Concluding a momentous annual initiative for Arab innovation, Qatar Foundation’s popular reality TV show Stars of Science recently ended its Season 10, as the jury and public voted for which of the four finalists – who will share $600,000 in seed funding. Nour Majbour, a research associate at Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) earned second place as the season closed with its Grand Finale, aired on Saturday, November 24.
Majbour’s innovation, the Parkinson’s Early Detection Kit, carries great scientific and medical relevance with a potential to advance the current processes of Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnostics, thus enabling thousands of patients worldwide to receive treatment before their neurological state degenerates progressively. The kit harvests the power of antibodies – a type of protein integral to the body’s immune system – to identify biological signs of the onset of the neurodegenerative condition that currently affects circa 10 million people worldwide.
Illuminating the far-reaching significance of Majbour’s research, Acting Executive Director at QBRI, Dr. Omar El-Agnaf, said: “Through her innovative idea and scientific quest, Nour has already become an active player in the advancement of health sciences, which, in turn, impact social sustainability by developing tools for a resourceful and secure future. As of now, modern medicine still lacks accurate reports about the prevalence of PD due to a lack of accurate diagnostics methods.”
Presently, the prevalence of the disease ranges from 41 people per 100,000 in the fourth decade of life to more than 1,900 people per 100,000 among those who are 80 and older. With a global trend towards increased life expectancy, PD prevalence is expected to rise correspondingly – making Nour’s research crucial to the global medical quest for answers in the treatment and diagnostics of PD.
Likewise, Majbour’s entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering dedication, which stem from personal experiences with family members afflicted by PD, positioned her as a strong contestant and effective role model for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions.
Commenting on the immense outpouring of audience support she has received across the Arab world and beyond, Majbour said: “I am both honored and thankful for the votes I received from viewers all over the world.
Naturally, my research aims to improve diagnostics and aid in patient care; however, experiencing this spirit of support and understanding my responsibility as a contributor to the furtherance of women in STEM also invigorated my motivation to continuously advance my research into real-world solutions for the biomedical field.”
Looking towards the marketability of her innovation, Majbour plans to use her share of seed money to develop her kit for an up-and-coming Qatari biotech company that aims to develop new scientific tools for early diagnosis, treatment, and management of devastating diseases, thus supporting Qatar’s position as a global player in the healthcare industry.
Showcasing its dedication to research and education in order to foster innovative thought and scientific advancement that transforms Qatar and impacts the world in accordance with the University’s four pillars – excellence, people, innovation and partners – HBKU provided both expert mentorship and access to world-class research facilities to all contestants.
HBKU was founded with four foundational pillars of Excellence, Innovation, Partners, and People. Throughout its endeavors, the University seeks to instill a love for learning and promote a culture of appreciation and invention in scientific research.
To stay informed on the University’s upcoming events, please visit www.hbku.edu.qa.
Source: Press Release