2019-2020 Research Fellowships

Congratulations to the inaugural NYU Abu Dhabi’s Post-Graduation Research Fellows, who were selected from a pool of strong applicants through a highly competitive process. Each fellow came to the program with a unique academic interest. Many went above and beyond by attending conferences, giving lectures, and collaborating with UAE-based organizations. Our fellows also gave back to their community by providing research support, guidance and mentorship to fellow undergraduates. As a result of COVID-19, the fellows faced unexpected challenges. Some had to halt their original plans, while others had to consider alternative ways of addressing their project. Despite this, they were able to achieve great heights as highlighted below:

Program Highlights

Alex Burlin presenting a paper on The EU-Jordan Compact as a Global Paradigm as part of “Origins Future” Conference in HTW Berlin in November 2020.

Alexander C. Burlin

Alexander Burlin studied aid, protection, and forced migration in Jordan. He published two academic articles, a number of research reports, and presented his work as a guest lecturer at conferences and events in the region. He also partnered with local researchers and NGOs to assist in programs on refugee policy and law. Alexander is now a Research Program Manager at the Expert Group for Aid Studies in Stockholm, in addition to conducting research consultancies on human rights, aid, and migration policy on the side. Alexander was accepted to pursue an MSc at Oxford in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.

Lina Elmusa

Through translating Sahar Khalifeh’s Sunflowers, Abbad Al Shams, which has never before been translated into English, Lina aims to expand the conversation about Arab women’s roles, labor, and resistance particularly in conflict and literature. Her work includes a scholarly introduction that explores issues of translation and translation theory. With inspiration of Abdelfattah Kilito’s Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language, she explores the movement between languages, and how the translation has stripped the original of some meaning, but also contributed new layers of understanding. She explores the idea of how a novel could move into a different sphere of knowledge, but the women spoken of in the novel are stripped of mobility. Lina continues to work with translation, along with social media and journalism.

Tami Gjorgjieva and mentor Professor Youssef Idaghdour at the American Society of Human Genetics 2019 conference in Houston, TX, USA.

Tami Gjorgjieva

Tami Gjorgjieva took a multidisciplinary approach to study the population genetics, and the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genetics in the UAE. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked to commence and coordinate the NYUAD COVID-19 Screening Study, and collaborated with local partners — such as Cleveland Clinic, G42, and Seha — to build clinical projects to study various aspects of the COVID-19 disease in patients. As a fellow, she published two paper. Tami is now continuing her joint work in genetics and ELSI as a pre-doctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, USA.

By encouraging ingenuity in research pursuit, this Fellowship provided me the opportunity and mentorship to pave my own research path at the intersection of genetics and ELSI. I'm excited to continue doing similar work as a pre-doctoral fellow at the NBER, as part of a multidisciplinary team of behavioral economists, geneticists, ethicists, and behavioral scientists.

Tami Gjorgjieva, Class of 2020
Steffen Holter's Post-Graduation Research Fellowship project worked with drone swarms that could impact search-and-rescue, security, and defense.

Steffen Holter

Steffen focused his research on building a relative visual localization system to improve collaboration within drone swarms. The developed drone detection system was published as part of a book chapter for InTechOpen’s Service Robotics and will form the basis of a larger article concerning collaborative area coverage. During his fellowship Steffen also wrote a journal article on the topic of Feature Extraction and Data Visualization which he started during his Capstone project. Steffen was accepted to pursue an MSc in Computing (Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning) at Imperial College London.

Hannah Melville-Rea attends the Youth Circle at the World Green Economy Summit to discuss sustainable development in the region and the role of young people, alongside Dr. Thani, Minister of Climate Change and Environment (far right).

Hannah Melville-Rea

Hannah Melville-Rea's research project "Parched and Impatient: How Drought Shapes Political Engagement" found that voters exposed to drought increasingly prioritized policies aimed at economic stability and supported minor-parties. Her paper won the Best Student Paper Prize at the 2019 Australian Society for Quantitative Political Science Conference. She was also selected as a UAE Ambassador for Nature, Social Connectedness Fellow and presented at a number of events and conferences, within and outside of NYUAD.

Raitis Pekuss

Raitis Pekuss researched the 3D printing of concrete and explored its application in the UAE construction sector. His work will culminate in printing 10 two-meter tall concrete pillars of increasing geometric complexity which will be displayed on campus as a tribute to NYUAD’s 10-year anniversary. Raitis is planning to pursue a Master’s in Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands.

Nadine Soliman

Nadine studied models of supermassive black hole accretion and their effect on large galactic scales. During the course of her fellowship, she successfully implemented two sub-grid models and appended them to the current NIHAO Simulation Code. In addition, she completed running 20 simulations of galaxy formation for a set of five galaxies. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Astrophysics at Caltech.

This fellowship enabled me to take higher responsibilities in research leadership and student mentorship. The independent work helped me grow as a self-driven scholar, which will prepare me to tackle academic and clinical research as a doctor.

Alvaro Yanez, Class of 2020

Alvaro Yanez

Alvaro Yanez investigated the effects of social stress on the regulation of sleep. His project found that sleep pressure did not build up in stress-exposed mice as it did in stress-naive mice — regardless of whether mice were resilient or susceptible to the social stressor. His findings were selected for presentation at the 12th FENS Forum of Neuroscience, the largest international neuroscience meeting in Europe. Alvaro was accepted to study medicine at The University of Manchester.

2019-2020 Projects

View projects of the inaugural Post-Graduation Research Fellowship cohort.