Neurological researcher. Chess master. Devourer of books and purveyor of inspirational quotes. To know Nour Majbour is to know someone refreshingly different. Breaker of stereotypes, she’s the definition of female empowerment. This hardworking super talent is in the prime of her life, and she’s looking to the future.
Nour is a star researcher at the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar. At QBRI, she works with a team of fellow researchers to advance the study of neurological disorders. Previously, she studied for her PhD at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Nour started as a ten-year old with ‘body building’ of the mind, regularly beating her older brother in a game of chess. For her, the pursuit of conquering the mind is engrossing. “The brain is the biggest unknown in life,” said Nour. “If, like me, you have a passion for solving mysteries, this is the ideal field of study.”
A shy child, Nour is now embarking on a journey that will give her visibility to millions across the Arab world. Will the added pressure knock her off her stride? She doesn’t think so – as long as she keeps her eye on the ball. “As someone who studies the human brain, I can say it’s our most powerful tool. What better way to use it than to make lives in our communities better,” said Nour.
Spotlights or not, Nour is determined to improve the wellbeing and health of people in the Arab world and beyond. “Stars of Science has been an extraordinary platform for innovators over the past decade. My invention will be my contribution to that legacy.” Speaking of a beautiful mind!
Nour sees her work in neurological research as serving the underserved. She thinks the seeming lack of resources in the Arab world to help those with neurodegenerative diseases is peculiar. “We need to focus more on mitigating diseases that strike the elderly,” Nour said. “I want to help those with these ailments. These can rob people of the dignity they deserve.”
At QBRI, Nour studied how antibodies – special proteins in the human body’s immune system that find and fight bacteria and viruses – can be used in diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. The disease, which cripples the central nervous system, has no cure. Treatment, however, can relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
Parkinson’s cannot be definitively diagnosed by a test (such as a brain scan or blood test). Nour wants to change that with her Diagnostic Kit for Parkinson’s Disease invention. This will allow those with the disease to benefit from early detection.
Nour’s invention is a kit designed for lab use. It leverages the power of antibodies to identify the telltale biological signs of Parkinson’s disease. For her, the fight against Parkinson’s is personal. “I have family members affected by the disease; I have seen and felt its impact on them and the entire family.” she said. “I have great respect for elders. My mission is to honor them through my research, and this invention. Everyone deserves the chance to live with grace and peace.”
By creating a diagnostic kit for Parkinson’s disease, Nour aims to make a groundbreaking advancement in the battle against the disease. Currently the disease is only diagnosed by its symptoms. Diagnosis would give peace of mind when the Parkinson’s is ruled out, while allowing for early treatment when detected.