DUBAI // The UAE’s original pioneers of science shared some inspiring words with the next generation.
Dr Sehamuddin Galadari, the country’s first biochemist, and Dr Habiba Alsafar, who identified genomes responsible for the spread of Types 1 and 2 diabetes, told students taking part in the Think Science fair that the Emirates’ future depended on them.
“When I was young there wasn’t the critical mass of people interested in medicine,” said Dr Galadari, who is based at UAE University (UAEU).
“Now, the challenge is yours and it’s up to you. We need a critical mass of scientists.”
He acknowledged that society as a whole must support efforts to bring more Emiratis into the field.
“We need an environment that supports science, at home and at school,” he said.
“Now, there are many universities, not only UAEU, and it’s a good thing because it promotes a competitiveness to provide a better environment to be productive and innovative.”
The scientists were taking part in the UAE Pioneers in Science panel at the World Trade Centre on Sunday.
A host of high-profile universities, institutions and companies including the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, are taking part in the three-day event.
Dr Alsafar, the only woman on the panel, spoke of her passion for her work.
“I have the best job in the world,” she said. “The reason I love my job is the results and return I see in society. I thought I could serve my country through science. I was searching for a need. Diabetes is something every UAE family is affected by, so I wanted to know how can we prevent this disease.
“Now, all my work is on cardiovascular disease and diabetes and how we can prevent them.”
Dr Alsafar, who is based at Khalifa University, said being a woman and deciding to travel to the United States, and subsequently the United Kingdom and Australia, for her education was the biggest challenge she experienced.
“Challenges make your success sweeter and you only feel the success when you’ve overcome challenges,” she said.
Dr Ali Hilal-AlNaqbi, chairman of the mechanical engineering department at UAEU and acting dean for research and graduate studies, told the students it was time to be creators of knowledge rather than importers.
“It is science that will lead to our success in the future,” he said.
“Now we talk about knowledge that could win a Nobel Prize in 2020, in 2025, being published in big journals like Nature and Science.”
Dr Yousef Al Saadi, the UAE’s first Emirati food scientist, also challenged the students to seize opportunities in a field that provides plenty of them.
“Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you,” he said.
“Seek it. The ability comes when you have the desire.
“Never under estimate yourself.”
Source: uae news