(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha: As part of its transformative learning culture, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) develops an entrepreneurial mindset in its graduates and the competencies to transform theoretical ideas into applied solutions for real-world impact. As entrepreneurs of the future, HBKU graduates are equipped to innovate for the advancement of society throughnovel applied solutions to challenges facing Qatar and the region, which also have global relevance.
Mohamed Sqalli, graduating with a PhD in Computer Science from the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), said:“I chose HBKU and this particular degree for its unique opportunity to develop myself and flourish, not only academically, but in all other positive aspects. I had the chance to do cutting-edge, regionally relevant research in accordance with my beliefs and values. Pursuing a PhD at HBKU helped me connect with my faith and values but at the same time remain open to the diversity that HBKU and Education City has to offer.”
Under the supervision of Dr. Dena Al-Thani, Assistant Professor and the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs at CSE, and Dr. Mohamed Elshazly, Cleveland Clinic, Sqalli specialized in human-computer interaction focusing on examining human electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretability through eye movement to improve automated outcomes. “HBKU focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to research, making possible and encouraging this combination of computer science and medicine,” he says. One of the highlights of his studies was publishing a scientific paper with researchers from top institutions in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco.“These scholars were role models when I first started my PhD journey and, by the end, I became an active collaborator. This demonstrates that HBKU prepared and equipped me with all the necessary tools to be the next role model, hopefully.”
During an outstanding academic journey, Sqalli was selected to participate in the Microsoft 'Hack for Good' at Cambridge University, UK, where he ranked in the top 10 in the final qualifying round. In November 2021, he was awarded the Student Innovation Fund (SIF) from the HBKU Innovation Center to develop a proactive artificial intelligence and augmented reality-based eye-tracking system to train cardiology professionals to interpret electrocardiograms better. In keeping with the Innovation Center's aim to promote industry-relevant innovation activities, the fund supports local students to realize their business ideas.
The award sets him on a path to fulfill his potential as a socially-relevant entrepreneur at the forefront of advancing real-world results in a field of vital future importance.
Abdulla Al-Wahedi, who completed his PhD in Sustainable Energy, says:“My overall journey at HBKU has been astonishing. I gained extensive knowledge and the skills necessary to enrich my knowledge and pursue my research. I am so honored to be among HBKU's 2022 graduates.”
Under the supervision of Dr. Yusuf Bicer, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development at CSE, his dissertation research topic was a comprehensive assessment of an autonomous electric vehicle fast charging station with multiple renewables and energy storage systems. He has published his first paper in“Energy Storage”, one of the highest-ranked journals in his field.
“I chose the Sustainable Energy program because it is unique in merging several engineering disciplines, and is highly relevant to Qatar's National Vision 2030. As a full-time employee at KAHRAMAA, I perceive this program as providing an excellent opportunity to enrich my knowledge in e-mobility, smart grids, and renewable energy, which falls under our mission and initiatives.
“The program focuses on the fundamental knowledge of sustainable energy and goes far beyond, to equip participants with advanced research skills and detailed technological knowledge. It embraces building capacities essential to contribute actively in deploying innovative sustainable solutions and developing policies, rules, regulations, and incentives for promoting eco-friendly technologies as a substitute for traditional ones.”
Highlighting the aspects that made his learning journey“motivating and thrilling”, he reflects on the many opportunities to engage in fruitful discussions with his professors and classmates, whose multidisciplinary professional and academic backgrounds bring diverse learning dimensions into the classroom. As leading academics in their respective fields, HBKU faculty continue to earn global recognition. In January 2022, nearly 30 scientists and researchers from various colleges and institutes were named among the top two percent of the most-cited scientists worldwide in various disciplines.
“HBKU has a world-class faculty with a broad domain of expertise in several key areas of sustainability research, such as energy, water, and the environment. The university's position within the Qatar Foundation ecosystem means that students have access to numerous professional development opportunities,” he adds. Looking back over his time at HBKU, Al-Wahedi concludes:“The PhD program helped me build my scientific research skills and become a positive contributor to the sustainable energy research community. It assisted me in understanding how scientific research can be an effective tool in making impactful change in society and becoming an active enabler of sustainability within my organization and community. Going forward, I intend to continue being an enthusiastic researcher and implementer in the area of sustainability and explore new challenges that align with Qatar's development agenda.”
