NYU Abu Dhabi would like to congratulate the following NYUAD seniors, who were successful in securing a place in the Post-Graduation Research Fellowship Program for the 2020-2021 academic year. The positions allowed the Research Fellows to take part in a year of full-time intensive and independent research, from September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021.
Faculty Supervisor: Kartik K. Sreenivasan
Working memory (WM) is the indispensable cognitive ability to maintain representations over short periods of time. As such, researchers are interested in identifying its neurobiological bases using the spatially precise and non-invasive brain imaging modality of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). However, the complex design of WM experimental paradigms and the nature of MRI pose methodological challenges for this investigation. I employed computer simulations and experimental data to identify methods optimal for overcoming these challenges with the end goal of advancing WM research.
Faculty Supervisor: Marzia Balzani
My research documented and analyzed disability policies and programs in the UAE from the conception of the first federal law on disabilities in 2006. Adopting theory from anthropology of policy and the capabilities approach (Amartya Sen), I utilized discourse analysis to understand how the UAE’s policy focus has transformed in the last 15 years, from care and cure to human rights and empowerment for people with disabilities. I complemented my policy analysis with ethnographic work and captured insights from people of determination, their families, grassroots activists, and policymakers on the disabled experience in the UAE. My work culminated in a series of empirical insights on the development of disability strategy and policymaking in the Emirates, and policy recommendations on driving greater participant-driven inclusion across all spheres of the UAE society. As a Fellow, I have published research blogs and podcasts with the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, and presented my work at conferences in the UAE, US, and UK.
Unprecedented scales of coastal urban developments along with the artificialization of the shorelines bring additional pressures on the marine ecosystem, biodiversity, and the environment. Coastal eco-engineering suggests that artificial coastal structures with higher surface complexity support intertidal and subtidal communities with higher diversity and abundance. In this research, I produced concrete panels to better understand the effect of surface texture from micrometer to centimeter-scale on the long-term recruitment of intertidal and subtidal benthic organisms. This research allowed me a greater understanding that civil infrastructure does not exist in isolation; it has a direct impact on the surrounding soil, air, water, and living organisms. I will continue my research interests in resilient and nature-inspired infrastructure through an MS in Energy, Civil Infrastructure, and Climate at UC Berkeley
Faculty Supervisor: Deborah Kapchan
My fellowship project involved tracing the historical impact of the Sharjah Biennial, an internationally-acclaimed art exhibition taking place every two years across various parts of Sharjah, by creating digital spatial visualizations of artworks and installations at the Biennial from 1993-2019. To do this, I manually input hundreds of artworks and related information into spreadsheets which are in turn transformed into digital maps. I was able to show how the proliferation of installations around various historically important sites across the emirate help to shape the aesthetic preferences of visitors and residents alike.
Faculty Supervisor: Blaine Robbins
During the course of the fellowship program, I conducted two research projects examining fairness of earnings and attitudes toward negotiation. Focusing on the effects of gender and income inequality, I studied the contextual sources of perceptions and attitudes, as well as the mechanisms through which gender affects decision-making in negotiations. I used experimental methods to answer my research questions, including a multifactorial survey experiment and a behavioral experiment. In October 2021, I will be pursuing a Master of Science in Sociology and Social Research at the University of Cologne in Germany.
Faculty Supervisors: Mazin Magzoub and Andrew D. Hamilton, NYU President
During the fellowship I investigated novel cancer therapeutics targeting protein aggregation and their delivery by nanocarrier systems. We determined that small molecules, synthesized for amyloid proteins (e.g., A-beta, IAPP), are able to potently inhibit cancer cell growth and induce p53-mediated cell death.
I published my findings in a scientific journal. From September 2021, I will be pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London focusing on protein translation and molecular chaperones.
Publication: "Protein mimetic amyloid inhibitor potently abrogates cancer-associated mutant p53 aggregation and restores tumor suppressor function." Nature Communications. June 25, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23985-1
Faculty Supervisor: Morgan Hardy
My research project with collaborators in NYU Abu Dhabi, IZA, and CERGE-EI carefully investigates a sample of garment makers in Ghana and the social networks between the members of the sample. I study whether firm owners work for/hire each other, and whether they are willing to pay for information regarding which members of the sample are willing to work for/hire them. Preliminary findings suggest that firms are willing to pay for information regarding those who are willing to hire them and those who are willing to work for them. I also find that the firms who purchased such information are more likely to be open and experience an increase in profits after the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will be building on my research and knowledge by pursuing a PhD in Economics at the University of Michigan.
Faculty Supervisor: Kemal Celik
Portland cement, as a single material industry, contributes to significant CO2 emissions on a global scale. Reactive MgO cement is considered as a sustainable cement alternative to Portland cement. During my fellowship year, I joined AMBER lab's ongoing project to produce Reactive MgO from reject brine.
My research project focused on optimizing the lab scale production of Reactive MgO synthesized from reject brine using different procedures. I evaluated the environmental impacts of the lab scale production using a life cycle assessment framework to optimize the best environmentally performing procedure. My research findings show promising potential to scale up the production of Reactive MgO cement synthesized from reject brine in the UAE.
Faculty Supervisor: Saif Jabari
During the fellowship, I worked on a project investigating the confounding effect of feedback loop algorithms in recommender systems. Specifically, I was evaluating bias propagation and user assimilation in user communities that interacted with recommender systems over a period of time. This involved curating scripts and notebooks to set up a public repository of our simulation environment and writing a paper that will be reviewed for publication later this year. Moving forward, I am continuing my research interests in the field through an SM in Technology and Policy with EECS at MIT.
Faculty Supervisor: Nancy Gleason
From January 2020 to January 2021, I served as the inaugural post-graduation research fellow of the Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning. In this role I worked closely with the Center Director to support faculty in their teaching efforts, while simultaneously spearheading my own research agenda on transformative education in the liberal arts. I successfully completed a research project on Transformative Courses at NYUAD. Furthermore, I researched, in collaboration with my supervisor, the vital role of Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) in ensuring academic continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic.