
p96 - EEP9
Development of a high-speed, magnetically-loaded energy storage system
p97 - EEP10
Endangered wild plants in Qatar
p98 - EEP11
Real-time, online, air quality monitoring sensor network
p99 - EEP12
Optimal resource allocation for relay-assisted wireless communication systems
p100 - EEP13
Preparation, characterization and investigation of CO2 adsorption behavior of zincmagnesium carbonate compounds
p101 - EEP14
Ecologies of scale: strategies for designing culturally and environmentally relevant
neighborhoods in Doha, Qatar
p102 - EEP15
Laser ultrasonic inspection, a new inspection technique and its effects on the integrity
and surface properties of the metallic surfaces
p103 - EEP16
Effects of GTL fuels on aircraft gas turbine altitude ignition combustor operability
p104 - EEP17
Life cycle assessment of polymers in Qatar
p105 - EEP18
Non-invasive method to examine the diet of the spiny-tailed lizard, Uromastyx aegyptia
microlepis, in Qatar
p66 - BMPS6
Calreticulin mediated control of polycystin-2 expression
p67 - BMPS7
A new 3-dimensional model for ovarian cancer based on amniotic membrane
p68 - BMPS8
Signature changes in human brain wave activity associated with olfactory learning
p69 - BMPS9
A mouse model analyzing the influence of dietary fat intake on liver apoptosis
p70 - BMPS10
Analysis of cortical development in Lis1-GFP mice
p71 - BMPS11
Regulation of store-operated channels by endoplasmic reticulum chaperons
p72 - BMPS12
Tumor associated mesenchymal stem cells protect ovarian cancer cells from hyperthermia
through CXCL12
p73 - BMPS13
Initial investigation of ubiquitination pathway in mammalian meiosis
Energy & Environment - Oral Presentations
p76 - EEO1
Materials science and engineering are �outside the box’ at Qatar University to improve
the Environment
p77 - EEO2
Gas-to-Liquids Research at Texas A&M University at Qatar
p78 - EEO3
GTL fuels and their effects on aircraft aas turbine altitude ignition – detailed diagnostics
p79 - EEO4
Automating visual inspection of pipes used for natural gas production
p80 - EEO5
Real-time leakage detection in underground water pipelines using wireless communication
p81 - EEO6
Smart solar reactor for co-production of hydrogen and industrial grade carbon under any
weather conditions
p106 - EEP19
Integrated pest management as an alternative to chemical pesticides with low
environmental impact
p82 - EEO7
Improving productivity and increasing Qatar reserves
p107 - EEP20
p83 - EEO8
Qatar biofuel: research, development, education, infrastructure
Fluid-rock interaction in carbonates - the impact of flow rate and grain size distribution on
limestone dissolution at the laboratory column scale
p84 - EEO9
Developing an air quality modeling system for Qatar
p108 - EEP21
Using clumped isotopes to help understand isotopic sector zoning in calcite
p85 - EEO10
Efforts in the State of Qatar to conserve and monitor endangered marine turtles
p109 - EEP22
Improving stable carbon and oxygen isotope geochemical measurements in dolomite:
reference material and acid fractionation factor
p86 - EEO11
Pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll a fluorometry for monitoring the health of
corals along the coast of Qatar
p110 - EEP23
Fracture-related diagenesis in the carbonate carapace of a salt dome, Jebel Madar, Oman
p87 - EEO12
Qatar Sustainable Water & Energy Utilization Initiative (QWE). Water and environmental
research activities at TAMUQ
p112 - EEP24
Early dolomitization of a Lower Cretaceous shallow water carbonate
platform: was microbial activity a major controlling factor?
Table of Contents
p113 - EEP25
A novel meshing and finite element flow model for porous media
p140 - CSO9
Named entity recognition from Arabic Wikipedia
p114 - EEP26
First evidence of scavenging behavior in the herbivorous lizard
p141 - CSO10
Exploiting social interactions using opportunistic networks
p115 - EEP27
Numerical analysis of three-dimensional sloshing with random excitations
p142 - CSO11
The Qatar Unified Imaging Project (QUIP)
p116 - EEP28
Up-stream smart metering pilot
p143 - CSO12
Effective programming for large distributed ensembles
p117 - EEP29
High sea temperatures cause the death of stony corals
p118 - EEP30
Population density of cockroach species and magnitude of their infestation in Jeddah
Province, Saudi Arabia
p119 - EEP31
Rodent control strategy in animal farms (izzab) in Qatar
p120 - EEP32
Integrated APC-controlled SPC monitoring chart for quality improvement
p121 - EEP33
Improving mechanical and thermal properties of AZ31 magnesium alloy through simultaneous
addition of aluminum and nano-alumina
p122 - EEP34
p123 - EEP35
Computing - Poster Presentations
p144 - CSP1
A second-order statistical method for spectrum sensing in correlated shadowing
and fading environments
p145 - CSP2
Conceptual approach for multi-level restructuring of categorized documents in a corpus
p146 - CSP3
Numerical simulation of particle-laden coaxial turbulent jets
p147 - CSP4
Assistive educational technology
Holocene sabkha and coastal systems of Qatar: models for the interpretation of ancient
Arabian plate carbonate evaporite reservoirs and coastal management
p148 - CSP5
Effect of non-uniform, out-of-plane illumination, shear rate and particle distribution
on the accuracy of nPIV velocity measurement
A new risk-based approach for alarm system design
p149 - CSP6
Estimation of highly selective channels for downlink LTE system by a robust
neural network
Energy & Environment - Student Posters
p150 - CSP7
Time of arrival-based location estimation for cooperative relay networks
p124 - EEPS1
Biodiversity of Qatari Bacillus thuringiensis strains and molecular prediction of their
biological activities and Bioassays: for a safer and clean environment
p151 - CSP8
Protocol suite for exploiting spectrum resources in Dynamic Spectrum
Access Networks
p125 - EEPS2
Development and control of homogenous charge compression ignition engines:
a preliminary study
p152 - CSP9
Development of an optimal data reduction scheme for a four-wire hot-wire probe
p153 - CSP10
p126 - EEPS3
Paper recycling at Qatar University
Characterization of the indoor/outdoor radio propagation channel at 2.4 GHz
in Qatar University campus
p127 - EEPS4
Numerical methods in modelling and simulating fluid flow in heterogeneous and naturally
fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs
p154 - CSP11
An initial study of the structural phase transition of SrTiO3
p155 - CSP12
Data structures and algorithms in pen-based computing environments
p156 - CSP13
Nanoscale Brownian motion-based thermometry in near wall region
p157 - CSP14
ParaNets: a parallel network architecture for the future internet
p158 - CSP15
Discrimination thresholds of virtual curvature for haptic and visual sensory information
and future applications in medical virtual training
p159 - CSP16
Mental task discrimination using digital signal processing
p160 - CSP17
A multilingual financial watch alerting system
p128 - EEPS5
Genetic diversity of date plam in Qatar
Computing - Oral Presentations
p132 - CSO1
CameraNets: coverage and data management problems in distributed smart camera networks
p133 - CSO2
An integrated platform for intelligent road traffic monitoring and travel
information delivery
p134 - CSO3
Interference-aware protocol design in wireless networks
p135 - CSO4
Design and analysis of new generation protocols for triple-play networks
p136 - CSO5
Qloud: a cloud computing infrastructure for scientific applications
p137 - CSO6
Designing a new programming language for building secure cloud computing-based
p138 - CSO7
What do drill strings and surgical threads have in common?
p139 - CSO8
Qatar simulator development programme
Computing - Student Posters
p161 - CSPS1
Constraint diagrams can be used to interpret program specification expressions:
an evaluation experiment with novice users
p162 - CSPS2
Rich entity recognition in English text
p163 - CSPS3
StepID - A Matlab-based toolbox for identification from
step response
Table of Contents
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies - Oral Presentations
p166 - AHO1
Success strategies of small states: the State of Qatar Ccompared to Switzerland,
Singapore and Lebanon
p167 - AHO2
How effective are the student recruitment methods used by Qatar’s Education
City universities?
p168 - AHO3
Female ESL teachers’ perceptions about their roles and professional development needs in
Qatar’s �Education for a New Era’
p169 - AHO4
‫ وأوضاع ذوي االحتياجات الخاصة في قطر‬،‫دراسة شاملة عن اإلعاقة‬
p170 - AHO4
A comprehensive study on disability and the conditions of people with special needs in Qatar
p172 - AHO5
Participation of women in Qatar’s labor force
p173 - AHO6
Attitudes toward expatriate and labor migrant workers in the Arab Gulf countries:
mixed results from Qatar
p174 - AHO7
Enhancing the development impact of remittances: a study of direct payment and savings
facilities for Filipino workers in Qatar
p175 - AHO8
Qatari women and the internet: an analytical study for patterns of use and utilization
p176 - AHO9
Proof of concept “A Portable Architecture for Qatar”
p177 - AHO10
Dohaland research: search for a contemporary Qatari architectural language that is �modern
rooted in the past’
p178 - AHO11
Developing an information resource on Islamic medical and scientific ethics
p179 - AHO12
‫ضوابط العالج بالنانو تكنولوجي في ضوء المقاصد والمآالت الشرعية‬
p180 - AHO12
Checks on nanotechnology treatment in the light of Islamic legal purposes and outcomes
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies - Poster Presentations
p181 - AHP1
How do Qatari females make it to the top? An exemination of organizational constraints
to their advancement?
p182 - AHP2
Simulation training for laparoscopic surgery with 3rd and 4th year medical students
p183 - AHP3
What are the possibilities for taking up a physically active subject position for young
Qatari women?
p184 - AHP4
Towards a national project to plan and build cultural values and Arab personal skills for
the 21st century
p185 - AHP4
‫نحو مشروع وطني وقومي لتخطيط وبناء القيم الحضارية وإعادة تأهيل االنسانى العربي‬
‫لعبور القرن الواحد والعشرون‬
p186 - AHP5
Knowledge-based urban development paradigm: Doha as a model for a
knowledge and creative city in the Middle East
p187 - AHP6
4D Doha: mapping Qatar's built environment over time
p188 - AHP7
The image of the United States portrayed in Arab world online journalism
p189 - AHP8
Within-household sampling: searching for a better method conditional on household
size information
p190 - AHP9
The significance of the People Factor in project cost estimates
p191 - AHP10
Road traffic accidents in rich developing countries: the case of the State of Qatar
p192 - AHP11
Cost analysis of road accidents in the State of Qatar
p193 - AHP12
‫ عام الرمادة‬:‫دور القيادة الراشدة في إدارة األزمة‬
p194 - AHP12
The Role of Enlightened Leadership in Crisis Management: The Year of Famine
Abstract Review Panel
The Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum aims to showcase some of the world-leading research
programs undertaken by national stakeholders, universities, international partners and multinational
companies that have been set up to serve Qatar, as well as the global scientific community. The call by
Qatar Foundation for the research community to participate in the first Annual Research Forum 2010
was met with an overwhelming response.
• Dr. Dirar Khoury, Research Division, Qatar Foundation, Chair, Abstract Review Panel
Abstract solicitations were targeted at research programs conducted in Qatar, performed in
collaboration with a research entity in Qatar, or carried out under support by a Qatar-based
organization. Abstract invitations were intended for established researchers as well as students.
• Dr. Bruce Palmer, Texas A&M University at Qatar
Abstract submissions were aimed at the forum in its four focus tracks; biomedical research, energy
and environment research, computing research, and arts, social sciences, humanities and Islamic
studies research. These focus tracks encompass Qatar’s research priority areas and address its
future needs.
A total of 227 abstracts were submitted electronically via the forum website by the time the deadline
was reached, despite continued interest by the research community thereafter. This included 182
scientist submissions and 45 student submissions.
To evaluate the abstracts, a review panel was put together which consisted of peers from diverse
institutions who are experts in the relevant forum focus tracks. The names of the abstract reviewers
are acknowledged below for their kind and dedicated efforts and prompt response. Abstract
acceptance was dependent on adherence to submission guidelines and verification of scientific merit
as determined by the peer review process. The Abstract evaluation process considered several criteria
that included research quality, originality and merit, clarity of written content, and relevance to Qatar.
As a result, 145 scientist abstracts were accepted (49 oral presentations; 96 poster presentations),
while 21 student abstracts were accepted for poster presentations. Accepted abstracts are published
in this forum proceedings. Abstract presentations will be evaluated at the forum by international
scholars, whose names are listed below. The committee will select the winners of the Research
Excellence Awards.
• Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid, Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar Foundation
• Dr. Asma Al-Thani, Qatar University
• Dr. Basma Abdelgafar, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Qatar Foundation
• Dr. Danny Ramadan, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Qatar Foundation
• Dr. Eulian Roberts, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Qatar Foundation
• Dr. Hatem El-Shanti, Shafallah Medical Genetics Center
• Dr. Khaled Machaca, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
• Dr. Majd Sakr, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
• Dr. Mariam Al-Ali, Qatar University
• Dr. Mazen Hasnah, Qatar University
• Dr. Mehran Kamrava, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
• Dr. Mohamed Salem, Qatar University
• Dr. Rabi Mohtar, Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute, Qatar Foundation
• Dr. Roger Mandle, Qatar Museums Authority
The presentations provide an excellent opportunity for those engaged in education, research,
and community development, and a host of other interested parties, to network and learn about the
current work of leading edge research that is carried out at or in collaboration with Qatari institutions.
Qatar Foundation invites all parties who are involved in research to actively engage with the broader
community in the State of Qatar and to experience the excitement of research and discovery of
knowledge at the Annual Research Forum 2010.
Dirar Khoury, Ph.D.
Chair, Organizing Committee
Director, Institutional Research
Research Division, Qatar Foundation
i | ii
Scientific Committee
Dr. Abdelali Haoudi, Vice President for Research, Qatar Foundation, Chair, Scientific Committee
Computing Research Panel
Biomedicine Research Panel
•Dr. Richard DeMillo (Chair)
Dean, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
• Dr. Elias Zerhouni (Chair)
US Presidential Science Envoy, Former Director, US National Institutes of Health, Senior Adviser,
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA
•Dr. Erich Neuhold
Professor, Faculty of Computer Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria
• Prof. Peter Agre
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2003, Director, Johns Hopkins University Malaria Research Institute, USA
• Dr. Moncef Slaoui
Chairman, Research and Development, GlaxoSmithKline, United Kingdom
• Dr. Marc Cluzel
Executive Vice President and Head, Research and Development, Sanofi-Aventis, France
• Prof. Kiyoshi Kurokawa
Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Professor Emeritus, University
of Tokyo, Japan
Energy and Environment Research Panel
• Dr. Raymond Lee Orbach (Chair)
Director, Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin, USA
•Dr. Marek Rusinkiewicz
Vice President, Telecordia Technologies, USA
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Islamic Studies Research Panel
•Dr. Hatem Al-Karanshawy (Chair)
Dean, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Qatar
•Dr. Ali Mohayuddin Qaradaghi
Former head, Jurisprudence Department, Qatar University, Qatar
•Dr. Roger Mandle
Executive Director, Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar
•Mr. Richard Charkin
President, Bloomsbury Publishing, USA, Visiting Professor, University of the Arts London,
United Kingdom
• Dr. Philippe Tanguy
Vice President, Research, TOTAL, France
• Dr. Margaret Catley – Carlson
Chair, Global Agenda Council of Water Security, Canada
• Dr. Kamal Youcef-Toumi
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Co-Director, Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Saudi Arabia
•Dr. Lynn Gladden
Head, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge,
United Kingdom
•Dr. Omar Yaghi
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
iii | iv
Oral Presentations
Poster Presentations
Student Posters
Oral Presentations
Building a biomedical research program in Qatar
Khaled Machaca
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness the Emir Hamad Bin
Khalifa Al Thani has invested heavily into higher education and research
infrastructure development through Qatar Foundation under the leadership
of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned. Part of that effort is
the establishment of the biomedical research program at Weill Cornell Medical
College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), which, in collaboration with other stakeholders in
Qatar, aims at instituting a world-class biomedical research program in Qatar.
This presentation will highlight the efforts over the past two years expanded
toward establishing the WCMC-Q research program. It will present a model
for research infrastructure ramp-up in Qatar and the region. We will discuss:
research support services including compliance and grants and contracts; the
organization, staffing and high-end equipment of core research laboratories
that are becoming increasingly important for collaborative biomedical research;
and scientific areas of focus for the WCMC-Q program in the context of national
priorities, including the diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome center of
excellence that is underway.
High-risk human papillomavirus infection among women
attending women’s hospital in Qatar
Asma Ali Al Thani
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Objective: This study aimed to determine the prevalence and ideal detection
method for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes, in order to evaluate
prevention strategies in cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases in Qatar.
The study compared performance of cervical cytology and HPV DNA test to
detect high-risk HPV genotype (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59)
infections in a sample of Qatar’s female population, using High Risk Screen RealTime PCR test.
Methods: A series of 95 women attending the Gynae-oncology clinic at Hamad
Medical Corporation between August 2007 and May 2008 were enrolled in
this study. Cervical smears isolated from patients were subjected to High Risk
Screen Real-Time test to confirm the presence of HPV DNA. The smears were
characterized as ASCUS; LGSIL and HGSIL.
Results: The overall prevalence of high-risk HPV in our study population (n=95)
was 64%, with HPV 52, 56 and 16 being the commonest types detected..Of
the 95 samples in the study, 93 were tested using Pap smear and RT-PCR. 11
samples found to be HPV DNA positive by Pap smear were confirmed by RT- PCR;
34 samples were found to be negative using both tests; and 48 samples which
were shown to be negative using Pap smear were found to be positive using RTPCR. Considering RT-PCR and Pap smear as stand-alone tests, the techniques
did not show similar sensitivity. The RT-PCR showed better specificity and
sensitivity than Pap smear.
The prevalence of HPV in the different types of lesions was compared in 65
women who had abnormal smears among the study population. HPV DNA
detection rate was 60.7%, 85.7% and 50% within ASCUS, LGSIL and HGSIL
cytology, respectively.
Conclusions: The study also showed that molecular techniques are more
sensitive than conventional methods for detection of HPV infection. The
relatively high prevalence of HPV 52, 56 and 16 among the study group
has important implications in vaccine prophylaxis in Qatar.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
16 | 17
The identification of CNVs in patients and their association with
diseases and phenotypes
Mutations in GJB2, GJB6 and mDNA 1555A>G variant explain
only a minority of cases of nonsyndromic hearing loss in the
Qatari population
Jamil Alami
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
The DNA copy number of a region of a genome is the number of copies of
genomic DNA. In humans the normal copy number is two for majority of
autosomes. However, discoveries have revealed that many segments of DNA,
ranging in size from kilobases to megabases, can vary in copy-number. These
DNA copy number variations (CNVs) are common in normal individual and
contribute to our uniqueness. These changes can also influence the susceptibility
to disease. Many genetic diseases that occur in families result from copy
number variations.
Here we report on the phenotypic and genotypic delineation of de novo CNVs in a
number of cases with genetic disorders.
Case 1: A 20-year-old male with severe intellectual disability and Marfanoid
habitus, cleft palate, facial dysmorphism, microphthalmia and hypermetropia.
Cytogenetic investigation showed an unbalanced chromosomal abnormality
with an additional un-identified chromosome piece attached to the short arm
of chromosome 14. A duplication of the terminal piece of the long arm of
chromosome 10 (30.1 Mb) was found.
Case 2: A 9-year-old female with global developmental and speech delay
associated with dysmorphic features that includes longitudinal face with
prominent forehead, high arched palate, and hypertelorism and alternating
isotropia. Prominent fetal pads and bridged simian crease are noted in both
hands. Her MRI showed diffuse brain atrophy. A duplication of a segment on
the long arm of chromosome 15 as well as a deletion of the terminal part of
the short arm of chromosome 8 were detected.
Case 3: A 13-year-old male with mild to moderate mental retardation, obesity,
and dysmorphic features that includes but not limited to micropenis, flat
occiput, protruding maxilla, and hirsutism. CT scan showed moderate cerebral
atrophy. Cytogenetic investigation revealed a 46 XY r(13) p11.2q32. A 20.5 Mb
segment deletion on the terminal part of the long arm of chromosome 13 was found.
Moza Khalifa Al Kowari, Paolo Gasparini, Khalid Abdulhadi, Rowa Siam,
Nihal Najjar, Maha Al-Sulaiteen, Savina Dipresa, Ramin Badii, Giorgia Girotto
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Burlo Garofolo Children’s Hospital, Trieste, Italy
Hereditary hearing loss is a common genetic disorder accounting for at least
60% of prelingual deafness in children. Most cases (70%) are nonsyndromic
and are not associated to other signs or symptoms, while the remaining 30%
are syndromic. Nonsyndromic hereditary hearing loss has different patterns
of inheritance. The most common one is autosomal recessive. This accounts
for 75%-85% of the cases. Another 15%-25% of cases are inherited in an
autosomal dominant (DNFA) pattern, while the remaining 1%-2% is inherited
as X-linked disorder. Several mitochondrial mutations are also reported of which
1555A>G in the 12S rRNA gene is a common cause of mitochondrial-associated
deafness in nonsyndromic progressive sensory neural hearing loss and its
aminoglycoside induced state.
The two major genes for recessive forms are GJB2 and GJB6, which belong to
the connexin family. GJB2 and GJB6 code for connexin 26 and connexin 30
proteins, respectively.
Here, we report for the first time results of a study in which a series of 120
patients affected by nonsyndromic hereditary hearing loss from 100 Qatari
families were screened for mutations in GJB2 and GJB6 genes and the 1555A>G
mitochondrial variant. 4 patients carried 35delG mutation, 5 patients the IVS1+
1G <A, and 2 patients the Trp77Arg mutant alleles. None of the 120 patients
were positive for GJB6 mutations or the 1555A>G variant.
These findings clearly demonstrate that GJB2, GJB6 and 1555A>G account
for a minor proportion of nonsyndromic hereditary hearing loss in the Qatari
population and further strengthen the need to search for causative genes in
our population. Results presented here in combination with other molecular
epidemiology data contribute to efforts for establishing preventive strategies
and developing more targeted therapies.
The cases included demonstrate that CNVs play a role in genetic disorders,
birth defects and patterns of malformations. The delineation of the duplicated
or deleted material may help in the identification of genes that play a role in
developmental processes.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
18 | 19
Vitamin D and bone density in Qatari adults
Justin Grantham
Population genetic structure of the people of Qatar
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Background: It has been established that Vitamin D plays an active role
in calcium homeostasis by regulating intestinal calcium and phosphorus
absorption, renal calcium reabsorption and bone mineralization. Vitamin D
deficiency has also been related to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Purpose: Given that we have previously observed a very high rate of severe
Vitamin D deficiency in Qatari girls the aim of this study was to examine whether
Vitamin D deficiency was carried on into adulthood in a Qatari population and
examine the effect upon bone mineral density and metabolic health status.
Methodology: In this cross sectional study, we evaluated the serum 25 hydroxyVitamin D (25(OH)D) levels of 171 male and female Qatari adults (37.2 В± 10
years, body fat 44.1 В± 8.8 %, BMI 31.9 В± 7.9 kg/m2), bone mineral density (BMD)
and body composition assessment with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry
(DEXA). In addition, subjects were assessed for aerobic fitness. Haematological
investigations included fasting, glucose, insulin, and lipid profile analysis.
Results: Despite high level of body fatness and low aerobic fitness (Predicted
VO2max 25.2 В± 7.2 ml/kg/min), blood pressure, glucose, insulin and lipid
markers were all within acceptable ranges. Vitamin D deficiency was seen in
this group with mean serum 25(OH)D being 15.8 В± 10.3 ng/ml, while PTH was
just within the normal range (63.4 В± 23.8 pg/ml). Mean total body BMD was
within the acceptable limits (1.2 В± 0.1 g/cm3). There was no correlation between
25(OH)D and BMD, however, BMD was strongly associated with total body
weight (r=0.540, p<0.05) and BMI (r=0.456, p<0.05). Furthermore, there were
no significant correlations between 25(OH)D and markers of type 2 diabetes,
dyslipidaemia, or fitness.
Conclusion: The results suggest despite high levels of body fatness, low aerobic
fitness and Vitamin D deficiency that this cohort were relatively healthy. On first
impression, body weight appears to be a protective mechanism in maintaining
BMD within this population. However, those individuals with a BMI < 25 kg/m2 had
normal BMD despite extremely low serum 25(OH)D levels (12.6 В± 7.6 ng/ml). This
suggests that further research is warranted to elucidate possible contributing
factors resulting in a normal BMD despite minimal sun exposure.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
Ronald George Crystal, Lotfi Chouchane, Abeer Gohar, Rebecca Mathews,
Khalid A. Al-Ali, Mahmood Zirie, Ameen Al Jayyousi, Marcus Butler,
Jacqueline Salit, Neil Hackett, Jennifer Fuller, Haley Hunter-Zinck, Shaila
Musharoff, Andrew Clark
Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
People of the Qatari peninsula represent a relatively recent founding by a
small number of families from three tribes of the Saudi peninsula, Persia, and
Oman, with some African admixture. To assess the combination of this founding
effect and first-cousin marriages on Qatar’s population genetic structure, in a
collaborative program of Weill Cornell-Qatar and Weill Cornell-New York, Cornell
University and Qatar University, we assessed DNA samples from self-reported
Qatari nationals using Affymetrix SNP Array 5.0 to obtain genotype calls of
nearly 500,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in each individual.
Principal component analysis was performed along with samples from the
Human Genetic Diversity Project dataset, revealing three clusters of genotypes
whose proximity to other human population samples is consistent with Arabian
origin, a more eastern/Persian origin, and African admixture. The extent of
linkage disequilibrium is greater than that of African populations, and runs
of homozygosity reflect substantial consanguinity. Despite the fact that the
SNPs have a bias toward SNPs common in Europeans, the data strongly support
the notion that the Qatari population will provide a valuable resource for the
mapping of genes associated with complex disorders. This approach is being
tested in samples of the 3 Qatari genomic clusters of healthy vs individuals
with type 2 diabetes, a disorder with a high incidence in the Qatari population.
To provide a basis for these studies, we have initiated a detailed assessment
of the 3 clusters of Qatari genotypes using exome capture and massive parallel
sequencing. We expect that these data will provide an invaluable resource for
the adaptation of “personalized medicine” for the assessment of risk and the
rational use of therapies for the Qatari population.
20 | 21
A novel DNAH11 mutation in a Qatari family with primary
ciliary dyskinesia
Asma Al Dosari, Ibrahim Janahi, Ammar Sadoon, Yasser Al Sarraj, Sara
Mohamed, Jamil Al Alami, Hatem El Shanti
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Primary ciliary dyskinesia is a heterogeneous autosomal recessive genetic
disorder that leads to ultra structural and functional defects of cilia. This leads
to recurrent and chronic respiratory infections, sinusitis, otitis media, and male
infertility. In a fraction of patients situs inversus is present. Primary ciliary
dyskinesia can result from mutations in at least nine different genes; however,
these mutations are responsible for the disease in only about 40 percent of
patients. These genes provide instructions for making proteins that form the
inner structure of cilia and produce the force needed for motility.
We identified a large inbred Qatari family with multiple individuals affected by
primary ciliary dyskinesia. On examination of the known genes associated with
the disorder, we encountered a homozygous variation in DNAH11 in affected
individuals. Mutation analysis by direct resequencing of polymerase chain
reaction products of DNAH11 exons, flanking intronic sequences and splice sites
showed a novel splice site mutation (c.5945+1 G>C) in exon 34, which probably
produces a truncated protein. This mutation segregates with the disorder in
this family in an autosomal recessive pattern, is not present in 338 control
chromosomes and is theoretically a deleterious mutation. We are currently
studying the frequency of this mutation in the Qatari population and its effect on
the messenger RNA and protein.
Development of a novel switchable CE-MS interface with
predictive trajectories for high-throughput proteomics studies
John Hassard, Julien Chapron, Paul Tjossem
deltaDOT Ltd, London, UK
deltaDOT Ltd, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
The capillary electrophoresis (CE)-mass spectrometry (MS) interface is
anticipated to have pivotal roles to play in biomarker discovery, elucidation and
validation, and in diagnostics, as well as in drug discovery. We are developing
a CE-MS system as the natural extension of our Label-Free Intrinsic Imaging
(LFIIв„ў) platform, allowing a large increase in analytical power.
One of the most powerful analytical tools in bio-analytical science applications
is the mass spectrometer, allowing identification and extraordinary resolving
power. However, this instrument too has shortcomings – it really needs a
separation system ahead of it. Traditionally liquid chromatogaphy (LC) or 2D-gel
separation have been coupled to MS with relative robustness. However LC
techniques are not ideally suited to the analysis of biomolecules, with the use of
denaturing solvents, expensive columns etc. while flat gel systems have serious
shortcomings in sensitivity, reproducibility, dynamic range, quantification and
throughput. These are largely overcome with capillary approaches, such as the
Label Free Intrinsic Imaging system, the Peregrine, developed by deltaDOT Ltd
of London.
The CE-MS interface being developed by deltaDOT QSTP (Qatar Science and
Technology Park) will be based on our real-time pattern recognition known as
�predictive trajectories’ (�PT’) and biomolecular switching on the LFII platform, to
allow specific protein bands, selected �on the fly’, to be separated and quantified,
before they undergo trypsin digestion, injection and full MS analysis in a Waters
high-definition mass spectrometer (�Synapt’). Such an interface considerably
reduces the system noise by giving a switch opportunity to analyse selected
bands of interest from the bulk of background buffer and highly concentrated
proteins of low interest. Another significant advantage of such an approach
would arise from a more coherent signal where peptide fragments of the same
protein would elute together, as opposed to traditional liquid chromatography
where any peptide fragments could come from any proteins from the sample,
requiring heavy and slow analyses processing.
Based on work in our QSTP labs, we present preliminary data of analyses
undertaken with partners in Qatar University on a range of proteomic targets
and other analytes. We show how the unique combination of LFII + PT + HDMS
Q-Tof can provide a significant enhancement in analytical power.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
22 | 23
Factors influencing rehabilitation outcome in adult traumatic
brain injury in Qatar
Wafaa Saleh Al Yazeedi
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Aim: To analyze the factors influencing outcome in traumatic brain injury (TBI)
rehabilitation in Qatar.
Design & Methods: It was a retrospective descriptive study of 50 patients
with TBI collected during Jan 2004 to Sep 2007 from the Rehabilitation Unit
of Rumailah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation.
Demographic and clinical variables included; age at admission, length of stay
in acute care (LOSa), and length of stay in rehabilitation (LOSr), Rancho Level
(RLA) and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). Functional outcomes were functional
independence measure on admission (FIMa) and functional independence
measure on discharge (FIMd).
Results: Significant positive correlation was observed of FIMd with FIMa
and Rancho level (r = 0.69, p = 0.00 and r = 0.70, p = 0.00) respectively where
as there was no correlation between FIMd and GCS score. Negative correlation
was observed between FIMd and age as well as LOSa (r = -0.47, p = 0.01) and
(r = -0.49, P = 0.00) respectively. Multivariate regression analysis was performed
taking age, Rancho, FIMa, mobility, GCS and LOSa variables as independent and
FIMd as dependent variable. The model could explain 70% of variation.
Conclusion: In our study Rancho level of cognitive functioning, FIMa and mobility
variables were found most influential factors in functional outcome.
Electrocardiographic characteristics of West-Asian and African
Male athletes: the Qatari pre-participation screening experience
Mathew Wilson
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Background: Electrocardiographic (ECG) alterations are common in athletes and
usually reflect a physiologically benign remodelling of the heart as a response
to regular intensive exercise, so called “athletes heart”. However, some features
observed in an athlete’s ECG may represent an underlying inherited or congenital
cardiovascular abnormality, potentially propagating sudden cardiac death (SCD).
Purpose: To evaluate the electrocardiographic characteristics of West-Asian,
Black and Caucasian male athletes competing in Qatar.
Methods: Cardiovascular screening with resting electrocardiographic analysis
of 1220 national-level athletes (800 West-Asian, 300 Black and 120 Caucasian)
and 135 West-Asian controls attending pre-participation screening was
performed. Results: Black African descent was an independent predictor of
�uncommon’ ECG changes compared to West-Asian (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.73-3.8,
p<0.001) and Caucasian athletes (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.56-8.02, p<0.001). Black
athletes demonstrated a significantly greater prevalence of lateral T wave
inversions than both West-Asian and Caucasian athletes (6.1% vs. 1.6% and 0%,
p<0.05). Black athletes also demonstrated a greater frequency (p<0.05) of right
atrial enlargement, 1st degree AV block and early repolarisation than WestAsian and Caucasian athletes. Seven athletes were identified with a disease
associated with sudden death; with prevalence of cardiac disease was 2 times
higher in Black athletes than West-Asian athletes (1% vs. 0.5%) - no cases
verified in Caucasian athletes and West-Asian controls. Eighteen West-Asian and
Black athletes were also identified with striking repolarisation abnormalities
suggestive of a cardiomyopathy, ultimately, none were diagnosed with an
inherited cardiac disease.
Conclusions: West-Asian and Caucasian athletes demonstrate comparable
rates of common and uncommon ECG modifications. Only Black ethnicity was
positively associated with frequencies of �uncommon’ ECG alterations. Despite
the greater number of false positive ECGs in Black athletes, the cost-benefit
ratio of the preparticipation is favourable for this population due to its greater
predictive value for identifying sudden death diseases.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
24 | 25
WCMC-Qatar stem cell research program
Arash Rafii
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Due to the vision and foresight of HH Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned,
Qatar is seeing rapid advances in the field of education and research due to
the establishment of Education City by Qatar Foundation. Stem cell research
is one of the major research areas worldwide and shows significant promise
in helping healthcare and medicine reach frontiers never known to mankind
before. The setting-up of a stem cell laboratory at WCMC-Qatar places Qatar on
the world map in stem cell research. Not only does it ensure Qatar’s significant
contribution to research, but also lays the foundation for an advanced system
where people will have access to world class regenerative medical care.
To be able to move forward with cell therapies, and in particular stem cell
therapies, in areas as diverse as diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, and
neurodegenerative disease, several components need to be established,
including routine derivation and maintenance of different types of pluripotent
stem cells; banking of these stem cells; differentiation of the different stem
cells in different cell types.
Stem cell research was one of the first research areas of focus at Weill Cornell
Medical College in Qatar. Since the establishment of the stem cell biology
program we have achieved several milestones, including the establishment of a
stem cell biology expertise in Qatar, creating a network of stem cell researchers
including clinicians from Hamad Medical Corporation, and establishing
international cooperation to answer all forthcoming challenges of regenerative
medicine. This talk will focus on the logistics of setting up the stem cell
laboratory and the promises in the future that such technology promises.
Are novel semisolid filled hard gelatin capsules superior
to currently marketed metformin tablets?
Husam Mohammed Younes
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Purpose: To design, formulate and test the in vitro dissolution of new oral
dosage forms of metformin hydrochloride (MH) in semisolid polymeric matrices
having sustained-release properties suitable for once-a-day or twice-a-day
administration that would increase MH bioavailability and also address the
shortcomings in the currently marketed sustained-release tablets.
Methods: MH was dispersed in molten polymeric matrices composed of various
proportions of high molecular weight hydrophilic polymers, hydrophobic oily
semisolid excipients, and muco-adhesive polymeric materials. Thermal analysis
and X-ray diffractometry was carried out on the prepared semisolid matrices.
Four prepared formulations each of which containing 400mg MH were filled into
size zero hard gelatin capsules (HGC) and were subjected to in vitro dissolution
testing using USP basket method at 50rpm using 1000ml distilled water as
dissolution medium. MH was analyzed using UV spectrophotometric analysis.
GlucophageВ® 500mg tablets were used as a reference.
Results: The prepared formulations resulted in extended-release profiles that
lasted between 6-8 hours and demonstrated bimodal release pattern which
characterizes the release from mixes of triglycerides with polyethylene glycol
esters of fatty acids. The incorporation of PEG 6000 or PEG 35000 resulted in
an overall faster dissolution rate compared to other formulations with complete
release achieved after 6 hours. On the other hand, PEG400 incorporation to
the formulation resulted in a fast initial release followed by a slower release
rate following the first 3 hours. Thermal and X-ray analysis of the formulations
showed changes in MH crystallinity.
Conclusion: Capsules formulated using semisolid matrices showed promising
results in extending the release of MF compared to the marketed tablets.
However, bioavailability studies to test the ability of those Gelucire-based
capsules of MF to improve its bioavailability and residence time are future plans.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
26 | 27
Poster Presentations
Biological characterization of Qatari and regional endemic plant
extracts for cosmetic purposes
Talaat A. Ahmed, Aishaa Dasmal, Mashaal Alnaemi, Pasquale Vito
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
BioGem, Ariano Irpino, Italy
In ancient times, herbs, botanicals, fruit extracts, essential oils and natural
minerals were the main ingredients for beauty products. Today, demand is
growing for plant-based ingredients, as consumers increasingly view natural
products as healthy, environmentally friendly and renewable. The present study,
using modern methods and approaches and in vitro and in vivo test analyses,
aims to characterize Qatari and regional endemic plant extracts in order to
identify and purify specific active biomolecules for cosmetic purposes. Six
plant species were collected from the area around Qatar University campus
from April 2009 to September 2009, and were used for extract preparation
using different solvents. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was
used to fractionate the extracts, and fractionations were then tested on human
embryonic kidney (HEK 293) cells. Cytotoxicity assay, immune and inflammatory
responses were tested. Three extracts showed positive results, and further
analysis is ongoing. The results are expected to be commercially important,
especially for cosmetic and perfume industries.
Biomedicine | Oral Presentations
Multimerization of the transient receptor proteins TRPV6
and TRPC1
Raphael Jean Courjaret, Shirley Haun, Khaled Machaca
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels are formed by the juxtaposition
of either homomeric or heteromeric assembly of four TRP subunits. TRP
proteins have six transmembrane domains (TM) and a P-loop located between
TM5 and TM6 that defines the channel pore. So far 30 different subunits, sharing
as low as 20% homology, have been identified in mammals and classified in 6
families. Although heterotetramers can be formed within a family, the assembly
of subunits from members of different families was thought to be unlikely.
