Julian Rubinfien, 16, winner of Genes in Space’s US version, met the Nasa astronaut Josh Cassada Courtesy Julian Rubinfien
Julian Rubinfien, 16, winner of Genes in Space’s US version, met the Nasa astronaut Josh Cassada Courtesy Julian Rubinfien

Genes in Space submissions open today

ABU DHABI // Applications are now open for The National's Genes in Space competition.

A winner of the US version of the competition has urged all high school pupils with an interest in science to get involved.

“It’s not like any other high school competition. If you win you get a chance to do something you may never be able to do again in your entire life, even as a professional,” said Julian Rubinfien, whose winning DNA experiment will be be sent by rocket to the International Space Station next year.

The 16-year-old became the winner of the second annual Genes in Space contest in the US with his proposal to conduct an experiment to find out why astronauts aged more rapidly in space.

“It’s completely unbelievable and I am still in shock. Even other people tell me, ‘Wait they’re not really sending your project to space are they?’” he said.

The chance to have a science experiment carried out in space was “unreachable” for most pupils, Julian said.

“I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t apply,” he said.

After first entering his idea to measure the length of telomeres, the chromosome end-caps that are shortened in premature ageing, as method to study the reason for accelerated ageing in space, Julian said he did not think he had a chance against 900 others.

“I thought an honourable mention would have been nice, but when they called me back to say I was one of the finalists I was incredibly excited.”

After fine-tuning his idea with a mentor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Julian beat the four other finalists. His experiment was announced as the winner at the fifth annual ISS Research and Development Conference in San Diego, California last July, where he got to rub shoulders with astronauts and heads of the space industry.

“It was unbelievable. I learnt so much in the process and am looking forward to discovering even more before the launch,” Julian said.

One UAE student interested in the effects of cosmic radiation on cancer cells said he could not wait to submit his team’s proposal.

“It’s really exciting. We get to study genetics and research microgravity at the same time,” said Pritvik Sinhadc, 12, from the Dubai College.

Aveline Moodley, a science teacher at Alsariya School in Sweihan, said the contest was the perfect event to get her students engaged in the subject.

“Science specifically can be a very abstract field but this gives my students an interesting and tangible challenge,” she said.

With UAE’s population being roughly about one 30th the size of the US, students in the Emirates stand a much greater chance of becoming finalists.

Although he found coming up with an experiment daunting, Julian said he grew more confident as he researched the subjects.

“I learnt how to be creative and innovative. In the end, I thought to myself ‘If you don’t enter you can’t win so why not?’ ”

Pupils in Grades 7 to 12 can now submit their proposals and learn more at www.genesinspace.org/contest-uae.

To find out more and get involved, follow #genesinspaceuae on social media.


Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Mubalada World Tennis Championship 2018 schedule

Thursday December 27

Men's quarter-finals

Kevin Anderson v Hyeon Chung 4pm

Dominic Thiem v Karen Khachanov 6pm

Women's exhibition

Serena Williams v Venus Williams 8pm

Friday December 28

5th place play-off 3pm

Men's semi-finals

Rafael Nadal v Anderson/Chung 5pm

Novak Djokovic v Thiem/Khachanov 7pm

Saturday December 29

3rd place play-off 5pm

Men's final 7pm


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

12 restaurants opening at the hotel this month

Ariana’s Persian Kitchen
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Estiatorio Milos
House of Desserts
Jaleo by Jose Andres
La Mar
Ling Ling
Little Venice Cake Company
Malibu 90265
Nobu by the Beach
Resonance by Heston Blumenthal
The Royal Tearoom 

Need to know

When: October 17 until November 10

Cost: Entry is free but some events require prior registration

Where: Various locations including National Theatre (Abu Dhabi), Abu Dhabi Cultural Center, Zayed University Promenade, Beach Rotana (Abu Dhabi), Vox Cinemas at Yas Mall, Sharjah Youth Center

What: The Korea Festival will feature art exhibitions, a B-boy dance show, a mini K-pop concert, traditional dance and music performances, food tastings, a beauty seminar, and more.

For more information: www.koreafestivaluae.com


Director: Moe Alatawi

Starring: Ra’ed Alshammari, Adwa Fahd, Muhand Alsaleh

Rating: 3/5

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8

Power: 712hp at 6,100rpm

Torque: 881Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 19.6 l/100km

Price: Dh380,000

On sale: now

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round


Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2778 x 1284, 458ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4323 mAh, up to 26h video, 20h streaming video, 100h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh4,199 / Dh5,049

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