The Woman Who Developed A Quick, Affordable Protocol For Mic...| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 09 February 2023 04:06 GMT

The Woman Who Developed A Quick, Affordable Protocol For Microbial Analysis

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) joelyn baluyut | The Peninsula

One of the five trailblazing Arab women who pioneered ground-breaking research in the disciplines of life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and computer science is a visionary scientist at Qatar University.

Dr. Fatiha M. Benslimane, a Research Associate at Qatar University's Biomedical Research Center, went above and beyond the call of duty that has galvanised prominent experts with her study on creating a quick, dependable, and affordable procedure for microbial analysis that would enable real-time diagnosis.

She received a grant of ¤20,000 or QR76,000 for her revolutionary research during the 9th L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Middle East Regional Young Talents Program in the United Arab Emirates.

Her research titled“Establishing a rapid, affordable and reliable metagenomics analysis to facilitate real-time microbial diagnosis,” was inspired by recent global health crises including the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of mpox.“The burdens and challenges that were experienced by the health sector and diagnostic laboratories highlighted that methods for rapid detection of infectious agents are critical for better patient prognosis. 

'Currently, in clinical settings, a traditional microbiology laboratory can take anywhere from three to seven days to produce results, with false negatives common when antibiotics are used. This has prompted us to devise a low-cost protocol that has the potential to reduce detection time to five hours,” she told The Peninsula. The biomedical researcher underlined her enthusiasm to employ cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions for the betterment of society.“I felt responsible to contribute to advancing diagnostic techniques for the greater goal of saving lives and thus settled on this project to advance that goal.” Dr. Benslimane explained that rapid and accurate diagnosis leads to better patient prognosis.

Although there are a few technologies that ease and enhance analytical procedures, she pointed out that they are not validated for diagnostic reasons but rather for research purposes alone.

“The project aims to establish and validate a protocol that will allow for metagenomics analysis (the detection of the DNA of any organisms, bacterial, parasitic, fungal, etc., other than the host) using a state-of-the-art sequencing technology with a quick delivery time and an affordable cost.” Men continue to dominate the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce internationally, especially at the top levels, according to Catalyst, a global nonprofit that aims to create workplaces that work for women. Unesco Institute for Statistics data revealed that less than 30% of the world's researchers are women. 

With this, Dr. Benslimane intended to encourage individuals, particularly women, to seek careers in STEM.“My advice to any woman aiming for a career in science is that your hard work will pay off, so chase after what you are passionate about with all of the power that you have.”

Among the other women who were also recognised are PhD students Hessa Ebrahim Ali Alfalahi and Ayesha Abdulla Alkhoori, both from the UAE, and post-doctorate researchers Dr. Maha Zakariya Yahya Al Riyami from Oman, and Dr. Raefa Abou Khouzam from the UAE.


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