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AUS researchers excel at Second Forum for Women in Research
Three teams from American University of Sharjah (AUS) recently received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research during the Second Forum for Women in Research. The forum was held in conjunction with the Seventh International Conference on Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC 2021) at the University of Sharjah.
Themed "Quwa: Empowering Women in Research and Innovation," the conference featured strong female role models in research, academia, industry and government.
The three winning AUS teams all hailed from the AUS College of Arts and Sciences, representing research in a range of fields.
The first team comprised Reem Salman, an AUS mathematics graduate student and her two advisors, Dr. Ayman Alzaatreh, Associate Professor in Mathematics and Statistics, and Dr. Hana Sulieman, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics and Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences.
Entitled “The Stability of Different Aggregation Techniques in Ensemble Feature Selection,” the winning paper proposes an efficient framework for reducing redundancies in big data and machine learning.
“The experimental evaluation of our proposed framework has demonstrated its practicality and effectiveness making it very appealing to engineers and practitioners in data mining and machine learning from various application domains,” said Dr. Sulieman.
She added that research awards such as this showcases the steps the UAE has taken to empower women and reduce the gender gap in STEM fields. “Over the last five decades, the UAE government has undertaken many initiatives including providing scholarships to women students to enroll in STEM programs, supporting universities in strengthening and expanding engineering and science academic programs, and establishing advanced innovation labs and research centers,” she said.
Another winning AUS team was led by Dr. Fatin Samara, Professor in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences at AUS. She received the award on behalf of her team, which included Dr. Sandra Knuteson, Senior Lecturer in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences; AUS undergraduate student Tala Abdulateef; and Sara Mohamed Al Abdalla, researcher at the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA). A collaboration with the EPAA, the team’s research focused on the current environmental status of vulnerable wetland ecosystems in the UAE, taking Al Wasit Nature Reserve as a case study.
“Al Wasit Wetland is home to a wide range of species and organisms. It is extremely vulnerable to pollution, given the high level of human activity that surrounds the wetland, leading to the high risk of water contamination. The objective of the study was to monitor the water quality at Al Wasit Nature Reserve and other wetland areas and raise awareness among governments and the general public about their significance,” said Dr. Samara.
Speaking about her experience as part of the research team, student Abdulateef said: “I decided to join this research opportunity because I wanted to encourage the youth, especially women, to join STEM fields and to show them that they can create change.”
Dr. Remya Radha, post-doctorate researcher at AUS, received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research for the research she is conducting under the guidance of Dr. Mohammad Hussein Al-Sayah, Professor in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences at AUS, entitled “Development of Liposome-Based Immunoassay for the Detection of Cardiac Troponin.”
Explaining the importance of the research, she said: “Among the non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in intensive care units worldwide. Our study aims to develop a quick, sensitive and easy method for the detection of proteins that are released once the heart sustains any damage at a wide range of concentrations relevant to clinical settings.”
Dr. Radha said that awards like this encourage women to enter the field of science and highlighted the role of higher education institutions in this endeavor.
“Research plays a key role in molding excellent professionals and talented people. It is important that higher education institutions conduct STEM-related conferences and workshops that illustrate the career opportunities available and to understand what young women are interested in and to offer them support,” Dr. Radha said.
For more information about the College of Arts and Sciences at AUS, visit www.aus.edu/cas.