With episode 5 airing this weekend across the world and our online platforms, we thought we'd introduce you to Stars of Science Season 11's 8 finalists!
Abdullah Hassan (26 - Sudan)
A fighter with a cause - Abdullah recognizes the centrality of women’s health in securing our future. Abdullah is a medical student at Dongola University in Sudan, and is committed to scientific innovation that supports female reproductive choices. Along his journey, Abdullah hopes to bring new job opportunities to his home country of Sudan.
Abdullah is proud to call himself a feminist, and is devoted to the fight for female empowerment in Sudan and the Arab Wolrld. His academic background and immense passion for medical innovation drove Abdullah to Stars of Science, which he knows is the first step in his longterm goal
“Science is not a career for me; it is an art and a way of living. Science is my passion.”
Accurate methods of family planning are crucial to women’s health around the world. Abdullah’s device – the Fertility Indicator Wristband – is a wearable wristband that detects physiological changes that correspond to the female ovulation cycle. An intelligent sensor fusion algorithm guides his innovation based on indicators such as body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, body fat and perspiration levels to determine a woman’s monthly fertility window. Through his Stars of Science journey, Abdullah aspires to further develop additional tools that work alongside the wristband to give a more holistic approach to ovulation.
The Fertility Indicator Wristband recognizes the correlation between fertility, birth rates, and global economic currents. Permitting women greater insights into their ovulation cycle will positively impact conscientious family planning and decision-making.
Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis (34 - Qatar)
Abdulrahman is no stranger to Stars of Science. A few years ago he lent behind-the-scenes tech support to a former contestant and dear friend - little did he know that he himself would stand in the limelight one day!
Hailing from Qatar’s growing tech sector, Abdulrahman earned his degree with honors in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University, USA. A techy through and through. He programs in more than ten different languages, and contributes regularly to open source projects. It is no surprise that he developed a successful mobile app back in 2010 when Qatar’s population boom called for an automatized solution to mobile number updates from seven to eight digits!
A passionate programmer and a social butterfly, Abdulrahman believes that:
“If you have a bright idea, you must work hard and not stop until you achieve it. Our communities need our work and perseverance to thrive truly.”
Prayer is the second Pillar of Islam. As such, prayer mats are valued symbols of religious tradition and history. Abdulrahman’s project adds a multi-dimensional experience to the worshippers’ daily prayer experience. His interactive carpet design features in-built pressure sensors, a flexible screen, and an accompanying mobile app.
The carpet keeps track of Raka’at and prayer timings, in addition to displaying Qura’anic passages and different prayer moves on a screen. It is a prime example of science supporting educational innovation, which may particularly benefit children and people who are new to the religion.
The Interactive Educational Prayer Carpet reinvigorates tradition with groundbreaking digital know-how to bring the practice of Islam closer to a modern generation of worshippers
Anfal Al Hamdani (23 - Oman)
Anfal has triumphantly fought through a stream of stereotypes and prejudices to achieve her goals. While studying Agricultural Studies at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, she was often told that her only viable occupation was to become a full-time farmer. “It used to hurt me,” she recounted, “Now I want to prove that studying agriculture makes you a doctor of the environment.”
Rarely seen without a smile – and with the ability to flip negatives into positives – Anfal has overcome life’s challenges with her enduring optimism. The Omani’s secret to her cheerful persona is best summed up using candles: “When they melt, the scent provides a lot of energy. Knowing that a candle must burn to exude light motivates me to work hard. Even if things are difficult, I am certain that this will always shine through – and give a beautiful scent at the end.”
With her unwavering optimism and drive to succeed, Anfal has nourished a life-long passion for scientific research. Excelling in her academic studies, she is currently working with the National Program for Talent Development in Oman on a top-secret project while competing in Stars of Science.
The homebody shares a strong bond with her large family and knows that they are back in Oman rooting for her every success. She’s been a fan of Stars of Science since she was just ten years old, watching it after school and telling her parents of her dreams to participate one day when she had a winning concept. Anfal is living proof that great things are right around the corner if you are committed to your work and put in the hours.
Dried lemon is a staple ingredient in Omani cooking – but it takes a long time, sometimes up to weeks, to be able to use it in its raw form. What’s more, people often damage their nails and hands when preparing it in traditional meals. With the aid of Anfal’s Dry Lime Auto Extractor, the carpel section of dry lime fruit is efficiently removed while adhering to international food standards. This makes harvesting this popular ingredient much easier.
The idea struck after a university professor encouraged Anfal to step away from mechanical and chemical engineering and explore the field of food processing. Roaming her kitchen for ideas, she stumbled upon dry lemons – and so her idea was born.
Anfal’s creation is a unique and novel concept in the food industry. Several products already deal with nuts, fruit, and vegetables – but having a machine that works solely on dried fruits is an industry first.
