Alia Al Mansoori, who won the Genes in Space contest. Satish Kumar / The National
Alia Al Mansoori, who won the Genes in Space contest. Satish Kumar / The National

UAE Genes in Space winner busy fine-tuning her experiment for blast-off



ABU DHABI // Since she won the Genes in Space competition earlier in this year, school pupil Alia Al Mansoori’s life has been transformed.

From meeting Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at the Sea Palace, to training to be an ambassador at Expo 2020, fine-tuning her experiment and attending school, Alia’s schedule is busier than it has ever been.

In a national competition, which challenged pupils to come with an experiment that applied DNA analysis to real-life challenges in space exploration, Alia’s winning idea was chosen from an 110 entries and then five finalist teams of eight pupils at the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi.

Alia will look on as her experiment – which aims to study how exposure to space affects the health of live organisms at the cellular level – is launched into space from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida later this year.

Once in orbit, the experiment will be tested by astronauts on the International Space Station.

“I don’t mind my life being jam-packed, it helps me learn how to manage my time” said the 14-year-old who is in Bahrain on a two-week course to learn more about volunteering.

Having won the competition, the Al Mawakeb School Grade 9 pupil said she felt a duty to promote the sciences among the youth of UAE.

“It is a big responsibility, but I want to contribute to spreading the idea of innovation” she said. “The field of science was once a big part of the Arab world and we are trying to get it back.”

With the latest deadline for the submission of her final project on July 24, a day after her birthday, in order to prepare the experiment for launch in August, Alia said she still had a lot of work to do.

Ensuring her experiment is fine-tuned and meets the guidelines required aboard the ISS is her mentor Tessa Montague, who has been paired with Alia since November.

Ms Montague, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in molecular biology at Harvard University, said although the nine-hour time difference between Abu Dhabi and her Boston offices posed a challenge, Alia’s determination helped her shine through.

The two settled on Skyping regularly before Ms Montague went to bed and just as Alia awoke.

“She would wake up blurry-eyed at 6am before school or even on a weekend, which is a testament to her dedication,” said the 28-year-old academic.

What was evident to the Harvard graduate was Alia’s enthusiasm and her ability to comprehend information quickly.

“I was really impressed with how quickly she picked up with the concepts I introduced to her, some of which were one, two, or three years beyond high school level.”

In their most recent conversation, Ms Montague said she was surprised when Alia displayed the ability to utilise new data to predict experimental results.

“When I told her how impressed I was, she said: ‘It’s probably because I’ve been talking about this stuff in my genetics club. Each time I learn something, I go and teach everyone else about it, so they know, too.’

“I think that says a lot about the kind of person Alia is,” she said.

Ms Montague’s extensive work with science outreach programmes as well her childhood desire to become an astronaut – something she shares with Alia – led to her involvement in Genes in Space.

Having volunteered for programmes promoting science among underprivileged and autistic students, Ms Montague asked to be paired with a female student in the UAE contest.

“I hadn’t focused on promoting women in science so it was an area I wanted to work on,” she said.

Unlike other community programmes, at which she met with a large group of students for a few hours whom she would never see again, Ms Montague said she has enjoyed working one-on-one with Alia and seeing her development.

Having also won a national science competition as a teenager in her native UK, Ms Montague said Alia would benefit greatly from the experience.

“It is such a positive affirmation that you’re doing something you are good at and you should stick to it. It’s a fantastic opportunity and it is great to see her becoming a role model in the UAE,” she said.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

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Brave CF 27 fight card

Welterweight:
Abdoul Abdouraguimov (champion, FRA) v Jarrah Al Selawe (JOR)

Lightweight:
Anas Siraj Mounir (TUN) v Alex Martinez (CAN)

Welterweight:
Mzwandile Hlongwa (RSA) v Khamzat Chimaev (SWE)

Middleweight:
Tarek Suleiman (SYR) v Rustam Chsiev (RUS)
Mohammad Fakhreddine (LEB) v Christofer Silva (BRA)