Here using biochemical and electrophysiological techniques we evaluated
the interaction between xTRPV6 and xTRPC1 overexpressed in Xenopus
oocytes. Western blot analysis of oocytes lysates revealed that the native cells
expressed both xTRPC1 and xTRPV6. Oocytes were then injected with RNA
encoding the two subunits associated or not with protein tags to allow easier
immunoprecipitation. The later experiments revealed that xTRPC1 and xTRPV6
expressed in oocytes co-immunoprecipitate. The expression of solely xTRPC1
did not result in a detectable ionic current, whereas xTRPV6 injected oocytes
displayed large inward rectifying cationic currents. Ion substitution experiments
revealed that the xTRPV6 channel was more permeable to Mg2+ ions than Ca2+,
a characteristic opposite to its mammalian counterpart. Co-expression of both
subunits resulted in an ionic current mainly carried by Mg2+ ions. Experiments
are now being performed in oocytes and in a human cell line to help us further
understand Mg2+ and Ca2+ homeostasis and the contribution of different TRP
subunits assemblies to it.
28 | 29
Production of novel proteins therapeutics for cancer treatment
Sayed Kamel Goda
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT) is a novel strategy to
improve the selectivity of cancer treatment. ADEPT is a two-step approach
that seeks to generate a potent cytotoxic agent selectively at a tumor site. In
the first step, a tumor-selective antibody is chemically linked to an enzyme
such as glucarpidase and then administered intravenously. In the second step,
a relatively non-toxic prodrug is administered. By this time, the antibody
conjugate has been cleared from the blood and other tissues.
Methotrexate (MTX), a synthetic folate analogue that inhibits dihydrofolate
reductase, a key enzyme in the folate pathway, serves as an important
component of various chemotherapeutic regimens for the treatment of cancer
patients. One major drawback to the clinical use of MTX is an unacceptable
level of toxicity. One of the most effective ways to achieve a rapid removal of
the excess of these drugs is by glucarpidase degradation. Repeated cycles of
ADEPT and the use of wild type glucarpidase in detoxification are essential but
are hampered by the human antibody response to the enzyme. Additionally,
glucarpidase has a relatively slow action in detoxification.
We implemented a state-of-the-art technique, DNA shuffling, to overcome
the problems associated with this technology. We successfully produced an
ultra-active glucarpidase that degrades MTX with a very high efficency and we
are continuing the production of more efficient forms. We also isolated and
performed a molecular charaterisation on a novel glucarpidase which could be
used in the ADEPT techniques for cancer treatment that could overcome the
antibody problems.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Evidence of intense ongoing endemic transmission
of hepatitis C virus in Egypt
Laith Abu-Raddad, Miller DeWolfe
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA
Egypt has the highest prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) in
the world, estimated nationally at 14.7%. An estimated 9.8% are chronically
infected. Numerous HCV prevalence studies in Egypt have published various
estimates from different Egyptian communities, suggesting that Egypt, relative
to the other nations of the world, might be experiencing intense ongoing HCV
transmission. More importantly, a new national study provided an opportunity
to apply established epidemiologic models to estimate incidence. Validated
mathematical models for estimating incidence from age-specific prevalence
were used. All previous prevalence studies of HCV in Egypt were reviewed and
used to estimate incidence provided that there was sufficient age-specific data
required by the models. All reports of anti-HCV antibody prevalence were much
higher than any other single national estimate. Age was the strongest and most
consistently associated factor to HCV prevalence and HCV RNA positivity.
It was not possible to establish a prior reference point for HCV prevalence or
incidence to compare with the 2009 incidence estimates. The modeled incidence
from the national study and collectively from the modeled incidence from
the previous community studies was 6.9/1,000 [95% confidence interval (CI),
5.5–7.4] per person per year and 6.6/1,000 (95% CI, 5.1–7.0) per person per
year, respectively. Projected to the age structure of the Egyptian population,
more than 500,000 new HCV infections per year were estimated. Iatrogenic
transmission is the most likely, underlining exposure to the ongoing transmission.
The study demonstrates the urgency to reduce HCV transmission in Egypt.
30 | 31
Screening for and cloning and molecular characterization
of two new oligopeptidase B encoding genes
Fatma Baoumi Rashidi, Hatem El Shanti, Sayed Goda
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Oligopeptidase B (opdB, EC is a member of the prolyl oligopeptidase
family of serine peptidases and unrelated to the trypsin and subtilisin families.
It is a potential processing enzyme of prokaryotes to produce biologically active
products, being very specific for the basic amino acid pairs of polypeptides.
Bacterial oligopeptidase B cleaves globular proteins, albeit in a highly restricted
fashion. While most members of this peptidase family hydrolyse peptide bonds
at the C-terminal side of proline residues, oligopeptidase B exhibits a trypsinlike substrate specificity, cleaving peptides after basic residues (arginine or
lysine). Oligopeptidase B was first cloned and characterized from Escherichia
coli, and has also been described in other prokaryotes. Similar enzymes
have been found in plants and some other higher organisms. We report the
isolation of two different new oligopeptidase B bacterial strains producers.
We identified the two genes, designated opdB1 and opB2. The opdB genes
encodes a 703-residue peptide with high homology to the oligopeptidase B
family in prokaryotes. The isolated opdBs gave the highest similarity score to
oligopeptidase B of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strain K279a (GenBank
AM743169). To reveal the structural and kinetic properties of oligopeptidase
B in more detail, we have cloned, expressed, and purified the enzymes to
produce sufficient material to help in physical investigations, including NMR
and x-ray crystallographic measurements. We also carried out a molecular
characterization study of the two enzymes.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Potential role of inositol 1,4,5 - triphosphate receptors
in the pathogenesis of hypertension
Abou Saleh Haissam, Shirley Haun, Nancy Rusch, Khaled Machaca
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptors (IP3R) are tetrameric intracellular channels
that mediate the release of Calcium (Ca2+) from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) into
the cytosol in response to IP3 binding. Modulation of vascular smooth muscle cells
(VSMC) contractility allows small arteries to regulate blood flow and determine
peripheral vascular resistance and blood pressure levels. The level of contraction
of VSMC relies on a rise in cytoplasmic Ca2+ mediated by IP3-dependent Ca2+
release and voltage dependent Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ (CaL) channels.
Strong evidence supports a role for the vascular CaL channels in hypertension
but little is known about the functional role of IP3R including the modulation
of IP3R-Ca2+ signaling by the vascular endothelium. The goal of this study is to
elucidate the functional contribution of IP3R-Ca2+ signaling to the pathogenesis
of hypertension. Our preliminary results showed that IP3R are up regulated in
small mesenteric arteries of two different forms of hypertensive rats. In the same
arteries, activation of IP3R results in accentuated vasoconstriction whereas the
endothelium-derived nitric oxide exerts a tonic dilator influence. The findings
of this study will greatly improve our basic understanding of the etiology of
hypertension by defining the abnormalities of IP3-dependent Ca2+ signaling and
contraction in VSMC and its regulation by the endothelium. This may provide
critical insights into the pathogenesis of hypertension, and set the groundwork for
developing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of hypertensive disease.
32 | 33
Molecular characterization and structure determination
of human ADAMTSL4
Yasmin Walid Abu aqel, Abdulghani Kohilan, Hatem El Shanti,
Sayed Kamel Goda
The impact of interventions on HIV transmission among
couples in sub-Saharan Africa
Hiam Chemaitelly, Laith Abu Raddad
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
The thrombospondin type 1 repeat (TSR) is an ancient extracellular protein
domain that is commonly found in invertebrate and vertebrate proteins. The
ADAMTSL4 protein, also known as TSRC1, belongs to the TSR superfamily
and has multiple thrombospondin repeats, most of which are clustered at the
It has been reported that some TSP1 domain-containing proteins, e.g.
thrombospondin 1 and thrombospondin 2, could induce apoptosis of endothelial
cells but it is not clear how these proteins operate in death pathways.
Our recent work shows that mutations in ADAMTSL4 are responsible for
autosomal-recessive isolated ectopia lentis, i.e. abnormal positioning of the
lens of the eye and affect the development of the zonular fiber. However, little
is known about the function of ADAMTSL4. To shed more light on the function
of the ADMTSL4 and its roles in different tissues we extended our work to carry
out molecular characterization of this gene and its variants.
We have obtained cDNA clones encoding the full ADAMTSL4 protein and its
truncated isoform. Both are subcloned into the pET28a vector for expression
in E. coli. In anticipation of possible expression challenges in this host, e.g.
formation of inclusion bodies or lack of expression, we subcloned each fragment
into the yeast vector, pYES2. The gene in both cases has been fused in frame
with a region encoding an N-terminal His-Tag to facilitate the purification of
the recombinant protein. DNA analysis indicates that each fragment has been
correctly cloned into the pYES2 vector. Each construct was transformed into
Saccharomyces cerevisiae for protein expression. Our preliminary analysis
indicates that one of the genes is expressed in S. cerevisiae but at a very low
level. Work to optimize the expression of ADAMTSL4 in yeast as well as in E. coli
is in progress.
We also extracted the seven domains of the ADAMTSL4 using PCR. Each domain
was subcloned into the E. coli overexpression vector, pET28a. Expression
studies of all the constructs have shown that the seven domains have been
successfully overexpressed in E. coli. The overexpression was confirmed using
Western blot techniques. The recombinant protein of each domain is purified
for NMR and x-ray studies.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Background: In areas highly endemic with HIV, discordancy is prevalent
among couples affected by HIV, where a substantial proportion of infected
individuals are in stable sexual relationships with non-infected individuals.
Designing a package of interventions to reduce HIV incidence among discordant
partnerships is critical. We assessed quantitatively the impact of four
interventions (antiretroviral therapy (ART), pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP),
condoms with and with no access to couple-based voluntary counseling and
testing program (VCT), and male circumcision (MC)) on HIV incidence among a
cohort of discordant couples at varying levels of efficacy, adherence, eligibility,
and coverage.
Methods: A mathematical model was constructed to assess the impact of
interventions and was parameterized by the best available evidence from clinical
trials and observational studies. Uncertainty analyses were also conducted.
Results: Assuming full eligibility and coverage, ART, PrEP, condoms with (and
with no) access to couple-based VCT, and MC reduced HIV incidence rate over
three years by 69%, 37%, 36% (4.3%), and 19% respectively. Combining two
interventions at a time led to a range of incidence rate reduction of 22%-82%;
while combining three interventions led to a range of 76%-89%. Combining all
four interventions reduced incidence rate by 92%. However, assuming realistic
levels of eligibility, coverage, and adherence; ART, PrEP, condoms with (and with
no) access to couple-based VCT, and MC reduced HIV incidence rate by 34%,
15%, 36% (2.3%), and 10%, respectively. An intervention package with two
(three) interventions simultaneously reduced incidence rate between 12%-59%
(24%-66%) depending on the eligibility and coverage conditions. Combining all
4 interventions reduced the incidence rate by 71%.
Conclusions: Despite substantial biological efficacy, the impact of each
individual intervention is diluted at realistic levels because of eligibility,
coverage, and adherence. However, combining multiple interventions can lead
to large reductions in HIV incidence rate. ART is especially effective if combined
with at least one other intervention and administered at intermediate to high
levels of eligibility, coverage and adherence.
34 | 35
Polymorphism in adiponectin receptor gene type 1 (ADIPOR1)
in individuals with coronary artery disease with and without
type 2 diabetes in the state of Qatar
The spectrum of Mediterranean fever (MEFV) mutations
in an Arabic cohort
Nasser Mostafa Rizk
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Background: Previous studies demonstrated polymorphisms of adiponectin
receptor type1 (AdipoR1) as a strong determinant of coronary artery diseases
(CAD) susceptibility in type 2 diabetes. The aim of the study is to investigate
the associations of the genetic marker (SNP) no of AdipoR1 locus; rs10920531
with CAD in patients with and without type 2 diabetes in the population of Qatar.
Methods: Blood was drawn from a total of 189 subjects. For the detection
of the SNP (rs10920531, and rs7539542), extracted DNA was carried out by
the 5’ nuclease assay using TaqMan MGB probe by means of an ABI 7900
[Applied Biosystems].
Results: Both groups of CAD, with and without diabetes mellitus (DM) had
insignificant difference within the following parameters; age, BMI, glucose,
lipid profile, cardiac enzyme markers, insulin and adiponectin. Females were
8.4% of all studied patients. The odds ratio and the frequency distribution of
the genotype (rs1092531, A>C) revealed that (35.1%), [35.8%], had AA and
(41.5%), [41.1%] had AC, and (23.4.0%), [23.1%] had CC among in control and
cardiac patients with and without DM, respectively with P value=0.94. The odds
ratio was 1.02 and 95% CI was (0.85-1.43). The frequency distribution of the
genotype (rs7539542, C>G) revealed that (34.0%), [41.1%], had CC and (47.9%),
[34.7%] had CG, and (18.1.0%), [24.2%] had GG among control and cardiac
patients with and without DM, respectively with P value=0.37. The odds ratio
was 0.98 and 95% CI was (0.65-1.47). The odds ratio was 0.77 for rs1092531,
A>C and 0.92 for rs7539542, C>G among cardiac patients with and without
diabetes. Using logistic regression analysis, LDL-C was significantly associated
with both rs1092531, A>C and rs7539542, C>G in CAD patients. Hypertension
was significantly associated with rs7539542.
Conclusion: No significant association was found between AdipoR1 locus;
(rs1092531, A>C and rs7539542, C>G) and the cardiovascular disease (CVD)
risks. Of all CVD risks, Only LDL-C correlated significantly with (rs1092531,
A>C and rs7539542, C>G). Hypertension was significantly associated with
s7539542. Further studies are needed among the Qatari population to screen
polymorphisms of the entire diponectin gene and its receptors.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Abdulghani Abdullah Kohilan, Rowaida Taha, Djouher Ait Idir, Dina Ahram,
Hassan Abdel Majeed, Mohammed El Khateeb, Jamil Alami, Hatem El Shanti
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Université M’Hamed Bougara de Boumerdès, Boumerdès, Algeria
Jordan University Hospital, Amman, Jordan
Autoinflammatory diseases are a group of disorders characterized by seemingly
unprovoked inflammation in the absence of high-titer autoantibodies or antigenspecific T cells. Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an autosomal recessive
disorder and the archetypal autoinflammatory disease. It is characterized
by recurrent self-limiting episodes of fever and painful polyserositis. FMF is
prevalent in specific ethnic groups namely, non-Ashkenazi Jews, Armenians,
Turks, and Arabs. The gene responsible for FMF, MEFV, was identified in 1997.
There seems to be a distinctive clinical picture in Arab patients with FMF, and
the range and distribution of MEFV mutations is different from that noted in
other commonly affected ethnic groups.
The aim of this study was to delineate the distribution of MEFV mutations
amongst an Arabic FMF patient cohort and to assist the genotype-phenotype
correlation in these patients. We collected DNA samples from 406 FMF patients
(from Qatar, Jordan, Algeria and Palestine) who have been clinically diagnosed
with FMF. We designed primers to cover the entire genomic region of MEFV.
Mutation detection is done by resequencing the entire coding sequence and
splice sites then the rest of the genomic region and the promoter will be
sequenced as a second tier.
So far we have identified 283 (out of 676) mutant alleles by sequencing exon
10, the main hot spot for MEFV mutations (M694V, V726A, M694I, M680IGC,
M680IGA, R653H, A744S and R761H). In addition, four novel variations were
identified in our cohort in exons 3, 5, 2 & 10, and we are currently investigating
the phenotypic significance of these novel variations.
The spectrum of MEFV mutations in Arabs seems different from other ethnic
groups commonly affected by FMF. The identifiable disease causing alleles are
the lowest amongst the commonly affected ethnic groups. The low number of
identified alleles suggests the presence of mutations within unexamined regions,
such as conserved intronic sequences or the involvement of modifier genes.
36 |37
Preliminary results of a multilingual, multicultural survey design
Amal Mohamed Khidir, Michael Fetters, Maha Elnashar, Huda Abdulrahim,
Abdul Latif Al Khal, Sara Al-Rawi, Maya Hammoud
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
University of Michigan, Dearborn, MI, USA
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Ethical issues in genetic research
Fouad Al Shaban
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Genetic research raises ethical issues that differ in many ways from those that
arise in other kinds of human subject research.
Introduction: The United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
has invested heavily in the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and
Systems (CAHPS). Funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, a research
team formed of 3 collaborative institutions; Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar
(WCMC-Q), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and University of Michigan (UM),
is working on translating, adapting and modifying CAHPS to generate QCAHPS,
an instrument relevant to Qatar and the region population. It is a five-phase project.
Objectives: To translate the existing CAHPS into Arabic, Hindi and Urdu, identify
“translation dilemmas”, and to explore patients’ assessment of translation
dilemmas and quality of ambulatory care visits based on their own cultural
context and preferred language with four linguistic groups, English, Arabic,
Hindi, and Urdu.
Methods: Recruitment of qualified research assistants and reviewers (Qatar
team) followed by training on interviewing, coding and naming protocols
was done. Ethical board approvals from the 3 participating institutions were
obtained. Translation of CAHPS highlighted key points under investigation by
participants recruited in each target language. Based on interviews of 35 of the
targeted 80 interviews, emerging themes of importance have been identified.
Results: Themes noted include: participants repeatedly expressed that the
clinical experience of the doctor is more important than cultural awareness, or
religion. There were reservations regarding the doctor’s gender when it came
to gynecological or genito-urinary system examinations. The term used for a
regularly-seen health provider is “Family Doctor” for Hindi, “Regular Doctor”
for Urdu and “Specialist’ for Arabic and English speaking participants. Although
participants were satisfied with services received, the main concerns were lack
of interpretation services and communication issues, inefficient appointment
system and long waiting time. Handling compensation was noted by research
assistants as a sensitive issue.
Aside from the generally low likelihood of injury from drawing blood, the harms
that might result to subjects once the genetic data is obtained range from minor
to major, from physiological to psychosocial and even economic.
Disclosure of results may cause loss or increased cost of health and/or life
insurance, discrimination and stigmatization.
In this presentation, I am going to discuss the issue through the followings:
1. Privacy and confidentiality
• Unlike other kinds of health data, genetic information applies to or is about more than one person. (parents, siblings, children, and perhaps others).
• Research that includes follow-up studies requires that a subjects unique
information be linked to the genetic information.
• For this and other reasons, many investigators seek to unlink personal
identifiers from genetic data or biological specimens.
• Successful unlinking reduces or eliminates some threats to privacy
and confidentiality.
2. Informed consent
• The participant should be adequately informed.
• Consent should be free from coercion or undue influence.
• The participant should be fully competent.
3. Risks of harm
• The idea of testing can cause pre- and post-test anxiety.
• Disclosure of results may result in employment and social bias, discrimination
and stigmatization.
• Family members of the index subject may face similar risks of harm.
The presentation also tackles the subject of research on stored biological
samples and the ethical issues, with discussion of the laws and regulations applicable.
Conclusion: Our preliminary findings show some important themes that are worth
noting and considering in survey design and multicultural and multilingual research.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
38 | 39
Cyanobacteria and BMAA exposure from desert dust –
a possible link to sporadic ALS among Gulf War veterans
Renee Ann Richer
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War have been reported to have an increased
incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) compared to personnel who
were not deployed. An excess of ALS cases was diagnosed in Gulf War veterans
younger than 45 years of age. Increased ALS among Gulf War veterans appears
to be an outbreak time-limited to the decade following the Gulf War. Seeking
to identify biologically plausible environmental exposures, we have focused
on inhalation of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins carried by dust in the Gulf
region, particularly Qatar. Cyanobacterial crusts and mats are widespread
in the deserts of Qatar, occupying up to 56% of the available area in some
microhabitats. These cyanobacterial crusts, which help bind the desert sands,
are dormant throughout most of the year, but during brief spring rains actively
photosynthesize. When disturbed by vehicular traffic or other military activities,
the dried crusts and mats can produce significant dust. Using high-performance
liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. (HPLC/FD) an amino acid
analyzer, ultraperformance liquid chromatograpy/mass spectrometry (UPLC/
MS), and triple quadrupole liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass
spectrometry (LC/MS/MS), we found that the dried crusts and mats contained
neurotoxic cyanobacterial toxins, including -N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA)
and 2,4 diaminobutyric acid (DAB). If dust containing cyanobacteria is inhaled,
significant exposure to BMAA and other cyanotoxins may occur. We suggest
that inhalation of BMAA, DAB, and other aerosolized cyanotoxins may
constitute a significant risk factor for the development of ALS and other
neurodegenerative diseases.
Characterization of the LPIN2 gene and its protein
and examination of its role in psoriasis
Mazen Osman, Goda Sayed, Jamil Alami, Hatem El Shanti
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease posing a considerable world-wide
health problem due to its high prevalence, associated morbidity and high health-care
costs. It is a multifactorial “complex” disorder, with compelling evidence for a genetic
Majeed syndrome is a Mendelian disorder with a consistent phenotype and its
causative gene can be examined for its role in the more common bone and skin
inflammatory disorders of complex etiology. Majeed syndrome is caused by mutations
in LPIN2.
Many observations have implicated LPIN2 in the genetic etiology of psoriasis. Based
on these observations, we hypothesize that variations in LPIN2 play a role in the
susceptibility to development of psoriasis and that LPIN2 is the psoriasis susceptibility
locus on 18p.
In our previous study, we identified 6 coding variants that may be associated with
psoriasis due to the fact that they change evolutionary conserved amino acids and
they are present in the general population at a very low allele frequency. However, the
ultimate evidence of their causation of the phenotype is to prove that there is a change
in protein properties or function with the molecular variations. One of the aims of the
current work is to shed light on whether each identified LPIN2 mutation has an effect
on the integrity of the properties of the Lipin2 protein and therefore its function.
The wide type and six different cDNA LPIN2 clones, each harboring one of the six
described variations were successfully synthesised after codon optimisation for
maximum expression in yeast.
The LPIN2 gene and two mutants were excised from its original construct and inserted
into similarly digested pYES2. The newly formed constructs were transformed into
competent cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for protein expression. Our preliminary
analyses using SDS gel electrophoresis and Western blot indicate that the wild type and
the two mutants are expressed in S. cerevisiae but at a low level. Optimization of the
expression as well as expression of these genes in different expression system is being
carried out. The recombinant protein of the wild type LPIN2 and the two mutants will be
subjected to circular dichroism and fluorescence measurements to study the effect of
each mutant on the folding and therefore the function of the protein.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
40 | 41
Patient opinion of the Doctor-Patient relationship in a public
hospital in Qatar
Alan Weber
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Objective: To analyze factors associated with the level of satisfaction of
outpatients with their relationship with their doctor at the largest public
hospital in Qatar (Hamad General Hospital).
Methods: Researchers surveyed 628 outpatients at Hamad General Hospital
in Doha from September, 2009 to January, 2010 using a novel questionnaire
designed to assess satisfaction with patients’ interaction(s) with their doctor
(time spent with patient, took case seriously, maintained confidentiality,
overall quality of visit). Demographic variables on each responder were also
collected, including age, gender, citizenship, educational level, and cultural
and geographic information related to both patient and physician.
Results: Mean responses on 4 key doctor-patient Likert scale survey items
(1 to 5) were as follows: “spent enough time with patient” = 4.39; “doctor took
case seriously” = 4.57; “satisfaction with doctor-patient confidentiality” =
4.71; “overall quality of visit to the doctor” = 4.46. Age, gender, citizenship,
level of education, and number of visits did not significantly impact the level
of satisfaction. For 73.1% of patients, the physician’s qualification was
the most important factor in choosing a doctor. Of those surveyed, 40.7%
of men and 28.1% of women preferred to see a doctor of their own gender.
A positive correlation between perceived communication and satisfaction
with the doctor-patient encounter was established.
Conclusions: Patients in the out-patient department at the largest public
hospital in Qatar were highly satisfied with the amount of time their
physician spent with them, the seriousness with which the physician treated
their case, the degree of doctor-patient confidentiality, and the overall
quality of their visit. The high satisfaction rates may be the result of large
investments in public health services funding in Qatar over the past 10 years.
Qualification of the doctor was identified as the most significant factor in
choosing a doctor. A significant number of males and females preferred a
physician of their own gender. The positive correlation uncovered between
perceived communication difficulty and lower satisfaction with the doctorpatient encounter should be the subject of more focused studies in light
of the multicultural medical environment of Qatar hospitals.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Influence of the glycemic load (GL) on subjective and objective
measures of sleep quality in insomnia
Christopher Herrera, Patricia Ruell, Helen O’Connor, Chin Moi Chow
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Evidence in healthy sleepers suggests the glycemic index (GI) can mediate changes in
sleep onset latency, given the availability of tryptophan to the brain (i.e. TRP/LNAA
ratio) is increased after high GI carbohydrate-only food. However, these meals have
limited clinical application given the high glycemic load (GL) and insulin responses.
Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of a mixed macronutrient high GI (MHGI)
compared to an isoenergetic (~1915 kJ) low GI (MLGI) meal taken three hours prior to
habitual bedtime to improve sleep quality in participants meeting research diagnostic
criteria for insomnia. Four men and four women (n=8) were randomized to the MHGI or
MLGI meal for two consecutive nights. Blood samples were taken prior to the meal, and
60, 120, 180 min after eating. Subjective (sleep diary) and objective (polysomnography,
PSG) sleep was also measured each night. The individual 10cm visual analogue scales
indicate that meal palatability was identical for both meals; which were of good taste
(average 7.8cm); meal satiety was maintained until bedtime after the MHGI meal (>5cm),
whereas after the MLGI meal satiety ratings in men were low (<5cm); and the average
meal energetic load (kJ/kg) was greater for women (33.0 В± 4.1) than men (25.4 В± 3.8;
p<0.05). Postprandial measures indicate glucose was larger after the MHGI meal but
there was no difference in insulin response; the peak percentage rise in plasma TRP/
LNAA from baseline after the MHGI meal (17%) was substantially but only marginally
different than the MLGI (8%) meal (p = 0.12); postprandial serotonin was unaltered. The
participant group self-reported (5pt Likert scale) feeling more rested after the MHGI
(2.8) compared to the MLGI meal (2.3; p<0.05); also ratings were higher in women (3.0)
than in men (2.6; p<0.05). There were no differences in PSG sleep variables. This study
demonstrates symptoms of insomnia are improved, especially in women, after a high
GI mixed macronutrient meal. Given the present data, we suggest the possibility for a
physiological threshold within the postprandial plasma TRP/LNAA response that must
be surpassed in order to promote measurable changes to serotonin and PSG sleep.
Further studies should evaluate the potential long-term risks and benefits of habitual
mixed macronutrient high GI meals to improve sleep.
42 | 43
Detection and classification of human movement (DC-MOVE)
Tamer Khattab, Amr Mohamed, Khaled Shaban, Basim Uthman, Leopold
Streletz, Adnan Abu-Dayya
Nascent HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men
appear to be emerging in the Middle East and North Africa
Ghina Mumtaz, Laith Abu-Raddad
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University Wireless Innovations Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Characteristic movements of human body parts ranging from eye twitches to limbs
jerky movements have been used for decades by physicians as clinical indicators of
certain neurological disorders. Through a multidisciplinary research approach, our team,
composed of medical experts, signal-processing specialists, wireless sensing experts,
and computer scientists, aims at developing a sophisticated framework for automatic
characterization of certain clinical conditions via identification of a proposed unique
sequence (a signature pattern) of limb movements in relation to other body parts.
We argue that a set of movement data collected from human subjects via strategically
located movement sensors fused with other supporting data, such as gyroscopic
movements and relative locations of sensors, can be processed by advanced intelligent
signal processing techniques. Using medical expert systems fed with knowledge
provided by the contributing medical experts this can be used to characterize and
classify typical and atypical human movements. The collected data is then processed
using machine learning algorithms which is trained to automatically detect and
characterize a set of movement disorders and classify them into specific clinical
diagnosis such as specific types of seizures. In particular, our work ambitiously aims
at developing a prototype proof-of-concept seizure remote monitoring and detection
system. This would demonstrate the applicability of our developed methodology in
real-life scenarios, using commercial of-the-shelf wireless sensing platforms coupled
to our intelligent expert-based signal-processing platform.
We believe that the outcomes of this applied research will pave the roads for new
methods in clinical diagnosis of various neurological diseases and monitoring
progress and outcome of treatment that will, in turn, reduce human suffering and
medical costs. Further, when coupled with our wireless technology and positioning
methods, DC-MOVE can initiate or trigger an alerting response that could be life-saving.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) forms a highly hidden population, and there are widely held
perceptions of virtually nonexistent data on MSM and HIV in this region. Our
objective was to delineate, for the first time, the evidence on the epidemiology
of HIV among MSM in MENA.
Methods: This was a systematic review of all biological, behavioral, and
contextual data on HIV and MSM in MENA. Sources of data included Medline
using free text and MeSH headings, international organizations’ reports and
databases, country-level reports and databases including governmental and nongovernmental organizations publications, as well as various other institutional documents.
Results: This review showed that there is considerable data on MSM and HIV in
MENA. The prevalence of HIV among MSM in MENA countries ranged between
0 and 15%. By 2008, the contribution of MSM transmission to the total HIV
notified cases increased and exceeded 25% in many countries. The high levels
of risk behavior (2-42 partners on average in the last year) and of biomarkers of
risks (HSV-2 at 3-54%), the overall low rate of consistent condom use (2-22%),
the relative frequency of male sex work (20-76%), and the substantial overlap
with heterosexual risk behavior and injecting drug use (up to 17% of MSM inject
drugs and up to 37% of male injecting drug users exchange sex for money)
suggest potential for further spread.
Conclusions: This systematic review and data synthesis indicated that HIV
appears to be spreading among MSM in at least a few countries and could be
already in a concentrated state among several MSM groups. There is a need
to expand surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment
services in a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to prevent the worst
of HIV transmission among MSM in MENA.
44 | 45
Cardiovascular risk factors in metabolically diverse,
non-diabetic Qatari women
Wade Knez, M Farooq
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Background: Recent trends suggest that the sharpest increases in the prevalence
of obesity are in countries of the Middle East, such as Qatar, especially amongst
women. A diet rich in fat and carbohydrates, combined with a lack of physical
exercise, may be contributing factors to the obesity epidemic in the region. Obesity
is manifest by an expansion in adipose tissue. In South Asian populations much of the
increase in fat accumulation appears to be in the omental abdominal compartments.
Proinflammatory signals derived from adipose tissue, adipokines, such as leptin,
MCP-1 and IL-6, may contribute directly to the development of insulin resistance
and endothelial dysfunction of obesity.
Purpose: To assess the relationship between indices of obesity, body composition,
physical fitness, glycaemia, insulinaemia, serum lipids and adipokines in a cohort
of Qatari women.
Methods: Non-diabetic, premenopausal, Qatari women (n=143; age mean (SD) years)
were studied in the morning after an overnight fast. Indices of obesity (BMI and
waist circumference), body composition (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)),
aerobic fitness, blood lipids (cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), lowdensity lipoproteins (LDL), triglycerides), glycaemia (glucose, HbA1-C), serum insulin,
inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6)) and adipokines
(adiponectin, leptin) were determined.
Results: A greater degree of central/trunkal obesity was apparent in this cohort.
Significant associations were found between BMI and insulin (p<0.01), HbA1-C
(p<0.01) and abdominal adiposity (p<0.01). In the whole group, BMI was not related
to inflammatory markers or adipokines. However, sub-group analysis based on WHO
criteria for obesity showed that the obese (BMI 30-40kg.m-2) and morbidly obese
(BMI >40.1 kg.m-2) women were more insulinaemic, had higher levels of inflammatory
markers (CRP, RANTES, MCP-1, leptin) and lower adiponectin compared to normal
weight (BMI<25kg.m-2) subjects. The obese groups were significantly less fit compared
to the normal weight women, but had greater bone strength and comparable levels
of circulating lipids.
Regulation of mammalian odorant receptor genes
Benjamin Shykind
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Smell is an essential sense that allows animals to find food and mates while avoiding
predators. In humans smell is considered an aesthetic sensory modality, but olfactory
disorders may presage neurological disease including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and
schizophrenia. The odorant receptors (ORs) comprise the largest gene family in
mammals and endow an animal with the ability to smell. Critical to the development
and function of olfaction is the regulation of OR gene transcription, with each sensory
neuron selecting just one OR for expression, at random, from only one allele. While
recent experiments have brought the outlines of this remarkable process into focus,
the core mechanism has remained obscure. Using a genetic approach in mice we present
data that supports a model of single OR gene choice initiated by infrequent, stochastic
transcriptional activation and governed by feedback suppression mechanism.
In the face extreme requirements for diversity, cells and organisms have evolved
stochastic processes of gene regulation. Such mechanisms may allow for the maximal
exploration of critical biochemical, genetic, or cellular spaces and maximize the
informational output of the genome. The pursuit of the solution to this question of
gene regulation has captivated the biomedical research community - not only in the area
of neurobiology. The elucidation of this problem will shed light on the establishment and
function of this sensory system and also further our understanding of the regulation
of the largest gene family in mammals. Additionally, these findings will have central
relevance for other examples of stochastic gene regulation such as the expression of
the lymphocyte antigen receptors, X chromosome inactivation, for diverse diseaserelated processes such as trypanosome vsg and malaria var gene switching, and the
functional (epigenetic) loss of heterozygosity in cancer; all of which likely depend on
complex transcriptional processes.
Conclusion: Obesity in premenopausal Qatari women is associated with a higher
degree of fat accumulation, especially in the central depots, than has been reported
for European women. It is accompanied by hyperinsulinaemia, inflammation and
poor aerobic fitness but surprisingly free of dyslipidaemia.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
47 ||47
Mutations in IL1RN in bone and skin inflammation
Nammat Khattab, Suad Al Dosari, Mazan Osman, Asma Al Dosari,
Jamil Al Alami, Hatem El Shanti
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Associations of adipocytokines and anthropometric measurements
of the newborns of pregnant women with abnormal screening
of 50g glucose tolerance test in State of Qatar
Nasser Mostafa Rizk
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Autoinflammatory diseases are a group of disorders characterized by seemingly
unprovoked inflammation in the absence of high-titer autoantibodies or antigenspecific T cells. They include familial Mediterranean fever; the tumor necrosis factor
receptor–associated periodic syndrome; the hyper-IgD syndrome; a syndrome
of pyogenic arthritis, pyoderma gangrenosum and acne; the cryopyrin-associated
periodic syndromes; chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis and others. A new
autoinflammatory syndrome of skin and bone caused by recessive mutations in IL1RN,
the gene encoding the interleukin-1–receptor antagonist, has been recently described
and has been named deficiency of the interleukin-1-receptor antagonist, or DIRA.
Background: Adipose tissue secretes several adipocytokines that may play an
important role in development of insulin resistance during pregnancy. The aim of this
study is to investigate the associations of these adipocytokines with anthropometric
measurements of the newborns of pregnant women with abnormal 50g glucose
tolerance test [GTT] results.
Three unrelated patients with symptoms suggestive of DIRA were referred to our
laboratory. The three patients had skin and bone inflammation since birth manifested
as pustulosis and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. The course of the disease
was progressive with chronic sequelae. Two patients were from Brazil and the third is
from Palestine. We identified a novel homozygous inframe deletion of 15 bases (c.213228delAGATGTGGTACCCAT; p.72-77delDVVPI) in the two unrelated patients from
Brazil. In the Palestinian patient, a homozygous nonsense mutation (c.160C>T; p.Q54X)
was identified. This mutation has been described before in a family from Lebanon,
which probably reflects on a founder effect in Middle Eastern populations.
Results: 100g [GTT] showed that 60% were normal [C] and 40 % had impaired glucose
tolerance [IGTT]. Of all biochemical measured, only glucose (fasting, 1h, 2h, and 3h)
and insulin were significantly higher in [IGTT] group than [C] group. Mean values В±SD;
Il-6 (2.56В±1.16 vs. 2.49В±1.63 pg/ml, p=0.80), TNF-О± (3.86В±2.52 vs. 5.16В±3.45 pg/ml,
p=0.07), Hs-CRP (48.59В±17.03 vs. 50.18В±18.19 ng/ml, p=0.69), and total adiponectin
(15.97В±8.09 vs. 14.65В±7.15 Ојg/ml, p=0.31) among [C] and [IGTT], respectively. No
significant differences were observed for anthropometric measurements studied such
as birth weight (3209.66В±463.57 vs. 3558.50В±80.66 g, p=0.74), placenta weight [PW],
ponderal index [PI] and birth weight/placental weight index [FPI] between [C] and [IGTT]
groups, respectively. TNF-О± was positively correlated significantly with Il-6 (r=0.29,
P=0.012), PW (r=0.48, P=0.017) and negatively with FPI (r= -0.47, P=0.019), gestational
age ”GA”(r=-0.41, P=-0.043) and total adiponectin (r=-0.28, P=0.016).
Methods: The study subjects included all pregnant women (n=85) of matched age
and BMI, that showed abnormal results to 50g [GTT]. During 100g [GTT], fasting blood
samples were analyzed for glucose, lipid profile, IL-6, TNF-О±, Hs-CRP, insulin, and total
Conclusion: Marked hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia were observed in IGTT. Of all
adipokines measured, TNF-О± had a significant relationship with PW, FPI, and GA.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
48 | 49
Homozygosity mapping identifies additional loci for primary
ciliary dyskinesia in two Qatari families
Ammar Al Sarraj, Ibrahim Janahi, Ammar Sadoon, Asma Al-Dosari,
Sara Mohammed, Jamil Al-Alami, Hatem El Shanti
The genetic association of CYP2C19 allele with clopidogrel
treatment in myocardial infarction
Nasser Mostafa Risk
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Primary ciliary dyskinesia is a heterogeneous autosomal recessive genetic
disorder that leads to ultrastructural and functional defects of cilia. This leads
to recurrent and persistent respiratory infections, sinusitis, otitis media, and
male infertility. In a fraction of patients situs inversus is present. Primary ciliary
dyskinesia can result from mutation in at least nine different genes. However,
these mutations are responsible for the disease in 40 percent of patients. These
genes provide instructions for making proteins that form the inner structure of
cilia and produce the force needed for motility.