The optimist envisions a multitude of applications for her project, ranging from hospitality and household to use in the medical sector. It could also prove to be a real benefit to the local Omani economy: “I see this as a real jump in Omani food processing. Being able to extract the carpel will make this ingredient easier to export as a final, ready-to-use product that follows international standards.”
Husam Sameer (35 - Iraq)
A proud father of two – with a passion for engineering – Husam knows a thing or two about solving problems. This academic wants to protect and secure the planet for future generations, focusing his life’s work on solving the biggest challenge of them all: Global Warming.
Obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Al-Mustansiriya University, Iraq, and a Master of Science in Construction Management from the University of Baghdad, Iraq, Husam has been conjuring up ways to save the environment for many years now. The Iraqi is currently working on his Ph.D. project at the University of Kassel, Germany, which focuses on environmentally-friendly buildings; placing a great emphasis on sustainability in construction.
“I relentlessly defend my ideas and processes, and this leads to many long discussions!” said Husam. Despite the heated debates, Husam is a family man at heart and loves his wife and two kids unconditionally. “Leaving them to come to Qatar has not been easy, but I know this is for a good cause.”
As a Ph.D. student, Husam has heavily researched ways to combat the impact of construction on global warming and resource use, including how to decrease carbon dioxide emissions during building construction. He identified home cooling – with air conditioners (AC) in particular – as one of the significant contributors to the international environmental crisis in the Middle East; especially since it consumes massive amounts of energy. “In this region alone, we use ACs for almost eight months of every year during the summer and hot periods,” he said.
His solution is an innovative building structure that uses Efficient Comfort Concrete Panels to improve cooling energy consumption and the distribution of cooled air. The slabs and walls are made from the hollow-core pre-cast material, allowing air to pass through the gaps in the wall and enable them to cool themselves and consequently to cool the space inside buildings
Husam hopes his design will help reduce the impact of conventional ACs on the environment in the Middle East. While the region heavily depends on efficient cooling systems, the sources of energy that power them are mainly non-renewable. The novel design of the Efficient Comfort Concrete Panels could significantly contribute to existing efforts to decrease energy consumption in the country, region, and the world. Furthermore, without the need for additional air ducts, the slabs would help ensure better utilization of room space.
The competitive problem-solver expects his invention will have effects beyond saving the environment; wanting to dominate the market and show his kids the importance of following their dreams.
Imadeddine Azzouz (35 - Algeria)
A true Renaissance man, Imadeddine dabbled in business, computer science and mathematics from a young age. He also plays the piano and compiled a large personal library before settling into a career in analytical chemistry.
The Algerian faced many challenges along the way, which did not stop him from securing four patents and publishing five research projects to date. During his studies and trans-continental travels, he gained a unique sense of the link between scientific innovation and technology – eventually inspiring him to join Stars of Science and share his inventive spirit with the wider Arab community.
Yet, Imadeddine’s biggest inspiration comes from a very personal place. After two of his relatives (both heavy smokers) sadly passed away, the chemist turned his attention to the curative study of cancer. “I am not a physician or a biologist; I am a chemist. Cancer’s gas emissions are as unique as our fingerprints. The chemistry of healthy cells are different from the cancer-infected cells; this is the clue!”
Early cancer detection is a prerogative of the scientific community, and Imadeddine wants to become part of the solution. His project aims to provide an innovative way to detect an individual’s predisposition to cancer before initial symptoms develop.
Unlike blood samples, breath is unlimited. By capturing and analyzing exhaled breath samples, Imadeddine’s project categorizes a patient’s state of health through the chemical breakdown of cancer-infected cells. Cancer detection through the respiratory system carries the potential to be recognized as an elegant, less invasive solution for the medical community.
The Health Breath Scanner brings a new level of accuracy to existing ‘breath sampler’ devices and gives medical professionals essential diagnostic time prior to the first appearance of symptoms. Particularly developing countries with lower financial resources stand to benefit from this accelerated diagnostics system. A true scientific innovation!
Mohamed Kharrat (35 - Tunisia)
Ask Dr. Mohamed about the potential of Arab youth and he will happily sing their praises. As Head of Distance Education Department at the University of Kairouan, Tunisia, he is trying to inspire his students to pursue entrepreneurial experiences by targeting social issues. Deeply invested in the cause, Mohamed believes more can be done for the region’s youth; encouraging politicians to invest in their country instead of importing international solutions.
The mentality that there is always more work to be done has been a driving force in Mohamed’s life. Despite receiving recognition in many aspects of his academic career, he insists that he will not be satisfied until he reaches his goal of developing innovative technologies with humanitarian purposes – and who knows, maybe not even then.