Super lightweight:
Alex Nacfur (BRA) v Dwight Brooks (USA)

Bantamweight:
Jalal Al Daaja (JOR) v Tariq Ismail (CAN)
Chris Corton (PHI) v Zia Mashwani (PAK)

Featherweight:
Sulaiman (KUW) v Abdullatip (RUS)

Super lightweight:
Flavio Serafin (BRA) v Mohammad Al Katib (JOR)

FIXTURES (all times UAE)

Sunday
Brescia v Lazio (3.30pm)
SPAL v Verona (6pm)
Genoa v Sassuolo (9pm)
AS Roma v Torino (11.45pm)

Monday
Bologna v Fiorentina (3.30pm)
AC Milan v Sampdoria (6pm)
Juventus v Cagliari (6pm)
Atalanta v Parma (6pm)
Lecce v Udinese (9pm)
Napoli v Inter Milan (11.45pm)

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Date: Sunday, November 25

Listen to Extra Time
Copa del Rey

Barcelona v Real Madrid
Semi-final, first leg
Wednesday (midnight UAE)

Moving Out 2

Developer: SMG Studio
Publisher: Team17
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 4/5

MO

Creators: Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef

Stars: Mohammed Amer, Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba

Rating: 4/5

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

How to keep control of your emotions

If your investment decisions are being dictated by emotions such as fear, greed, hope, frustration and boredom, it is time for a rethink, Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, says.

Greed

Greedy investors trade beyond their means, open more positions than usual or hold on to positions too long to chase an even greater gain. “All too often, they incur a heavy loss and may even wipe out the profit already made.

Tip: Ignore the short-term hype, noise and froth and invest for the long-term plan, based on sound fundamentals.

Fear

The risk of making a loss can cloud decision-making. “This can cause you to close out a position too early, or miss out on a profit by being too afraid to open a trade,” he says.

Tip: Start with a plan, and stick to it. For added security, consider placing stops to reduce any losses and limits to lock in profits.

Hope

While all traders need hope to start trading, excessive optimism can backfire. Too many traders hold on to a losing trade because they believe that it will reverse its trend and become profitable.

Tip: Set realistic goals. Be happy with what you have earned, rather than frustrated by what you could have earned.

Frustration

Traders can get annoyed when the markets have behaved in unexpected ways and generates losses or fails to deliver anticipated gains.

Tip: Accept in advance that asset price movements are completely unpredictable and you will suffer losses at some point. These can be managed, say, by attaching stops and limits to your trades.

Boredom

Too many investors buy and sell because they want something to do. They are trading as entertainment, rather than in the hope of making money. As well as making bad decisions, the extra dealing charges eat into returns.

Tip: Open an online demo account and get your thrills without risking real money.

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

The low down on MPS

What is myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome refers to pain and inflammation in the body’s soft tissue. MPS is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (­connective tissue that covers the muscles, which develops knots, also known as trigger points).

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are irritable knots in the soft ­tissue that covers muscle tissue. Through injury or overuse, muscle fibres contract as a reactive and protective measure, creating tension in the form of hard and, palpable nodules. Overuse and ­sustained posture are the main culprits in developing ­trigger points.

What is myofascial or trigger-point release?

Releasing these nodules requires a hands-on technique that involves applying gentle ­sustained pressure to release muscular shortness and tightness. This eliminates restrictions in ­connective tissue in orderto restore motion and alleviate pain. ­Therapy balls have proven effective at causing enough commotion in the tissue, prompting the release of these hard knots.

Formula 4 Italian Championship 2023 calendar

April 21-23: Imola
May 5-7: Misano
May 26-28: SPA-Francorchamps
June 23-25: Monza
July 21-23: Paul Ricard
Sept 29-Oct 1: Mugello
Oct 13-15: Vallelunga

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

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Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

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In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)

WITHIN SAND

Director: Moe Alatawi

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

Rating: 3/5

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