We identified two large inbred Qatari families with multiple individuals affected
by primary ciliary dyskinesia. As a first step we excluded all known genes
associated with the disorder. We then performed whole genome genotyping
using 200K SNP chips on an Illumina platform followed by homozygosity
mapping. In one family two significant homozygous regions were identified,
a 35 Mb region on the long arm of chromosome 3 and a 46 Mb region on the
long arm of chromosome 5. In the second family single homozygous regions was
identified on the short arm of chromosome 5 spanning 3.2Mb. Candidate genes
were prioritized based on conservation through evolution and expression in cilia.
Examination of candidate genes by resequencing is currently being performed.
Background: Major adverse cardiac events, including thrombosis and cardiac
stroke, represent life-threatening conditions that need to be analyzed from
every perspective including: life-style and genetic background. There is growing
evidence that such ischemic events are more prone to arise in populations
with a certain genetic background. With appropriate treatment and significant
improvements in technology, genetics analysis of many diseases has become
readily available and are easier to perform. In this paper we studies the genetic
association of CYP2C19 allelic variants *2,*5 and *17 polymorphisms on
the response to clopidogrel antipla telet treatment in post-myocardial
infarction patients.
Method: 5 ml of blood was drawn from 42 cardiac patients on antiplatelet
therapy. For the detection of the CYP2C19*5, CYP2C19*17, CYP2C19*2,
extracted DNA was carried out by the 5’ nuclease assay using TaqMan MGB
probe by means of an ABI 7900 [Applied Biosystems).
Results: Results have shown that there is significant association between
CYP2C19*17 mutation and clinical outcome in TT patients carrying the mutant
allele (p=0.048). As for CYP2C19*5 (p=0.917) and CYP2C19*2(p=0.09)
mutations results have shown no significant association between CYP2C19*5
and *2 response to plavix, although CT/TT and GA/AA mutations have shown
more recurrent ischemic events and death than wild type genotypes.
Conclusion: Mutations in CYP2C19*17 has an effect on clopidogrel response,
while CYP2C19*2 and *5 are not significantly associated with such low response.
Further studies are needed with a larger sample size.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
50 | 51
Molecular analysis of phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene
from dried blood spots from Libyan phenylketonuria patients
Hamda Saleh Al Mutawa, Kamila Elrfifi, Adel Zeglam, Tawfeg Ben-Omran,
Fawzia Aboureyana, Suad Al-Hmadi, Hatem El Shanti
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Al Jalaa Children’s Hospital, Tripoli, Libya
Al Khadra Hospital, Tripoli, Libya
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism due to
deficiency in the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene (PAH). This study describes the
distribution of PAH mutations in nine probands from Libya with the diagnosis of
phenylketonuria and hyperphenylalaninemia. Molecular genetics screening was done
at the Shafallah Medical Genetics Center laboratory by resequencing and analysis of
the entire coding sequences, exon flanking regions and splice sites of PAH. Genomic
DNA was isolated from dry blood spots (n=9) by organic extraction technique and
purified using centrifugal column filter device. The 13 exons , exon-intron boundaries
and splice sites of the PAH were amplified by polymerase chain reaction using
in-house designed primers and optimized conditions. The DNA sequencing reactions
were carried out by automated sequencer using BigDye Terminator chemistry.
Two homologous PAH mutations were found in 7/9 probands and were c.838G>A/p.
E280K (missense) and c.1055delG (frame shift). The frame shift mutation produces
a truncated protein of 399 amino acid length. Two Probands were homozygous for the
missense mutation, three were homozygous for the frame shift mutation and two were
compound heterozygous for both mutations. This initial study should be followed by an
analysis of phenotype – genotype correlation pattern to better understand the disease
Repeated sprinting on natural grass impairs vertical stiffness
but doesn’t alter plantar loading in Qatari soccer players
Olivier Girard, Sebastian Racinais, Luke Kelly, GrГ©goire Millet,
Franck Brocherie
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Qatar Football Association, Doha, Qatar
Background: The ability of players to recover and reproduce sprint performance
is a crucial fitness component in soccer. In recent years, there has been an
exponential interest in the study of neuro-physiological mechanisms limiting
performance during repeated-sprint tests, whereas relatively little attention has
been given to the biomechanical manifestation of fatigue. Understanding such
factors is critical to performance enhancement and injury prevention strategies
in soccer.
Aim: This study aimed to determine changes in spring-mass model characteristics,
plantar pressures and muscle activity induced by the repetition of sprints in
soccer-specific conditions i.e. on natural grass with soccer shoes.
Methods: Thirteen soccer players, members of two under nineteen Qatar Youth
League teams, performed 6 x 20m sprints interspersed with 20s of passive
recovery. Plantar pressure distribution was recorded via an insole pressure
recorder device divided into nine areas for analysis. Stride temporal parameters
allowed the estimation of spring-mass model characteristics. Surface
electromyographic activity was monitored for vastus lateralis, rectus femoris
and biceps femoris muscles.
Results: Sprint time, contact time and total stride duration lengthened from the
first to the last repetition (+6.7%, +12.9% and +9.3%; all p<0.05), while flight
time, swing time and stride length remained constant. Stride frequency decrease
across repetitions approached significance (-6.8%; p=0.07). No main effect of
the sprint number nor any significant interaction between sprint number and
foot region was found for maximal force, mean force, peak and mean pressure
(all p>0.05). Center of mass vertical displacement increased (p<0.01) with time,
together with unchanged (both p>0.05) peak vertical force and leg compression.
Vertical stiffness decreased (-15.9%; p<0.05) across trials, whereas leg stiffness
changes were not significant (-5.9%; p>0.05). Changes in root mean square
activity of the three tested muscles over sprint repetitions were not significant.
Conclusion: Although repeated sprinting on natural grass with players wearing
soccer boots impairs their leg-spring behavior (vertical stiffness), there is no
substantial concomitant alterations in muscle activation levels or
plantar pressure patterns.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
52 | 53
Developing a childhood obesity prevention program
for children in the State of Qatar
Amal Essa Al-Muraikhi
Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care, Doha, Qatar
Purpose: Obesity has been recognized as a major public health problem
worldwide that requires preventive action. Prevention is best targeted at
children, but relatively few research studies have focused on obesity prevention
and most of those were conducted in western countries. Qatar has undergone
rapid industrialization and childhood obesity is emerging as a health problem.
However, there is little information on the determinants and its prevention. The
aims of this study was to describe the prevalence of obesity among 6-7 years
old school children, investigate contributing factors and identify potential
components for an intervention program to prevent obesity amongst children.
Methods: The study consisted of two parts: 1) cross-sectional survey of children
in grade 1 from 12 primary schools randomly selected from the state of Qatar
and 2) focus groups with a range of stakeholders. Topic guides were used to
explore concepts on overweight and obesity, the causes of childhood obesity,
and perceptions on potential prevention interventions.
Results: There was a relatively high prevalence of overweight and obesity.
There were no significant differences between obese and non-obese children
in relation to physical activity or sedentary activity levels or dietary patterns,
except for higher reported consumption of sweetened beverages by the
obese children compared to non-obese children. Participants were aware of
the complexity and variety of causes of obesity and identified two important
causal influences resulting from rapid societal change and affluence since
oil production in the country. In term of interventions, the school setting
was usually prioritized and the influence of teachers in intervention delivery
emphasized: “children learn from school more than they learn from their
mothers”. The importance of education for parents, particularly the mothers was
also a consistent theme.
Conclusion: This is the first study in the state of Qatar that has examined the
risk factors for childhood obesity and used qualitative methodology to inform
future obesity prevention intervention development. The focus group data
provided important contextual information, validated some findings from the
cross sectional study and informs the development of future obesity prevention
interventions appropriate to the local setting.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Neuromuscular alterations may not be the trigger for the early
cessation of exercise in a hot environment
Sebastien Racinais
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Background: It has widely been described that elevated environmental
temperatures and humidity reduce exercise capacity and that elevated body
temperatures alter the maximum voluntary activation of skeletal muscle and
peripheral transmission of neural drive.
Purpose: This study aimed to determine if such neuromuscular alterations
trigger early exercise cessation when exercising in a hot environment i.e. if
exercise cessation occurs because, in a hot environment participants become
unable or unwilling to adequately activate the musculature.
Method: Twelve participants sequentially performed neuromuscular test
sessions (cortical excitability, spinal modulation, neuromuscular junction, muscle
contractility) after 1 hour of rest, after a 20 minute sub-maximal cycling task
(100 W), and after reaching exhaustion during an incremental cycling test. Tests
were carried out in both a control (CON, 24В°C-24% rH) and hot (HOT, 40В°C-40%
rH) environment.
Results: Exercise duration before voluntary exhaustion (incremental test)
was shorter (HOT, 13min 50s; CON, 17min 09s) and final peak power output
was lower (HOT, 220W; CON, 255W) in HOT than CON. Rectal, muscle and skin
temperature were higher at exhaustion in HOT than CON (e.g. rectal temperature:
HOT, 38.7ВєC; CON, 38.2ВєC). Heart rate was also higher in HOT (184bpm) than
CON (179bpm) but not the subjective rate of perceived exertion (RPE), which
was higher than 19/20 in both conditions. The amplitude of the motor evoked
potential (MEP) by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was not altered
(HOT, 4.5mV; CON, 5.6mV) by environmental temperature. In addition, peripheral
fatigue (peak twitch decrement) was less in HOT (-19%) than CON (-33%).
Conclusion: Our data shows that participants withdrew earlier from the
incremental cycling test with lower power output and EMG activity in HOT
than CON environments. Given that: (i) MEP amplitude during cycling was not
affected by fatigue nor heat exposure; and (ii) the extent of peripheral fatigue
was smaller in the HOT environment, we conclude that there is no evidence that
neuromuscular failures represent the limiting factor for cycling in the heat.
Instead, higher core temperature and heart rate in the HOT environment might
have triggered a voluntary exercise cessation with participants withdrawing
from exercise in hot environment before being limited by the modifications in
the neuromuscular system.
54 | 55
Atypical Rett syndrome diagnosis by molecular testing
Chini Vasiliki, Zakaria Elsayed, Jamil Alami
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that leads to regression in language
and motor skills. In most cases, it is caused by genetic mutations in the methyl-CpGbinding protein 2 gene (MECP2). Rett Syndrome occurs almost exclusively in girls
and may be easily misdiagnosed, because its spectrum of clinical characteristics is
overlapping with characteristics of other disorders such as autism, ataxic cerebral
palsy, atypical Angelman’s syndrome, spinocerebellar degeneration, etc. A 16-year-old
girl with behavior within the autistic spectrum disorder, moderate to severe intellectual
delay and subtle dysmorphic features enrolled in the Shafallah Center for children
with special needs, School Unit 1. She is shy, with no sustained eye contact and has
secondary seizures. She can use her hands in eating, drinking, painting in the class
and she can hold a pencil between the index finger and thumb to do lines and circles,
her history shows no regression. The clinical characteristics are closer to the autistic
spectrum disorders than to the Rett syndrome.
In order to avoid misdiagnosis between Autism and Rett syndrome, a genetic testing of
the MECP2 was realized in the Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, by sequencing and
Multilocus Ligation Probe Amplification (MLPA). The sequencing analysis showed no
variations in both directions, while the MLPA analysis detected a deletion of 0.6-2 kb
in exon 4 of MECP2. The tests were repeated twice and the result was confirmed.
The molecular testing result supports a Rett syndrome diagnosis, while the clinical
characteristics of the patient are not the typical Rett syndrome features. The case
demonstrates that the spectrum of the clinical characteristics of the Rett syndrome is
broader than is generally considered. This fact makes the diagnosis of Rett syndrome
difficult by relying only in the clinical manifestations. Cases like this enforce the role
of the molecular testing as a strong diagnostic tool.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Cognitive decrements do not follow neuromuscular alterations
during passive heat exposure
Nadia Gaoua, Justin Grantham, Olivier Girard, Sebastien Racinais
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Background: Methodological discrepancies between studies have made it
difficult to conclude whether heat exposure does or does not adversely affect
cognitive function and under what specific environmental and physiological
conditions these alterations appear.
Purpose: To investigate what triggers cognitive and neuromuscular alterations
during passive heat exposure.
Methods: Eight volunteers performed simple (OTS-4) and complex (OTS-6)
cognitive tasks as well as neuromuscular testing (maximal isometric voluntary
contractions of the thumb with electrical stimulation of the motor nerve and
magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex). These tests were performed at
the start (T1), after 1h30 (T2), 3h (T3) and 4h30 (T4) of exposure in both hot
(HOT, WBGT = 38 В±1.4В°C) and neutral (CON, WBGT = 19 В±0.3В°C) environments.
Environmental temperatures were adjusted during the HOT session to induce
target core temperatures (Tcore) (T1 ~37.3; T2 ~37.8; T3 ~38.3; T4 ~38.8oC).
Results: There were global effects of time (p < 0.014) and condition (p <
0.001), as well as the interaction (p < 0.001) for Tcore. At T1 and T4 the OTS-6
performance was impaired in HOT compared to CON in response to the rapid
increase in skin temperature (Tskin) and to hyperthermia, respectively. In HOT,
the increase in Tcore limited force production capacity, possibly via alterations
occurring upstream of the motor cortex (from Tcore ~37.8В°C), but also via a
decrement in motor cortical excitability (from Tcore ~38.3В°C).
Discussion: These alterations in cortex excitability failed to explain the cognitive
alterations that can originate from an additional cognitive load imposed by
temperature variations. Therefore, we suggest that the cognitive load imposed
by the rapid increase in Tskin or Tcore caused performance decrements in complex
cognitive task.
56 | 57
Gender differences in body composition, inflammatory markers
and risk of metabolic abnormalities in Arabs
Abdulaziz Farooq, Wade Knez, Asma Al Nuiami, Bengt Saltin,
Vidya Mohamed-Ali, Justin Grantham
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Background: Metabolic syndrome may be a result of both increased and/or
inappropriate fat accumulation. As a consequence of the obesity epidemic,
which has particularly manifested amongst the populations of the Arabian
Gulf, associated with increases in type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular
diseases, metabolic syndrome is becoming an increasing problem. Recent
studies from the Gulf region have highlighted that women are more at risk
than men. The effect of gender on fat accumulation and distribution, as well
as its secretory function, are yet to be studied.
Purpose: The aim of our study was to investigate gender differences in body
composition, aerobic fitness, adipokines and inflammatory markers in a cohort
of healthy Qatari adults.
Methods: This was a prospective case-control study of healthy Qatari adults
(18-50 years of age), comprised of 29 women matched with 29 men for age
and body mass index. Detailed investigations included body composition by
anthropometric measurements, DXA and CT scans to assess total and regional
fat distribution. Subjects were also evaluated for their aerobic fitness and
indices of muscular strength. Hematological investigations included fasting
glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, lipid profile analysis, adipokines (s-adiponectin,
leptin) and inflammatory markers (IL-6, MCP-1, CRP, S.RANTES).
Results: Waist circumference in males (95.4В±17.4 cm) and females (90.1В±11.3
cm) was comparable (p=0.192). CT scan results revealed that women accumulate
comparatively more fat in the total abdominal (p=0.036), and abdominal sub
cutaneous (p=0.066) and total thigh (p<0.001) regions. No differences were
detected in HOMA-IR, and despite very high adiposity, the lipid profile was
favorable in females (TG=0.8В±0.4 vs. 1.2В±0.5 mmol/L and LDL=2.8В±0.7 vs.
3.2В±0.9 mmol/L). Poor aerobic fitness (<50th percentile) was observed in both
groups 96% in women compared to 70% in men (p<0.001). S-adiponectin and
Novel poly (diol-co-tricarballylate) biodegradable elastomers.
What makes them excellent carriers for controlled drug delivery
and tissue engineering applications?
Husam Mohammed Younes, Mohamed Shaker
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada
In the past decade, biodegradable elastomeric polymers have gained
considerable attention due to the renewed interest in their applications in
the fields of biomedical tissue engineering and implantable drug delivery
systems. Elastomers can be regarded as one of the best biomaterials for such
applications because their mechanical properties can be manipulated in a
manner that makes them as soft as body tissues, they have the ability to recover
and withstand the mechanical challenges upon implantation in a mobile part
of the body and they have also proven to be well suited to drug controlled drug
delivery applications.
Our lab has recently reported on the successful preparation and characterization
of a novel family of poly (diol-co-tricarballylate) elastomers, using visible light
photo initiated polymerization. This new patented family of elastomers possess
many structural, mechanical and physicochemical properties that make them
superior to the currently available biodegradable elastomers.
The purpose of this presentation is to shed light on the preparation,
characterization and in vivo animal biocompatibility studies conducted on these
new elastomers. In addition, a short illustration on their application in controlled
drug delivery and tissue engineering and the current and future scope of work
planned utilizing the latest Qatar National Research Fund – National Priorities
Research Program 3rd cycle support received will also to be presented.
leptin levels were significantly elevated in females, whereas CRP, IL-6, MCP-1
or S.RANTES were no different.
Conclusion: Elevated leptin concentration in women was attributed to a high
percentage of central obesity in the test subjects. The presence of higher
levels of s.-adiponectin led to a favorable lipid profile in women. In contrast,
deleterious gender differences in aerobic fitness within this population is
of critical relevance and must be further investigated.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
58 | 59
Student Posters
Factors influencing breast cancer screening practices among
Arab women living in the State of Qatar
Tam Truong Donnelly, Al-Hareth Al-Khater, Mohamed Ghaith Al-Kuwari
Nabila Al-Meer, Salha Bujassoum Al-Bader, Mariam Malik, Rajvir Singh
University of Calgary - Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Breast cancer is frequently diagnosed in Arab women living in Qatar. Al Amal
Hospital in Doha reported that 20% of cancer cases receiving treatment in 2007
involved the treatment of breast cancer among women. Early detection and
treatment can reduce breast cancer morbidity and mortality rates significantly.
However, Arab women are often diagnosed at advanced stages of breast cancer.
Funded by the Qatar National Research Fund - National Priorities Research
Program, we are undertaking a three-phase research program for which the
goals are; (1) to understand the breast health experience of Arab women in
Qatar, (2) identify and implement strategies that assist women to participate
in breast cancer screening activities, and (3) evaluate, facilitate, and sustain
the participation of Arab women in breast cancer screening. In phase I of the
research program we will conduct two studies.
Study 1: This quantitative cross-sectional survey will investigate the
participation rate of Arab women in breast cancer screening, their knowledge
about breast cancer, barriers and facilitators to participation. Using a structured
questionnaire, we will conduct face-to-face interviews with Arab women aged
35 and over in three different cities in Qatar (Doha, Al Wakrah, and Al Khor).
Convenient sampling will be used to recruit 753 participants. Descriptive and
inferential statistics will be performed using SPSS.
Study 2: This qualitative study will gain insight on; 1) how Arabic women view
and participate in breast cancer screening activities, 2) how social, cultural,
historical, and economic influences affect breast cancer screening for Arab
women, the access to screening services, and social support networks in place,
and 3) what intervention strategies will increase awareness of early detection
and participation in breast cancer screening among Arab women. Purposive
sampling will be used. Qualitative in-depth interviews will be individually
conducted with Arab women, men, and healthcare providers. Qualitative data
analysis will be performed. Although the results are not available at the present
time, we will discuss how the information obtained from both the quantitative
and qualitative studies will be used to develop culturally appropriate and
effective intervention strategies and services to meet the preventative care
needs of Arab women living in the State of Qatar with the aim of decreasing
the seriousness and prevalence of breast cancer among them.
Biomedicine | Poster Presentations
Metal toxicity at the synapse: presynaptic, postsynaptic
and long-term effects
Zena Basil Ghazala, Arnab Chowdhury, Dietrich BГјsselberg
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Metal toxicity is a global health concern. We summarize the evidence for metal
interactions with the nervous system with an emphasis on synaptic transmission.
The appropriate functioning of synaptic transmission is crucial for the
information transfer in any neural network.
Presynaptically, metal ions modulate transmitter release through their
interaction with neurotransmitter (NT) synthesis, fusion of synaptic vesicles,
signaling cascades and ion channels. Ca2+ entry through voltage-gated channels
is impaired by Pb2+, Cd2+ or Zn2+, therefore all processes which depend on Ca2+,
including NT release, will be affected. Furthermore, some metals interact with
intracellular pathways e.g. Pb2+ inhibits PKC enzymes through its catalytic
domains, and Ni2+ causes a decline in the transcription of two isoforms of PKC
(prkcc and prkz) and two regulatory binding proteins (prkcbp1 and prkcdb)
affecting most functions of PKC. Cd and Hg inhibit adenylate cyclase activity,
while the extent of inhibition depends on exposure time and brain area.
Exocytosis is impaired by Pb2+ and Cu2+, which interact with Synaptotagmin I.
Postsynaptically, processes associated with binding of NT to their receptors,
activation of the channels and degradation of NT are changed by metal. Zn2+,
Pb2+, Cu2+, Cd2+, Ni2+, Co2+, Li3+, Hg+ and methylmercury modulate NMDA, AMPA/
Kainate and/or GABA receptor’s activity. These effects are more or less specific
e.g. Zn2+ and Cu2+ modulate all three types of receptors, while Zn2+ is more potent
(IC50= 0.77ОјM) compared to Cu2+ (IC50=15ОјM) at NMDA-Rs, but both have
similar potencies at GABA-R. For the most part, metal interactions depend on
the subunit composition of the NMDA-R, while less data are available for other
targets, possibly underestimating their importance.
These modulations change the synaptic efficiency and therefore impair longterm potentiation (LTP). Consequently, metals such as Al, Pb or Cd result in
various cognitive deficits. In addition the generation and maintenance of LTP is
reduced by metal actions on phosphorylation of transcription factors like CREB as
well as by reduction of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) that change retrograde signaling.
Overall, there are multiple effects of metals based on the forms of the metals,
their concentrations and the types of neurons involved.
60 | 61
Gene identification in Mendelian forms of familial epilepsy
Hala Mint El Moctar, Mohamed El Dow, Yasser Al Saraj, Jamil Alami,
Hatem El Shanti
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center, Doha, Qatar
Epilepsy encompasses a heterogeneous group of recurrent seizure disorders
affecting 1% of the world’s population. Idiopathic generalized epilepsy accounts
for 40% of all epilepsy disorders. Genetic factors contribute significantly to the
etiology of idiopathic generalized epilepsies. Complex non-Mendelian forms of
familial epilepsies comprise the majority of idiopathic generalized epilepsies,
where susceptibility genes remain largely unknown. However, rare Mendelian
or monogenic familial epilepsies have contributed to our understanding of the
genetic heterogeneity and complexity of epilepsy disorders. Recent advances in
the genetics of epilepsy have identified most monogenic idiopathic generalized
epilepsies as being caused by various channelopathies of which the majority
show an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. In this study we aim to
identify gene(s) responsible for autosomal recessive forms of familial idiopathic
generalized epilepsy.
We identified one consanguineous family with idiopathic generalized epilepsy
showing an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Age of onset of epilepsy
in affected family members was in early adolescence. The majority manifest
generalized tonic-clonic seizures and abnormal EEG findings. We performed
whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping for the five family
members using Illumina platform (200,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms).
Linkage analysis by homozygosity mapping (Homozygosity Mapper) was performed.
Role of mesenchymal stem cells in enhancing ovarian cancer
Hamda Al-Thawadi, Rafael Lis, C Touboul, C Raynaud, Arash Rafii
Qatar Science Leadership Program, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Cancer accounts for the death of thousands of people each year and brings pain
and suffering to thousands more. Among cancers that specifically affect women,
ovarian cancer has the highest fatality rate as 7 out of 10 women die within 5
years of surgery. As highlighted in numerous recent publications, the role of
the microenvironment in the development and progression of cancer is critical,
albeit not entirely understood and should therefore be a focal point for further
inquiry. The goal of our study was to define the metastatic properties enhanced
by the interaction between ovarian cancer cells and mesenchymal stem cells.
We studied the interaction between ovarian cancer cells and mesenchymal stem
cells (MSC) using two different ovarian cancer cell lines (OVCAR3 and SKOV3)
as well as different MSC cell lines derived from specific tissue. We studied using
cytokine array as well as kinase array the modifications of the MSC upon their
interaction with ovarian cancer cells. We demonstrated increased expression of
cytokines that might be implicated in ovarian cancer metastasis (IL6 and IL8).
Moreover MSC helped the ovarian cancer cells to grow in a tri-dimensional cell
culture system. Finally we were able to define transcriptomic modification in the
MSC and ovarian cancer cells upon their interaction.
We identified one region spanning approximately10 Mb on the long arm of
chromosome 11. The region contains 279 protein-coding genes. Candidate genes
were prioritized in-silico based on brain expression and conservation through
evolution. The identified candidate genes are re-sequenced (Sanger sequencing,
big dye terminator chemistry) and one gene has been excluded up to date. We are
currently re-sequencing and pre-forming mutation analysis on the remaining ten
candidate genes.
Biomedicine | Student Posters
62 | 63
Enhanced EGFR expression and function in calreticulin deficient cells
Label-free intrinsic imaging capillary zone electrophoresis analysis
to detect homocysteine from blood serum for the detection of
genetic metabolic disorders in new-born babies in Qatar
Amit Abraham, Hanin Abou Ayash, Hala Omar, Hamid Massaeli,
Nasrin Mesaeli
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Introduction: Calreticulin is a multi-functioning protein located in the
endoplasmic reticulum. Several functions have been attributed to calreticulin
including lectin-like chaperoning, regulation of gene expression, cell adhesion,
auto-immunity and calcium homeostasis. As an endoplasmic reticulum
chaperone calreticulin regulates the maturation and folding of several transmembrane proteins. We hypothesized that as an endoplasmic reticular protein
it regulates the expression folding and maturation of epidermal growth factor
receptor (EGFR). To date no information is available about the role of calreticulin
in EGFR expression and folding.
Methods: Wild type calreticulin deficient (crt -/-) and mouse lung cancer cells
isolated from transgenic mice over expressing calreticulin was used to examine
the expression, localization and function of EGFR. Western blot analysis was
used to determine the protein expression. Immunocytochemical staining of cells
was utilized to determine localization of EGFR and AKT phosphorylation was
used to determine changes in EGFR function.
Results: Loss of calreticulin function resulted in a significant increase in the
expression of EGFR as was determined by western blot analysis with antiEGFR antibody. Similarly, lung tumor cell lines isolated from calreticulin over
expressing cells expressed high levels of EGFR. Immunocytochemical staining
of these cells did not show any significant change in the localization of EGFR in
either calreticulin deficient or over expressing cells.
Our data also demonstrated an increase in the level of tyrosine phosphorylation
in calreticulin deficient cells accompanied by a significant increase in the AKT
phosphorylation in these cell lines suggesting an increase in EGFR activity.
Conclusions: Altered calreticulin expression does not affect EGFR receptor
folding but rather increases its expression and function. Next we will examine
whether changes in the EGFR is due to calreticulin’s role as a regulator of
intracellular calcium thus affecting transcription of EGFR (using quantitative
RT-PCR technique).
Biomedicine | Student Posters
Amira Khalaf Aljabiry
deltaDOT Ltd, London, UK
deltaDOT Ltd, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Over 14,000 babies are born in Qatar each year, and it is the State’s intention to
provide each with a health screen at birth for the timely diagnosis of inborn errors
of metabolism. And since the population is characterized by a high consanguinity
(estimates vary between 25–70%) from first-cousin marriages, congenital and
genetic disorders are responsible for a major proportion of infant mortality,
morbidity, and handicap birth defects and are relatively common among the
population. Accurate and reliable quantification of amino acid (AA), generally in
a plasma sample, allows early diagnosis of disorders such as phenylketonuria,
tyrosinemia, maple syrup urinary disease, hyperornithinemia and citrullinemia.
A deficiency of cystathionine B-synthase (CBS) can cause an autosomal
recessive disorder of methionine and homocysteine (Hcy) metabolism known
as homocystinuria which results in elevated concentrations of Hcy in plasma
and urine. Clinical symptoms in untreated patients include progressive myopia
and lens dislocation, thromboembolism, epilepsy, and mental retardation. Hcy is
implicated as a wide variety of natal and other disorders – including Alzheimer’s.
The aim of this study is to develop novel screens for AA levels – and in particular
Hcy - in the blood using novel approaches in capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE).
In order to quantify relevant amino acids it is necessary to deplete proteins from
a complex biological sample such as plasma. In this investigation two protein
depletion protocols were investigated on human plasma containing Hcy by labelfree intrinsic imaging in the UV using CZE. As with a majority of amino acids,
Hcy has very little or no UV absorption and for this reason analysis of samples
were performed on an advanced high performance capillary electrophoresis
(HPCE) platform, by multiple-pixel multiple-imaging indirect UV measurements.
Two complementary analysis workflows were deployed to take advantage of the
time-development of the AAs in the analysis allowing accurate quantification and
minimum inherent bias.
Studies have been made with pure AAs and also with samples spiked in known
quantities in blood which offer real clinical advantages. We have also developed
methodologies for the simultaneous detection of several amino acids in plasma
samples and limits of detection (LOD) and limits of quantification (LOQ) will
be presented. These have been shown to be greatly improved with a preconcentration technique known as �stacking’. Work has been undertaken
in our labs in Qatar Science & Technology Park and in
collaboration with Hamad Medical Center.
64 | 65
Calreticulin mediated control of polycystin-2 expression
Amit Abraham, Emine Turgut-Neary, Hala Omar, Hamid Massaeli,
Nasrin Mesaeli
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Polycystin-2 or transient receptor potential polycystic 2 (TRPP2) is a membrane
glycoprotein that is encoded for by the gene pkd-2, which accounts for ~15%
of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. TRPP2 is an independent
non selective cation channel localized to either the plasma membrane or
the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that is involved in diverse cellular functions
including control of cell cycle, cell wall synthesis, left-right symmetry, cardiac
& renal development and mating behavior. In addition, it interacts with
polycystin-1 that regulates different cell signaling pathways including JAK/
STAT. As a trans-membrane protein, polycystin-2 is expressed, folded and
matured in the endoplasmic reticulum. To date no data is available about the
nature of endoplasmic reticulum which is responsible for the proper folding
of polycystin-2. This led us to the hypothesis that calreticulin, an endoplasmic
reticular calcium binding chaperone protein, is involved in stabilizing and
transporting polycystin-2 to the plasma membrane.
To test this hypothesis we examined changes in polycystin expression
and localization in wild type and calreticulin deficient cells using western
blot analysis, and immunocytochemistry. Furthermore, western blot and
immunohistochemical analyses were used to examine changes in polycystin
expression and localization upon calreticulin over expression in vascular
smooth muscle and endothelial cells of transgenic mice.
Our data showed that over expression of calreticulin in either vascular smooth
muscle cells or endothelial cells of transgenic mice results in the development
of multiple clear cysts in the kidney cortex of these mice. Histopathological
analysis of these kidneys resembles those of human polycystic kidney disease.
Furthermore, loss of calreticulin function resulted in altered polycystin-2
expression in the mouse embryonic fibroblast cell lines. However, there were
no significant changes in the localization of polycystin-2 protein in calreticulin
deficient cells when compared to the wild type cells.
A new 3-dimensional model for ovarian cancer based
on amniotic membrane
Halema Al Farsi
Qatar Science Leadership Program, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) is the sixth most common malignancy in
women and the leading cause of death from gynecological cancer in the world.
One of the main differences between ovarian cancers and other neoplasm is
burden of local extension. Hence the majority of mortality in ovarian cancer is
due to extensive peritoneal disease, with a high rate of mortality and an overall
survival rate ranging from 20% to 30% five years after surgery according
to various studies. As for any metastatic process, the tumor cells have to
go through the steps of detaching from the primary tumor, adhering to the
peritoneal surface and then invading the peritoneum. Each of these steps might
be critical in the development of a metastatic lesion. Therefore it is essential
to understand the molecular background of peritoneal adhesion and invasion
in order to define new therapeutic targets. It may be that classic 2-dimensional
cultures do not represent an ideal model for the initiation of metastasis, and
therefore studies using only 2-dimensional cell cultures might not replicate
the reality of ovarian cancer physiology. The goal of our study was to define
new 3-dimensional culture models that will mimic the peritoneal tissue. The
constraints were; to use an easily accessible tissue, in relevant quantities, as
close as possible to the peritoneum, with great manipulability. We demonstrated
that we could keep the amniotic membrane in culture and mimic adhesion and the
early invasion of ovarian cancer cell aggregates. We were then able to follow the
invasive process within the membrane and determine different cell behavior.
Developing reproducible 3-dimensional models of ovarian cancer aggregates
and early adhesion and invasion will help us gain a more accurate understanding
of the molecular mechanisms involved in the ovarian cancer metastatic process
and define potential new therapeutic targets hindered by the use of classic
2-dimensional models.
Our data supports a possible role for calreticulin in the expression of
polycystin-2. Further research is warranted to elucidate the role of calreticulin
as a chaperone or regulator of calcium homeostasis in the expression of
Biomedicine | Student Posters
66 | 67
Signature changes in human brain wave activity associated
with olfactory learning
Abeer Raji M. Al Shammari
University of Cardiff, Cardiff, UK
Previous animal studies have shown that olfactory learning modulates
oscillatory activities in the mammalian olfactory system. In trained rodents,
odour-induced oscillations in the gamma frequency band (30-80Hz) were
specifically amplified in the olfactory bulb (OB) which was also associated
with power increases in beta oscillations (15-30Hz) in both the OB and
pyriform cortex (PC). However, there is still no evidence that these learning
induced oscillations also occur in humans and that is one aim of this study.
Additionally, we sought to determine if the drop in detection threshold for
androstadienone due to increased sensitization also generalizes to the
structurally similar androstenol. We also intended to find out if the induced
sensitization to androstadienone results in changes in the perceived odour
quality. Here, fourteen normal human subjects with low to intermediate
sensitivity to androstadienone were selected for ten day scent trials. By using
electroencephalography (EEG), oscillatory response due to androstadienone was
predominately recorded in four brain regions on days 0, 3, 7 and 10. The induced
oscillations were measured in the OB, PC, right and left frontal hemispheres. A
power spectrum technique was used to analyze EEG responses in the gamma and
beta frequency bands. Our results showed that learning-induced sensitization
to androstadienone amplified gamma power in the OB, however beta
oscillations were only enhanced in the PC. Exposure-induced sensitization to
androstadienone also generalized to androstenol demonstrating plasticity in the
human olfactory system. The induced learning was accompanied with significant
changes in the perceived familiarity and intensity of androstadienone. As a
whole this is the first study to demonstrate that olfactory learning in humans
is associated with an increase in gamma oscillatory power in the OB and beta
oscillations in the PC. This might indicate that gamma oscillations are switched
to beta waves as they travel a significant distance to the PC.
Biomedicine | Student Posters
A mouse model analyzing the influence of dietary fat intake
on liver apoptosis
Ahmed Hamad Al Saie, Robert Weiss, Erin Daugherity, Kirk Maurer
Weil Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Dietary fat intake is associated with hepatobiliary cancers which carry a poor
prognosis causing over 20,000 deaths per year in the US alone. We hypothesized
that excess lipid accumulation in the liver promotes hepatic cancer through
inflammation and oxidative DNA damage. In order for eukaryotic cells to protect
genomic integrity, the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)
responds to oxidative DNA damage and DNA strand breaks. Failure to activate
ATM following damage leads to defective cell cycle control and impaired DNA
repair. In this study, ATM knockout mice were used as a sensitized background
to assess the effects of oxidative stress and DNA damage associated with
hepatosteatosis. ATM-deficient and control mice were fed a high fat diet for
eight weeks, and then liver tissue was analyzed for apoptosis. It was expected
that more apoptotic cells would be found in ATM-deficient mice fed the high
fat diet than in control mice due to DNA break repair deficiencies. Liver tissues
were sectioned and stained by TUNEL assay, a method for detecting DNA
fragmentation that occurs during apoptosis. The TUNEL immunohistochemistry
protocol was first optimized for hepatocytes. Positive cells were counted in
multiple 40X fields from each tissue section. Statistical differences between
groups were determined by comparison of the fraction of positive cells. There
were more apoptotic cells in livers from mice fed a high fat diet relative to those
fed the normal diet. Interestingly, among mice fed the high fat diet there was a
slight decrease in apoptosis in ATM deficient mice relative to controls. Although
this difference did not reach statistical significance, this may indicate that ATM
is required for inducing hepatic apoptosis in response to stresses associated
with increased dietary fat consumption. Additional staining for cell proliferation
as well as DNA damage response activation will be performed in the future.
This study will begin to elucidate the interaction between lipid metabolism,
oxidative stress, DNA damage and hepatobiliary oncogenesis and will establish
a new mouse model that will provide a powerful tool for future mechanistic and
translation studies of hepatobiliary disease.
68 | 69
Analysis of cortical development in Lis1-GFP mice
Khawla Fuad Ali, Anamaria Sudarov
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA
The Lis1 gene encodes a non-catalytic sub-unit of the platelet-activating factor
acetyl hydrolase enzyme (PAFAH1B1). Increased PAFAH1B1 dosage in humans
causes mild brain structural abnormalities, moderate to severe developmental
delay and failure to thrive. To investigate the effects of Lis1 over expression on
cortical development, we analyzed the brains of Lis1-GFP mice with 30% over
expression in the Lis1 gene.