For the Class of 2022, that is the essence of their educational journey: how HBKU has prepared them to turn their big ideas into real-world impact.
A unique role in education landscape
Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) celebrates the achievements of 215 graduates in the Class of 2022, further amplifying its unique role in Qatar's education landscape. Having created an educational environment where excellence and innovation in basic and applied research can thrive, its newest graduates have emerged with a deeper understanding of their specialized fields and the knowledge and critical thinking skills to generate far-reaching impact.
The research efforts and ideas which have earned them competitive graduate degrees align with the strides made by HBKU to accelerate discoveries in sustainability, genomic and personalized medicine, advanced technologies, and other fields that address challenges facing local and global societies today.
Umm-Kulthum Ismail, graduating with a PhD in Genomics and Precision Medicine (GPM) from the College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS), explains why she chose HBKU:“I did my master's abroad at Imperial College London, and when HBKU launched the GPM doctoral program, based on the objectives of the Qatar Genome Programme, I knew I wanted to return to Qatar to enroll. This was a very exciting time for our scientific community and I wanted to be part of the momentum of the genomics wave in the country and region. With the strong need and interest to train talent capable of interpreting and researching genomic data, I knew I would have lots of support from very knowledgeable people while being surrounded by friends and family at my second home. Our community at HBKU is very warm and welcoming. Students and faculty alike are always ready to help.”
She adds:“One of the main attractions of HBKU as a destination for learning is their strong collaborations with other institutions, which strengthen the scientific contributions of the academic community. Our professors hail from highly renowned institutions with reputations for academic rigor and merit and these same qualities are transferred to HBKU. I knew I would be offered nothing less if I were to join.”
CHLS' GPM program, like HBKU's other specialized research-intensive programs at the master's and PhD levels, is multidisciplinary, emphasizing an innovative, entrepreneurial mindset focused on solving real-world problems.
“HBKU encouraged me to believe in my potential to achieve a lot through my scientific contributions, and to go beyond. They supported and encouraged us to delve into other fields and find unconventional solutions to problems facing our communities. I personally want to continue helping my community in Qatar, whether through public health programs or education in the genomics field. It was an absolute privilege to be invited by HBKU and Sidra Medicine to work on projects related to genetic diseases, from initiation to completion, using real patient samples. I was part of a multidisciplinary expert team of physicians, nurses, scientists, and bioinformaticians to achieve our research goals and it was a fascinating journey. We worked on deciphering the genetic bases of disorders leading to growth delays and short stature to provide precise molecular diagnoses in children. Such a diagnosis could mean changes in the treatment, prevention of further complications, and prognosis of the disorder, and may impact a patient's quality of life. Going forward, I want to be able to work in a diverse team like this where we can learn more together by drawing on each other's strengths.”
Looking back on the highlight of her time at HBKU, she says:“Honestly there have been so many memorable and beautiful moments throughout my journey.
We collectively went through personal and academic/professional hurdles. When I finally reached the end and was able to present my senior thesis defense, I was ecstatic. My project came together, and I was grateful to share it with my friends, classmates, colleagues, family, and community. It was truly the peak of my journey, to demonstrate the potential of the research and its capacity to improve the lives of the patients involved.”
Amal ElfatihElgenidAbdelmageed, also a PhD graduate in the Genomics and Precision Medicine program,analyzed the pilot phase of the Qatar Genome Program (QGP) in her project. Her aim was to describe and characterize novel and clinically actionable disease-causing variants in certain genes, an effort that can contribute to early intervention for certain diseases.“My classes gave me a sound theoretical knowledge in the field of genetics, which was essential for my project and for doing good research. HBKU allowed us to work and conduct our research at Sidra Medicine, where I was able to experience clinical research aspects and engage with patients and physicians to see the impact of our work on patients' lives.”
Abdelmageed took full advantage of the opportunities offered by the GPM program to gain advanced knowledge and training in state-of-the-art information gathering and analysis technologies. These skills prepare graduates to advance the future of the field as researchers or practitioners.