Qatar-based Nour Majbour from Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) is among the Season 10 contestants of the popular Qatar Foundation’s edutainment show, Stars of Science.
The popular ‘edutainment reality’ programme follows the journey of nine Arab innovators through prototyping and customer validation episodes until only four finalists remain to compete for a share of US$600,000 in seed funding. The ranking is determined by jury deliberation and online public voting.
Majbour, a full-time research associate at QBRI, skillfully fought her way through the casting stage with her proposed innovation in the early detection of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Her Parkinson’s Early Detection Kit aims to surpass the current limitations in disease diagnostics through the use of antibodies – a type of protein integral to the body’s immune system that may be leveraged to identify the onset of PD through biological signs.
For a neurodegenerative disease without a known cure, early detection and treatment are instrumental in relieving symptoms and improving the patients’ quality of life, particularly those who suffer from a lack of options and resources to seek treatment.’
She said that witnessing the rapid degenerative process of PD in family members has impacted her research, and she aims to honour their legacy and ease the suffering of many other patients worldwide through her innovative idea.
Over 10 million people in the world are currently living with PD, and the prevalence of the disease ranges from 41 people per 100,000 in the fourth decade of life, to more than 1,900 people per 100,000 among those who are 80 years old and older. Many more cases go undetected. Majbour’s research thus carries impactful and transformative implications for the medical field, moving one step closer to a comprehensive understanding of the causes, development and treatment options for PD.
Majbour’s participation in a public platform that actively empowers Arab youth promoted her to ambassador status, for women’s entrepreneurship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) – a traditionally male-dominated profession.
Praising Majbour’s role in deconstructing barriers for Arab women, her mentor and Acting Executive Director at QBRI, Dr Omar El Agnaf said that the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication of Majbour have crafted an inspirational story for young women whose involvement in STEM is essential to closing the persisting gender gap: women only make up 30% of the world’s researchers today.
HBKU’s dedication to fostering talented women in STEM is underlined by the university’s lasting collaboration with Stars of Science – a programme that aims to promote access to knowledge and opportunity across broad viewership demographics.
As one of the participating research institutes, QBRI lends its world-class facilities and mentorship to researchers during the concept implementation phase. Their interdisciplinary approach guides the development of highly-advanced prototypes that can reap long-term economic benefits for the country and the wider region.
HBKU value are echoed in the show’s entrepreneurial and inclusive ecosystem, which has enthralled audiences and highlighted the pace of innovation in science and technology across the Arab world since it first aired in 2008.
Tune in to Stars of Science Season 10 every Saturday, 9 pm on Al Rayyan Satellite Channel to follow Majbour’s journey. Full length episodes with English subtitles will also be accessible on their website.