Cortical width was thinner for Lis1-GFP mice than for wild type at embryonic
day 14.5 (E14.5), post-natal day 1 (P1) and P6 but appeared to be similar at
P120. Analysis of cell proliferation at E14.5 showed a reduction in rates of
proliferation at the ventricular zone (VZ) of Lis1-GFP mice compared to wild
type. As a result, less Pax6-positive cells of the VZ were seen at P1 in the
Lis1-GFP mice. Immunostaining for pyramidal neuron marker Brn2 showed
cellular disorganization within the upper cortical layers (layers II and III) of P1
mice, while other layers (I, IV, V and VI) appeared to form properly. Analysis of
cortical plate formation and laminar structure via BrdU birth-dating at P1 and
P21 showed successful radial migration of neurons born at the VZ at ~E12.5 and
~E14.5 to their final destined layer. Disorganization of layers II and III was also
seen in BrdU birth-dating analysis, and that supported our Brn2 findings. The
number and density of mature neurons was assessed in the cerebral cortex of
adult Lis1-GFP mice (P120). Numbers and densities were similar in all cortical
layers between Lis1-GFP mice and wild type, except for layers II and III which
showed significant reduction in neuronal count. Quantification of GABAergic
interneurons within the six cortical layers of P120 mice revealed no significant
difference between wild type and Lis1-GFP mice.
Regulation of store-operated channels by endoplasmic
reticulum chaperons
Mashael Al-Shafai, Abdelilah Arredouani, Hamid Mesaeli, Nasrin Mesaeli,
Khaled Machaca
Qatar Science Leadership Program, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Calreticulin is a conserved Ca2+ binding chaperone protein that is localized to
the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The protein is implicated in many
cellular functions such as the regulation of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, the
regulation of gene expression, the folding of the newly synthesized proteins, cell
adhesion, cancer and auto-immunity. The role of calreticulin in Ca2+ homeostasis
regulation through Ca2+ storage and signaling might be the key to explaining
the involvement of the protein in many biological functions inside and outside
the ER. In this study, we examined whether calreticulin is responsible for
regulating store-operated channels (SOC) on the plasma membrane by assessing
changes in Ca2+ levels and SOC activity in mouse embryonic fibroblasts that are
deficient in calreticulin. Wild type and calreticulin deficient fibroblasts were
loaded with fura2-AM and the release of Ca2+ from the ER stores was induced
using Thapsigargin or Ionomycin, and Ca2+ levels were measured using InC lm2
computer program. Calreticulin-defiecint fibroblasts showed a marked decrease
in Ca2+ influx through SOC compared to wild type. To investigate the mechanism
that underlines this decrease in SOC activity we performed western blots using
antibodies for ORAI (Calcium release-activated calcium channel protein) and
STIM (stromal interacting molecule). Our data showed a significant decrease
in the expression of ORAI in the calreticulin-deficient fibroblasts compared
to wild type while STIM expression in calreticulin-defiecint fibroblasts did not
significantly differ from wild type. We concluded from our data that calreticulin
controls SOC activity and this seems to be through regulating the expression
of ORAI on the plasma membrane.
Collectively, our results show that Lis1 over expression in the Lis1-GFP mice
results in decreased proliferation rates of neuronal progenitors at the VZ
pre-natally. Subsequently, this may interfere with the proper formation of
upper cortical layers (layers II and III) in young and adult Lis1-GFP mice.
Biomedicine | Student Posters
70 | 71
Tumor associated mesenchymal stem cells protect ovarian cancer
cells from hyperthermia through CXCL12
Fadwa Ali, Arash Rafii, Raphael Lis, C Touboul
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has shown promise in the
treatment of ovarian carcinosis. Despite its efficiency for the treatment of
peritoneal carcinosis from digestive tract neoplasia, it has failed to demonstrate
significant benefit in ovarian cancers. It is therefore essential to understand the
mechanism underlying the resistance to HIPEC in ovarian cancers. Mesenchymal
Stem Cells (MSC) play an important role in the development of ovarian cancer
metastasis and resistance to treatments. A recent study suggests that MSCs
may be cytotoxic for cancer cells upon heat shock. In contrast, we describe
the protective role of MSC against hyperthermia. Using cytokine arrays we
determined that tumor associated MSC (TAMC) secrete pro-tumoral cytokines.
We studied the effect of hyperthermia in co-culture setting of TAMC or bone
marrow derived-MSC (BM-MSC) associated with ovarian cancer cell lines
(SKOV3 and CaOV3) with polyvariate flow cytometry. We demonstrate that
hyperthermia does not challenge survival of TAMC or BM-MSC. Both TAMC and
BM-MSC displayed strong protective effect inducing thermotolerance in ovarian
cancer cells (OCC). Transwell experiments demonstrated the role of secreted
factors. We showed that CXCL12 was inducing thermotolerance and that
inhibition of CXCL12/CXCR4 interaction restored cytotoxicity of hyperthermia
in co-culture experiments. Targeting the interaction between stromal and cancer
cells through CXCL12 inhibition might restore hyperthermia sensitivity in
ovarian cancers, and thus improve HIPEC efficiency.
Initial investigation of ubiquitination pathway
in mammalian meiosis
Amna Mohammed Al-Khuzaei, Paula Cohen
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The Cohen’s lab research focuses mainly on the regulation of mammalian meiosis
in mouse models, which include several induced mutants that have helped in
broadening our knowledge of meiotic recombination and the gametogenesis.
The lab also studies several DNA mismatch repair (MMR) proteins and their
subsequent effects on meiotic recombination. Thus, our research serves two
major purposes; first, to understand the genetics of re-combination and thereby
to understand how such events can fail in human gametogenesis and secondly,
to further elucidate the mechanisms of DNA repair and genome stability in an
important in vivo system.
Extending from these aims, one of these genes is the MLH3 gene, evolutionarily
conserved in many species such as mice, humans, and worms and which can solve
the infertility problems in MLH3 mutant mice.
The focus of our project is to investigate the functions of several genes
involved in meiotic prophase, using the technique of chromosome spreading.
This method allows us to visualize the different stages of prophase I, and see
the staining pattern of several antibodies that are specific to meiotic proteins.
Using a battery of specific antibodies, we set out to understand the meiotic
roles of a number of poorly characterized proteins involved in DNA repair and
ubiquitination pathways. These antibodies of interest are those that are involved
in the ubiquitination pathway of the sex chromosomes such as antibodies raised
against Rnf 8, Rad 18, and Rnf 168, all of which are involved in ubiquitination
pathways, as well as other antibodies involved in ubiquitination/deubiquitinatio.
A group of other antibodies that include mdc О», HR9B, MRО±B, USP2B, and UBQ
2 is also being studied. Our goal was to first characterize the accumulation of
these proteins on meiotic chromosomes in order to identify which, if any of
these proteins might be functionally relevant for meiotic recombination and
prophase I progression.
The project started with studying the staining pattern of the antibodies listed
above in adult male wild type mice, then younger male wild type mice to see
both the early and late stages of meiosis. The project is progressing to studying
the staining pattern in the MLH3 and Ago 4 mutant mice to see any possible
co-localizations between MMR genes and the antibodies considered
by this study.
Biomedicine | Student Posters
72 | 73
Energy &
Oral Presentations
Poster Presentations
Student Posters
Oral Presentations
Materials science and engineering are �outside the box’
at Qatar University to improve the Environment
Mariam Al Ali Al Maadeed
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
The Office of Research and the Materials Technology Unit (MTU) at Qatar
University (QU) have undertaken many challenges and initiatives in line with QU’s
role in achieving objectives set by the university’s stakeholders. This includes
taking the first steps to become a distinguished research university.
As materials science is an interdisciplinary field, MTU has a variety of research
activities that extend across all faculties and departments, often crossing
traditional subject boundaries. The materials research at MTU is linked to
virtually every field of science and engineering. Our mission is to improve the
development of Qatar through the discovery and development of new materials
with novel properties for applications within Qatar that meet the needs of
the environment, industry and society. Researchers and students at MTU are
empowered to think outside the box to expand the frontiers of materials science
and engineering and encouraged to help address and contribute to societal
needs in strategic areas including safety, energy, economy and sustainability.
Qatar University researchers combine their expertise in materials science,
chemistry, physics, biology and engineering along with advanced computation
to understand and control properties of matter. MTU provides the opportunity
for faculty members and students to interact with the industry and actively
participate in various projects. MTU attracts leading international scholars and
aims to provide universal knowledge of the four essential elements of materials
science and engineering, namely: processing/synthesis, structure, properties
and applications. Qatar University leads the materials research development
in Qatar in sustainable materials, corrosion and nondestructive studies. MTU
is starting a variety of recycling projects for polymers, papers and concrete.
Materials research contributes to economic progress by developing advanced
materials for new technologies, and lowering the cost and enhancing the
performance of more established technologies.
Energy & Environment | Oral Presentations
Gas-to-Liquids Research at Texas A&M University at Qatar
Dragomir Bukur, Nimir El Bashir
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
As the State of Qatar endeavors to become the �Gas Capital of the World’, it is
imperative to develop cost-effective technologies for gas processing. In this
context, gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology represents a major pathway for the
production of ultra-clean liquid hydrocarbons and value-added chemicals. The
Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) reaction is the principal route for the GTL process.
Professor Bukur is exploring effects of novel and non-traditional activation
(pretreatment) procedures, and promoters on performance of supported
cobalt catalysts during FTS. This research is conducted in collaboration with a
team of experts in both fundamental and applied aspects of catalysis. It may
ultimately lead to establishing scientific basis for design of the next generation
of supported cobalt catalysts for the GTL conversion process. Another area
of research is development of a comprehensive kinetic model for FTS in a
slurry reactor. The kinetic model developed in this study, coupled with the
appropriate conservation equations and transport properties for a given reactor
configuration (fixed bed or slurry bubble column), would be a valuable tool
for optimizing product yield, simulating the plant design, and evaluating the
economic cost benefits.
Dr. Elbashir’s research activities are focused on the design of an advanced
reactor technology for the FTS to leverage certain advantages over the current
commercial technologies while at the same time overcoming several of their
major limitations. The pillars of this innovative research approach are based on
fundamental studies leading to better understanding of the complex nature of
FTS, coupled with applied research work targeting the development of novel
catalysts and reactors. All phases of Dr Elbashir’s research activity in this field
are performed in collaboration with leading scientists of multidisciplinary
backgrounds and with the involvement of both graduate and undergraduate
students from Qatar. This novel research approach is designed to lead
to alternative FTS technologies, enabling Qatar to be on the forefront of
technology development in GTL.
76 | 77
GTL fuels and their effects on aircraft aas turbine altitude
ignition – detailed diagnostics
Thomas Mosbach, Gregor Gebel, Patrick Le Clercq, Darren Fyffe,
John Moran, Reza Sadr, Kumaran Kannaiyan, Ali Al-Sharshani
DLR German Aerospace Center, Stuttgart, Germany
Rolls Royce Strategic Research Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Qatar Shell Research & Technology Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
There has been growing interest for alternative fuels in aviation in the past three
years. An alternative fuel can be defined by the triplet �feedstock-process-fuel’.
Presently, the triplet with one of the highest technology readiness levels for gas
turbine (GT) applications involves using natural gas in a Fischer-Tropsch thermochemical process to derive synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK). Generic FischerTropsch fuels were approved in September 2009 for use as 50% blends with
Jet A-1. Gas-to-Liquid (GTL), as a final product of the aforementioned triplet
meets those specifications and is in a deployment stage, with one plant currently
under construction in Qatar. The product of a Fischer-Tropsch process, such as
GTL, is feedstock agnostic. As such, its composition can be tailored to meet or
exceed some of the current specifications for jet fuel. Investigating the potential
benefits of composition changes in GTL-like jet fuel defines the general scope of
our research program.
This article presents the results of tests conducted on the Rolls-Royce plc
TRL3 sub-atmospheric altitude ignition facility in Derby, UK. The test campaign
aimed at investigating the impact of the carbon number distribution (narrow/
wide cut), the iso- to normal-paraffin ratio and the total cyclic paraffin content
characterizing the surrogate GTL-like fuel composition on the ignition and
combustion performance of a single sector advanced GT combustor and fuel
injector under simulated altitude conditions.
The detailed diagnostics consisted of simultaneous high-speed imaging of
hydroxyl (OH*) and methylidyne (CH*) chemiluminescence and broadband
luminescence measurements of the ignition process. By observing the processes
in the visible and the UV simultaneously, it was possible to distinguish between
radiation (originating from e.g. soot) and the chemiluminescent emissions
from the OH* and CH* radicals. These are markers for chemical activity in
the different regions of the combustor and therefore provide information
concerning the temporal and spatial development of the flame kernel.
Energy & Environment | Oral Presentations
Automating visual inspection of pipes used for natural
gas production
Peter Ian Hansen, Brett Browning, Peter Rander, Hatem Alismail
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA, USA
Qatar is a worldwide leader in liquid natural gas (LNG) production and is poised
to lead the world in gas-to-liquids (GTL) production with the commissioning of
the Pearl GTL facility. Unfortunately, Qatar’s gas fields contain non-negligible
quantities of corrosive and toxic hydrogen sulfide (H2S), resulting in the ongoing
need for expensive and labor intensive pipe inspection to detect and monitor
areas of corrosion. Such inspection is critical to plant integrity, worker safety,
and to ensure the economic productivity of the facility. Current industry practice
relies on manual sensors operated by a worker located externally to the pipe. The
complex pipe geometries and sheer number of pipes, result in a sparse inspection
process that forces inspectors to extrapolate measurements to large areas of the
pipe network that are unseen.
To overcome these limitations, we are pursuing a radically different approach
that uses an articulated robot to navigate inside the pipe, combined with a visionbased perception system that can build a detailed, registered, high resolution
3D appearance map of the inside pipe surface. By using an articulated robot, we
can significantly increase the direct measurement coverage of the pipe network.
By using a vision-based perception system, we can build models for visualization
of the inside pipe surface that can be directly evaluated for corrosion damage.
Moreover, our approach lays the foundation for automating corrosion detection
by enabling changes in co-registered multi-sensor fusion (e.g. using magnetic flux
leakage) to be evaluated over time.
Our work to date has focused on developing monocular and stereo visual
odometry systems, which are the core component to building high resolution
3D appearance maps of the pipe surface from a robot crawler located inside
the pipe. We have developed algorithms that take imagery collected from a robot
moving inside the pipe, and are able to estimate the motion of the vehicle and
the resulting structure and appearance of the pipe surface. We have evaluated
our algorithms on pipe segments and have generated accurate, high resolution
stitched images of the internal pipe surface. We will describe the details of our
algorithms, current results, and next steps in our work.
78 | 79
Real-time leakage detection in underground water pipelines
using wireless communication
Abdullah Kadri, Adnan Abu Dayya, Daniele Trinchero, Roccardo Stefanelli,
Tamer Khattab, Mazen Hasna
Smart solar reactor for co-production of hydrogen
and industrial grade carbon under any weather conditions
Nezrin Ozalp
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University Wireless Innovations Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Detecting and locating water leakages in underground water distribution pipes
has been studied in this research activity. The importance behind this research
is driven by the huge amount of lost water in buried water distribution systems.
It is estimated that worldwide, approximately 48 billion m3 water is lost per year.
The monetary value of this lost water is about USD 14.6 billion and this amount
of water is sufficient to supply 200 million people. Besides the monetary aspect
of the lost water, leakages create a public health risk when a leak becomes a
potential entry point for contaminants when the water pressure drops below
certain levels.
Conventionally, water leakages in underground pipes are detected and located
using systems based on several techniques and technologies amongst which
are: tracer gases, thermography, pressure and flow modeling, and ground
penetrating radars (GPRs). Although these techniques show some promise,
they are expensive, complex, time consuming, and they may not be successful in
detecting leakages in practical conditions. Other techniques depend on sensing
the acoustic noise generated due to the pressure gradient over the pipe’s
inner and outer surfaces. The difficulty with this technique is that it requires
operators with an experienced professional background and it is critical in
urban environments with high background noise.
In this research, an innovative solution has been introduced in which a freefloating detecting module is inserted into the underground water pipe. This
module gathers information about existing leakages and then wirelessly
transmits the information to a ground station on real-time basis. The detecting
module contains the sensing element, i.e. a hydrophone, the radio frequency (RF)
unit, the processing unit, and an antenna. The challenge in this solution lays on
designing a mobile module able to send electromagnetic waves from inside the
pipes to the surface through the fluid, the pipe’s material and the terrain. Other
challenges include: studying the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) among
various components that exist within the sensor module, wave propagation
analysis, designing the wireless protocol taking into consideration power
optimization, and developing algorithms for data analysis.
Energy & Environment | Oral Presentations
The impending shortage of fossil fuels and environmental consequences of
fossil fuel consumption are two of the most imperative problems in the world.
This presentation is about a novel design of a solar reactor cavity system
composed of a camera-like aperture and moving-wall system to house a unique
thermo-fluid-chemical process known as �solar cracking’.
Differing from typical solar powered Rankine cycles, solar cracking uses
concentrated solar energy as a heat source for direct decomposition of natural
gas into gaseous H2 and particulate carbon. This process offers a CO2 emission
free hydrogen production method, as the carbon is collected in a high-grade and/
or nanotube form. However, solar cracking reactors have two implicit major problems:
The intrinsic losses in energy conversion efficiency as a result of the high
internal temperatures and corresponding re-radiation losses as well as the
inherently transient nature of the solar energy. Literature on solar reactors
reveals a distinct focus on optimal reactor design for steady state efficiency,
but little regarding transient inefficiencies. This presentation provides an
advanced perception to solar cracking reactors by presenting you the latest
results of our research at Sustainable Energy Research Lab on the design of a
�smart solar reactor’ that is sensitive to variations in solar flux, and can adjust
itself accordingly to maintain quasi-equilibrium internal conditions. A unique
system design is presented featuring a solar-flux intensity sensitive aperture
that can enlarge the aperture diameter when the flux is low and reduce the
diameter when the flux is high.
Carbon particle deposition on the reactor window, walls, and at the exit.
Carbon deposition. particularly at the exit, causes reactor clogging. There have
been many innovative reactor designs aimed to achieve increased conversion
efficiencies through novel flows developed at ETH-Zurich, CNRS-France, WISIsrael, Colorado-USA, Florida-USA, and DLR-Germany. From vortex-flow to
tornado, and from fluidized bed to rotating cavity, the designs of these reactors
have moved toward the goal of seeking enhanced flow conditions that result
in improved overall efficiencies, but have not solved the carbon deposition
problem. Our latest research results at Sustainable Energy Research Lab shows
that our �aero-shielded cyclone solar reactor’ concept provides a laminar flow
shield covering the walls as a thin layer flow with a velocity that is strong enough
to sweep carbon particles away. This presentation will show you the results
of our research on this concept with a 3D animation of the reactor.
80 | 81
Improving productivity and increasing Qatar reserves
Aggour Mohammed
Qatar biofuel: research, development, education,
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
At Texas A&M University at Qatar, the faculty, research staff, and students of
the Petroleum Engineering Program are currently involved in and also planning
for several research projects with four main objectives: improving productivity in
Qatar’s oil and gas fields; increasing the petroleum reserves of Qatar; developing
a strong base of Qatari professionals; and preserving the environment.
One of our major projects is directed at enhancing the productivity of gascondensate reservoirs which are commonly reduced due to condensate
blocking. Our research team is tackling the problem on various fronts including
a comprehensive experimental study on the wettability changes of rocks that
can enhance liquid mobility and gas productivity; a simulation study to identify
the critical parameters that need to be considered when trying to optimize well
productivity; and a fundamental study that is targeting analytical modeling of
multi-phase flow and the stability of various states of wettability at reservoir
conditions. Funding for the various aspects of this work is supported by the
Qatar National Research Fund’s National Priorities Research Program (NPRP),
RasGas, and Schlumberger.
Another active research area related to productivity enhancement deals with
acid stimulation in carbonate reservoirs, which applies to almost every well in
Qatar. Part of the work is aimed at enhancing the recovery of spent acid to speed
the clean up process and improve gas productivity after stimulation. Another
part deals with the development of an acid-jetting process as an improved
and more effective stimulation process. More work is in the initial stages that
targets optimizing the stimulation treatments in Qatar.
We are also actively working on developing models using artificial intelligence
techniques to optimize applications of horizontal wells in gas condensate
reservoirs with uncertain geological properties.
Malcolm Potts, Roda Al Thani, Ghmaza Saed Hamd Al Ghazal,
Mohamed Abdisalam, Eulian Roberts, Chris Schroeder, Amar Al Saady
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatar Science & Technology Park, Doha, Qatar
Qatar Airways, Doha, Qatar
Qatar National Research Fund, Doha, Qatar
In view of the burgeoning market in international carbon trading and the longterm global regulatory constraints on fuel emissions, the need for an alternative
to petroleum oil is both large and immediate. The primary goal of our project
is to establish a global infrastructure for the production of biofuel from
cyanobacteria and microalgae that can sustain economic and environmentally
sound operations of the aviation industry. The business plan includes biofuel
production as a driver for the development of a diverse biotechnology industry
in Qatar, based on research, development, acquisition of intellectual properties,
training and education. These activities are in full accordance with the 2030
National Vision for Sustainability in Qatar. The partners in this enterprise
are the state airline of Qatar (Qatar Airways), the state university of Qatar
(Qatar University) and the conduit for support of innovative research in Qatar;
Qatar Science and Technology Park. Our research program is conceived to
trigger the paradigm shift in technology that is required to make the near-term
establishment of a viable biofuel technology in Qatar a reality. The program
is focused on the growth, physiology and molecular biology of cyanobacteria
and microalgae isolated from extreme terrestrial, freshwater and marine
environments in Qatar. A diverse culture collection of photosynthetic
microorganisms is now established at Qatar University and strains are currently
under investigation for their utility in large-scale growth, expression of superior
survival in engineered Qatar environments, amenability to novel harvesting
techniques, and capacity for copious oil production.
Our work on CO2 addresses two objectives: carbon sequestration and CO2
injection for improved oil recovery. We are conducting experimental, modeling,
and simulation work to achieve these objectives.
Energy & Environment | Oral Presentations
82 | 83
Developing an air quality modeling system for Qatar
Dianne Lecoeur, Ali Al Mulla, Claude Sadois, Azhari Ahmed
TOTAL E&P Qatar, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Qatar Petroleum, Doha, Qatar
The Qatar Air Quality Modelling System (QAQM) was developed by Qatar
Petroleum (QP) and Total Research Centre - Qatar (TRC-Q) to elucidate the
causes of the high ozone levels in Qatar’s lower atmosphere. Ozone formation is
a complex phenomenon involving primary pollutants (nitrogen oxides and volatile
organic compounds), solar radiation and local meteorological conditions. The
pollutant’s long lifetimes underpin the need to consider their impact at regional,
as well as local, scales.
Meteorological simulations are obtained using well-known MM5 software. Using
nested grids, simulations are first run at a large scale with coarse resolution
and then refined over the Gulf and Qatar scales in successive iterations. This
approach takes into account trans-boundary dispersion of pollutants along the Gulf,
as well as local phenomena with a higher resolution (sea-breeze, local turbulence, etc.).
A comprehensive emission inventory of ozone precursors has also been
constructed at the regional and local scales. Various methodologies have
been employed covering all activity sectors and scales (direct knowledge of
industrial processes, statistical data combined with emission factors and road
traffic emissions models). This emission inventory coupled with Geographical
Information Systems produces a geo-referenced database of primary pollutants
which serves as an input for the modelling platform.
The CHIMERE photochemical model uses the dispersion and emission inventory
previously generated as inputs, and then simulates the chemical reactions
between pollutants at all steps, in space and time.
The outputs from the model simulations were validated against meteorology and
air quality data collected from various monitoring stations in Qatar. They showed
a global acceptable agreement. This study has also improved the scientific
knowledge on processes involved in the ozone cycle in the Gulf region.
Efforts in the State of Qatar to conserve and monitor
endangered marine turtles
Mehsin Abdulla Al Ansi
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Marine turtles are listed as endangered and they belong to Animal Kingdom
phylum Chordata, class Reptilia and are descendants from early reptiles. Marine
turtles are long-living and the females lay many eggs. Each year, thousands of
hatchlings emerge from their nests along many coastlines across the world.
Natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are numerous and on the
increase, including natural predators and human exploitation. Unfortunately,
only an estimated one in 1000 to 10000 will survive to adulthood. Together with
marine biologists at Qatar University, studies on marine turtles in the State
of Qatar were initiated in 2002, sponsored by Ras Laffan Industrial City. The
outcome of the 2002 study provided the baseline data needed for subsequent
studies. It has now been established that only one species of the endangered
extant marine turtles, the Hawksbill turtle, nests in the Gulf area and in Qatar
along the northeastern sandy beaches and islands (Ras Laffan, Fewairit, Al
Maronah, Al Ghariyah, Jazirat Ras Rakan, Jazirat Umm Al Tays and Halul Island).
Studies showed that Ras Laffan City is a major nesting area [No. of nests
recorded since 2001: (2001: 74), (2002: 240), (2003:208), (2004: 190), (2005:
229), (2006:129), (2007:76), (2009: 72)]. An outcome of the studies since 2002
showed that females average clutch size varies between 65-78 eggs, which are
incubated for 51-57 days in a nest temperature of 28.6⁰C – 33.3⁰C.
Since 2009, efforts to monitor the nesting population along the Qatar coastline
have started and the satellite tracking of females continues. This showed the
females remain in the Gulf waters between Ras Laffan moving north (Kingdom
Bahrain – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and south to the UAE. One tracked female
travelled a maximum distance of 1917 km in 147 days. A number of females
have been tagged to date, of which 3 tagged in 2005 returned to nest in 2009.
Between 2009 and 2010 over 40 females were tagged.
The QP QAQM platform can be used as a planning tool to assess the
environmental impact of new industrial activities. It is also a suitable basis for
further developments in the field of air quality monitoring, forecasts and mitigation.
TRC-Q is currently building on this successful experience to develop new
technologies as an answer to the environmental challenges resulting from
the extraordinary growth currently enjoyed by Qatar.
Energy & Environment | Oral Presentations
84 | 85
Pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll a fluorometry
for monitoring the health of corals along the coast of Qatar
Adeyinka Adenikan, Cecile Richard, Edourd Horlin, Romain Le Gall
Thibault Schvartz, Eric Dutrieux
Qatar Sustainable Water & Energy Utilization Initiative (QWE).
Water and environmental research activities at TAMUQ
Ahmed Abdelwahab, Patrick Linke
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
ExxonMobil Research, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Creocean, Doha, Qatar
The Arabian Gulf is shallow, sub-tropical and semi-enclosed, all factors that
promote large variations in the properties of its water. The extreme natural
variations, in association with global changes such as the increasing pH of the
oceans and climate change, make the ecosystem balance of the Gulf very fragile.
A one-year-long study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of PAM
(pulse amplitude modulation) chlorophyll a fluorometry in monitoring the health
of sensitive ecosystems, such as coral reefs, around Qatar. The immediate
objectives were: (i) to evaluate the efficacy of the PAM chlorophyll fluorometry
technique as a means of assessing sub-lethal stress in corals; (ii) to calibrate
and validate this technique for future ecosystem monitoring applications in this
local environment; and (iii) to collect environmental data to attempt to correlate
detected changes in stress status to changes in the magnitude of environmental
factors that are known to affect these organisms. The study consisted of four
field surveys conducted at approximately quarterly time intervals, at two
monitoring stations. PAM fluorometry measurements were complemented by
detailed visual assessments of the health status of the ecosystems following a
traditional belt transect method, continuous recording of seawater temperature,
underwater light intensity measurement and water quality monitoring.
Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) has very active and well-established
environmental and water research and development program. TAMUQ has
recently founded the Qatar Sustainable Water and Energy Utilization Initiative
(QWE) which is a center of excellence for open and cooperative research, and
capacity building established to address the sustainable environmental, water
and energy efficiency issues relevant to Qatar. With current R&D projects
worth in excess of USD 6 million, the QWE builds upon a strong scientific and
technological base of direct relevance to Qatar. The QWE initiative aims to
sustain and expand this critical knowledge resource to provide knowledge and
technology transfer to stakeholders; to provide technical services; to provide
continuity to the R&D efforts; to support long-term national programs; to
engage in campaigns to promote the need for environmental protection and
sustainable water and energy utilization to the wider public; and, of special
importance, to develop the human capacity needed to address scientific and
technical issues related to Qatar’s current and future needs in these areas.
The QWE team consists of twelve highly qualified research staff members is
working on several research projects which are of direct benefit to the Qatar
community. Current research projects cover the following areas:
• Environmental impact assessment and management
Results of both types of observations indicated different degrees of sub-lethal
stress on most of the coral species at Fuwayrit and Halul. While the visual
signs of stress were difficult to quantify, the PAM fluorescence data provided
a clearer indication of the stress being experienced by the organisms at the
time of the surveys.
• Integrated water resources management
For one particular species of coral at the Fuwayrit site, PAM measurements of
photosynthetic efficiency proved to be a good predictor of imminent mortality.
• Hazardous waste management
Based on data from the Halul site, it can be inferred that the PAM fluorometry
method did not give false indications of stress for healthy corals.
The presentation will outline the initiative and share results and insights
developed across the numerous research projects carried out at the QWE.
We will specifically focus on the direct link between research and capacity
building activities and the development of tailored solutions to real problems
observed in the region.
This study has demonstrated that PAM fluorometry can improve our ability
to monitor the health of corals in the Qatar and Gulf environment by providing
objective data on the photosynthetic performances and the state of stress
of these organisms.
Energy & Environment | Oral Presentations
• Hybrid desalination systems and systems analysis for solar desalination
• Zero liquid discharge systems
• Water and energy systems analysis, integration and optimization
• Advanced water and wastewater treatment processes
86 | 87
Poster Presentations
Adaptive transmission for spectrum-sharing cognitive systems
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdallah, Khalid QaraqeШЊ Mohamed Slim Alouini
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The concept of cognitive networks has recently emerged as an efficient means
for utilizing the scarce spectrum by allowing spectrum sharing between a
licensed primary network and a secondary network. Cognitive networks can be
divided into three different types; namely, interweave, underlay, and overlay. For
the interweave type, the secondary users are only allowed to use the spectrum
of the primary network whenever it is idle, which requires continuous sensing
of the primary spectrum by the secondary network. For the underlay network,
simultaneous transmissions are allowed by letting the secondary network
share the spectrum with the primary network, under the condition of maximum
interference power level allowed at the primary receiver. Finally, for the overlay
type, the secondary network is aware of the signal characteristics of the primary
network that are exploited to achieve an enhanced performance for the secondary
network by minimizing the interference incurred by the primary transmissions.
In this poster, we present an overview of the three types of cognitive networks.
We focus on the underlay cognitive network model, whereby we present the
fundamental capacity results of these networks under various power constraints
on both the transmit power and the interference power attained at the primary
receiver. We then explore practical methods for achieving these capacity results
by employing adaptive transmission techniques at the secondary users.
Biopesticide research and development: for safer agriculture,
food and environment
Samir Jaoua, Roda Al Thani, Slim Tounsi, Dhabia Al Thani, Fatma Al Saadi
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia
In the frame of the protection of the environment that is continuously polluted
by the massive use of chemical pesticides, we carried out a joint R&D project, on
the development of biological pesticides using local bacterial strains isolated
from Qatar and Tunisia. Microbial bioinsecticides were shown to be an efficient
tool to control plant pests as well as human disease vectors. The Bacillus
thuringiensis elta-endotoxins are the most valuable bioinsecticides currently
used in commercial agriculture, forest management and mosquito control.
This Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium produces parasporal crystals
composed of insecticidal elta-endotoxins. They exhibit a high specificity of
insecticidal toxicity towards lepidopteran, coleopteran and dipteran insect species.
From both Qatar and Tunisia, hundreds of strains of B. thuringiensis were
isolated and studied and their bioinsecticides coding genes cry were cloned
and characterized. Among the Tunisian strains, we evidenced the abundance of
the kurstaki subspecies active on the lepidopteran olive tree pathogenic insect
P. oleae, whereas from the Qatari soil samples, we found large heterogeneity
among the isolated strains. Moreover Bti strains, used for the control of disease
vector mosquitoes, were more abundant in the Qatari Bt strain collection than
in the Tunisian one. On the other hand, very particular Qatari B. thuringiensis
strains synthesizing particular crystals and harbouring different plasmid
profiles and probably synthesizing novel insecticides were evidenced.
Besides the genetic and molecular investigations, the development of a
fermentation process for B. thuringiensis bioinsecticides production was also
carried out and allowed us to do the scale-up of the production of bioinsecticides
in a 430 litre fermenter. Important quantities of biological and environmentally
safe insecticides were produced and applied successfully in the field.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
88 | 89
Incipient fault diagnostics of rotating electrical machines
using adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system
Atif Iqbal, Haitham Abu Rub, SK Moin Ahmed
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
First-ever research on the basic ecology of the Ethiopian
hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) in Qatar
Nobuyuki Yamaguchi
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Condition monitoring and fault diagnostics of electrical machines are extremely
important in any industrial setup. In some applications, such as the oil and gas
industries, production units, power generation, refining and milling, the failure
of critical equipment like generators, milling machines, motors, fans and pumps
costs millions of dollars in reduced output, emergency maintenance costs and
lost revenues. However, in the utility industry, malfunctioning of the electrical
machinery is not acceptable not only because of its financial damage, but also
Biodiversity conservation attracts much attention all over the world, highlighted
in 2010, the United Nation’s International Year of Biodiversity. Effective
biodiversity conservation needs basic biological and environmental information,
including the behavior and ecology of organisms. The Ethiopian hedgehog
(Paraechinus aethiopicus), which is well adapted to the desert environment,
is a common species in Qatar and yet little is known concerning their behavior
and ecology. We are conducting the first ever research in the Gulf Cooperation
the threat that is caused by a sudden failure or malfunctioning of the part.
Council (GCC) countries on the ecology and behavior of the Ethiopian hedgehog
using radio-tracking, supported by the Undergraduate Research Experience
Programme (UREP) awarded by the Qatar National Research Fund. The project
is still ongoing and we have captured 48 different hedgehogs between April
and June 2010, and put radio-tags on 13 (six females and seven males) animals
so far. We followed them to collect data for investigating their spatial patterns
and habitat preferences during the breeding season (spring and summer) where
we found that males’ ranges are larger than those of females. We are currently
conducting our fieldwork to investigate these ranges during the non-breeding
season (autumn and winter). One of our hypotheses is that males’ ranges during
the non-breeding season would be smaller than those during the breeding season
whilst there would be no clear difference in females range. We expect that we
would be able to collect enough data by December to present the results at the
Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum.
The research is aimed at developing a system that will detect incipient failures
of electrical machinery before actual failure results in system or industrial
process disruption. The objective is to make repeatable decisions based on
complex relationships between large amounts of measured and estimated data.
The condition of the machines will be available at all times, and the incipient
detection and predictive maintenance system will provide an accurate prediction
of any potential failure on demand. Two techniques are under consideration, the
first one is based on pattern recognition that analyzes electrical measurements
of electrical components to characterize the profile of electric machines at the
beginning of life for a �baseline signature’. Then, at regular intervals, or when a
failure is suspected, the technique will be used to derive the present profile and
compare it with the �baseline’ profile. The other method is based on adaptive
neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). The synergy of artificial neural network
and expert fuzzy logic yield ANFIS that is a simple and effective diagnostic tool
not requiring precise mathematical models of the motor and controllers. The
proposed ANFIS controller will provide qualitative and quantitative knowledge
of the health of a rotating machine through valid heuristic reasoning. Various
types of electrical and mechanical faults will be investigated and the technique
based on expert knowledge (ANFIS system) will be utilized for incipient
fault diagnostics.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
90 | 91
Potentials for commercialization of novel Fischer-Tropsch
reactor technology
Nimir Elbashir, Eman Tora, Elfatih Elmalik, Mahmoud El Halwagi
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
This paper comprises of a preliminary in-depth analysis of the technoeconomic criteria for the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) solvent selection.
Both conventional media (i.e. gas phase FTS and liquid phase FTS) as well
as non-conventional media (near-critical and supercritical phase FTS) were
examined, with an emphasis on non-conventional media FTS for the design and
commercialization of a novel FTS reactor technology.
Supercritical and near critical fluids (SCFs) are attractive for several reasons,
highlighted by their ability to overcome some of the major limitations of current
commercial technologies (e.g. transport limitations in the slurry reactor, and
thermal limitations in multi-tubular reactors). Due to single phase operation of
SCFs, these solvents are unique media for chemical reactions as they operate
with densities that are sufficient to afford substantial dissolution power, while
also providing diffusivities that are higher than normal liquids and viscosities
that are lower than their liquid counterparts.
High temperature Fischer-Tropsch (HTFT) was the center of examinations,
but LTFT was considered as well. A wide array of hydrocarbon solvents was
reviewed, ranging from propane to decane, with numerous blends of two or more
of the mentioned paraffins. Several fuel cuts were studied as well, such as light
and heavy naphtha and diesel.
Understanding the transport and thermodynamic behavior as well as economic
benefit of these said solvents is essential to the success of an advanced FTS
reactor model. Also, the interaction of the solvents with in-situ reaction mixture
and products further insures single-phase operation and feasibility.
Supported gold nanocatalyst for low temperature CO oxidation
and combustion of volatile organic compounds (VOC)
Khaled Saoud
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as butadiene and
isoprene, are air pollutants emitted by many industrial sources, such as burning of
wood and fuel with poor ventilation, and by natural sources including forest fires or
volcanic eruptions. It was found that these compounds are also significantly abundant
in many industrial processes. Therefore, low-temperature catalytic oxidation of CO and
combustion of VOC is one of the most important problems in catalysis, since even small
exposures to CO or VOC (ppm) can be lethal. Catalytic oxidation is one effective method
of removing CO.
Nanoparticle catalysts are characterized by a large surface area, high dispersion and
strong metal-support interaction. It is therefore expected that nanoparticle catalysts
would show high catalytic activity for the low temperature oxidation of CO.
Our results demonstrate the application of the vapor phase synthesis to synthesize
supported and unsupported nanoparticle catalysts for CO oxidation. The method is
based on the laser vaporization/controlled condensation (LVCC) technique of gold (Au)
and copper (Cu) nanoparticles supported on a variety of oxide supports such as CeO2,
TiO2, CuO and MgO. Our results indicate that Au nanoparticles supported on CeO2
exhibit higher catalytic activity than Au supported on other oxides. This high activity is
attributed to the strong interaction of Au with CeO2. The results also indicate that 5 %
Au loading on CeO2 has higher activity than 2% Au or 10% Au.
