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 2022-2023 academic year. The positions allowed the Research Fellows to take part in a year of full-time intensive and independent research, from September 1, 2022 - August 31, 2023.
We simulated a system of DNA in several divalent ionic solutions and found that there is a correlation between the ionic hydration shell strength and the DNA attraction. We found that divalent cations bind to the DNA and renormalize the charge, making it turn positive from negative. Then, it can attract the other negative strand. Places where the ions bind are determined by how easily ions can lose their water shell. I have presented this research at the Biophysical Society (BPS) Conference in February 2023, the American Physical Society (APS) Conference in March 2023, and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Showcase at NYUAD in May 2023. It has given me the possibility of reaching a large audience with a topic I am highly interested in, and that is a large achievement in itself I believe.
Faculty Supervisor: Katia Arfara
My project, “Being in Time: Aestheses of the Anthropocene,” was an open-ended research experience at the intersections of art history, performance studies, and literary studies. Using the title as a thematic container, I wrote multiple papers on a range of interrelated subjects, including aesthetics, policy, comparative racialization, and Anthropocene discourse. Aspects of the project involved critical explorations of the IPCC Assessments (1990-2023), climate change-induced habitat shifts, the works of Ursula Le Guin and Jamaica Kincaid, gestures and graphs, and the philosophical potential of tenderness in inter-community solidarity. These papers were presented at a number of conferences, ranging from the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting in Chicago to the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs Conference in Seoul. Additionally, I wrote a 9,500-word research paper titled “This Flesh of Time: A Phenomenology of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s ‘Dioramas’,” which examined the relationship between photography, movement, and phenomenology, and is currently being revised for submission to journals in my fields of interest.
Faculty Supervisor: Aashish Jha
In my research project, I used blood and urine markers, demographic, and health data to determine prevalent medical conditions in 2,716 Emiratis enrolled in the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS). As a part of a team of researchers in the Genetic Heritage Group at NYU Abu Dhabi, I played a primary role in the extraction, preparation, and sequencing of oral mouthwash samples from 669 of these participants. We then employed a multi-omics approach combining 16S analysis, metagenomics, and metabolomics to reveal oral microbiome-mediated biological mechanisms underlying obesity — the most prevalent disease in the cohort (30.4%). This fellowship was essential for me to complete a study I had been working on since my junior year and throughout Capstone.
Faculty Supervisor: Jordan Norris
I conducted an analysis of world trade data to determine whether more affluent consumers tend to consume more sustainable food products. My research involved categorizing various commodities in world trade (e.g., potatoes, yams) into commodity groups (e.g., starches). I matched environmental footprints to each group in terms of various dimensions of sustainability (e.g., water use, and carbon dioxide emissions). I then examined the relationship between the income of consumers purchasing these commodities and the environmental footprint associated with each commodity. Another aspect of this project involved investigating income as a driver of sustainable consumer preferences. This investigation took place through two primary avenues: (a) seeking evidence for the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) and (b) analyzing sustainable production trends over time in alignment with the literature on structural change.
My main manuscript proposed that the doxastic wronging thesis has been challenged by several authors in a way that can be generalized to a particular argumentative structure. I adopted the term “upstream debunking argument.” I proposed that this argumentative strategy has led us astray. I analyzed one of the many instances in which this argumentative line has been deployed, namely concerning our control over our beliefs. I surveyed theories of moral responsibility and suggested a way in which they can be used to circumvent the corresponding “upstream debunking argument.” Aside from that, I have explored and produced content on topics like singular propositions, perspectives, moral encroachment, negligence, the nature of wronging, and microaggressions.
During the fellowship, we established a weather monitoring network on the NYUAD campus to validate the simulation results. Several campaigns of thermal measurement of the campus were also conducted. Four permanent outdoor weather stations were installed, spread across the NYUAD campus. They are capable of measuring indoor and outdoor air temperature, humidity, wind speed, direction, solar radiation, and UV index. The weather stations constantly upload data to the publicly accessible weather underground (WU) network in 5-minute intervals. The stations will be maintained by CITIES in the future and data used for future projects.
Faculty Supervisor: Muhammad Shafique
During my fellowship I have worked on several tasks which included conducting a literature review to learn about SOTA methods in self-supervised learning, proposed several modifications to improve existing self-supervised learning methods, and ran multiple baseline experiments to compare with concurrent work. With Professor Ozgur’s lab, I developed and published a work detailing the use of graph neural networks for trojan detection in integrated circuits. While with Professor Shamout’s lab, I developed and submitted a recently accepted work on the efficacy of machine learning methods for deterioration prediction in the United Arab Emirates compared to currently used methods.
Faculty Supervisor: Matteo Marciano
I worked on an exploratory interdisciplinary project that used passive acoustic monitoring methodologies to assess the impacts of new infrastructure projects on the biodiversity of population dynamics of the bird species in Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Mangroves. We worked with the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EAD) to create a regionally appropriate and acceptable research plan, without compromising the fundamental tenets of this area of research and remaining true to the initial questions and intent of the project.
We were able to place recorders in the area of interest and create a very robust body of field recordings, unlike any currently available in the region. With over 1000 hours of high-quality stereo recordings from the two locations in the mangroves, we have worked toward creating an accurate research-grade collection of audio that is representative of this important and rapidly changing ecosystem. Throughout the project, over twenty species of resident and migratory birds were reliably identified (and many other species recorded).
Faculty Supervisor: Jonathan Andrew Harris
Over the course of the year, I developed my Capstone Project into a more substantive journal submission. My article received a review-and-resubmit (RnR). With direction from my adviser, I wrote an RnR response memo and resubmitted my article on July 31st. I also co-authored a paper with my advisor that also got an RnR, which will be submitted in early September. Finally, I also applied and got into several PhD programs and I am set to begin my PhD at MIT in September 2023.
During my project I compiled and edited diversity, equity, and inclusion content for the bi-weekly newsletter, Al Berwaz, disseminated to 4,000 community members, and assisted in hosting global diversity and equity events with speakers such as Dr. Beverly Tatum and author Neha Vora, and developed resources for faculty after their Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assessment. Moreover, I designed a research project exploring transformative moments that faculty and students have at NYUAD, conducted in-depth interviews, and wrote a research paper.
Faculty Supervisor: Nancy Gleason
The project was a qualitative study of the use of caring and discomforting practices by faculty in the Core Curriculum program at NYUAD. By conducting 40 in-depth interviews with faculty and students and using study away survey answers from two sentences, I studied both student and faculty perspectives on pedagogies used in the Core. The research findings were presented at two conferences, one local and one international, as well as in faculty training at NYUAD and Khalifa University. Additionally, the research findings
have been used for conflict resolution trainings with the Office of Spiritual Life and Intercultural Education. I also taught the concepts and findings of my project in a June-Term class in Summer 2023. The main outcome of the project was its submission to an international journal for publication.