Editor of Online Science Portal Visits NYUAD

NYUAD Associate Professor of Chemistry Panče Naumov recently kicked off the Science Seminar Series with a visit from Nature Middle East Editor Mohammed Yahia. Part of the Nature Publishing Group — which, among other things, publishes a variety of journals across the life, physical, chemical, and applied sciences — Nature Middle East is an online portal that covers emerging science in the Arab world.

"NYUAD is scaling up to becoming an important research institute, and it is geared to produce interesting work in the near future," said Yahia. "We would like to highlight the work being done, as I think NYUAD will be an important player in science education and research." Indeed, according to Naumov, a relationship between NYUAD and Nature Middle East will not only highlight NYUAD's research, but help to put the new university on the map.

Yahia, who showed the seminar attendees around the portal and explained its various sections, also presented an overview of the current conditions of scientific research being performed by leading institutions in the region. "The amount of science that is coming out of the region is minimal to what is coming out of the rest of the world," he said. "But we see a renaissance taking place and want to shed light on the research going on here."

And Nature Middle East has already chosen research from the NYUAD community to highlight — "an interesting endeavor led by [Associate Professor of Biology] Kourosh Salehi-Ashtiani, who developed the first genome-scale metabolic model for an algal species," said Yahia. "Kourosh is interested in searching for algae that can be used as a source of biofuel in the future. I find this exciting because, besides addressing one of the most serious problems of our age, he also used NYUAD's unique position in the Middle East to produce research that may have not been possible elsewhere," he explained.

While the portal highlights important, published achievements by researchers in the Middle East, it also features news and blog posts covering unpublished, ongoing work. Yahia recently blogged about NYUAD Assistant Professor of Practice of Biology John Burt's latest study of the coral reefs in the region. "This is not published research," he said, "but it still remains quite interesting!"

A one-of-a-kind outlet for scientific research in the Middle East, Nature Middle East not only acts as an online destination for science lovers all over the world, but increases the visibility of the research being performed in the region. Accessed by "as many researchers from Europe and the United States as the Middle East," explained Naumov, the portal is an important medium for the distribution of research contributed from the Middle East to the world." And "With the science potential of NYUAD increasing steadily and rapidly," said Naumov, "it is of importance to promote our scientific achievements at both the regional as well as the global level."