The effect of preparation method on the catalytic activity is investigated. It was found
that the catalytic activity for 5%Au/CeO2 prepared by the chemical (depositionprecipitation) method is higher than the catalytic activity of Au/CeO2 prepared by
physical (LVCC).
In any combustion system, there are significant amounts of other toxic gases,besides
CO, such as nitric oxide, butadiene, and isoprene. We investigated the catalytic activity
of the Au/CeO2 nanoparticle catalyst in the presence of 1000 ppm of butadiene and in
the presence of 1000 ppm of isoprene. Our results indicate the combustion of butadiene
and isoprene to CO2 and H2O, as supported by the mass spectrum and the CO conversion
Finally, the Au/CeO2 nanoparticle catalyst can be an active catalyst for selective CO
oxidation at temperatures below 300oC even in the presence of VOC. Furthermore,
this catalyst shows great promise for the low temperature combustion of VOC
such as butadiene and isoprene.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
92 | 93
Study of interrelationship between atmospheric turbulence
with oceanic wave motions
Ahmad Assem Jichi, Reza Sadr, Arindam Singha
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The exchange of momentum between the wind and the ocean surface is the
primary source of various oceanic phenomena, both in large (e.g., El NiГ±o)
and small-scales (e.g., generation of wind waves, storm surge and coastal
upwellings). Based on the existing literature on wind-wave interaction, it can be
suggested that a unique missing link exists between the standard atmospheric
and oceanic-circulation models. This is due to the inherent difficulty in
the theoretical formulation of the models describing the phenomena and
experimental measurement of the contributing factors in the near ocean
surface wind measurement and surface pattern dynamics.
An experimental site was acquired at the under-construction New Doha
International Airport in Qatar to help throw light on the aforementioned
difficulty. The site is in an area with light aircraft traffic and is surrounded by a
6m deep ocean and almost flat terrain in all directions. Wind velocity measured
at more than 7m/s comes over the ocean surface around morning time. An
array of three sonic anemometers, thermocouples, net radiometer, two digital
cameras and a complete weather station are to be installed on the site. The
sonic anemometers are intended to measure the wind velocity and direction
at different elevations from the ocean surface. The digital cameras will work
synchronously with the anemometers to acquire images of the ocean surface.
A variation wave acquisition stereo system will be used to reconstruct the 3D
elevation of the ocean wave based on the principle of stereo reconstruction.
At the end, the plausible link between the atmospheric and oceanic phenomenon
will be explored experimentally which will lead to a better prediction model.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
Genetic and environmental variation among Qatari date palm
cultivars assessed by DNA markers
Talaat Ahmed
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Date palms are generally propagated by separating the offshoots produced
by individual trees. This method maintains the genetic integrity of date palm
cultivars. However, well known date palm cultivars that are grown in different
environments show little differences in fruit morphology and quality such
as color and sweetness. The objective of the present research project is to
analyze the genetic diversity among most common cultivars of Qatari date
palms as well as the genetic variation within each cultivar grown in different
environments in Qatar. Samples of the five most common date palm cultivars
in Qatar; Khalas, Sheshy, Rezezy, Barhee and Khanezy were collected at three
locations with different environments Al-Shamal, Al-Khour and Al-Rayan, Qatar.
For each cultivar, samples were collected from three trees that showed little
variation in their fruit morphology and quality. Genetic similarity or diversity
among and within these cultivars was then analyzed using Inter Simple Sequence
Repeat (ISSR) markers. A total of 18 ISSR single primers were used to amplify
DNA bands using genomic DNA from the date palm samples. All of the primers
used have amplified polymorphic bands in the studied cultivars either among
the cultivars or within each cultivar in different cultivated environments. The
results indicate the existence of genetic variations among the studied cultivars.
Moreover, trees of the same cultivar that are grown in different environments
show different DNA banding patterns explaining the variation in morphological
and quality characters within each cultivar.
94 | 95
Development of a high-speed, magnetically-loaded energy
storage system
Nazar Al Khayat
Williams Technology Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Williams Formula One (WF1) is one of the world’s leading racing teams and has
pioneered many technological innovations for racing cars in the past thirty
years. Williams Technology Centre (WTC) is a recently formed company that is
focused on exploiting one of the technologies WF1 has been nurturing for hybrid
automotive applications, flywheel storage.
WTC business objectives are; the advancement of a cost-effective energy
storage and power delivery pack to boost performance and improve efficiencies
across multiple industries such as transportation, telecommunications,
renewable energy, industrial, and aerospace. Applications of energy storage
technology will lead to a reduction of fuel consumption, greenhouse emissions
and improvement in system efficiency.
The enabling technologies for the WTC power pack are a magnetically loaded
composite (MLC) rotor and a power electronics inverter (PEI). MLC is formed by
mixing magnetic particles into a carbon based matrix filament. Glass and carbon fibres
are added to the MLC layer to provide mechanical stability at high speed operation.
The rotor is magnetized into a Halbach arrangement to eliminate back iron
and generate a sinusoidal field distribution in the air gap.
Another key enabling technology that will be developed by WTC is the power
electronics inverter. The inverter will regulate the machine input/output
using advanced pulse width modulation techniques. Advanced motor control
strategies are currently being investigated to maximise system efficiencies
and robustness in case of faults.
Endangered wild plants in Qatar
Noora Jabor Al Thani
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
A wide range of natural processes, invasive plants and human activity have had
a strong impact on the stability of the ecosystem, leading to the destruction
of plants habitats and plant endangerment or even extinction. Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew, together with the Natural History Museum, London, and the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has revealed that
the world’s plants are as threatened as mammals, with one in five of the world’s
plant species threatened with extinction.
Wild plants make an important contribution to the life of local communities.
Some plant species in Qatar, are endangered like Rhanterium epapposum
Oliv. (Arhaj), Convolvulus pilosellifolius Desr. (Malbow), Dipcadi erythraeum
Webb&Berthel. (Miselmow), Glossonema varians (Stocks) Benth. Ex Hook.f.
(Yarawah), Prosopis cineraria (Ghaf).
Unless action is taken to stop such decline and a mechanism is put in place
to reverse and preserve these wild endangered plants, we will be faced with
the danger of their extinction the near future. Therefore, it is critical to have
a knowledge of assessment and protection measures, such as replanting and
propagating through the technology of tissue culture, to turn around loss of
biodiversity in Qatar.
Supported by a Qatar Foundation grant, WTC is currently building an engineering
design office and electronic and mechanical engineering workshop to advance
the development of a high power/energy flywheel. Efforts are ongoing to employ
key specialists and development engineers to work on components and system
engineering issues.
The full paper will discuss the key features of the flywheel technology and
compare its performance against other technologies like super capacitors and
lithium ion batteries. The paper will also review the ongoing engineering effort
and technical advances necessary to support prototype/product development.
Assessment of typical markets and applications will also be discussed.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
96 | 97
Real-time, online, air quality monitoring sensor network
Osama Kubar
Qatar University Wireless Innovations Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Environmental monitoring is an important tool in the overall environmental
management strategy. In particular, a planned monitoring strategy can help
in quantifying the level of impact that has occurred during country/region
development and enables the predictions of potential air pollution changes
to be verified. A quantitative assessment of environmental change following
industrial activities is important when future environmental liabilities need to
be considered. Additionally, environmental monitoring data can enable a better
understanding of the processes by which impacts may arise.
Traditional environmental monitoring systems are characterized by bulky nodes,
expense (in the range of USD 1 million ), and disperse (tens of kilometers) nodal
allocation. Traditional systems rely on extrapolating localized measurements to
project air quality information over a large geographical area. Therefore, along
with the high cost, traditional networks suffer from inaccurate predications/
assessment to regional mapping of air quality information, as well as nonflexible gas monitoring and selection.
As a result, many research institutes and governmental agencies worldwide
are actively involved in research activities for finding more robust and costeffective alternatives. The underlying technology for those activities is the
utilization of wireless sensor networks (WSN). WSN promise to bring low cost,
large scale advanced remote monitoring and automated applications to a wide
range of technical areas and industries. In addition to lowering capital and
operating expenses, WSN provides improved reliability, increased installation
flexibility and scalability.
The project aims to architect, design, and develop an innovative solution utilizing
the WSN. The solution under consideration is ubiquitous and cost effective
and provides real-time data transmission and remote/online data processing
and accessibility. Innovative, smaller, inexpensive and with different sensing
capability, sensor nodes are integral to the solution. Such sensors are emerging,
but not yet mature, and therefore substantial effort will be invested in working
with sensor vendors to ensure the design and development of the right sensor nodes.
Optimal resource allocation for relay-assisted wireless
communication systems
Mohammad Obaidah Shaqfeh, Hussein Alnuweiri
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The design, analysis and optimization of cooperative/relaying communication
systems have recently become a very active research area within both the
information theory as well as communications engineering societies. It is now well
understood that relaying strategies can improve the coverage of wireless networks
by providing higher data rates or better transmission reliability to user terminals at
the edge of a wireless cell, or terminals having faded connectivity with the base station.
Relaying technologies are also becoming part of the telecommunication standards.
Although we can find studies, in the academic literature, on advanced relaying
schemes, which are based on user terminals cooperating to help each other while
applying decentralized resource allocation strategies, the first actual deployment
step which will take place within the 3GPP long-term evolution (LTE)-advanced
standard is based on fixed access points to do the relaying and within a centralized
scheme in which the e-nodeB (base station with backhaul connection) takes the
scheduling and resource allocation decisions.
One major objective in 3GPP evolution is to utilize the scarce wireless system
resources efficiently because achieving the high quality of service (QoS) targets
through over-provisioning is uneconomical due to the relatively high cost for
transmission capacity in cellular access networks.
Our objective here is to obtain the optimal (from an information theory perspective)
resource allocation schemes taking into considerations the system constraints that
are relevant to the LTE-advanced standard. We have been able to derive optimal
resource allocation polices that are provably based on closed-form formulations
which are practical for implementation. They include the policies for (i) transmission
mode selection (i.e. deciding whether the user needs the assistance of a relay or not),
(ii) power allocation for the base station and the relays, and (iii) criterion for user
scheduling over the available air-link resource units.
Simulation results demonstrate that our proposed resource allocation scheme
provides considerable throughput gains especially for users receiving low power
through the direct link with the base station.
The project also includes research activities related to innovative network
architecture for robustness and cost effectiveness as well as software
development activities for data processing, information presentation and
dissemination. This will ensure that localized and personalized information
can be delivered to diverse customers.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
98 | 99
Preparation, characterization and investigation of CO2 adsorption
behavior of zinc-magnesium carbonate compounds
Ferdi Karadas, Cafer Yavuz, Galen Stucky, Mert Atilhan
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejon, Republic
of Korea
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
The capture of CO2 from flue gases derived from fossil fuelled power
plants and the absorption of CO2 from natural gas sweetening processes
are two relevant industrial problems closely related with very important
environmental, economical and technological problems that need to be solved.
Porous inorganic compounds have received attention in recent years due to
their possible applications in the carbon dioxide capture and storage field.
In this work, we prepared new metal carbonates by reacting CO32- solution
with solutions of Zn2+-Mg2+ metal ions in different stoichiometric ratios. The
samples were characterized with powder x-ray diffraction analysis (PXRD),
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and thermogravimetric
analysis (TGA). Furthermore, these samples were measured with a Rubotherm
magnetic suspension balance to investigate their CO2 adsorption behavior
and performance.
Ecologies of scale: strategies for designing culturally
and environmentally relevant neighborhoods in Doha, Qatar
Rami El Samahy, Kelly Hutzell, Kristina Ricco, Spencer Gregson
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
In the past decade, Qatar’s population has experienced unprecedented growth.
The country has nearly trebled in size, from 522,000 residents in 1997, to over
1,500,000 today. Of that total, 82% is said to live in the metropolitan area of
Doha. As phenomenal as this growth may be, however, it is both environmentally
and culturally unsustainable. Until now, the tendency has been to build in a
speculative manner — a tendency to build all at once without full consideration
of how to fill it. As a result, a sprawl of air-conditioned two and three story
buildings dominates the landscape. The climatic constraints are real: while the
weather is quite livable for half the year, the hottest four to six months of the
year can be difficult to bear, with little rainfall to offset the extreme temperatures.
Architects and urban designers address these issues in a manner that is unique
to the design field, an approach that can be termed �design research’. It is both
quantitative and qualitative in nature, and necessitates an iterative approach
whereby proposals, based on initial collection of data, are created and then
refined as a result of reflection on the artifact created. In this sense, the act of
creation itself becomes part of the research, and a means towards a solution.
For this project, the solution proposed centers on an idealized box, a simple
yet carefully calibrated object that accommodates a plethora of programs,
structural options and enclosures. The box can accept myriad functions and
can be easily transported to the site on an as-needed basis. A variety of façade
and roof strategies based on performative criteria can help reduce solar gain
and create a richly diverse architectural language. Orientation and function
dictate not only the façade direction, but also the building massings, as well as
height and distance between buildings, thereby resulting in shaded and wellventilated streets. With a set of basic rules, the aggregation of buildings can
occur organically over time, as opposed to the current model. At each stage
of development, appropriately-scaled public spaces accompany the buildings,
including the garden, the courtyard and the plaza.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
100 | 101
Laser ultrasonic inspection, a new inspection technique
and its effects on the integrity and surface properties
of the metallic surfaces
Effects of GTL fuels on aircraft gas turbine altitude ignition
combustor operability
Maqbool Mohammed, Uvais Qidwai
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Laser ultrasonic inspection (LUI) is the name given to the techniques in
which a laser beam interacts with the surface of a test sample and replaces
piezoelectric transducers for launching and probing elastic sound waves. When
this wave returns to the surface, a separate laser interferometer detects the
small resulting displacement. This technique is strictly non-contact and is
therefore suitable for in-process inspection of parts while at high temperature
or moving at high speed. In the field of non-destructive techniques (NDT), the
association of laser generation with optical detection provides a completely
remote inspection system.
As this process involves hitting of high power laser beam on to the surface
to be inspected and ablation of the superficial layer of the surface, one of
the objections from the conventional oil and gas industry to LUI system is
apprehension of potential damage or adverse effect on the surface property
and integrity. This possible problem is seen as severe on pressurized pipes
to the extent of being dangerous to the system.
This work attempts to present a qualification methodology which was
experimentally applied to known metallic samples and with standard LUI testing
conditions. Binary image processing techniques have been used with hybrid
filtering and statistical measurements to quantify the findings. A relational
approach is used within the digital image processing domain to qualify the
extent of metal loss that occurs during a prolonged exposure of the clean
metallic surface to the laser beam. A comparative study has been done on Duplex
steel (UNS S31803) and Carbon steel. Samples were studied for relative metal
loss, possible changes in hardness and micro-structural anomalies (if any). A
new qualification method has been developed using digital image processing
to approximate the damage sustained by the exposure. The results are quite
promising and alleviate many doubts that conventional NDT experts may have
in connection with the LUI system, especially in the oil and gas scenarios.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
Reza Sadr, John Moran, Darren Fyffe, Kumaran Kannaiyan
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Rolls Royce Strategic Research Centre, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
The current kerosene fuel used in aviation turbines is tightly controlled to a well
defined specification. This fuel specification is a result of the past 50 years of
simultaneous research and development between the aviation turbine industry,
especially the combustion system, and kerosene jet fuel chemistry.
Recently, there has been a ground swell of interest in alternative fuels for
aviation, where the fuels can be made from a variety of feedstocks and
processes. The chemistry and composition of species within future alternative
fuels will change from the current kerosene jet fuel specifications; therefore
research has been carried out looking at the effects of some of the fundamental
component species that will be found in potential future fuels. The fuels
being researched in this programme have been specifically chosen to look like
fuels that could be produced in the gas-to-liquid (GTL) plants currently under
construction in Qatar.
Tests were conducted on the Rolls-Royce plc TRL3 sub-atmospheric altitude
ignition facility in Derby, UK. The facility was operated at simulated altitude
conditions of combustor air inlet pressure and temperature, and fuel inlet
conditions to represent combustor conditions following flame-out during high
altitude cruise. The gas turbine combustion, ignition and stability characteristics
were studied by measurement of the successful ignition and flame stability
using a series of GTL SPK-type fuels. The combustor under test was a multisector representation of an advanced gas turbine combustor and fuel injector.
The GTL SPK-type fuels were selected to generate a pseudo-design of
experiments (DoE) matrix in which the iso- to normal- paraffin ratio, cyclic
paraffin content and carbon number range were varied in order to isolate the
effects of each. Tests were conducted at combinations of air mass flow rate and
fuel-air ratio necessary to map the regimes of successful ignition and flame stability.
Results for all the fuels tested showed no deterioration to the weak boundary
of the ignition regime, or the weak extinction limits within the scatter of the
experimental method. Evidence was found that 100% GTL SPK from Shell’s
production facility in Bintulu, Malaysia, as well as one of the DoE blends, have
greater ignition performance at simulated altitude conditions.
102 | 103
Life cycle assessment of polymers in Qatar
Nesibe Gozde Ozerkan, Mariam Al Ma’adeed, Ramazan Kahraman
Non-invasive method to examine the diet of the spiny-tailed
lizard, Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis, in Qatar
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is gaining wider acceptance as a method that
evaluates the environmental burdens associated with a product, process or
activity by identifying and quantifying energy and materials used and wastes
released to the environment, and assesses the impact of the energy and material
used and released to the environment. It is also considered as one of the best
environmental management tools that can be used to compare alternative
eco-performances of recycling or disposal systems.
In this study, life cycle assessments of polymer recycling are reviewed with a
view to protecting the global environment and to control waste in the polymer
industry in Qatar. Incremental increases in population in this region have
resulted in a dramatic increase in plastic consumption and unfortunately, the
waste management system has not been properly managed to date. During the
study, real data from the industry was used in the analysis of the environmental
impact of plastics recycling by applying the LCA methodology to the products
and processes involved in recycling. The results obtained will help to understand
the importance of the use of recycled polymer materials and highlight the clear
advantages from an eco-efficiency viewpoint, of plastic recycling against direct
manufacturing from petroleum.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
April Ann Torres Conkey, Renee Richer, Aurora Castilla,
John Tribuna, Rita Chan
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia, Solsona, Spain
National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, Spain
Qatar Natural History Group, Doha, Qatar
Qatar Veterinary Center, Doha, Qatar
In this pilot study, we show that a non-invasive technique, fecal analysis, can
be used to positively identify diet contents in the spiny-tailed agamid lizard
(Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis) in the wild. We examined U. a. microlepis fecal
samples collected in the Kharrara region of Qatar and identified over 25 species
of desert plants. In addition to the native flora, grains of barley (Hordeum
vulgare) were identified in the samples suggesting that Uromastyx can benefit
from livestock feed. We also found the remains of invertebrates, vertebrates and
stones. The types of vertebrate remains found suggest scavenging behavior; the
first evidence of scavenging for this species which has, to date, been considered
a strict herbivore. Other studies on Uromastyx have pumped the stomach or
killed the animal to retrieve dietary samples. We show that fecal analysis is
a suitable technique for dietary examination in herbivorous lizards and, as it
is non-invasive, complies easily with institutional review board requirements
for ethical animal treatment.
105 | 105
Integrated pest management as an alternative to chemical
pesticides with low environmental impact
Fluid-rock interaction in carbonates - the impact of flow rate
and grain size distribution on limestone dissolution at the
laboratory column scale
Emad Hussein Al Turaihi
Ministry of Environment, Doha, Qatar
During the last four decades, synthetic chemical pesticides have provided many
benefits to agriculture and food production, but they pose some hazardous
problems to humans, animals and environment. Chemical pesticides leave
undesirable residues in food, water and the environment where they are not
used properly. It is estimated that one million people are affected by chemical
pesticide poisoning every year and more than 20,000 die as a result of being
unaware of the risks involved in the handling or use of chemical pesticides.
This study showed that integrated pest management (IPM) was an effective
alternative to synthetic chemical pesticides. The study also revealed that the
components of IPM, such as cultural practices, biological control, pheromone
traps, soil solarization and plant extracts provided cost effective and
environmentally sound methods to control agricultural pests and diseases.
As a result many growers and researchers are applying an IPM approach
to maintain pest populations at levels below those causing economically
unacceptable damage or loss.
In addition, this study has identified the use of IPM methods in the Arabian Gulf
countries to manage some insects and diseases affecting date palm trees. The
main goal of IPM is to reduce any harmful impact chemical pesticides may have
on humans, wildlife, soil and water quality. The usage of chemical pesticides
in the IPM programme should be rational, judicious and applied at the most
vulnerable time in an insect/disease life cycle.
Oussama Gharbi, Zhadyra Azimova, Martin Blunt, Branko Bijeljic
Imperial College, London, UK
As part of the project studying the fundamentals of carbonate reservoir
pore/fracture scale physics and chemistry within the Qatar Carbonates and
Carbon Storage Research Centre at Imperial College London, sponsored by
Qatar Petroleum, Shell and Qatar Science and Technology Park, we present
experimental data on the dynamics of fluid-rock interaction during acid injection
in carbonate rock. This has implications for CO2 sequestration in geological
sinks as well as in well acidization that has been used in carbonate reservoirs to
enhance oil recovery.
The effect of grain size distribution and flow rate on dissolution kinetics was
studied in laboratory columns packed with calcite grains at ambient conditions.
For each set of different experiments the columns were packed with 150250Вµm (fine), 300-500Вµm (medium) and 600-850Вµm (coarse) calcite grains.
The evolution of fluid-rock interaction was investigated by using inductively
coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) to study the time
dependent profiles in Ca2+ cation concentrations inside the column and in the
effluent stream. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging technique was
performed prior to, and after, acid injection to illuminate the nature of calcite
dissolution at the rock surface.
ICP-AES and SEM analysis highlighted the complex nature of the dissolution,
characterized by the creation of additional surface roughness and wormholes
in single grains that resulted in the formation of a more heterogeneous porous
medium. The in situ Ca2+ concentration, measured by slicing the column at the
outlet, is greater than the effluent concentration, confirming that Ca2+ resides
in stagnant regions of the pore space.
After starting acid injection, the chemical reaction occurs in the column,
resulting in a gradual increase in Ca2+ concentration in the effluent that
eventually reaches a steady-state value. Thus, the time needed to reach this
steady state defines an important time-dependent reaction dynamics regime.
The duration of this regime is longer as the grain size distribution becomes
finer. As the finer media has a more complex structural heterogeneity,
the corresponding surface area takes a longer time to be reached by the
injected acid and the transport of the created products takes a longer time
to breakthrough. This implies a transport-limited reaction.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
106 | 107
Using clumped isotopes to help understand isotopic sector
zoning in calcite
Improving stable carbon and oxygen isotope geochemical
measurements in dolomite: reference material and acid
fractionation factor
Iain Andrew MacDonald
Imperial College, London, UK
Debated among scientists for decades, observations of compositional
differences between different crystallographic faces within a same growth
zone, called �sector zoning’, represents a major challenge for geochemistry and
in particular for isotope geochemistry. Nowadays, convincing evidence for
the existence of sector zoning has been reported in the literature. However,
no consensus on the mechanisms triggering sector zoning has been reached.
Understanding how and why sector zoning occurs is essential because the
presence of sector zoning could skew the isotopic characterization of a
carbonate mineral depending on the area being sampled. This would result
in an ambiguous interpretation of the data.
The emphasis of this study, which is part of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon
Storage Research Center (QCCSRC), is therefore placed on deciphering the
different processes leading to isotopic sector zoning in calcite, with the help
of a new tool: the clumped isotopes (i.e. isotopologues).
Large calcite crystals with clearly visible growth zones have been collected from
fracture infills in Oman. The minerals growth zones and sectors are recognized
via cathodoluminescence microscopy and the trace element content of the
different zones in several sectors is estimated via electron microprobe. These
different sectors are then sampled by a micro-drill following single growth zones and
analyzed for their oxygen and carbon isotopic compositions. The approach highlighted
above allows for recognition of the presence of sector zoning, but does not constrain
the type of mechanism(s) leading to the observed isotopic fractionation.
To gain further insight, we turn to clumped isotopes (multiply substituted
isotopologues) which are molecules with distinct chemical and physical
properties. This should theoretically lead to distinctive fractionations. Clumped
isotopes have been used recently to measure the temperature of precipitation
of carbonate minerals. If each of the crystalline phases of a given crystal were
precipitated under thermodynamic equilibrium, one would expect a constant
clumped isotope value between sectors. However, we intend to use clumped
isotopes as a discriminative geochemical tool to check if differences in the О”47
values between sectors exist. If this was the case, isotopologues could provide
new insights on sector zoning and would give an extra dimension to the quest
for the different factors resulting in these types of isotopic zonations.
Iain Andrew MacDonald
Imperial College, London, UK
The analysis of stable carbon and oxygen isotope composition is one of the most
commonly used techniques in stratigraphic and diagenetic research of carbonate
rocks. The wide-spread use and easy access of this long-established method has
the side effect that little attention is paid to fundamental calibrations. Dolomite
is often measured against a calcite standard (NBS19), and the acid fractionation
factor used to calibrate is based on the one for calcite. To date, no reference
material exists for dolomite.
In this study, which is part of dolomite research in the Qatar Carbonates and
Carbon Storage Research Centre project, we focus on two main goals. First, we
characterize a current standard of dolomite used for major and minor elemental
geochemistry, and assess its suitability as a new dolomite standard for Оґ18O
and Оґ 13C. Second, we attempt to better constrain the acid fractionation factor
for dolomite and assess the influence of different dolomite types on this
fractionation factor. As only two thirds of the total oxygen in the carbonate is
released in the form of CO2 during acid reaction, a fractionation between the
reacting carbonate and the resulting gas will occur. A recent study improved
on the acid fractionation factors for calcite and aragonite. Often, the acid
fractionation factor for dolomite is used to calculate Оґ18O and Оґ 13C from the
values obtained by calibration with the calcite standard. Only two studies
(from the 1980’s) have attempted to constrain the acid fractionation factor for
dolomite, of which only one did experiments not only at 25ВєC, but also at 50
and 100ВєC. The dataset of the latter experiment is, however, very limited and
contains only two dolomite samples. We aim at improving the constraints on
the acid fractionation factor of dolomite by reacting a wide range of different
types of dolomite at a wide range of acid temperature, and compare this to the
absolute isotopic composition of the samples measured on a fluorination line.
Combining compositional, stable isotopes and clumped isotopes information
could ultimately help to reveal the secrets of sector zoning.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
108 | 109
Fracture-related diagenesis in the carbonate carapace
of a salt dome, Jebel Madar, Oman
Fracture-related diagenesis in the carbonate carapace
of a salt dome, Jebel Madar, Oman (CONT’)
Iain Andrew MacDonald
Imperial College, London, UK
This study, carried out in the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research
Centre (QCCSRC) at Imperial College focuses on the interplay between
fractures, diagenetic fluid flow and precipitation of diagenetic minerals in an
exposed carbonate carapace of a salt dome in Oman. Understanding faultrelated mineralization and the differences between diagenesis in the fractures
and fracture walls compared to diagenesis in the rock matrix will help prediction
of the reservoir quality of such fractured carapaces in the subsurface. The
research questions addressed here are a) what controls the timing, distribution
and geometry of fractures in the carapace of a salt dome?, and b) what controls
the timing of the precipitation of minerals in the fracture network? To answer
these questions, a dual approach combining structural geology with carbonate
diagenesis is being applied. The origin of the fluids and their role in fracturing
and diagenesis is being investigated by means of geochemistry and petrography
and the processes of fracturing, fluid flow and the migration of fluids along
pathways will be determined by reconstructing the structural history by a
combination of field mapping and seismic interpretation. This dual approach is
powerful and can be used to determine the history of fluid flow. Ultimately, the
aim is to develop conceptual models linking fracturation and fluid flow during
halokinesis with diagenesis.
The presence of minerals in fractures indicates that these latter acted as fluid
pathways. Initial stable isotope results suggest that the precipitating fluids
were hot, with average values of δ 18O of –9.74 ‰ PDB and δ 13C of 1.19 ‰ PDB.
Initial results indicate that the regional stress stimulated the local development
of salt diapirs which produced local stress fields that totally dominated the
timing and pattern of fracturing and fluid migration.
Jebel Madar is situated in the southern foothills of the Oman Mountains and is
a folded and fractured salt dome carapace comprising Jurassic and Cretaceous
limestones. The structural history of the Jebel is currently being reconstructed
using fracture analysis of structural data gathered during fieldwork. This will be
augmented with the interpretation of seismic profiles. Initial results indicate
that the dominant fracture orientations are ~ N-S and NE-SW. Using the crosscutting relationships of the fractures an attempt is being made to establish their chronology.
To understand the diagenetic history of the fracture infill, several techniques
are being used including petrography, major and trace elemental analysis,
fluid inclusion, and stable oxygen and carbon isotope analysis. An important
observation made in the fractures of the Jebel Madar is that several generations
of calcite cements exist, with crystals ranging in size from several centimetres in
the centre of the fracture to compact, millimetre-sized crystals close to the host
rock. In addition, in some fractures barite and calcite have been co-precipitated,
an observation which, with the aid of fluid inclusion studies, could yield the
composition and possible origin of the parent diagenetic fluids.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
111 | 111
Early dolomitization of a Lower Cretaceous shallow water carbonate
platform: was microbial activity a major controlling factor?
Iain Andrew MacDonald
A novel meshing and finite element flow model
for porous media
Imperial College, London, UK
Early dolomitization of carbonate rocks has long been problematic as
precipitation experiments at room temperature have shown that dolomite will
not be precipitated chemically under Earth surface conditions. To explain the
widespread occurrence of early dolomite in the geological record, bacterial
mediation of dolomitization has been proposed. The strongest evidence comes
from modern hypersaline environments where dolomitization was shown to take
place under anoxic conditions.
In this study, part of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research
Center (QCCSRC), we investigate whether microbial mediation of early
dolomitization took place on the Barremian-Berriasian carbonate platform
of the Jurf Formation of Southern Oman. The sediments are characterized by
a finely crystalline, poorly ordered dolomite present in various proportions.
The amount of dolomite seems to be controlled by facies with tidal flats
and algal/microbial facies being totally dolomitized and restricted lagoonal
facies being only partially dolomitized. Results indicate that the dolomite is
penecontemporaneous to sedimentation and that the dolomitizing fluids are low
temperature seawater formed in an evaporative lagoon. Thus, reflux mechanisms
played a role in the process of dolomitization.
One of the major questions of our study is what controls the heterogeneity of
the distribution of dolomite on this platform. We hypothesize that bacteria
present in tidal flats and algal/microbial mats facies played an important role in
controlling dolomitization. Our goal is to highlight the role of biomineralization
in controlling the early diagenesis of the Jurf Formation. To test this we will use
a multi-proxy approach using mineralogy, trace elements, stable and clumped
isotopes, and SEM analysis, in an integrated field, petrographic and geochemical
study of a Barremian-Berriasian carbonate platform exposed in the HaushiHuqf area. A bed-by-bed sampling was done for two 15-meter thick outcrop
sections separated by one kilometer. Initial results highlight the importance of
considering the presence of microbial activity to build more accurate dolomitization
models and in assessing the lateral heterogeneity of dolomite bodies.
Tara Catherine LaForce, Jefferson Gomes, Ahmed El Sheikh,
Matthew Jackson, Murtaza Gulamali, Jon Saunders, Ahmed Abushaikha,
Matthew Piggot
Imperial College, London, UK
Qatar Science Leadership Program, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
This work presents a new fully-unstructured meshing scheme for generating
simulation meshes, coupled with a novel simulation method for fluid flow models
in porous media.
We use unstructured tetrahedral meshing algorithms to generate meshes that
rigorously adhere to structural and depositional heterogeneity in geological
reservoir models at multiple scales. Geological heterogeneity is represented
using numerous surfaces, in contrast with traditional pixel- or grid-based
methods. This approach allows the generation of meshes which capture
heterogeneity more efficiently and accurately than structured or partiallystructured grids.
The flow simulations are performed using a new hybrid discontinuous Galerkin/
control volume based method which combines continuous pressure and
discontinuous velocities. Our approach rigorously enforces material balance
equations while ensuring crucial scalar fields such as pressure and saturation
remain positive and bounded.
This research has direct application to aquifer flow systems. We report the
results of single-phase flow simulations on unstructured meshes for complex
geological systems. These simulations accurately model the spread of
groundwater contaminants such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) or
metals such as arsenic that behave as tracers in aquifers.
Initially, simulations are run on simple anisotropic geological systems for
two-dimensional flow to benchmark against analytical solutions and validate
the accuracy of the simulator for simple flow problems. Next, simulations for
tracer flow are performed on 3D channelized and fractured reservoir systems
to demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of the new grids and simulator
in complex reservoir geology.
We present numerical simulations of single-phase flow for a variety of
geological systems of increasing complexity, culminating in systems which would
be impossible to mesh and solve with structured meshes. This is also a first step
towards a more complex multi-phase and multi-component implementation
of the novel methods for flow through porous media.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
113 | 113
First evidence of scavenging behavior in the herbivorous lizard
Aurora Castilla, Renee Richer, Anthony Herrel, April Ann Torres Conkey
John Tribuna, Mohammed Al Thani, Rita Chan
Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia, Solsona, Spain
National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, Spain
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Museum national D’Histoire naturelle, France
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatar Veterinary Center, Doha, Qatar
Optimal foraging theory predicts flexibility in feeding behaviour which enables
species to survive in harsh environments where food resources may be scarce
and unpredictable in space and time. In this study we explored the hypothesis
that the lizard Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis, a species living in dry desert
areas may behave as an omnivore under conditions of limited food availability.
To do so, we examined the diet of this species based on 294 faecal pellets
collected in the field. This species has been traditionally considered as a strict
herbivore. However, our study based on a population in the Qatar desert provides
the first evidence of scavenging behaviour for Uromastyx. We found remains
of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in their faecal pellets. We also found
significant differences between our study zones in the type of food consumed
by lizards. This highlights the importance of environmental conditions and
human activity on lizard behaviour. The consumption of vertebrate carcases
was only detected in the study area located near the main road, suggesting
that scavengers may benefit from the availability of dead animals along roads
that result from collisions with vehicles. The consumption of barley by lizards
was observed only in the study area near a camel farm, suggesting that lizards
can also benefit from the food provided by farmers to livestock. Our findings
of scavenging behaviour have important implications for the application of
management actions, such as the provisioning of carcases near the lizard
colonies. That may help preserving the species in situations of extreme food
scarcity under the threat of global warming. Lizards near farms can also benefit
from extra food of human origin. Because the current decrease in, and loss of
biodiversity is a real threat, the identification of different tools that may help
to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss is crucial.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
Numerical analysis of three-dimensional sloshing
with random excitations
Gang Xu
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers have played, and will continue to play, a key
role in ocean gas transportation with the increasing demand for energy. Safe
operation of LNG carriers requires knowledge of global and local pressures
imposed by the sloshing liquid. As LNG carriers are required to operate in
different environmental condition, safety is the primary consideration in such
operations. LNG carriers are subjected to often significant sloshing loads
during their operational life. As it moves across the ocean, the motion of the
LNG carriers causes the liquid in the containers to slosh. Liquid sloshing may
cause large internal stresses and deformation in the walls of containers,
particularly when the external forcing frequencies of the ship are close to the
natural sloshing frequencies. This effect is sometimes critical in ship design. A
three-dimensional (3D) sloshing problem is analyzed by the linear wave velocity
potential theory based on the boundary element method (BEM). When the
rectangular tank is undergoing one-dimensional motion, the calculated results
are found to be in very good agreement with other published data that assess the
accuracy and applicability of the method. Extensive calculation has been made
for the tank in two-dimensional (2D) motion. Then random sloshing problem,
sloshing in a 3D rectangular container, is further simulated and discussed. In this
case, the container filled with liquid is subjected to specified random horizontal
oscillations. Both wave elevation and hydrodynamic force are obtained. The
spectra of random waves and forces have also been investigated and results
are compared between the analytical solutions.
115 | 115
Up-stream smart metering pilot
Mohamed Houche, Adrien Tessier, Younes Deffous, Jean Francois Authier
TOTAL E&P Qatar, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Total E&P Qatar seeks to constantly improve its operations performances.
These performances are associated with such indicators as health, safety &
environment (HSE) performance, oil production, water management, production
costs and energy efficiency. A key tool for reaching this goal is the enhancement
of data monitoring and management technology. The smart metering pilot
project is run at Total Research Centre - Qatar (TRC-Q) at Qatar Science and
Technology Park in close cooperation with Total E&P Qatar Operations and
TOTAL Research in France.
At TRC-Q, we are testing a game-changing technology based on data validation
and reconciliation (DVR). We integrate real-time measurements and virtual
metering in an online monitoring system on our production platforms. The
originality compared to equivalent systems is the use of the DVR approach,
which consists of using a statistical model to manage uncertainties associated
with each measured parameter and of quantifying error propagation. The DVR
process allows an automatic real-time correction of both measurements and
model parameters, on the basis of their allocated uncertainty and thanks to
the information redundancy. Consequently, the resulting output data is more
consistent with the available data and associated with a reduced uncertainty.
So, for the DVR to be effective we seek to increase the data redundancy and
provide high-quality modelling of physical and thermodynamic phenomena
occurring over the whole production process.
The achievement so far is a pilot hourly metering system based on online
measurements. These measurements and modelling parameters are
automatically linked on the basis of their redundancy and the Operations
Department is provided with a customised report containing the corrected
parameters and their associated uncertainties. We also keep looking for new
relevant information to incorporate into the system and for improvement in the
quality of the mathematical model associated with each equipment (pumps, flow
meters, etc.) model in order to improve the reliability of the output. The results
that will be presented cover the initial promising results of the pilot for the
virtual metering of oil, water and gas production and the associated uncertainty
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
High sea temperatures cause the death of stony corals
Mehsin Abdulla Al Ansi
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Stony corals are composed of limestone structures formed by the deposits
of living organisms. These are tiny animals (polyps) that live in a symbiotic
relation with algae. The algae produce the food energy needed by the polyps
by photosynthesis. The coral is as such a colony. Numerous colonies on shallow
waters where sunrays can reach them form a coral reef. Coral reefs can be
extensive, such as the Great Barrier Reef, or can form localized reefs as in Qatar.