Unphased by the concept of money, Mohamed sincerely cares about finding different ways to help others and to generally improve lives. He is infamously uncomfortable with the notion that he is competing on Stars of Science for the grand prize. Instead, he wants to learn from the experience as a whole, develop a good project, and surround himself with the region’s smartest people.
Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death, coming in just after car accidents, but this deadly hazard receives little-to-no substantial research or attention. More specifically, Mohamed insists that there isn’t an existing technical solution available to tackle this issue.
The Smart Swimming Shorts is a piece of wearable technology that detects when someone is drowning. It aims to accurately measure a swimmer’s body posture and head position to identify for any signs of sinking, automatically inflating a life-saving buoy to keep the potential victim afloat.
It was during Mohamed’s Ph.D. research project at the University of Tokyo, Japan, that he came up with the innovation and focused on this problem. He was able to build a preliminary prototype and after obtaining his Ph.D., he traveled back to Tunisia to work on developing a commercial edition of the system– eventually leading him to Stars of Science Season 11.
Aside from its obvious humanitarian benefits – and the hundreds of lives it will save – Mohamed believes his project will support the Tunisian economy. In the future, he wishes his caring and can-do attitude will transpire into helping those around him and being part of a movement to strengthen a new entrepreneurial environment in his home country; particularly to help start-ups established by and for the Arab youth.
Nuha Abu Yousef (33 - Jordan)
Nothing is impossible. This is the mantra Nuha lives and works by. Nurtured by a supportive family of medical professionals, the soon-to-be-mum-of-two embodies the type of resilience and independence that fuels innovative breakthroughs in the scientific community.
Her love of family led the Jordanian to pursue a medical education in her childhood home of Romania, where she enjoyed her formative years with her Romanian mother’s family that undoubtedly helped her become the inventor she is today.
She soon established herself as a successful General Practitioner after completing her undergraduate studies at Ovidius University of Constanta’s Faculty of Medicine. Not long after that, she went on to complete her post-graduate education as an Ophthalmology Resident at the same university. While she is well-versed in cosmetic surgery, the medic’s true passion belongs to the study and treatment of eye disorders.
Nuha personifies strong female leadership in the sciences. Growing up, she would accompany her father to his workplace at the hospital – fond memories that helped define Nuha’s own path in the medical profession.
An inspirational woman in her own right, Nuha balances her meticulous work with an unrelenting sense of adventure. She plans to go for her first skydive soon, and one day hopes to be the star of her very own TV show!
When she is not concocting medical miracles or satisfying her spontaneous nature, Nuha is an artist at home, wielding her limitless imagination in her paintings. She also enjoys classical British movies and traveling the world.
The best medical practitioners aspire to offer patients a result that is both cosmetically sound and functional. Nuha takes this commitment one step further by developing a new technique that lets Bell's palsy patients regain control over their paralyzed upper and lower eyelids.
The condition’s characteristic droopiness or stiffness affects only one side of the face, leading to an unbalanced look, irritating dryness in the eye, and even potential cornea loss in the long-run. By engineering a wearable device that harmonizes with the individual’s look, skin tone, and eye-shape, Nuha’s project employs two microchips and electromyography (EMG) sensors to mimic the regular eyelid movement and restore function – without an invasive surgical procedure!
Stemming from her belief that the eye is as essential to our well-being as our hearts, Nuha’s innovation offers a less invasive surgery alternative for Bell’s Palsy patients. Particularly young patients can benefit from a more optimized experience when faced with sensitive eye surgery.
Nuha is determined to develop innovative solutions and tackle debilitating conditions to give every patient a new chance at normality
Youssef El Azouzi (27 - Morocco)
1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, and a big spoon of destiny are what brought Youssef to Stars of Science! The Moroccan powerhouse isn’t afraid of making mistakes to drive research towards the future of non-invasive medicine.
He might be able to steal your vote in a heartbeat, but Youssef’s main passion lies in preventing heart failure through scientific innovation that is both affordable and effective. Quite ironically, he had to travel all the way to the West to visit the vibrant start-up culture of Silicon Valley, USA, and search for funding – only to come back and find it in the East!
A true chameleon, Youssef disguises himself as a crafty researcher when he is an equally talented horseback rider…or so we have been told.
Heart failure is a serious condition with no long-term or reasonably-priced treatment options. Youssef’s tapered abdominal aortic Flow Modulator Stent (FMS) solves this dilemma by cost-effectively improving blood distribution efficiency and helping to avoid the onset of heart failure. The device controls the flow of aortic blood and serves as a potential low-cost alternative to existing solutions such as heart pumps. It would require less maintenance and may thus enable the patient to live a full and normal life.
The Flow Modulator Stent mitigates the risk of heart failure by offering an affordable, low-maintenance solution to end-stage Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients worldwide. The risk-taker has every confidence that the device will not only save lives but ensure a better quality of life to the benefitting out-patients.