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Celebrating our Student Researchers

After weeks of preparation, highly impressive student-led presentations, and intense judging sessions, another successful edition of QNRF’s Annual Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) Competition comes to an end. Let’s hear from the winners of the oral presentations category this year about their research projects, their UREP experience, and their advice for aspiring student researchers.

1st Place

Alisha Kamran and Halak Sheth, Georgetown University in Qatar

Investigating the Resilience of Qatar’s Trade Network

Our research paper leverages an empirical and theoretical approach to study the resilience of Qatar's trade networks through the application of a modified Eaton-Kortum trade model. The project aims to assess the impact of the blockade on Qatar's trade networks, and develop a model that can be used by policymakers and researchers to evaluate the impact of the blockade on Qatar's economy, and potentially, other events of a similar nature.

This experience has enabled us to dive deeper into what we learned within the classroom during our Quantitative Trade Models course, and also apply the models and analysis to the real world, with the help of our mentor. We foresee UREP only growing in the future as students read about the impact of past research projects and believe there is always room to add to existing literature.

Our message to aspiring researchers and UREP participants is to always discuss a particular field that you may find interesting. Your professors will help you identify how you can apply your classroom learnings and analysis to analyze real world problems. Once you get a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom, learning will hold an entirely new meaning for you.

2nd Place

Zainab Al-Ansari and Omna Sharma, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar

Determining Role of Two Genes, Lipocalin2 and GPNMB, in Tumorigenesis and Metastasis of Lung Cancer 

Our project explores the genetics of lung cancer in mice models. More specifically we are looking at two genes, GPNMB and lipocalin, and their roles in tumor formation and spread. We hope that through investigation of the role of genetics in lung cancer we can better understand its pathogenesis, and therefore uncover potential therapeutic targets.

UREP was a valuable learning experience for us. We learned many skills including technical skills in the laboratory, reviewing existing literature, conducting data analysis, and presenting. It is rewarding that we get to contribute our results to the scientific community in the hopes that it is one step towards advancing medical care for complex diseases. It makes us proud to know that so much research is being done in Qatar and I hope the research ecosystem continues to flourish in the region.

Whenever you see a research opportunity like UREP, even if it is early on in your university experience, grab it! Instead of only focusing on the laboratory or practical work, ask if you can contribute to other aspects of the research. This way you can gain a broad skillset even from just one project. The UREP experience was a very worthwhile and rewarding one, and we are thankful to QNRF for providing us with this opportunity.          

3rd Place

AlReem AL-Dosari and Najla Badar

Study on the Influence of Nanoparticles in the Filtrate Characteristics and Filtrate Cake Formation of a Water-Based Drilling Fluid

Our project is studying an actual feature of well drilling applications. The filtrate leakage from drilling fluid into the reservoir formation can affect the data acquisition negatively, in addition to other associated operational problems. To solve this, nanoparticles can be used to improve the drilling fluid/mud characteristics as it can help with optimal development plans, less operational problems and lots of cost saving.

We would describe our experience as very rich in terms of theoretical and implemented knowledge, via having hands- on experience on addressing a real petroleum industry problem. We are very pleased with the outcome of this project as we were able to come up with a proactive solution to an existing problem, and we can build upon this knowledge in our careers as petroleum engineers.

Our message to students in Qatar is that the UREP experience is a must-have and we highly recommend it. While participation in UREP might seem an extra-curricular activity, it filled some gaps in our skill-pool, and this eventually helped us integrate ourselves quickly in an accelerated and dynamic work-environment.

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