Coral reefs harbor numerous organisms including sponges, crabs, sea urchins,
brittle stars and fish, and exist where environmental conditions are optimal for
their flourishing, such as Southeast Asia. Malaysia is reputed as one of the best
areas, where 350 coral species are known to occur.
Sea urchins and some fish are ferocious feeders on coral. Extensive feeding
may cause the death and bleaching of stony corals. Climate change, in particular
high sea temperature, can destroy the coral reef and excessive rains with fresh
water seeping to intertidal coral reefs will also cause coral bleaching. Qatar has
less than 20 species of stony coral and these are localized in only a few areas.
Coastline development, including construction in the sea, is one major cause
of loss of natural reefs. Aggressive fishing whether by harpoons or metal traps
that are later left behind, destroy the reef. However, the recent bleaching of
corals during the last decade and at present, is attributed to two factors: climate
change with a rise in sea temperature (1989, 2002, 2010) and oil spills (from
the Second Gulf War). Optimum growth temperature for corals is between 20oC
to 23oC. In June 2010, the sea temperature recorded was 37.8oC and due to this
coral bleaching was observed in local reefs and as well as the death of some fish
living in the reef. Bleaching was recorded in 2010 at Halul Island, Ras Rakan,
Khereis, Um Alushran and Sherahou.
117 | 117
Population density of cockroach species and magnitude of
their infestation in Jeddah Province, Saudi Arabia
Elsiddig Mohamed Noureldin, Hassan Farrag
General Directorate of Municipal Health, Ministry of Municipality &
Urban PLanning, Doha, Qatar
The results of a cockroach survey in the 14 sub-municipalities of Jeddah
province revealed that a total of 3551 cockroaches were caught by 491 of 1433
traps (36.5%), from 128 of 168 houses (76.2%).
Overall, relative density ranged from 8.1 (in Obhour sub-municipality) to 43.2 (in
Alaziziah sub-municipality) with an average of 21.1 cockroaches per house. It has
been noticed that the population density of the cockroaches is high in the central
and southern parts of the province where the sanitation and standard of living
are poor.
76.4% of the cockroaches were caught in the kitchens (2712), 15.1% in rooms
(537) and 8.5% in the bathrooms (302). Amongst those caught in the kitchens,
the stove was found to be the most attractive habitat for the cockroaches
(38.2%) followed by the fridge (16.5%), then under the sink (10.2%), in the area
of the trash bin (8.1%) and finally under cabinets (3.4%). For those cockroaches
caught in the bathrooms, 5.2 % (185) of them were caught under or near washing
machines and 3.3 % (117) were under or near the toilet.
Rodent control strategy in animal farms (izzab) in Qatar
Elsiddig Mohamed Noureldin, Hassan Farrag
General Directorate of Municipal Health, Ministry of Municipality &
Urban PLanning, Doha, Qatar
The aim of this study is to develop a control program for rodents in animal
farms (izzab) in Qatar. The preliminary baseline survey for rodent-infested
izzab revealed that 1506 izzab out of 1814 were infested (83%). The overall
percentage reduction in the rodent-infested izzab after 6 months of the control
programme (June to December 2009) was 77%. Towards the end of the control
programme, a special strategy was adopted to control rodents in 327 izzab in
which rodents activity was still observed. A 75% reduction was attained in
these izzab at the end of the control programme. The overall reduction in the
infested izzab was 94% at the end of the control programme.
The most predominant rodent species found in izzab is the Norway rat Rattus
norvegicus, making burrows inside and outside Izzab buildings. Less incidences
were noted for the House mouse Mus musculus associated with izzab buildings.
Surveys conducted in eight property types in the Jeddah province revealed that
1052 cockroaches were caught by 98 of 120 traps (81.7%). Overall, relative
density ranged from 2.9 (in hotels) to 28.1 (in restaurants) with an average of
8.8 cockroaches per property.
All the restaurants (100%) and cafeterias (100%) were found infested by
cockroaches, while 93.3% of the hospitals, 86.7% of the hotels, 80% of the
groceries 73.3% of the butcheries, 66.7% of the vegetable and fruit shops
and 53.3% of the bakeries were found to be infested by cockroaches.
Restaurants had the highest infestation level (40% of the total number of
cockroaches trapped in all properties), while hotels had the lowest infestation
level (4.1% of the total number of cockroaches trapped in all properties).
Four species of cockroaches were identified from the 14 sub-municipalities, as
well as from the eight property types in Jeddah province, namely: the German
cockroach (Blattella germanica L.), the American cockroach (Periplaneta
americana L.), the brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa F.) and the
Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis L.) belonging to 4 genera. The German
cockroach Blattella germanica was found to be the most predominant species
with 98.8% occurrence in dwellings, and 97.7% in properties.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
119 | 119
Integrated APC-controlled SPC monitoring chart for quality
Minjae Park, Jinho Kim, Myong K Jeong, Abdelmagid Hamuda, Khalifa
Al Khalifa, Elsayed Elsayed
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA
There are two widely used process control techniques for the reduction of
process output variability. The first technique is automatic process control
(APC) that adjusts the process using information about its current level or
deviation from a desired target. The APC actions for process adjustments
are achieved by the minimum mean square estimate (MMSE) controller or
proportional, integral and derivative (PID) controller which minimize the output
deviations from the quality target. The MMSE controller is optimal in terms of
minimizing mean squared residual errors when the model and its parameters
are exactly known. Whereas the PID controller is very efficient and also
robust against non-stationarity due to the fact that it can continuously adjust
the process whenever the data is auto-correlated. The second technique is
statistical process control (SPC) which utilizes control charts. The goal of SPC
for improving quality is to monitor and detect process variability, so that the
special causes of the process shifting are investigated. While SPC has been
successfully used in industry for identifying and eliminating the assignable
cause of variations, APC techniques are widely employed in the continuous
process industry to reduce common cause variations. For an improved
performance of the process for the industry practitioner, both the monitoring
and the adjustments of process are needed to receive the full benefit of each
approach. Recently, integration of APC and SPC successfully resulted in the
reduction of process output variability and improved process efficiency. In
this paper, we integrate SPC and APC for various types of industries including
liquefied natural gas (LNG) processes. By applying both the statistical process
control and the advanced process control to a process we can dramatically
improve the quality of process output. Both statistical process control and
automatic process control techniques have been widely applied in industry to
detect causes of variability by monitoring the key variables in the process. We
investigate both techniques, their integration and methods for shift detection
in the process for the monitoring of a process.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
Improving mechanical and thermal properties of AZ31
magnesium alloy through simultaneous addition of aluminum
and nano-alumina
Md Ershadul Alam, S Han, QB Nguyen, M Gupta, AMS Hamouda
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
National University of Singapore, Singapore
In the present study, AZ51 magnesium alloy and AZ51-Al2O3 magnesium nanocomposite was successfully synthesized incorporating elemental aluminium (Al)
(2 wt.%) and simultaneous addition of Al (2 wt.%) and nano-sized Al2O3
(1.5 vol.%) into pure AZ31 alloy, respectively, using an innovative disintegrated
melt deposition technique followed by hot extrusion. Microstructural
characterization studies revealed uniaxial grain size, reasonably uniform
distribution of particulates/intermetallics in the matrix and minimal porosity.
Thermal properties characterization revealed that addition of both Al and
nano-sized Al2O3 reduced the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of
monolithic AZ31. The presence of both Al2O3 nanoparticulates and aluminum
also assisted in improving overall mechanical properties of AZ31 magnesium
alloy. Microhardness can be increased by about 67% with the addition of Al and
Al2O3 into pure AZ31 when compared to pure AZ31 alloy. Newly developed
AZ51-Al2O3 nano-composite also exhibited higher modulus of elasticity (80%),
0.2% yield strength (17%), ultimate tensile strength (14%), ductility (26%) and
work of fracture (46%) when compared to a monolithic AZ31 alloy. The results
suggest that both the new alloy and composite have significant potential in
diverse engineering applications when compared to the AZ31 alloy and can be
used by weight critical aerospace and automotive industries to save energy.
121 | 121
Holocene sabkha and coastal systems of Qatar: models for the
interpretation of ancient Arabian plate carbonate evaporite
reservoirs and coastal management
A new risk-based approach for alarm system design
Jeremy Jameson
ExxonMobil Research, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Facies tracts, sediment types, stacking patterns, and diagenetic histories of
Holocene sabkhas of Qatar provide compelling analogues for the interpretation
of ancient, carbonate-evaporite sequences of the Arabian Plate. The use of
modern analogues to aid in the interpretation of geological and engineering
data is well established in the petroleum industry. Comparison of sabkhas from
different physiographic regions of Qatar that formed during the latest Holocene
cycle of sea level rises reveals new insights into the characterization of ancient
rocks. These observations provide the basis for a revision of the definition of
facies tracts described in the geological literature as sabkhas.
This study reports on a country-wide study of the sedimentation history of
coastal areas, based on extensive field mapping, geotechnical studies, age
dating and geochemistry. Data is integrated in ArcGIS, a relational database.
The results are equally valuable in conservation, environmental and geotechnical
studies and archaeological research and teaching.
Coastal areas of Qatar are marked by extremely low relief, with the result
that high-frequency oscillations in sea level create offsets in facies tracts.
Age dating reveals that inland sabkhas are relicts of a high stand in sea level
approximately 4000-6000 years ago. These areas are presently subaerially
exposed and eroding. Extensive pedogenic modification of marine sediments
(burrowing, infiltration, micrite precipitation) creates characteristic textures.
Groundwater modification includes extensive precipitation of CaSO4, halite,
lime micrite, and dolomite.
The variability observed in Qatar sabkhas alters the way in which a common
modern analogue is applied to the interpretation of subsurface data. These
observations warrant revision of the definition of a sabkha. We propose that
sabkhas are normal, coastal sediments, modified by near-surface groundwater
saturated in CaSO4. A sabkha is a diagenetic overprint, not a depositional
system. This proposed model helps aid in recognition of ancient sabkhas.
Energy & Environment | Poster Presentations
Salim Ahmed, Faisal Khan
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada
Increasing demands for higher efficiency and strict environmental regulations
for process industries have led to the development of sophisticated control
technologies and smart sensors. However, improved control mechanisms and
better sensors have not been able to eliminate abnormal operating conditions.
As a result operator interventions are routinely required. Alarms are at
the forefront of the safety system in a plant to indicate the need for such
interventions. The main purposes of an alarm is to warn of a possible critical
condition and to seek the attention of an operator and thus to prevent, control
and mitigate the effects of an abnormal situation. However, on many occasions,
alarms have been reported as a contributor to abnormal events and the single
variable based alarm system design has been identified as a main reason for
that. In this article, we present a systems approach to design, analyze and
prioritize alarms. By a system, we refer to a set of variables within a process.
An alarm is activated based on the risk associated with the state of the variables
in a system. The objectives are to integrate risk estimation with alarm design and
to reduce the number of alarms. First, the process variables are grouped to be
represented by a number of systems. Alarms are then assigned to each system
instead of individual variables. From the measured value of the variables,
the risk associated within the individual system is estimated. Also from the
relationships among the variables, future risk associated with each system is
evaluated. Finally, the overall risk for a particular system is obtained from the
current and predicted risk and comparing the overall risk with a predefined
threshold value, a decision regarding alarm activation is taken. Once a set of
alarms are activated, they are prioritized based on their severity. Also for the
analysis of an alarm, the risk associated with individual variables under a system
is analyzed and, finally, proper operator action is suggested to mitigate the
abnormal situation.
123 | 123
Student Posters
Biodiversity of Qatari Bacillus thuringiensis strains and
molecular prediction of their biological activities and
bioassays: for a safer and clean environment
Development and control of homogenous charge compression
ignition engines: a preliminary study
Asmaa Mohamed Raess, Mariam Al Muraikhi, Roda Al Thani, Samir Jaoua
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatar’s soil and environment are sources of beneficial bacterial strains and
bacterial resources that should be first of all, identified, isolated, studied,
used and valorized. In fact, the Qatari environment should be elective for many
microbial genetic resources tolerant to high temperature, drought, salinity
and hydrocarbon rich soil. Isolating microbial strains having biotechnological
applications would be very beneficial not only for Qatar, but also for the Gulf
region and other countries in the world. B. thuringiensis is a Gram-positive
bacterium which produces, during sporulation, crystalline inclusions containing
one or more deltaendotoxins, that are considered as the best biological
insecticides as they are harmless for man and animal and act specifically against
a wide variety of pathogenic insects, including pests and disease vectors. In
this research project, we studied 31 crystal producing Qatari B. thuringiensis
isolates, by the investigation of their plasmid patterns, crystal morphology,
deltaendotoxin identification by SDS-PAGE, prediction of gene nature by PCR
and insecticidal activities. The crystal morphology comparison showed that 22.5
% were spherical, 32.2 % were amorphous, 38.7 % were pyramidal and 6.4 %
were bipyramidal. Based on the isolates plasmid patterns, 11 representative
strains of the different classes were deeply studied. We used their molecular
ribotyping and bioinformatic tools of sequence and BLAST alignment, to confirm
that the studied isolates are B. thuringiensis strains. By SDS-PAGE, we showed
that the deltaendotoxins produced by the different strains have different
molecular weights. The PCR screening of these strains, using oligonucleotides
specific for the genes cry1 and cry4, showed the presence of genes cry1A in two
strains and allowed us to predict their potential insecticidal activities against
lepidopteran larvae. Moreover, we used a B. thuringiensis israelensis in bioassay
experiments against local mosquito Culex pipiens larveae and demonstrated
the efficacy of such biological bioinsecticides on Qatari mosquitoes. These
results are very encouraging and favour the use of B. thuringiensis local strain
bioinsecticides for environmentally safe integrated pest management in this region.
Energy & Environment | Student Posters
Marwa Walid Fathy Abdelgawad, Reza Tafreshi, Jiafeng Sun,
Reza Langari, Timothy Jacobs
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
For many years, researchers have been trying to develop internal combustion
engines with increased efficiency, while striving to satisfy stricter
environmental regulations that limit the constituents of harmful emissions
being produced. Homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines have
provided a window of opportunity to make this happen since they incorporate
the most �attractive’ features from both the standard spark-ignition engine and
the compression-ignition engine, resulting in higher efficiencies and cleaner
emissions. The main challenge of HCCI combustion is that it is triggered by the
auto-ignition of the air-fuel mixture during compression, therefore, making it
difficult to control while ensuring maximum efficiency.
This research project aims to apply HCCI technology in an attempt to
improve the performance of stationary power generation systems in Qatar by
developing a low emission – high efficiency natural gas engine. In this poster,
we will demonstrate the experimental setup that has been installed and the
control strategy that will be used to control ignition timing. The test bench is
made up of a single-cylinder engine with intake and exhaust piping system, as
well as sensory equipment. The engine is controlled and monitored by a data
acquisition (DAQ) computer system. We will show that initial performance
data, obtained under full load and at different engine speeds, are in accordance
with the performance data from the manufacturer. In addition, a mathematical
pressure model has been developed and compared with experimental data,
which will be used as the primary input for the feedback control mechanism. We
will explain the process in which engine control algorithms use instantaneous
cylinder pressure measurements and appropriate thermodynamic relationships
to determine the rate of heat release (ROHR). Measured ROHR will then be
compared with acceptable rates and controlled using exhaust gas recirculation
(EGR) and intake and exhaust manifold pressures and temperatures. Finally,
further work to implement HCCI natural gas fueled engine will be discussed.
125 | 125
Paper recycling at Qatar University
Ahmed Hiathem Ghazi, Zakaria Azhar Othman, Heba Dawoud Dawoud,
Nada Ashqar Aloraidi, Maha Rashid Saeed Alokka, Ayat Salim Nazar,
Maha Rashid Al Matwi, Nadya Abdulmonim, Omar Liqaa Maki
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
In 2007, 2,500,000 tons of waste in Qatar was disposed of on the Umalafai
landfill, of which 700,000 tons constituted domestic waste, However, only 4600
tons of this waste was discharged to be recycled, and of this 149 tons was paper
waste. This high amount of waste paper in 2007, when the population of Qatar
was 907,229 means that there should be even more waste as the population
reached 1,900,000 in 2009. An immediate response should be taken, and the
present research team believes that recycling is the best and easiest solution
for this problem. In order to change people’s habits, education and awareness
programs are needed. A good place to start such a campaign is at educational
institutions, such as Qatar University.
Qatar University, with a student population that exceeds 8000, makes a
significant contribution to the development of society in Qatar, and plays an
important role in leading the public and technology in sustainable protection
of the environment.
The project made the students of Qatar aware of the importance of waste paper
recycling, with the long term goal of transmitting this awareness to society as a
whole. In this project we started paper recycling technology at Qatar University,
which will be the starting point in educating society and making Qatar University
a leading institution in recycling technologies. Paper recycling equipment will be
purchased and installed at the newly built Research Center at Qatar University.
The faculty and students of the project are collaborating with the local paper
recycling company, Al-Suwaidi Paper Factory, in sharing technical information
and building a long lasting collaboration.
The project helped the students understand the life cycle of paper and
conducted a survey to gauge people’s attitude towards paper recycling in
Qatar. At the moment the students are constructing the first recycling plant in
a teaching institution, in which the students will be able to synthesise various
products made by recycled paper pulp. Attempts are made to develop pulp based
composite material products and investigate their mechanical properties. The
work will be accompanied by a public awareness campaign for paper recycling.
Energy & Environment | Student Posters
Numerical methods in modeling and simulating fluid flow in
heterogeneous and naturally fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs
Ahmed Abushaikha, Tara Catherine LaForce, Martin Blunt,
Ahmed El Sheikh, Jefferson Gomes, Chris Pain
Qatar Science Leadership Program, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
Imperial College, London, UK
More than 50% of proven hydrocarbon reserves are in naturally fractured
reservoirs (NFR) and fractures are present in most carbonate reservoirs. The
heterogeneity of NFR material properties; permeability and porosity, is of
large scale thus presenting a challenge in modeling fluid flow and recovery
mechanisms numerically. For a large class of fractured reservoirs, especially for
multiphase production mechanisms, the dual-medium approach, using a transfer
function (TF) to represent the exchange term between fracture (flowing domain)
and matrix (stagnant domain) is a good tool. However, the complexity
of modeling the geometry of natural fractures and the advances in finite
element method and computing power are calling for newer developments and
tools to better model and simulate the unique two-timescale flow-system of
these reservoirs.
The evaluation of various numerical methods in modeling fluid flow in
highly heterogeneous NFR, such as finite element, finite volume, and finite
difference, is the main goal of this research. This will be done through writing
and benchmarking a simulator for each method and testing its capabilities in
capturing the correct recovery mechanisms of NFR while maintaining accuracy
in the numerical calculations. In this poster, we first present a literature review
followed by an overview of the main equations used in fluid flow in reservoir
engineering and their derivation and algebraic approximations in finite
difference and finite element methods. After that, we present the results of the
first 2D simulator written, using finite element finite volume (FEFV) and our
preliminarily results in one and two phase (water-oil incompressible fluid) simple
and heterogeneous models. Finally, a future plan of this research is discussed.
127 | 127
Genetic diversity of date palm in Qatar
Sara Hani Al Hadidi, Hala Nazeh Al Agha, Ahmed Talaat
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Date palm is the most important fruit tree in Qatar. Recently developed
techniques, based on DNA markers, offer new tools for genetic analysis. The
objectives of the present study are to analyze the genetic diversity among 15
different cultivars of date palm at the experimental farm of Qatar University
using ISSR and SSR markers, and find out the genetic similarity and/or diversity
among the well known date palm cultivars in the state of Qatar. DNAs were
extracted from the young fresh leaves. A total of 34 primers of simple sequence
repeat (SSR) and inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) were tested for their
ability to generate banding patterns in 15 date palm genotypes. However, 10
SSR and 18 ISSR primers successfully produced clear bands in all of the studied
genotypes. Similarity coefficient matrix was computed to cluster the data
and to draw precise relationships among the fifteen studied Qatari date palm
genotypes. All date palm genotypes are inter-related in spite of their agronomic
divergence. Genetic similarities and dendrogram could re-group the Qatari
date palm cultivars in a way that one cultivar (Abu Main) was excluded from the
group due to its dissimilarity with the other cultivars. Two cultivars (Barhee and
Sultana) were much closer and could be considered as coming from one origin.
The polymorphic patterns obtained suggested that the ISSR and SSR procedures
constitute alternative approaches that are suitable to examine the date palm’s
genetic diversity at the DNA level.
Energy & Environment | Student Posters
129 | 129
Oral Presentations
Poster Presentations
Student Posters
Oral Presentations
CameraNets: coverage and data management problems
in distributed smart camera networks
Nael Abu-Ghazaleh
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Distributed Smart Camera systems (DSCs) consist of a (possibly large) number
of cameras that collaborate on a monitoring task. DSCs have a wide range of
applications such as surveillance, intelligent traffic systems, environmental
monitoring, industrial safety and law enforcement. DSCs automatically control
what to monitor and how to act on the collected video. For example, cameras
monitoring traffic may change their orientation to track moving traffic and alert
responders if an accident occurs.
DSCs differ from conventional multi-camera surveillance systems in that they
eliminate the need for a human to control them and to interpret the video.
Free of this limitation, DSCs can scale to much higher scales, while improving
monitoring effectiveness. However, a number of difficult challenges must be
solved before DSCs can realize this potential. In this paper, we discuss our
results and activities within a QNRF-funded project looking at two general
challenges facing DSCs:
1 - Coverage control: how to control cameras with Pan-Tilt-Zoom capability to
track a group of targets and/or areas of interest. We frame the problem as an
optimization problem to maximize the value of the covered targets. We show
that the problem is NP-hard and develop a family of heuristic approaches with
near optimal behavior that do not require central coordination.
2 - Data Management: as the cameras collect their video, they need to relay it for
real-time monitoring using a bandwidth constrained network, or store it for later
analysis. Cameras can coordinate to eliminate redundancies and to infer the
importance of the observed video. Moreover, storage architectures are needed
to effectively store the video data and to allow efficient indexing and retrieval.
We report our initial solutions and performance evaluation studies in this area,
which were obtained by a mixture of simulation and using an experimental multicamera test bed that we have started to deploy.
Computing | Oral Presentations
An integrated platform for intelligent road traffic monitoring
and travel information delivery
Fethi Filali
Qatar University Wireless Innovations Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
Currently in Qatar, and to the best of our knowledge in most Gulf state countries,
there is a lack of reliable information about traffic conditions and congestion.
This information, especially if ubiquitous and near real time, is highly desirable
to support consumer, enterprise, and government centric applications. Since
no universal solution exists, a great deal of innovative research is needed.
This research work aims at designing and developing an integrated intelligent
platform for real time monitoring of road traffic, based on advanced data
processing and filtering algorithms. Four sophisticated blocks compose the
platform. The Data Sources block is responsible for generating raw traffic data,
for example from road sensors. The Platform Core block is where the Platform
Engine and Platform Services are implemented. It processes raw traffic data
and translates it into meaningful real time information, which is then delivered
to user applications in different formats and via various fixed and mobile
end‐user devices either in real time or playback mode. The User Applications
block contains the set of applications interacting with the platform. Finally, the
whole platform is configured and controlled via the fourth block: the Platform
Administration and Management block. Given the importance and complexity
of the addressed problem, a great deal of research and development effort
has been conducted to create a robust, efficient, and rich intelligence platform
supporting a large number of services and applications. The research efforts
focused on geographical data preparation, communication protocols with
remote data sources, speed and travel‐time estimation and prediction, raw data
filtering and fusion, map matching, and shortest and fastest routes computation.
It is well accepted that reducing mobility time means reducing people stress and
enhancing produced results qualitatively and quantitatively. We believe that the
platform’s services will contribute in reaching this objective in Qatar and in
the region.
133 | 133
Interference-aware protocol design in wireless networks
Saquib Razak
Design and analysis of new generation protocols for
triple-play networks
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Wireless networking is enabling a new class of applications providing users
with access to information and communication anytime and anywhere. The
success of these applications and services, accessible through smart phones and
other wireless devices, is placing tremendous pressure on the limited wireless
bandwidth. To sustain this growth, it is critical to develop protocols that can
efficiently manage the available bandwidth.
One of the major complications in developing these wireless protocols is the
complex effect of interference between different users, which often plays a
defining role on the overall performance of wireless networks. Thus, the goal of
this project is to characterize the interference behavior and use it to develop a
new generation of protocols that focus on minimizing destructive interference.
We focus on Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA), the most commonly used
algorithm in wireless networks at the core of widespread standards such as IEEE
802.11 (WiFi). These protocols are unable to effectively arbitrate the medium
in multi-hop wireless networks, causing destructive interactions such as hidden
and exposed terminals, leading to collisions, poor performance and unfairness.
This project first characterizes the impact of interference in detail, showing
that there are only a few modes of interference that account for the different
interactions that occur when multiple users compete for use of the medium.
We then use this insight to develop novel protocols using two main strategies:
(1) remove destructive interference whenever possible; and (2) find alternative
routes around destructive interference areas when removing interference is not
an option. For the first part our methodology controls transceiver parameters
like transmit power, receiver threshold and receiver sensitivity to convert the
destructive interactions into constructive ones. Our results show that this
technique reduces the overall power consumed in a network allowing for better
channel reuse and hence efficient capacity usage. For the latter part, we are
designing a routing protocol that routes traffic around areas of potentially high
interference. A comparison of our protocol with existing shortest-path routing
protocol shows that our metric substantially improves the performance and
efficiency of the network.
Computing | Oral Presentations
Muna Dhia Sheet Khattab, Zhiyuan Yin, Hossam Hammady,
Hussein Alnuweiri, Hasari Celebi, Narasimha Reddy
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)’s proven stability and scalability has made
it the most widely used transport layer protocol for more than twenty years.
However, as multimedia applications become ubiquitous over the internet, TCP has
been found incapable of meeting their requirements, which place more emphasis
on timeliness than on reliability. Because of that, many multimedia applications
turn to UDP as their underlying transport protocol. However, the majority of video
on demand and live broadcast applications predominantly use TCP over UDP (User
Datagram Protocol), due to UDP’s unresponsiveness to network conditions and
problems with firewalls and NATs (Network Address Translations).
TCP’s poor performance in delivering real-time media is due to the following
reasons: 1) TCP’s emphasis on reliable in-order delivery causes frame jitter that
interrupt media play out. 2) TCP’s coarse-grained retransmission timeout (RTO)
and its back-off mechanism is detrimental to any real-time based application.
In this study, we propose a new variant of TCP with an early retransmission
scheme as an enhancement to make it more suitable for streaming media. We call
this new protocol TCP-ER. We performed extensive NS-2 simulations to show
that: 1) the early retransmission scheme can reduce the number of retransmission
timeouts in a variety of network environments, which results in a considerable
decrease in number of retransmission timeouts and packet delay jitter. 2) Under
same network conditions, constrained streaming over TCP-ER has a considerably
lower number of late packets than its normal TCP counterpart. 3) TCP-ER has a
higher throughput in severely congested network conditions, whereas it stays
relatively fair with typical TCP implementations (specifically TCP-SACK) as
congestion gets alleviated.
135 | 135
Qloud: a cloud computing infrastructure for scientific applications
Sakr Majd, Suhail Rehman, Qutaibah Malluhi, Hussein Alnuweiri,
Mazen Zaghir
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Cloud computing is a disruptive technology that is rapidly changing how
organizations use and interact with information technology. By transforming
computing infrastructure from a product to a service, it offers many benefits,
including scalability of resources, flexibility for users in terms of software
and hardware needs, increased reliability, decreased downtime, increased
hardware utilization and reduced upfront costs and carbon footprint. Academia
and research organizations are now actively involved in bringing some of
those benefits to high performance and scientific computing. The Qatar Cloud
Computing Center – Qloud research initiative brings Carnegie Mellon, Texas
A&M, and Qatar University together to explore cloud computing to further
research and development of cloud computing in Qatar and exploit it for
regionally relevant scientific applications.
In partnership with IBM, two pilot cloud systems have been put in place, one on
the CMUQ campus in early 2009, and another on the QU campus in 2010. These
systems are available for educational and experimental use for researchers,
students and faculty in Qatar. Further, an introductory course in cloud computing
was held in the spring 2010 semester to equip computer science students with
necessary skills to work with this new computing paradigm.
The Qloud research focuses on porting scientific applications to the cloud.
Large-scale data-intensive applications can reap the benefits of cloud
computing and programming models such as MapReduce. However, there is a
lack of understanding of the performance implications of executing scientific
applications in cloud environments, which is an impediment to increased
adoption of cloud computing for these purposes. In our research, we explore
the performance and behavior of various classes of scientific applications in
a cloud computing environment. Specifically, we are studying the effect of
provisioning variation, a variation in the performance of an application caused
by the variation of resource allocation in a cloud computing environment. Our
initial findings indicate that for certain application types, we observe a fivefold variation in performance between a best-case and worst-case resource
mapping in our private cloud environment. This research can help in building
new frameworks to support scientific computation on the cloud.
Computing | Oral Presentations
Designing a new programming language for building secure
cloud computing-based applications
Thierry Sans, Iliano Cervesato
Carnegie Mellon University Qatar, Doha, Qatar
In 2009, Carnegie Mellon Qatar, Qatar University, Texas A&M Qatar and IBM
launched a joint research project on cloud computing. Cloud computing is a
computing paradigm in which the computing resources, the software and the
data are made available to the users as a service through the internet. In this
paradigm, the software is no longer a standalone application installed on the
user’s platform, but resides on one or several servers. For instance, Google Docs
is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet and presentation) that can be
used through a web browser. This new kind of application is a radical shift in the
way we design, implement and deploy software. In this context, ensuring security
becomes critical since a vulnerability in a cloud-based application may exposed
data of all users using the service. Yet, developing secure cloud applications
is complex because programmers are required to reason about distributed
computation and to write code using heterogeneous languages, often not
originally designed with distributed computing in mind. Testing is the common
way to catch bugs and vulnerabilities as current technologies provide limited
support. There are doubts this can scale up to meet the expectations of more
sophisticated cloud-based applications. In this project, we have designed a typesafe programming language called “Qwesst”. We used it to express interaction
patterns commonly found in distributed applications that go beyond current
technologies. This language prevents the programmer from writing unsafe code
that can lead to a cross site scripting attack, also called XSS attacks. An XSS
attack enables an attacker to inject JavaScript code into a webpage. This is a
severe vulnerability that has become the most widespread security breach in
web-based applications. In the future, we plan to extend the language with new
security features that will allow the programmer to control data dissemination
and information flow.
137 | 137
What do drill strings and surgical threads have in common?
Annie Ruimi
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Drill strings used in oil and gas operations are long circular columns
approximately 3 to 5km long, 30 to 50cm in diameter while surgical threads
are typically 75cm to 1m long and 0.5 to 1mm thick, depending on the type of
surgery, so both share the characteristic of having a diameter to length ratio on
the order of 10-3. Drill string operators need to constantly monitor the position
of the drilling apparatus as excessive vibrations can lead to sudden equipment
failure. Likewise, a surgeon would want to avoid thread tangling, a non-linear and
dynamical process particularly detrimental during knot formation.
The elementary Euler-Bernoulli, or even the Timoshenko beam theory, are
insufficient to predict the correct configuration of the structures which will coil,
i.e. twist around their own axis in addition to bend and twist. Instead, we will use
finite element computational tools using the lesser-known Cosserat theory of rods.
In the case of surgical thread, the goal of our research program is the
development of software that will be used by medical school students to
practice the task of surgical suturing so the program’s immediate benefits are
pedagogical and also in line with the Qatar Sidra project to offer state of the art
medical training.
In the case of drill string dynamics, the objective of our program is to understand
the interactions between the vibration sources and drill string-BHA (bottom
hole assembly) responses and to offer “real time” assistance to drilling rig
operators by developing advanced dynamics simulation software. With such high
associated operational costs, the anticipated benefits of the program are clearly
By engaging simultaneously in these two research programs, we hope to
demonstrate that the Cosserat rod theory is a powerful tool that can be used
to solve a wide range of applications that may otherwise appear very distant.
Qatar simulator development programme
Max-Antoine Jean Renault
Williams Technology Center, QSTP, Doha, Qatar
It is official. The automotive world is ramping up capabilities in simulation.
Applications range from motorsports (optimization of vehicle dynamics,
race track familiarization, car engineering), to driver-assistance systems
(development of vehicle dynamics controllers), utilizing software in the loop
(SIL) and hardware in the loop (HIL) validation in e.g. electronic control units
(ECU). Another major emerging market is driver safety and training, e.g.
emergency services and driver training centers.
Using HIL, simulation helps develop increasingly complex embedded systems,
connect them to car hardware, test and ensure correct functionality and
integration. Time-consuming manual testing has been replaced by automated
simulation. When done in a pre-production phase, time-to-market and expensive
recalls are considerably minimized.
Using driver in the loop (DIL), simulation provides a consistent and safe
driving environment for drivers to gain or improve skills. In motorsports this
saves track-time related costs and helps gain a competitive advantage; in the
commercial world drivers become more successful dealing with hazards, while
interacting with in-car functions, thus minimizing the risk of accidents or fatal
The Williams Technology Centre is engaged in developing driving simulators in
the three key areas of motorsports, entertainment and road safety & training.
We benefit from years of F1 simulator experience, with excellent understanding
of vehicle dynamics and driver training needs. Our capabilities in automotive SIL,
HIL and DIL are extensive. By combining in-house developed software, real-car
hardware, and outstanding audio & visual graphics, our simulators are incredibly
Current efforts concentrate on developing a DIL motorsport simulator
incorporating real electro-mechanical car parts, and running on advanced
software. Following extensive research into the human sensory system, we are
pioneering an innovative visual environment to enhance driver immersion.
Research & development endeavors from 2011 will focus on further advancing
high-fidelity control loading steering systems, growing our HIL capability, and
sophisticated motion-cueing development. Artificial intelligence and scenarios
will equally be at the heart of further expansion.
Computing | Oral Presentations
139 | 139
Named entity recognition from Arabic Wikipedia
Mohit Behrang, Kemal Oflazer, Noah Smith
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA, USA
Named Entity Recognition (NER) is the problem of locating mentions to entities
such as persons, locations and organizations. The named entity information is
helpful for reducing the complexity of monolingual and multilingual processing
tasks, such as information extraction, parsing and machine translation. We
investigate the Arabic NER problem from the Arabic Wikipedia text. We employ
statistical sequence labeling methods for solving the NER task. Previous studies
suggest that sequence labeling methods, such as Conditional Random Fields, are
the state of the art NER frameworks.
The sequence labeling methods require human labeled training data. Most of
the Arabic human labeled data for NER belong to the political news domain
and the consequent trained models are biased towards the news domain. In
contrast, our target test data (Arabic Wikipedia articles) has a very diverse set
of topics. The domain mismatch between the train and test data results in poor
NER performance.
In order to reduce the coverage problem, we present three techniques: (1) we
use the Wikipedia network structure to collect additional information about
the text. Information such as monolingual and cross-lingual hyperlinks and text
formatting lead us to use new features of the Wikipedia text in NER models.
Moreover, we use cross-lingual projection to collect named entity information
from English Wikipedia. (2) We use a domain adaptation technique to shift the
model from the baseline political domain to domains relevant to our test data.
Our model adaptation uses a small set of in-house-labeled Arabic Wikipedia
articles. (3) We use self-training to port from a fully supervised to a semisupervised learning framework: we collect a large volume of unlabeled Arabic
Wikipedia articles to expand the underlying NER domain to new text domains.
Our model expansion is gradual and iterative. In each iteration we add a new
set of unlabeled articles to the training and use the current model to label
and construct a larger model.
Our NER evaluations are based on the standard precision and recall metrics.
We evaluate our proposed framework in four different text domains of
Arabic Wikipedia.
Computing | Oral Presentations
Exploiting social interactions using opportunistic networks
Mtibaa Abderrahmen, Khaled Harras
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Social interaction has drastically evolved over time. Moving away from faceto-face based interactions, telephone networks made the first step towards
remote social interaction. The internet, further enhanced with the tremendous
increase in lightweight mobile devices, has taken social interaction to new
frontiers. Users can already email, chat, call, and video conference with others
from around the world without necessarily being attached to any fixed location.
The final frontier has been to exploit this technology to completely virtualize
social interaction via online social networking services such as facebook, orkut,
MySpace, or LinkedIn, etc. These applications create a virtual world where users
build social networks of their acquaintances and allow people belonging to these
social networks or communities to freely interact regardless of the boundaries
of time and location. At this point, we pose a simple question, is this truly the
final frontier with respect to social interaction?
When people with similar interests or common acquaintances are a short
distance from one another, like the same street, train, or mall, these people have
no mechanism to identify this potential social interaction. Current research in
geolocalization applications running on mobile devices provide some solutions
to such problems, however, they face numerous challenges including network
coverage, cost, and energy consumption concerns. We ultimately need context
aware, adaptive, and agile solutions that can seamlessly extend peoples senses
beyond their physical boundaries in order to exploit potentially rewarding social
Our work, targeted towards fulfilling this need, takes advantage of physical
context merged with online social relationships to ultimately improve the
physical social interaction experience of people. We will discuss how current
research thrusts such as delay and disruption tolerant networks (DTNs) and
mobile opportunistic networking, can exploit social relationships between
people in order to efficiently disseminate messages through such challenged
networks. We believe that these types of networks better model and reflect
human mobility pattern and limitations, and so are more naturally suited as
a platform for tackling the problems mentioned above.
141 | 141
The Qatar Unified Imaging Project (QUIP)
Moe Tammi
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
VCUQatar was recently granted QNRF funding to spearhead a highly
collaborative and distributed project to advance knowledge of Qatar’s history,
traditions and culture. The Qatar Unified Imaging Project (QUIP) will identify
and map the dispersed collections of Qatar’s primary source materials in Qatar,
India, Britain, and Denmark, then distribute selected results of that research
from an open-access digital repository. The research team offers expertise
in Gulf history, preservation, digitization, information access and education.
Our expected outcome is the discovery and documentation of rich resource
collections that will be made accessible for the benefit of the community and
scholars without causing further deterioration of the original artifacts. QUIP
will be an accessible resource to further the understanding of Qatar and the
Arabian Gulf in relation to the rest of the world. Research will build on the
work of the Qatar National Museum and the Ministry of Culture and expand
access to disparate materials collected from or on Qatar, from the 18th to
the 20th century. QUIP will produce a mapping of cultural orientation and a
founding collection of digitized primary source materials. Using the European
data structure and standardized metadata for classification of digital objects,
ensures data portability and interoperability. QUIP will be sustained through
collaborative partnerships with Qatar’s cultural institutions, integration of
the larger community of stakeholders and Qatar’s commitment to UNESCO’s
Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage.
Effective programming for large distributed ensembles
Iliano Cervesato
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Doha, Qatar
Claytronics is a project at Carnegie Mellon University to develop programmable
matter – bringing the power of programming to physical matter. A Claytronics
system consists of millions of tiny computing units called catoms. Each catom
is capable of executing code, sensing and communicating with nearby catoms,
and moving around its neighbors subject to the laws of physics. The result is an
ensemble of particles which can change their physical properties under program control.
Surprisingly, the main challenge to realizing Claytronics is not the underlying
hardware, but the programming methodology. Providing effective methods for
programming an ensemble of millions of units so that they can reliably, even
provably, work together to solve a common task is a significant challenge. We
have developed two programming languages, LDP and Meld, with which we could
implement some simple, yet useful, behaviors. Each language excelled at some
tasks, but not on others. Furthermore, it is unknown whether either language or
even their underlying programming styles will scale to large programs.
In this work, we investigate the potential of MSR 3, a programming paradigm
combining multiset rewriting, logic and process algebra, as an effective basis
for programming Claytronics. MSR 3 natively provides support for concurrency,
synchronization, non-determinism, non-monotonicity, and atomicity. It has
been used with great success in areas as security protocols and biomolecular
systems. MSR 3 appears to extend the computing paradigms of both LDP and
Meld. Our main objective is to customize MSR 3 for Claytronics, to support
a variety of abstraction levels (from modeling the physical environment to
programming meta-modules).
We believe that this will reap rewards not just for programming Claytronics,
but will have a direct impact on understanding how best to program all large
ensembles, sensor networks, internet protocol routers, autonomous vehicles,
power system management, etc.
Computing | Oral Presentations
143 | 143
Poster Presentations
A second-order statistical method for spectrum sensing
in correlated shadowing and fading environments
Serhan Yarkan, Khaled Qaraqe
Conceptual approach for multi-level restructuring of categorized
documents in a corpus
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
Spectrum sensing is one of the most important tasks of cognitive radios (CRs) in
future wireless systems and of user equipment (UE) in next generation wireless
networks (NGWNs). Therefore, deciding whether a specific portion of radio
frequency (RF) spectrum is occupied or not is of paramount importance for all
sorts of future wireless communications systems. In this study, a spectrum
sensing method that employs a second–order statistical approach is proposed
for detecting fast fading signals in spatially correlated shadowing environments.
Analysis and performance results are presented along with the discussion
related to the performance comparison of the energy detection method.
Samir Elloumi, Ali Al Jaoua, Fethi Ferjani, Jihad Mohamad Jaam,
Firas Laban, Helmo Hammami, Nasreddine Semar
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
CEA LIST, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
In order to improve the browsing activity in a documentary database, we propose
a conceptual approach for multi-level restructuring of categorized documents
in a corpus. Starting from a manual and static organized corpus, based on the
domain ontology, we derive new dynamically generated structures embedded
in the static one. We use a conceptual recursive indexing method based on the
selection of the minimal number of concepts covering either a document or a
subset of documents corresponding to a sub-corpus. Hence, our system provides
an additional browsing feature to the user, by dynamically providing the system
with a conceptual structure of clusters of documents. For illustration, you may
find in the figure an application to Arabic financial news for a particular ontology.
Therefore, one finds sub-category (“‫ ”التمويل‬،“‫ )”التصدير‬under the category “‫”االتفاقيات‬.
Also, (“‫ ”االتفاقيات‬،”‫ ”الشراء–البيع‬،“‫ )”القروض‬under the category, “‫ ”المعامالت‬etc. In parallel
with the classical browser system, indexing words, provided for each level, give
the user more details about the file’s content, as well as the category content,
before further exploration. Our approach improves human-computer interaction
by decreasing the browsing time. Assessment of the proposed method proves
that combining manual documents categorizations, with the automatic feature
generations, gives a flexible and effective structured browsing interface to the
users. Finally, low-level features help for incrementally placing new documents
in the right category, by using suitable supervised classification methods.
Computing | Poster Presentations
145 | 145
Numerical simulation of particle-laden coaxial turbulent jets
Kumaran Kannaiyan
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The study of particle-laden coaxial, turbulent jets has been of interest due to its
importance in several applications such as industrial burners, combustors and
mixing devices. The addition of the second phase to the continuous phase jet can
change the already complicated flow pattern and turbulent characteristics of the
jets. Vast research efforts have been devoted to understanding such phenomena,
but detailed investigation of particle-laden flows remains an active area of research.
The advent of laser diagnostics has helped to quantify the myriad details of the
turbulent jet flow fields in great detail. However, the diagnostic tools are very
expensive to use as a research tool. As a result, computational fluid dynamics
(CFD) with an acceptable level of accuracy can complement the experimental
results by providing additional details that are difficult to measure.
Nevertheless, even with the advancement of computational resources, modeling
the turbulent characteristics remains a challenge due to its complex nature.
Although recently, computational techniques have been developed to “solve” the
turbulent quantities, these techniques are computationally too expensive to use
in real time applications.
Hence, in this work, standard Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes, numerical
simulations are carried out to predict the flow and turbulent characteristics of
coaxial jets with and without the dispersed phase. The results are compared with
the experimental data measured using molecular tagging velocimetry diagnostic
technique. The key objective of this work is to investigate the flow field details
that are difficult, if not impossible, to measure.
Computing | Poster Presentations
Assistive educational technology
Ameer Abdulsalam
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Despite the importance of literacy to employment and social well-being, the
literacy rate of the visually impaired and deaf population is estimated to be quite
low. Braille, the primary method of reading and writing for the blind, is a tactile
system in which embossed dots representing letters and numbers can be read
with the fingers. Similarly, the primary method of communication for the deaf is
sign language. Sign language simultaneously combines hand shapes, orientation
and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express
fluidly a deaf speaker’s thoughts. As is the case in spoken language, Braille and
sign language can differ from one region to another, but the basic elements of
both Braille and sign language remain consistent across cultures. A significant
problem in education for both the deaf and visually impaired populations is
that they are minority populations and hence often have less guided practice
in communication. They also participate in fewer interactions with the larger
community that reinforce their literacy and communication skills. Finally, the
focus of technological enhancements to education has primarily focused on the
majority populations, and hence very few automated tutors and educational
computing games have been created for visually impaired and deaf children.
Our work aims to remedy this situation by developing assistive technology to
enhance education for the visually impaired and deaf populations throughout
the world. We have developed several tools including a Braille writing tutor
(BWT) and the DeSIGN software application, which provides guided practice
for communication using sign language. The BWT is a device that connects to
a computer through a USB cable. As the student writes each Braille letter or
number, the tutor provides immediate audio feedback by repeating the written
characters and guiding writing through audio cues, and a variety of curricular
and game modes. The DeSIGN tool aims to increase the reading level of the
students who are taught to communicate using sign language by reinforcing
the mapping between vocabulary and signs through lessons, tests, and games.
It also has an interactive game, which provides teachers with a customizable
tool for motivating students.
147 | 147
Effect of non-uniform, out-of-plane illumination, shear rate and
particle distribution on the accuracy of nPIV velocity measurement
Rana Khader, Anoop Kanjirakat, Reza Sadr
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Nanoparticle image velocimetry (nPIV) uses evanescent-wave illumination to
measure two velocity components, U and V, tangential to a wall in a region with
thickness of the order of hundreds of nanometers. In this region the illumination
intensity decays exponentially with distance normal to the wall, z, and hence
tracers closer to the wall have �brighter’ and �bigger’ images than those that
are further away, i.e. at larger z. Moreover, fluid velocity varies in this region
with z and hence tracers at different distance from the wall move at different
speeds. Furthermore, presence of the wall has a significant effect on particle
distribution, and particle displacement due to local fluid velocity and Brownian
displacement of particle tracers in this region. The variation in the displacement
of particle images in this region, with different brightness and velocities, can
bias the near-wall velocities obtained using standard correlation-based PIV method.
Artificial nPIV images of nanoparticles in a flow field with linear out-of-plane
velocity profile were used in this work to investigate the impact of these issues
upon the accuracy of nPIV data. Uniform and Gaussian random distribution
noise were added to the images to simulate electronic noise and shot noise,
respectively. The artificial images were obtained and processed for various
experimental parameters to incorporate different illumination profiles, shear
rates and distribution profiles. The results demonstrate that non-uniform
illumination, as well as particle distribution, affects the bias in the estimated
tracer velocity for the shear flow. Non-uniform intensity also affects the bias
due to Brownian diffusion; however, correction for Brownian diffusion canreduce
this bias error.
Computing | Poster Presentations
Estimation of highly selective channels for downlink LTE system
by a robust neural network
Aymen Omri, R. Hamila, M. Hasna, R. Bouallegue, H. Chaieb
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Higher School of Communication of Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia
In this paper we propose a robust channel estimator for the downlink of a Long
Term Evolution (LTE) system using a highly selective neural network. This
method uses the information provided by the reference signals to estimate
the total frequency response of the channel in two phases. In the first phase,
the proposed method learns to adapt to the channel variations, and in the second
phase it predicts the channel parameters.
The performance of the estimation method in terms of complexity and quality
is confirmed by theoretical analysis and simulations in an LTE/OFDMA
(Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) transmission system. The
performance of the proposed channel estimator is compared with those of
least-square decision feedback and modified
Wiener methods. The simulation results show that the proposed estimator
performs better than the above estimators and it is more robust at high-speed mobility.
149 | 149
Time of arrival-based location estimation for cooperative
relay networks
Hasari Celebi, Mohammed Abdallah, Hussein Syed, Khalid Qarage,
Mohamed Slim Alouni
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Cooperative communications is a technique to create a virtual antenna array
using several distributed single antenna nodes in the system. It helps in
increasing the area of coverage without the need of increased transmission
power. As the destination receives multiple copies of the source’s signal, it also
improves the diversity order. The performance of cooperative networks has
been thoroughly investigated in the past for various system models, protocols,
forwarding techniques and fading environments.
Location estimation is another crucial process in cooperative relay networks,
as it is for the other types of wireless communications networks. For instance,
the range and location information can be used for network authentication,
localization or cluster forming in cooperative networks. However, to the best
of our knowledge, there is no study in the literature that addresses the location
estimation problem in cooperative relay networks.
In this study, we investigate the performance of a cooperative relay network
performing location estimation through time of arrival (TOA). We derive
Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB) for the location estimates made using the relay
network. The analysis is extended to obtain average CRLB considering the signal
fluctuations in both relay and direct links. The effects of the channel fading of
both relay and direct links and amplification factor and location of the relay node
on average CRLB are investigated. Simulation results show that the channel
fading of both relay and direct links and amplification factor and location of
relay node affect the accuracy of TOA-based location estimation.
Protocol suite for exploiting spectrum resources
in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks
Vinay Kolar, Nael Abu-Ghazaleh
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The success and wide proliferation of wireless and mobile services places
extreme pressure on the limited available wireless bandwidth. As this
pressure continues to increase with smartphones, new services and users, the
available bandwidth will not be able to sustain it, severely limiting the promise
of computing on the move. Dynamic Spectrum Access networks (DSANs or
sometimes known as Cognitive Radio Networks) offer the potential of alleviating
this problem. Unlike traditional wireless networks, DSANs are not restricted
to operate over a fixed bandwidth in license-free frequency spectrum. DSANs
dynamically utilize the unused bandwidth in licensed bands, such as the bandwidth
allocated to cellular networks, without harming the primary licensed users.
While DSANs are capable of reusing an otherwise wasted bandwidth, translating
the large bandwidth into application requirements, such as higher capacity
and lower delays, is a complex problem. The networking protocols have to
understand application requirements, monitor the unused spectrum, and
dynamically adapt to schedule and route the traffic without affecting the
primary licensed users.
In this paper, we propose a suite of measurement-based models and protocols
that enable applications to realize the lower-layer resources in a DSAN.
First, we propose a centralized network-monitoring engine. It dynamically
computes the network topology graph and spectrum usage statistics. Based
on this information, a stochastic model predicts the available capacity and
delay estimates, and exposes them to the applications using simple Application
Programming Interfaces (APIs). Second, we propose a routing protocol that uses
the API to construct high-capacity or low-delay routes. We have deployed the system
in a test bed with software-defined radios at Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar.
The proposed framework enables the design of practical and efficient higherlayer protocols. However, the more general problem of optimal resource
allocation in DSAN requires solving other complex tasks, such as optimal
spectrum assignment and scheduling. In the future, we plan to model and
demonstrate practical solutions for these problems. We also plan to pursue
distributed heuristics that adapt to mobility.
Computing | Poster Presentations
150 | 151
Development of an optimal data reduction scheme for
a four-wire hot-wire probe
Singha Arindam, Reza Sadr
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
One of the most widely used measurement instruments in the turbulence
community is the hot-wire probe. Amongst them, the four-wire probe is
lately gaining popularity because of the enhanced accuracy and the extended
directional working range due to the presence of the fourth �redundant’ wire.
However, the need for exhaustive calibration makes the hot-wire probe a less
preferred instrument to be used in atmospheric research. In the present study,
development and testing of an effective data reduction scheme for a four-wire
probe is reported. The robustness of the data reduction scheme enables one
to obtain the same order of accuracy in measurement with reduced calibration
points, and in turn reduced calibration effort. The data reduction scheme works
based on the calculation of the directional sensitivity function of each wire,
and then, minimization of an artificially constructed error function. Since the
directional sensitivity function is smooth and continuous in space, the same
order of accuracy can be obtained with less effort. In the present work, a fourwire probe was considered, and calibrated in a constant velocity jet facility.
Following calibration, the data reduction scheme was applied to test the probe
numerically for a random noise applied on four probes simultaneously, and the
angular error was computed. The assessment of the involved accuracy of the
data reduction scheme with reduced points of calibration was established.
Computing | Poster Presentations
Characterization of the indoor/outdoor radio propagation
channel at 2.4 GHz on Qatar University campus
Irfan Ahmed
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
This technical report presents the site-specific signal strength measurement
results for path loss, shadowing, and fading in the 2.4GHz band under typical
harsh environment (high temperature 40-50 C and humidity 80-90%). We used
spectrum analyzer Rohde & Schwarz FSH8 and InSSIDer, free software for
wireless local area networks (WLANs). Measurements were taken in indoor
and outdoor environments at various locations at different times of the day.
An empirical channel model has been derived from these measurements that
characterizes the indoor-outdoor wireless channel. This report provides
information that would be useful for the design and deployment of wireless
mesh network in Qatar University.
For a radio communication system, the channel describes how the
electromagnetic propagation of a transmitted signal provides that signal at the
receiver. In a mobile communication system, the channel changes according to
the movement of the communicating entities and other objects that have an
effect on the electromagnetic fields at the receiver.
In the last decade, most of the indoor wired networks have been replaced by
wireless networks. These networks can also provide outdoor connectivity inside
the campus areas. WLANs based on IEEE 802.11 are largely deployed to provide
users with network connectivity without being tethered to a wired network.
Wireless networks can provide nearly the same services and capabilities
commonly expected with wired networks. Like their wired counterparts, IEEE
802.11 has been developed to provide large bandwidth to users located in
indoor and outdoor campus environments and are being studied as an alternative
to the high installation and maintenance costs incurred by traditional additions,
deletions, and changes experienced in wired LAN infrastructures. Because of the
unlicensed spectrum availability, IEEE 802.11 WLAN devices operate in the ISM
(Industrial Scientific Medical) band at 2.4GHz or 5GHz. For an accurate planning of
indoor/outdoor radio networks the modeling of the propagation channel is required.
153 | 153
An initial study of the structural phase transition of SrTiO3
Fadwa El Mellouhi, Edward Bothers, Gustavo Scuseria, Melissa Lucero
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
SrTiO3 (STO) is a complex oxide perovskite of great technological interest
for its superconductivity, blue-light emission and photovoltaic effect. In
normal conditions, SrTiO3 crystallizes in the cubic Perovskite structure and
undergoes a second-order phase transition to a tetragonal structure known
as the antiferrodistortive (AFD) phase of STO at the critical temperature Tc
= 105 K. The AFD phase of STO can appear near the interfaces at much higher
temperatures if STO is used as a substrate for the growth of thin films or
superlattices with other perovskites. In the last decades, both phases of STO
have been extensively studied with different schemes of ab initio calculations,
but none of the previously published work has been able to give, at the same
time, an accurate estimate of the structural and electronic properties of the
cubic and AFD phases of STO. In this work, we use Gaussian 09 to fully explain
the reason behind this failure using a large spectrum of functionals ranging
from pure DFT functionals like LDA and GGA to more modern and complex
hybrid functional like HISS and HSE06. We also show how the quality of the
basis set compete with the functional effect in predicting the properties of
STO, the strongest competition being observed for the AFD phase. In fact,
basis sets of low quality tend to seriously inhibit the tetragonality of the AFD
phase and sometimes even suppress it. On the other hand, pure DFT functionals
tend to overestimate the tetragonality of the AFD phase in agreement with
previously reported results in the literature using basis sets of comparable
quality. Hybrid functionals predict the structural properties of the cubic and
AFD phase in very good agreement with experimental results, especially if used
with high quality basis sets. Thus, we present the most reliable combination of
functional and Gaussian basis set for STO currently computationally tractable.
This combination gave the best agreement with the experimental structural and
electronic properties for the cubic and the AFD phases of STO. It is accurate
enough to enable us to understand the changes in the band structure during the
cubic to AFD phase transition, predict the carrier densities, find the activation
barriers for the formation and mobility of defects and the magnetic ordering.
Computing | Poster Presentations
Data structures and algorithms in pen-based computing
Victor Adamchik
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA, USA
Data structure visualization (or animation) has been studied for more than twenty
years, though existing systems have not gained wide acceptance in the classroom
by students and their instructors. The main reason is that animation preparation is
too time consuming. A more technical reason is that when a particular data structure
is encoded into an animation, it does not have the flexibility often needed in a
classroom setting. There is also a pedagogical reason: a number of prior studies have
found that using algorithm visualization in a classroom had no significant effect on
student performance. We believe that the tablet PC, empowered by digital ink, will
challenge the current boundaries imposed upon algorithm animation. One of the
potential advantages of this new technology is that it allows the expression and
exchange of ideas in an interactive environment using sketch-based interfaces. In
this paper we discuss teaching and learning tablet PC based environment in which
students using a stylus would draw a particular instance of a data structure and then
invoke an algorithm to animate over this data structure. A completely natural way
of drawing using a digital pen will generate a data structure model, which (once
it is checked for correctness) will serve as a basis for execution of various
computational algorithms.
In the future, we will extend the above visualization tool to a hybrid theorem
prover system. Experience shows that many computer science students have
great difficulties with the proofs methods encountered in, say, an advanced course
on algorithms. Indeed, often the logical foundation of a proof argument seems
to escape some of the students. We propose to transform students’ experience
with proofs by incorporating pen-based technology into introductory computer
science courses. In particular, we consider formal proofs in Euclidean geometry.
The cornerstone of this model is the concept of geometrical sketching, dynamically
combined with an underlying mathematical model. A completely natural way of
drawing using a digital pen will generate a system of polynomial equations of
several variables. The latter will be fed to a theorem prover, based on the GrЕ‘bner
bases technique, which will automatically establish inner properties of the model.
Moreover, once a particular mathematical model is created and then checked
for accuracy, it will serve as a basis for logical deduction of various geometrical
statements that might follow. Finally, a detailed step-by-step exposition of the
proving process will be provided.
155 | 155
Nanoscale Brownian motion-based thermometry in near wall region
Anoop Kanjirakat, Rana Khader, Reza Sadr
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
In nanoparticle image velocimentry (nPIV), evanescent wave illumination is used
to measure near-wall velocity fields with an out-of-plane resolution of less than
200nm. Similar methodology can be extended for temperature measurements
using Brownian motion characteristics of the sub-micron tracer particles in this
region. Temperature change affects Brownian motion of tracer particles through
a change in Brownian diffusion coefficient and a change in viscosity. The present
study tries to numerically investigate the possibilities of utilizing this effect
in near-wall thermometry. Synthetic nPIV images of the illuminated particle
tracer of 100nm diameter are initially generated. The spatial distribution of the
particles takes in to account near wall forces such as buoyancy, electrostatic
repulsion and Van Der Waals attraction, in addition to the hindered Brownian
motion. Validation studies are carried out using stationary liquids at constant
temperatures. It is believed that this observation would help in explaining the
anomalous heat transfer characteristics of nanofluids.
ParaNets: a parallel network architecture for the future internet
Khaled Harras, Abderrahmen Mtibaa
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The evolution of networking technologies and portable devices has led users
to expect connectivity anytime and everywhere. We have reached the point
of seeing networking occur underwater, via aerial devices, and across space.
While researchers push the true boundaries of networking to serve a wide
range of environments, there is the challenge of providing robust network
connectivity beyond the boundaries of the core internet, defined by fiber optics
and well-organized backbones. As the internet edges expand, the expectation
is that connectivity will be as good, in terms of high bandwidth and minimal
interruption, as anywhere in the core. Such an expectation contradicts the
inherent nature of connectivity at the edges.
Researchers have been trying to solve this problem primarily by layering more
network connection opportunities using newer technologies such as WiFi,
WiMax, and cellular networks. The result is not better robustness, just more
of the same. The choice of which network to use is somewhat dependent on
location, partially driven by economics, and ultimately decided by the user.
Our goal is to create a research thrust that builds robust networking at the edge
of the internet by integrating various network technologies. These technologies
should ultimately enable users to more seamlessly connect to the internet.
Mobile devices and the applications running on them are currently incapable
of identifying various potential communication opportunities and seamlessly
utilizing them in order to maximize throughput. Furthermore, these applications
should be capable of utilizing these connection opportunities in parallel, be
resilient to disruptions, and optimize this utilization pattern to rising cost and
energy concerns.
This overall objective requires fundamentally re-working the internet’s
connectivity model to exploit the array of networking opportunities and evolve
the traditional protocol stack to a more dynamic plug-and-play stack.
Computing | Poster Presentations
157 | 157
Discrimination thresholds of virtual curvature for haptic
and visual sensory information and future applications
in medical virtual training
Mental task discrimination using digital signal processing
Jong Yoon
Ministry of Environment, Doha, Qatar
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
The senses of vision and touch are vital modalities used in the discrimination
of objects. Recent advances in human-computer interface technologies
have produced various haptic force feedback devices for the industries of
rehabilitation, information technology, entertainment, and more. In this research
effort, an inexpensive stylus-type haptic device is used to determine thresholds
of concave curvature discrimination in visual-haptic experiments. Discrimination
thresholds are found for each sense independently as well as for combinations
of these with and without the presence of conflicting information.
Results indicate that on average, the visual sense is about three times
more sensitive than the haptic sense in discriminating curvature in virtual
environments. It is also noticed that subjects seem to rely more heavily on the
sense that contains the most informative cues rather than on any one particular
sense, in agreement with the sensory integration model proposed by other
researchers. The authors believe that the resulting thresholds may serve as
relative comparisons between perceptual performance and this study may be
further expanded to audio and texture senses supported by the Undergraduate
Research Enhancement Program (UREP) of the Qatar National Research Fund.
It is also noted that these preliminary studies will constitute a valuable asset
to the medical virtual training research and development.
Computing | Poster Presentations
Mohammed Mostafa Yehia
Recent advances in computer hardware and signal processing have made
possible the use of EEG signals or �brain waves’ for communication between
humans and computers. Locked-in patients now have a way to communicate with
the outside world, but even with the latest techniques, such systems still suffer
communication rates of the order of 2-3 tasks/minute. In addition, existing
systems are not likely to be designed with flexibility in mind, leading to slow
systems that are difficult to improve.
This work classifies different mental tasks through the use of the
electroencephalogram (EEG). EEG signals from several subjects have been
studied during the performance of five mental tasks: a baseline task for which
the subjects were asked to relax as much as possible, a multiplication task
for which the subjects were given nontrivial multiplication problem without
vocalizing or making any other movements, a letter composing task for which
the subjects were instructed to mentally compose a letter without vocalizing
(imagine writing a letter to a friend in their head), a rotation task for which the
subjects were asked to visualize a particular three-dimensional block figure
being rotated about its axis, and a counting task for which the subjects were
asked to imagine a blackboard and to visualize numbers being written on the
board sequentially.
The work presented here can be viewed as part of a larger project, whose goal
is to classify EEG signals belonging to a varied set of mental activities in a real
time brain-computer interface, in order to investigate the feasibility of using
different mental tasks as a wide communication channel between people
and computers.
159 | 159
Student Posters
A multilingual financial watch alerting system
Ali Mohamed Jaoua, Nasredine Semmar, Hassane Essafi, Samir Elloumi,
Jihad Al’Jaam, Helmi Hammami, Firas Laban, Fethi Ferjani
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
CEA LIST, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Depending on user profiles expressed by associated expected events, and
conditions for raising alerts, from manual meticulous news annotation of an
adequately selected corpus, an ontology domain is created. A cross-language
information retrieval approach is used for automatic translation of financial
documents corresponding to the particular domain corresponding to the user
requirement. By this way, users may receive alerts and news expressed in their
own language even if they are initially expressed in a different language. Manual
annotation is used for knowledge extraction composed of general rules useful
for automatic annotation of financial news arriving instantly to the system from
reliable providers of information. As a first step in the loop, news are filtered,
split into different sub-documents each one corresponding to a particular event
and categorized. News are then mapped automatically to formatted data as
instantiations of a sequence of predefined entities defined an event. By using
alerting conditions given by the user, data analysis of structured tables might
raise or not alerts to the user, with an adequate explanation of the cause of
the alert. Automatically selected alerts initiate a new process for information
generation to the user by starting a new browsing sequence of news containing
events which are related to the raised alerts. Related news are recursively
processed through the same structuring process in order to offer more
historical data related to the alert helping the user to make decision.
Computing | Poster Presentations
Constraint diagrams can be used to interpret program
specification expressions: an evaluation experiment
with novice users
Noora Fetais
University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
Constraint diagrams (CDs) are a graphical notation used for program
specification. For the purposes of formal software specification using a
visual method, Kent designed constraint diagrams as an intuitive approach to
formally specify programs. This paper presents an experiment that evaluates
the interpretation of constraint diagrams compared with natural language (NL)
for understanding program specification statements. In a web-based training
competition, participants were randomly divided into two groups and were
given 8 training examples either on the CD notation or equivalent NL expression.
Each example is followed by 3 questions about the specification statements.
In total there were 24 questions presented in each notation. It was predicted
that the CD participants would find that learning concepts and answering
questions would be harder than those in the NL group, because they had no prior
experience of the CD notation. Surprisingly despite the fact that CD notation
was new for participants, the CD group spent less time answering the questions
and achieved the same proportion of correct answers as the NL group. However,
as predicted, they were less confident in their answers and they spent more time
on the training examples to learn the new concepts.
161 | 161
Rich entity recognition in English text
Rishav Bhowmick, Michael Heilman, Kemal Oflazer, Behrang Mohit,
Noah Smith
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA, USA
Entity type recognition is used as a pre-processing step in common applications
like summarization of text, classifying documents or automatic answering
of questions posed in natural language. Here, �entity’ refers to concrete and
abstract objects identified by proper and common nouns. Entity recognition
focuses on detecting instances of types like person, location, organization, and
so on. For example, an entity recognizer would take as input:
George Washington was the first President of the United States of America.
and output:
<noun.person> George Washington </noun.person> was the first <noun.person>
President </noun.person> of the <noun.location> United States of America
The task can be performed using machine learning techniques to train a system
that recognizes entities with performance comparable to a human annotator.
Challenges like the lack of a large annotated training data corpus, impossible
nature of listing all entity types, and ambiguity in language make this problem
hard. There are existing entity recognizers which perform this task but with
fair performance. One of the ways adopted to improve the performance of an
existing entity recognizer is feature engineering. We initially find out which
of the existing features, used in the recognizer, affect the performance most
strongly. We accomplish this by adding and removing one or more features
at a time from the feature list. We then use the training data to train a model
and test to find out which set of features are important. The evaluation metric
involves finding the precision, recall and f-score (which is the harmonic mean of
precision and recall). As a next step, we add new features like word clusters and
bigram word features to find out any improvements. Word clusters help when
the training data does not have some words, but words belonging to the same
cluster are present in the training data. This helps tagging unseen words in the
test set. We also experiment with varying the size of the training data to find out
how it affects the performance. Additionally, we look into Wikipedia as a source
of additional features for the training data. Wikipedia has an elaborate internal
link structure that can provide vital information about the category of a word. This
category can be linked to a broader-sensed entity type.
Computing | Student Posters
StepID - A Matlab-based toolbox for identification
from step response
Sarah Qaffaf, Salim Ahmed, Nada Mustafa, Zainab Obeid
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
For advanced control, transfer function models are widely used and
identification from step response is a common choice in process industries
to obtain such models. Over the last decade, significant developments have
taken place in the field of identification from step response using the socalled integral equation approach. However, these developments have not been
included in the identification tools available commercially. This work focuses
on development of a MATLAB toolbox in the form of a graphical user interface
(GUI) that will be a specialized tool for identification from step response. Due
to the recent advancement in data storage capacity, industries have become
repositories of enormous amounts of data. However, proper tools are needed
to extract valuable information from raw data. The development of the toolbox
started as an Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) project
from the 5th cycle and it was further modified and extended in the 7th cycle.
The functionality of the toolbox includes data import from an excel file or a
MAT file, preprocessing of data and the use of different methods to estimate
continuous time transfer function model parameters of different orders under
different conditions of the process. The toolbox includes methodologies to
estimate model parameters and time delay simultaneously under steady or
unsteady initial conditions using least squares and instrumental variable
method. Methodologies to handle higher order models and non-minimum phase
processes are also included. Finally, the toolbox has the capability to choose
the best model from a list of models obtained using different methods.
163 | 163
Arts, Social
Humanities and
Islamic Studies
Oral Presentations
Poster Presentations
Student Posters
Oral Presentations
Success strategies of small states: the State of Qatar compared
to Switzerland, Singapore and Lebanon
Mark Farha
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
How effective are the student recruitment methods used
by Qatar’s Education City universities?
Ahmed Baghdady
RAND-Qatar Policy Institute, Doha, Qatar
This study compares the rapid evolution of Qatar to that of the disproportionally
influential small states of Switzerland, Lebanon and Singapore. Though set apart
by history and circumstance, these states share a set of common traits, including
a limited size, high vulnerability to external shocks, diplomatic dexterity, a
salient presence in conflict mediation, high reliance on imported migrant labor,
export-led growth, as well as a drive to maintain an efficient infrastructure
and a skilled human capital base in highly competitive economies. As of 2009,
Switzerland ranked as the world’s most competitive economy, Singapore towered
as Asia’s number one, while Qatar topped the Middle East and North Africa.
This paper is based on a research study conducted to explore the effectiveness
of the students recruitment/marketing methods used to recruit students
in Qatar’s Education City branch campuses. The desire of the author is that
university branch campuses in Qatar and elsewhere may be stimulated to revisit
their marketing and student recruitment plans and activities to better reach
prospective students. The paper also explores the difficulties and challenges of
marketing and student recruitment these institutions encounter in an attempt
to provide ways to overcome these problems and make marketing and student
recruitment more effective.
Sources of success and vulnerability were two sides of the same coin. Openness
to global trade and diplomacy allowed each state to market its skills and
products beyond its size. At the same time, the paper contends that rapid
global integration could lead to domestic dislocation, triggering compensatory
governmental measures in response. The paper examines the respective
responses of each state to the global credit crunch, spreading consumerism
and geopolitical instabilities. The recent 2008 global recession acutely
highlighted both the predicament of vulnerability, and the potential for superior
resilience exhibited by these small states. The paper argues that while each
state departed from country-specific comparative advantages (i.e. Qatar’s
hydrocarbon reserves, Singapore’s port and high-tech industries, Switzerland’s
quality manufacturing and banking, Lebanon’s financial services, education and
tourism), the respective political leaders have espoused a similar paradigm of
comprehensive social development. This study identifies the potential perils
emanating from both within and without its borders, which, if averted, may allow
Qatar to dispel the �rentier curse’ by establishing itself as a proactive leader in
the fields of good governance and human development, further closing the gap
with global frontrunners such as Switzerland and Singapore.
Previous research on marketing and student recruitment methods in higher
education as well as the marketing concept, effective marketing, relationship
marketing, student enrolment behavior theory and collaboration in marketing
are examined. Following the review of literature, data on marketing and student
recruitment methods adopted by each branch campus were collected via a
questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to marketing/admissions staff of
the branch campuses and semi-structured interviews were conducted for the
same population in addition to a few public affairs officers and Education City
officials. Detailed information about how effective each marketing method
is and the challenges associated with each was collected and analyzed. Some
documents and website pages were also examined.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
The responses of the questionnaire and interviews revealed that some
methods, such as school visits, counselor events, information sessions and a
dedicated exhibition for Education City institutions are very effective in student
recruitment. On the other hand, educational exhibitions and websites were found
not very effective. Student activities recently adopted by some institutions
are yet to be assessed. Additionally, the research indicated that the challenges
marketing and admissions staff encounter are logistical, administrative,
financial, cultural and language-related. Some recommendations were offered
to overcome these challenges and enhance the effectiveness of marketing and
student recruitment at Education City institutions.
166 |167
‫دراسة شاملة عن اإلعاقة‪ ،‬وأوضاع ذوي االحتياجات الخاصة في قطر‬
‫هال العلي‬
‫اللجنة الوطنية لحقوق اإلنسان‪ ،‬الدوحة‪ ،‬قطر‬
‫تنطلق اللجنة الوطنية لحقوق اإلنسان لدى قيامها بأي دراسة من الواقع اليومي المعاش للناس‪ ،‬حي‬
‫الهدف من النصوص القانونية لحقوق اإلنسان تقديم الحماية والتمكين لمن هم موضوعها األساسي‬
‫“البشر”‪ .‬ألجل تحقيق ذلك تتضمن الدراسة الناحية األكاديمية والتشريعات الوطنية والمعايير الدولية‪،‬‬
‫إضافة إلى البحث الميدانية المنهجي‪.‬‬
‫عرض مختصر عن الدراسة‪:‬‬
‫تبدأ الدراسة بالتعريف عن المادة رقم (‪ )4‬في االتفاقية الدولية لحقوق ذوي اإلعاقة‪ ،‬والتي تؤسس لمنهج‬
‫البحث الذي قام على التشاور مع األشخاص ذوي اإلعاقة‪ ،‬وأولياء األمور باإلضافة لألخصائيين ومدرسي‬
‫التربية الخاصة ومساعديهم في المراكز التي تعنى بذوي االحتياجات الخاصة‪.‬‬
‫تضمن الفصل األول شرح ًا لمفهوم تكافؤ الفرص ونشوء فكرة “الدمج” كحق لألشخاص ذوي االحتياجات‬
‫الخاصة في منحهم فرص متساوية أمام أقرانهم‪ ،‬فتم تفسير معنى الدمج التربوي بشروطه وفوائده‪،‬‬
‫ومدى أهميته‪.‬‬
‫وتضمن الفصل الثاني شرح ًا ألنواع اإلعاقة بتعريفات أكاديمية مختصرة‪ ،‬تبعها إحصاءات اإلعاقة في دولة‬
‫قطر‪ ،‬لتنتقل الدراسة لبيان أسباب اإلعاقة كعامل الوراثة في زواج األقارب والتأثيرات البيئية والصحية‪.‬‬
‫وبفتح الفصل الثالث من الدراسة تبدأ رحلة البحث الميداني لعدة جهات في قطر كالجمعية القطرية لذوي‬
‫االحتياجات الخاصة ومركز الشفلح ومعهد النور للمكفوفين وغيرها‪...‬‬
‫اعتمد البحث الميداني على قضاء وقت طويل في مراكز ذوي االحتياجات الخاصة وفتح حوارات وطرح‬
‫أسئلة تفصيلية‪ ،‬فمن اإلعاقات الحركية كشلل األطفال إلى اإلعاقات السمعية البصرية إلى حاالت التوحد‬
‫والتخلف العقلي التي تتراوح في حدتها إضافة للشلل الدماغي واإلعاقات النادرة‪ .‬سجل البحث الخدمات‬
‫التي يدعي المركز تقديمها في المقابالت التي أجريت مع المدراء واألخصائيين ثم انتقل للمالحظة بالعين‬
‫المجردة‪ ،‬واستقراء األجوبة‪ ،‬ومقارنة كل ذلك بالتشريعات الوطنية والمعايير الدولية الواردة في اتفاقية‬
‫حقوق األشخاص ذوي اإلعاقة‪ ،‬فتم تسجيل مالحظات إيجابية وأخرى سلبية عن عمل تلك المراكز والخدمات‬
‫التي تقدمها ولم تكتف الدراسة بالنقد المنهجي بل تقدمت لكل مركز بتوصيات ومرئيات لتالفي ما وجدته‬
‫من نواقص‪ .‬وفي الفصل الرابع واألخير خلصت الدراسة إلى نتيجة عامة أن اإلعاقة تشكل مفهوم ًا ما يزال‬
‫قيد التطور‪ ،‬وأن الدولة حققت بعض االنجازات في مجال العناية باألشخاص ذوي االحتياجات الخاصة قياس ًا‬
‫للمدة الزمنية التي بدأت بااللتفات لموضوع اإلعاقة وما يزال أمامها الكثير من العمل‪ ،‬واختتمت الدراسة‬
‫بخمسة عشر توصية ذات طابع عملي ال إنشائي لالرتقاء بأوضاع ذوي االحتياجات الخاصة‪.‬‬
‫‪169 ||169‬‬
‫‪Female ESL teachers’ perceptions about their roles and‬‬
‫’‪professional development needs in Qatar’s �Education for a New Era‬‬
‫‪Kholode M H Al Obaidli‬‬
‫‪Qatar Olympic Committee, Doha, Qatar‬‬
‫‪Research shows that successful educational reform is multi-faceted, requiring‬‬
‫‪rigorous planning and investment in teacher professional development.‬‬
‫‪The focus of this study is female ESL teachers in Qatar’s public school‬‬
‫‪educational reform, Education for a New Era, which created 36 publicly funded‬‬
‫‪Independent Schools with a standards-based curriculum using English as a‬‬
‫‪Second Language as the medium of instruction in mathematics and science.‬‬
‫‪The research investigated the perceptions of female ESL teachers regarding‬‬
‫‪Qatar’s reforms and their experiences using new approaches to teaching ESL.‬‬
‫‪Professional development needs were also identified.‬‬
‫‪A mixed method approach was used. A questionnaire was distributed to 233‬‬
‫‪female ESL teachers and 18 semi-structured interviews conducted.‬‬
‫‪Generally, teachers valued increased freedom, but expressed a lack of support,‬‬
‫‪and noted increased workloads and conflicts between professional roles and‬‬
‫‪private lives. Change facilitators were seen as supportive. Views about school‬‬
‫‪administrators varied.‬‬
‫‪After analysis and presentation of the findings, I concluded that while‬‬
‫‪educational reform in Qatar had been largely conceptualized from the top down,‬‬
‫‪close attention is still needed regarding the role of female ESL teachers in‬‬
‫‪the process of implementation. In particular, since reform is dependent upon‬‬
‫‪sustained professional development for ESL teachers.‬‬
‫‪Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations‬‬
A comprehensive study on disability and the conditions
of people with special needs in Qatar
A comprehensive study on disability and the conditions
of people with special needs in Qatar (CONT’)
Hala Al-Ali
National Human Rights Committee, Doha, Qatar
In undertaking any study, the National Human Rights Commission starts
from the reality of the people’s daily life. This stems from the fact that the
objective of the legal texts related to human rights is to provide protection and
empowerment to those who represent their primary object, i.e. human beings.
In order to achieve this goal, this study includes academic aspects, national
legislations and international standards, in addition to methodical field research.
This study begins with the definition of Article No. (4) of the International
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which lays the foundation
for the research methodology which was based on consultation with people with
disabilities, their parents and specialists, in addition to teachers of special education
and their assistants at the centers that deal with people with special needs.
As a result, there were a number of positive and negative remarks regarding
the activities of these centers and the services they provide. The study was
not restricted to methodical criticism, but has also provided each center with
recommendations and videos, in order to avoid the shortcomings found. In its
final part, Chapter IV, the study has concluded with a general outcome that
disability represents a concept that is still under development, and the State
has made already some achievements in caring for persons with special needs,
comparing to the period of time when the State began to pay attention to the
issue of disability. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done in this
regard. The study concluded with fifteen recommendations of a practical nature,
to advance the conditions of people with special needs.
Chapter I of the study includes an explanation of the concept of equal
opportunities and the emergence of the idea of �integration’ as a fundamental
right of persons with special needs in order to give them equal opportunities
with their peers, therefore, the meaning of educational integration was
explained, along with its conditions, benefits and its importance.
Chapter II includes an explanation of the types of disability through brief
academic definitions, followed by statistics on disability in the State of Qatar.
Further, the study demonstrates the causes of disability, such as genetic factors
in the marriage between relatives, in addition to environmental and health impacts.
Chapter III of the study marks the beginning of the conducted field research for
a number of institutions in Qatar, such as Qatar Society for People with Special
Needs, the Shafallah Center and Al-Nour Institute for the Blind, and others.
Field research was based on spending a long time at the centers for people
with special needs, conducting discussions and asking detailed questions.
Disabilities discussed include motor disabilities such as polio to audio-visual
disabilities, autism and mental retardation with various levels of intensity in
addition to cerebral palsy and rare disabilities. This study has documented the
services claimed to be provided by every center in interviews conducted with the
managers and workers, then moved on to direct observations, extrapolation of
answers, then comparing all such data to national legislations and international
standards contained in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
171 ||171
Participation of women in Qatar’s labor force
Kien Le
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatarization, a process to increase the number of Qatari nationals in the labor
force, is considered one of the country top priorities to ensure its long-term
economic development and security purpose. As 96 percent of Qatari men and
43 percent of Qatari women are currently in the labor force and women are
more educated than men on average, it is clear that a significant increase in the
labor force, especially in high skilled jobs, can only be achieved by increasing the
participation of women in the labor force. It is therefore important to understand
the factors that influence the decision of Qatari women to participate in the
labor force. Using a nationally representative survey data and recent advances in
the quantile regression technique, we analyze women’s willingness to participate
not only at the mean value (given by well known logistic regression) but also at
its various quantiles. We found that the offer wage rate, age and education plays
an important role in women decision to join the labor force. These factors have a
positive effect on women’s participation, but the effect varies across quantiles.
The effects of marriage and having children, contrary to normal expectation, are
not statistically significant, suggesting that once women enter the labor force
they are not likely to exit because of marriage or children. We also discuss policy
implications of the results to the Qatarization process.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
Attitudes toward expatriate and labor migrant workers
in the Arab Gulf countries: mixed results from Qatar
Abdoulaye Diop, Kien Le, Darwish Alemadi
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
This paper presents an overview of Qatari citizens’ attitudes toward expatriate
and labor migrant workers in Qatar. It is based on the first �scientific’ survey of
Qatari citizens and residents (expatriates and labor migrants) conducted by the
Qatar University Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) in May/
June 2010. The main objectives of this paper were threefold: first, to assess
Qatari attitudes towards the presence of these expatriate and labor migrant
workers in Qatar. Do Qatari citizens support or oppose the restrictions on the
number of foreign workers in the country? How do they evaluate the number
of expatriate and labor migrant workers present in the country? Second, to
evaluate whether these attitudes translate into negative or positive attitudes
toward migrant workers and their contribution to Qatar? Do Qatari citizens think
that expatriate and labor migrant workers strengthen their country and help
to build its economy, or do they think they weaken the country and put a strain
on its resources? Finally, the paper will present and analyze Qatari citizens’
attitudes toward the sponsorship system or Kafala. Do Qatari citizens support
the change of the sponsorship system to make the migrant workers more
dependent on their employees, less dependent on their employees, or do they
want to maintain the status quo. The paper makes use of univariate, bivariate and
multivariate analyses and differences will be determined using chi-squared and
t-tests. The mean number of responses to certain questions will be compared
across the demographic groups to highlight subgroup differences.
173 ||173
Enhancing the development impact of remittances: a study of
direct payment and savings facilities for Filipino workers in Qatar
Seshan Ganesh Kumar
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
International remittances are playing an increasingly important role in the
economies of developing countries. Aside from being an important source of
foreign exchange for many recipient countries, recent research has shown that
households that receive remittances are more likely to leave poverty status, to
send their children to school and to invest in small enterprises, health, education
and housing. While remittances bring numerous benefits to households in
developing countries, little is known about the extent to which remittance flows
are reduced by the fact that migrants have limited ability to monitor and control
how remittances are spent by beneficiaries. This research aims to investigate
whether the introduction of new, innovative financial services can enhance
the ability of migrants to save, monitor and control how their remittances are
utilized. In partnership with a financial institution in the Philippines, we have
designed two new financial products that will be offered randomly via a field
experiment, to a sample of Filipino migrants in Qatar enrolled in this study. The
first financial product is a commitment savings account that has the potential
to raise household savings for clients with self-control concerns. The second
financial product is a direct (bill) payment facility that allows a migrant to
pay vendors in the Philippines directly. The offer of financial services to the
migrant is to enable them to either save more of their remittances (using the
commitment savings account) and/or make payments directly to vendors in the
Philippines (with the direct payment facility), as opposed to having their families
back home arrange payments. All subjects in Qatar and their origin households
in the Philippines will be administered a baseline survey covering employment,
income and expenses, level of remittances, financial services used and desired
and savings. A follow-up survey will be administered later to the migrant and
their households in order to determine the use of the new products and its impact
on the level and use of remittances or more generally household expenditures.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
Qatari women and the internet: an analytical study
for patterns of use and utilization
Hesham Mahmoud Azmi
Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
The State of Qatar has exerted relentless efforts towards activating the
participation of Qatari women in the use of information and communication
technology (ICT) in general and the use of the internet in particular. Female
participation and involvement in this field is considered to be one of the
priorities included in the plans and projects of the Qatar’s ICT Strategy. However,
research endeavors which analytically address the use of the internet by Arab
women in general, and Qatari women in particular, are rather scarce.
The main purpose of this research paper, representing a national survey
sponsored by Qatar’s SCFA, is to investigate the patterns of use and utilization
of the internet by Qatari women. In its attempt to achieve this purpose, the
paper explores the impact of social, marital, educational, and economic status of
Qatari women on their use of the internet. It also identifies Qatari women views
and attitudes towards the internet as well as the difficulties and obstacles that
impede their use. Hence, it provides a clear understanding of Qatari women’s
utilization patterns of the internet concerning the frequency, aims, methods
of use, and the impact of this use on various aspects of their daily life.
The study adopts an analytical descriptive method. A survey instrument
in the form of a questionnaire was designed and administered as the main
data collection tool for the purpose of this study. The validity and reliability
of this instrument were determined using referees validation and pilot trial
sample respectively.
The main factions of Qatari women representing the population of the study
include government employees, private sector employees, public sector
employees, university students, and housewives. A total of 2367 questionnaires
were distributed among a stratified random sample of Qatari women in 26 of
the major employers in Qatar including: ministries, universities, banks, financial
organizations, and major corporations such as QTEL, HMC, and QP. The response
rate was relatively high, 1618 questionnaires were returned representing a
response rate of 68.3%. Both descriptive and inferential statistics techniques
were employed for the purposes of data analysis.
175 ||175
Proof of concept �A Portable Architecture for Qatar’
Roman Turczyn, Peter Chomowicz
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The proof of concept is a research-based analysis by Virginia Commonwealth
University in Qatar, Center for Research in Design to evaluate the feasibility
of converting surplus ISO shipping containers into housing units for migrant
workers in the State of Qatar.
The project addresses the need for temporary labor accommodation associated
with Qatar’s rapid growth and development. The goal for this project is to
identify a long-term, economical solution to this social challenge in support
of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 toward sustainable development.
The proof of concept evolved from its initial mandate of evaluating the
feasibility of converting shipping containers for migrant worker housing into an
enhanced scope of work that demonstrates how the results of our research could
be used to develop a unique and innovative concept for �A Portable Architecture
for Qatar’. This expanded agenda not only addresses the original mandate
but also demonstrates the value of a holistic design approach. �A Portable
Architecture for Qatar’ examines and identifies sustainable, economic options
for application in urban, rural and remote construction site locations in Qatar
and possibly for application as disaster relief where needed worldwide.
Dohaland research: search for a contemporary Qatari
architectural language that is �modern rooted in the past’
John Rose
Dohaland, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
Since its inception in early 2009, Dohaland has been tasked by its Board of
Directors to support the intellectual and cultural efforts of Qatar Foundation
by extending its work beyond day-to-day real estate development activities
to include research projects that focus on the built form, the life patterns of
Qatari residents, etc. This presentation will present and discuss current and
future research-related projects and activities under the Dohaland research
program including:
• Gulf architectural encyclopedia research
• Qatari architecture research
• Qatari cultural/socio research: (slavery, living/oral history, oil and gas
inception, MHOD memory center)
• Coordination with Qatar Science & Technology Park re-applied research
These subjects are in early phases of work and can be tracked in the future
as they further develop.
The vision of �A Portable Architecture for Qatar’ is to plan, design, prototype
and commercialize a manufacturing system that combines best management
practices of integrated, sustainable design with innovative planning concepts
to serve the growing market for migrant worker housing in Qatar. �A Portable
Architecture for Qatar’ is based on a business model that demonstrates cost
effectiveness through reduced operating costs because of an integrated design
approach. The concept is intended to meet and surpass international standards
for migrant workers living conditions.
Taking the lead in this challenge will not only improve the lives of migrant
workers but will also place Qatar in the forefront of improving the Gulf-wide
image of human rights.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
177 ||177
Developing an information resource on Islamic medical
and scientific ethics
Frieda Wiebe
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
The Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University and Georgetown’s
School of Foreign Service Library in Qatar are working together to establish
an information resource covering Islamic thought on medical and scientific
ethics. We plan to include both historical and contemporary writings in English
and Arabic, as well as in other languages, when possible. Ultimately, we intend
for this three-year initial project to produce not only an online database, but
also to form a core collection within Qatar’s Central Library and to enhance the
Bioethics Research Library’s collection in Washington. All of these efforts are
focused on serving researchers and educators in the region and around the world.
Staff members who are working on the project are fluent in Arabic or Farsi,
and are educated in Islamic Studies, librarianship, and information technology.
A variety of professional and organizational contacts are being pursued in
order to identify and acquire relevant scholarly material. Although some of the
foreign-language cataloging has commenced, we continue to explore database
software appropriate for displaying accurately Arabic and Farsi characters as
well as related transliteration. English-language cataloging and indexing is well
underway using existing software.
In the first year of the project, we identified 646 documents in English, Arabic
and Farsi and began indexing them, using a specialized vocabulary to address
new topics. “Keywords of Special Interest to Islamic Medical and Scientific
Ethics (IMSE) Database Searchers” is available online. New terms have been
integrated into the current “Bioethics Thesaurus,” offered in full as an online
thesaurus database at
Additional access terms are suggested in the Keywords list to help searchers.
‫ضوابط العالج بالنانو تكنولوجي في ضوء المقاصد والمآالت الشرعية‬
‫خالد مفتاح‬
‫ قطر‬،‫ الدوحة‬،‫وزارة األوقاف والشؤون اإلسالمية‬
‫ضوابط العالج بالنانو تكنولوجي‬
‫في ضوء المقاصد والمآالت الشرعية‬
‫ ودرء (المفاسد)؛ لذا أوجبت الشريعة‬،)‫ ُوضع لجلب (المصالح‬،)‫من المعلوم أن (الطب كالشرع‬
.)‫ وع ّدته من (فروض الكفايات‬،‫الغراء تع ُّلمه وتعليمه‬
‫قمة (النوازل الطبية)؛ وبات (الحكم) عليه فرع عن (تصوره)؛ من‬
ّ )‫وتصدر العالج (بالنانو تكنولوجي‬
‫خالل معرفة (أساليبه) و(دوافعه) و(أبعاده) ومن ثم (استشراف) المستقبل له؛ وهذا كشف عن‬
.)‫(مقاصد المكلف‬
‫وأطرت الشريعة هذا العالج ضمن (منهج تسديدي) (أخالقي) (يحكم) العالقة بين الطبيب‬
.)‫والمريض؛ بإحكام (الوسائل) بميزان (المقاصد‬
)‫والعالج بالنانو تكنولوجي دائر بين (حفظ النفس) من جانب (العدم) بمنع األسقام؛ و(حفظ النسل‬
‫من جانب (الوجود) باإلخصاب؛ و(حفظ العقل) في جانب (العدم) بتأخير أرذل العمر؛ كيفما قلبتها‬
.!)‫بدأت لك(مقاصد الشارع‬
‫وذلك يُعد مقدمة للولوج إلى (تحقيق المناط) بأدوات (االجتهاد الترجيحي)؛ تارة و(االجتهاد‬
‫وبمنهج (مقاصدي) حتى نعلم هل مآل العالج‬
‫اإلنشائي) تارة؛ وتقنين (ضوابط) بعقلية (أصولية)؛‬
‫بالنانو تكنولوجي دائر بين (اإلعمال) أو (اإلهمال)؛ بين (االجتهاد المآلي) و(االجتهاد في المآل)؟؛‬
.‫ونصل إلى ثمرة مفادها هل تحقق (قصد الموافقة) بين (مقاصد المكلف) و(مقاصد الشارع)!؟‬
)‫وهذا العمل في منهجه محاولة لـ(تجديد الفهم) من أجل (تجديد العلم) ضمن (رؤية مقاصدية‬
.)‫في تقعيد أدوات (االجتهاد المعاصر المنشود‬
We invite you to explore the Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics database at and are eager
for your feedback.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
179 ||179
Poster Presentations
Checks on nanotechnology treatment in the light of Islamic
legal purposes and outcomes
Khalid Muftah
Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Doha, Qatar
It is known that medicine, like Islamic Sharia, was designed to bring about
benefits and to ward off harm; therefore Islamic Sharia made it obligatory that
medicine should be learned and taught, and considered this a collective duty.
Treatment using nanotechnology is at the fore of new medical technologies; a
ruling on it would thus constitute a part of understanding it, through knowledge
of its methods, purposes and dimensions and exploring its future to learn the
intentions of those performing it.
Islamic Sharia has placed this treatment in the framework of an ethical, objective
approach governing the relationship between doctors and patients by employing
means of balancing purposes.
Nanotechnology treatment revolves around the preservation of the soul from
non-existence through disease prevention, the preservation of species with
respect to its existence through fertility and the preservation of the mind from
nonexistence by delaying the weakness of old age; in whichever way one looks
at it, the purposes of Islamic Sharia are there!
This serves as an entry point to meeting objectives, using the tools of creative
jurisprudence at times and constructive jurisprudence at other times,
introducing the legal regulation of checks in the regular manner and using a
purpose-based approach. This is so that we know whether the outcome of
treatment with nanotechnology revolves around acting or failing to act or
between outcome-based jurisprudence or jurisprudence on its outcomes? In this
way, we come to a conclusion as to whether a compromise can be been reached
between the purposes of those performing the treatment and the purposes
of Islamic Sharia?
How do Qatari females make it to the top? An examination
of organizational constraints to their advancement?
Hend Abdalrahman Al Muftah
Qatar University, Doha ,Qatar
Although Qatari females have increased their economic participation and
reached remarkable educational attainment over the last decade, this success
does not run parallel with balanced representation in management positions.
Accordingly, this study was initiated with the aim of identifying the main
organizational constraints encountered by Qatari females throughout their
careers. The study revealed that although Qatari females have made good
progress at medium and lower levels of management, they are still very
poorly represented in senior management levels. It is also indicated that
no discrimination is made against Qatari females in terms of selection and
recruiting, working hours, training, and engagement in critical projects and
compensation. Specifically, the study found that both gender specific and
differences failed to explain the low representation of Qatari females in top
managerial positions. However, it was reported that the promotion of Qatari
females within organizations is still lagging behind. Gender-specific issues,
such as females’ family commitments, were reported as the main constraint to
their promotion from the male perspective, whilst gender-differences, such as
uncertainty of real increased responsibilities and authority levels, were the main
constraints to female promotion from the females’ perspective. In the absence
of major organizational discrimination, this study concludes by recommending
the greater inclusiveness of Qatari females in decision-making positions. The
paper also suggests that greater accountability of organizations to advance
females should be considered critically in order to ensure the advancement
of Qatari females to the top.
Through this approach, this study represents an attempt to renew our
understanding in order to invigorate science within an intention-based
vision using the preferred tools of contemporary jurisprudence.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Oral Presentations
181 ||181
Simulation training for laparoscopic surgery with 3rd and 4th
year medical students
Angela Brunstein, Joerg Brunstein, Anam Waheed, Davit Sargsyan,
Bakr Nour
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Medical education is characterized by apprenticeship reflected in �see one,
do one, teach one’. This research investigated effects of practice and individual
guidance by a mentor for laparoscopic surgery using a simulation engine.
Based on earlier research, we expected that it would take extensive training
for self-directed, experience-based learning to compensate for individual,
on-time instruction that is typical for medical education.
Three groups of 3rd and 4th medical students trained to perform laparoscopic
colecystectmy in 5 training sessions of 30 or 60 min. The mentored group
received one-to-one individual guidance by a mentor during the complete
training. A time-matched control group received exclusively feedback from
the simulation engine. An extensive practice group was allotted double the
time to compensate for missing guidance. Before and after training, their
performance was analyzed for the first case in the system.
Mentored students performed better during the pretest than students from
both control groups. After training those students performed as well without
guidance as during the pretest with guidance. Participants from both control
groups improved performance from pre-test to post-test. In addition, students
with extensive training performed almost as well as mentored students during
the post-test.
This implies that feedback provided by the simulation system is good enough
for unsupervised students to reach a performance level comparable to mentored
students, but it requires double the time for training. Next, we aim to improve
the system’s feedback to dramatically reducing training time while reaching
the same level of performance.
For example, this means to provide in-time warning before committing an error
instead of presenting an error message after committing it. This will prevent
students from automatizing suboptimal or dangerous routines.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentations
What are the possibilities for taking up a physically active
subject position for young Qatari women?
Kelly Knez, Liza Hunter
Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Background: Discourses constitute knowledge. They are multiple, contradictory
and offer different ways of knowing and being that shift across time and space.
Also, they offer �subject positions’ that can be taken up or rejected. If taken up,
subject positions offer the individual a particular repertoire, a way of seeing
and speaking about the world. Analysis of discursive constructions and subject
positions of young Qatari women in relation to physical activity offers insights
beyond a binary construction of norm and �other’. This is particularly important
considering that dominant academic understandings of physical activity have
been constructed through western systems of knowledge.
Purpose: This research explores the multiple subject positions available to
young Qatari women constituting themselves as physically active. It challenges
western notions of physical activity to introduce new ways of understanding
physical activity and young Qatari women and the terrain negotiated in being
physically active.
Methods: Grounded in feminist post-structuralism, this study employs semistructured interviews with 10 young Qatari women aged 18-25 years. Interviews
were transcribed then analyzed using discourse analysis.
Results: Young Qatari women negotiate an array of cultural discursive practices
including those deeply enshrined within Qatari tradition and culture and the
medicalized view of physical activity as something which �should’ be done for
good health. The �physically active’ subject positions available to young Qatari
women vary, but tend to be bounded by discursive practices of family, tradition
and gender.
Conclusion: Opportunities for young Qatari women to constitute themselves
as physically active subjects are enabled and constrained by strong discursive
practices of family, gender and tradition. Understanding the impact of such
practices invites discussion about new possibilities for different positions that
capture being young Qatari women as well as being physically active.
183 ||183
Towards a national project to plan and build cultural values
and Arab personal skills for the 21st century
Ibrahim Ramadan Al-Deeb
Arab Educational Training Center for Gulf States, Doha, Qatar
This study answers the following main questions:
What system of concepts is related to the strategic planning and building
of values?
What are the reality, dimensions and outcomes of the conflict of values, and their
relationship to identity and society’s potential for growth and advancement?
Are we suffering from a crisis in the planning and strategic construction of
our values?
Do we have a national project for planning and building values and preserving
our identity?
What are the reasons for the weakness of Arab educational products compared
to their Asian and Western counterparts?
What moral and educational requirements do people living in the twenty first
century have?
What are the most important international experiences in the planning and
building of values and creating a new generation capable of actively contributing
to the development and progress of society and the nation?
How can we have a national project for planning and building values and
preserving our own identity?
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentation
‫نحو مشروع وطني وقومي لتخطيط وبناء القيم الحضارية وإعادة تأهيل‬
‫االنسانى العربي لعبور القرن الواحد والعشرون‬
‫إبراهيم رمضان الديب‬
‫ قطر‬،‫ الدوحة‬،‫المركز العربي للتدريب التربوي لدول الخليج‬
:‫يتم في هذا البحث االجابة على االسئلة الكبرى التالية‬
‫ما هي منظومة المفاهيم المتعلقة بتخطيط وبناء القيم على المستوى االستراتيجي؟‬
‫ وعالقته بالهوية وقدرةالمجتمع على‬،‫ما هي حقيقة وأبعاد ومآالت الصراع القيمى‬
‫النمو والنهوض؟‬
‫هل نعانى أزمة في التخطيط والبناء االستراتيجي للقيم؟‬
‫ قوميا لتخطيط وبناء القيم والمحافظة على هويتنا؟‬،‫هل نمتلك مشروعا وطنيا‬
‫ما هي أسباب ضعف وهشاشة المنتج التربوى العربي مقارنة بمثيله االسيوى والغربي؟‬
‫ما هي االستحقاقات القيمية والتربوية الالزمة إلنسان القرن الواحد والعشرون؟‬
‫ما هي أهم التجارب العالمية في مجال تخطيط وبناء القيم وصناعة جيل جديد قادر على‬
‫المساهمة الفاعلة في تنمية ونهضة مجتمعه وأمته؟‬
‫كيف نمتلك مشروعا وطنيا لتخطيط وبناء القيم والمحافظة على هويتنا الخاصة؟‬
185 ||185
Knowledge-based urban development paradigm: Doha as
a model for a knowledge and creative city in the Middle East
Ali Al Raouf
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatar’s future vision, named Qatar 2030, is forecasting an economy based on
knowledge and creativity rather than depletable natural carbon resources.
Knowledge and creativity are perhaps the most important factors in the
future of a city’s economy, and there is a growing interest in the concept of the
“knowledge and creative city”. A knowledge and creative city is not just a regular
city. It is a growing space of exchange and optimism in which each and everyone
can devote themselves to personal and collective projects and aspirations in a
climate of dynamism, harmony, and creativity. The main purpose of this research
is to explore the �knowledge city’ concept in depth. It will discuss the principles
of a knowledge city, and portray its distinguishing characteristics and processes.
A solid argument will be constructed to illustrate that the concept of knowledge
cities is rooted in the urban, cultural structure of traditional Arab cities.
Therefore an attempt to foster this concept in today’s Arab/Middle Eastern
cities would not be possible by building isolated technological statements
scattered around the city. Alternatively, the rise of the network society, global
networks, linked cities and the existence of smart communities should construct
the basis for shaping Arab Knowledge Cities. A focus on Doha as an emerging
knowledge and creative city amid the Middle Eastern cities will be included to
examine the main hypothesis of the research.
�What are the qualities of future cities?’ becomes a crucial question and its
answer creates a challenge for architects, urban designers, planners, developers,
and decision makers around the world. This research will answer this question
by articulating a new matrix for knowledge and creative city formation. Doha
will be used as a model for such a new paradigm of knowledge-based urban
design and development in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern cities are not
only exceptions, but would require major social transformations to join the
knowledge economy era.
4D Doha: mapping Qatar’s built environment over time
Kelly Hutzell, Rami El Samahy, Kristina Ricco , Spencer Gregson
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
4D Doha is a both an art installation and a repository of information about Doha’s
growth over time. It is the result of a research project undertaken by professors
and students of Carnegie Mellon and is funded by Qatar Foundation. This website
and installation is led by Kelly Hutzell and Rami el Samahy, with team members
Kristina Ricco, Spencer Gregson and Blake Lam.
The pace of change in Doha, Qatar over the last sixty years challenges the
imagination: new buildings and even new land has been created as the city has
grown from a tiny village to one vying for world-class status. Infrastructure
projects aim to strengthen the country’s connections to the region and the global
economy, while planned mega-scale mixed-use projects will expand the capital
city of Doha to more than twice its current size.
4D Doha addresses these transformations by tracing the physical growth
of the city across time through an interactive display that allows users to
track a variety of changes through different eras, from the pre-oil period of
1947, through the current expansion facilitated by natural gas extraction,
followed by the potential for continued diversified economic and physical
growth. The project focuses on making spatial what was once only available
as two-dimensional information, allowing one to examine the morphology
of the buildings, the road network, and landfill additions creating sea ports,
airports and causeways. Data has been acquired through a critical urban
reading of historical aerial imagery, as well as current Geographic Information
Systems (GIS) information. Through British aerial surveys of the country taken
periodically from the late 1940’s to early 1980, as well as subsequent aerial
views, the project team created a series of twelve historical mappings, tracing
the transformation of the city from 1947 to the GIS information for the present
day. The two-dimensional urban fabric was then three-dimensionally modeled
using Rhinoceros and City Engine software programs. Final processing allows
one to access the interface through three distinct portals: view, time and data.
These hypermedia maps integrate both narratives and historical images so that
one encounters interpretative pathways while exploring the interface.
The initial phase of the project is intended to serve as a catalyst to collect
and disseminate further content on Qatar’s urban growth. It is the aim that the
project be both an educational website, slated to debut in fall 2010, as well as
a permanent installation in the Carnegie Mellon Qatar building on
Education City’s campus.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentation
187 ||187
The image of the United States portrayed
in Arab world online journalism
Ashraf Galal Hassan Mohamed Bayoumy
Social Development Centre-Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
Research problem: This study is trying to examine to what extent online
journalism in the Arab world has adopted biased coverage of the United States.
The study hopes to provide a current assessment of how the US is portrayed
in Arab world online journalism. This valid, updated information will enable
researchers and communicators alike to better understand not only what is
being done, but may lead to ways of providing a solid basis for better dealing
with American issues and images in the future.
Research Hypotheses:
• There are differences among web sites (whether biased or not) in image type, covered topics, US image, used evidences, main concentration, ways of distortion, salience, main issue, news values, attraction tools, included figures.
• There is a positive correlation between image bias (totally biased, totally objective, somehow objective/biased) and image type (negative, neutral, positive).
• There is a correlation between website affiliation (Arab and non-Arab websites)
and website bias, US image and image type (negative, neutral, positive) of the United States.
• There is a correlation between US image and used appeals, evidence, evidence type and main concentration at the materials.
Within-household sampling: searching for a better method
conditional on household size information
Darwish Al Emadi
Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, Qatar university,
Doha, Qatar
Survey research has been used widely in various social sciences. A random
selection of a survey respondent at the household level (so called withinhousehold sampling) is critical for any valid statistical inference with the survey
data. In this paper, we will review existing sampling methods. Some methods
ensure the randomness, but require a lengthy and intrusive process and hence
reduce cooperation. Some methods provide a quick and simple sampling at the
expense of the randomness. Although household size information is collected
in most of these methods, this information is not fully used. The question that
these methods try to answer is how to randomly sample a person. In this paper,
we argue that the method should be developed not to answer this question but
to answer the question about how to randomly sample a person conditional on
(or given) the household size. Compared to the current “one size fit all” methods,
it is always better to use a method that allows for different ways of sampling
for different household sizes. We then develop a sampling method that is
conditional on the household size and use it for a survey in Qatar, a country with
large household size population, a characteristic which is typical to the Middle
East and Developing countries. We will show difficulties when current methods
are applied to these countries and how our method can overcome these difficulties.
Research Methodology: Eight online news websites were been selected among
14 are considered the most important news websites at the Arab world based on
the nomination of some experts in this field. News and editorial materials at
the first page and internal topics which had any signs at the front pages were
also analyzed.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentation
189 ||189
The significance of the People Factor in project cost estimates
Abdulla Hamad Fetais
London Metropolitan University, London, UK
People and major projects are vitally important to the future of Qatar. The
development of methodologies is important to the research community. This
study brings together people, megaproject and research methodology by
investigating in detail the interactions of people and project management
systems at the conceptual cost estimate stage in order to identify implications
and improvements. The research problem has a number of distinct dimensions;
technical and human aspects operate and interact at the different levels of the
individual, project team, organization and society. In addition, external factors,
the nature of the project and the approach to project management also impact
on the events and interactions involved. The problem situation generates the
following objectives; to identify the technical and people factors and issues
influencing the preparation and application of conceptual cost estimates, to
understand how these factors interact, to ascertain the relative importance of
different factors at different levels and to assess the implications for theory
and practice of project management. The study will investigate: how conceptual
cost estimates are currently produced and used in practice, including estimating
techniques and software used; what factors influence their use, in particular
factors related to people; how these factors interact and which exert more
influence on the process; and finally, the theoretical and practical implications
of this study for communities of practice, project management practitioners and
academics. A wide-ranging literature review uncovered the complexity of the
field. It also highlighted the need for an innovative approach to methodology,
involving activity theory at the data collection stage and grounded theory and
human factors error analysis as well as activity theory at the data analysis stage
in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of these different analyses in
terms of the information they yield. It is argued that in management research,
new insights require creative yet academically robust approaches that address
multiple dimensions and perspectives of the complex and often ambiguous
socio-cultural contexts situations they seek to analyse. The data analysis in this
study will view the findings through a variety of theoretical lenses in a novel
approach to capturing complexity.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentation
Road traffic accidents in rich developing countries: the case
of the State of Qatar
Abdel Magid Hamouda, Khalifa Al Khalifa
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Qatar is a rich developing country, which suffers the consequences of explosions
in both human and vehicle population. This has been accompanied by a heavy toll of
deaths. Road accidents in Qatar do not only represent an important social problem
but also an economic one. There is room for improving traffic safety in Qatar. A
comprehensive traffic safety program is urgently needed.
In this paper an assessment of the current level of road safety in Doha, Qatar is
made utilizing data obtained from secondary sources. The road safety level in Doha
is assessed considering four parameters, namely, accident severity index, accident
fatality rate, accident fatality risk and accident risk.
191 ||191
Cost analysis of road accidents in the State of Qatar
Khalifa Al Khalifa, Hamouda Abdel Magid
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Road accidents generally receive less public attention than other types of
transport-related accidents. This could be due to the importance placed on road
safety by a country or society. In some societies, road accidents are accepted
as fate. These societies fail to understand that road accidents are preventable
and result in significant losses of resources. One way of bringing the importance
of road safety to the attention of governments and societies is to show the real
cost of accidents.
There are two main uses for estimate of crash costs in developing countries.
First, an estimate of total annual costs of traffic crashes can be used for
resource allocation at a national level to ensure road safety is given due
recognition. Second, estimates of unit crash costs by injury severity can be used
to ensure that best use is made of any investment, through economic appraisal.
In evaluating the safety measures through cost benefit analysis, policy makers
require a reliable monetary estimate of the benefits of reduced occurrences of
crashes. The study reported in this paper is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first
ever attempt to estimate the socio-economics costs of accidents in the State
of Qatar. Accident data and cost figures of the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 are
considered to make the estimation of annual accident cost of Qatar.
‫ عام الرمادة‬:‫دور القيادة الراشدة في إدارة األزمة‬
‫سلوى المال‬
‫ قطر‬،‫ الدوحة‬،‫ديوان المحاسبة – قطر‬
:‫سعت هذه الدراسة لإلجابة على سؤال رئيسي هو موضوع المشكلة البحثية وهو‬
‫ما هي الدروس المستفادة من خبرة الخليفة عمر بن الخطاب () كنموذج للقيادة والحكم الراشد‬
:‫في إدارة أزمة المجاعة؟ ويتفرع عنه األسئلة التالية‬
‫ ما هو دور القيادة في إدارة األزمة؟‬:‫أولهـا‬
‫ ما هي سمات الدور الذي لعبه الخليفة عمر بن الخطاب في إدارة أزمة عامة الرمادة؟‬:‫وثانيها‬
‫ تناول الفصل‬،‫تم تقسيم الدراسة إلى أربعة فصول ومقدمة وخاتمة‬
ّ ،‫ولإلجابة على تلك األسئلة‬
‫األول مفهوم إدارة األزمة والفصل الثاني مفهوم القيادة والفصل الثالث مفهوم الحكم الراشد‬
،‫وفي الفصل الرابع تمت معالجة إدارة أزمة عام الرمادة ونموذج الحكم الراشد لعمر بن الخطاب‬
‫ تمت االستعانة بثالثة مداخل‬.‫وألقى الضوء على الدور القيادي لدولة قطر ومجتمعها المدني‬
.‫ ومدخل مقاصد الشريعة اإلسالمية ومنهج المقارنة‬،‫ التأصيل النظري للمفاهيم‬:‫منهجية هي‬
‫ وأن مفهوم الحكم‬،‫ تأكيد أهمية الدور السياسي للقيادة‬:‫انتهت الدراسة إلى نتائج أهمها‬
.‫الراشد كشف عنه نموذج بن الخطاب في التضحية والمسؤولية‬
This paper aims to review accident costing methodologies which are applied
in developed and developing countries. Various methods exist for costing of
road accidents and the method used in this current study is the gross output (or
human capital) approach. This method takes into account the loss of resources
such as vehicle damage, medical treatment, police and administration cost,
and damage to street furniture. It also takes into account the cost of pain and
suffering of the victim and to those who care for the victim. When properly
incorporated in safety project evaluation, the findings of this study should help
promote investment in road safety.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentation
193 ||193
The Role of Enlightened Leadership in Crisis Management:
The Year of Famine
Salwa Al Mulla
Audit Bureau - Qatar, Doha, Qatar
This study attempts to answer a key question which is the subject matter
of this research problem: what are the lessons learned from the experience
of the Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab as a model for enlightened leadership and
good governance in the management of a famine crisis? The question is further
subdivided into the following questions:
1: What is the role of leaders in crisis management?
2: What are the characteristics of the role played by the Caliph Omar Ibn
al-Khattab in managing the crisis in the Year of Famine?
To answer these questions, the study was divided into four chapters, an
introduction and a conclusion. Chapter 1 - discusses the concept of crisis
management, Chapter 2 - the concept of leadership, Chapter 3 - the concept of
good governance while Chapter 4 addresses the management of the crisis in the
Year of Famine and the model of good governance of Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab,
and highlights the leading role of the State of Qatar and its civil society. Three
methodological approaches were used: theoretical grounding of concepts, the
purposes of Islamic Sharia and a comparative approach.
The study reached a number of conclusions, the most important of which are
the emphasis on the importance of the political role of leadership, and that the
concept of good governance was shown in the model of the Caliph ibn al-Khattab
through sacrifice and responsibility.
Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Islamic Studies | Poster Presentation
195 ||195
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