King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
BEACON املنـارة at Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
February - March 2014 / Rabi Al-Thani - Jumada Al-Awwal 1435 Volume 4, Issue No. 6
األمساك املختبئة يف "املحيطات "نطاق الشفق
Hidden Fish in the Ocean’s “Twilight Zone”
KAUST and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly organized the KAUST-NSF Conference on Electronic Materials, Devices, and Systems for a Sustainable Future, which was held on the University campus from February 8-10. The program was sponsored by the NSF, the KAUST Office of Competitive Research Funds (OCRF), the KAUST Industrial Collaboration Program (KICP), and the University’s Computer, Electrical, and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) and Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE ) Divisions.
There may be a lot more fish in the world’s oceans than we thought. An international team of researchers led by Dr. Xabier Irigoien, Director of KAUST’s Red Sea Research Center, used acoustic readings taken during
The conference featured three days of
an around-the-world voyage to revisit old estimates of fish populations
interactive talks, presentations, and networking
living between 200 and 1000 meters depth—a region known as the
sessions, and a poster presentation session by
current KAUST PhD students and postdoctoral
Their results suggest that current estimates of mesopelagic fish quantities
fellows. Researchers from top-tier universities
are off by an order of magnitude, and that open-ocean ecosystems are
from all over the world, including Princeton
as efficient as coastal regions in cycling nutrients up the food chain.
University (US), UCLA (US), UT Austin (US),
Together, these conclusions may assign mesopelagic fish a previously
King Fahd University of Petroleum and
unrecognized role in the world’s carbon cycle.
Minerals (KFUPM, Saudi Arabia), Umm Al-Qura
Sometimes referred to as the ocean’s “twilight zone,” the mesopelagic
University (Saudi Arabia), Meijo University
marks the transition from sunlit surface waters to the black abyss below.
(Japan), and École Polytechnique Fédérale de
Not enough light reaches mesopelagic depths to allow for photosynthesis.
Lausanne (EFPL, Switzerland), attended the
But although it’s dim, it’s anything but empty.
event and gave presentations. In addition to the speakers from academia,
Sneaky fish may skew data
speakers from Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Basic
“Up to now it was estimated that there were about 1000 million tonnes
Industries Corporation (SABIC), Intel, and NASA
of mesopelagic fish,” said Prof. Irigoien, a number corresponding to roughly
gave presentations at the event. Six young
half of the total mass of fish previously thought to inhabit the world’s oceans.
“Bright Minds” scholars from different world-
“But this estimation was based on fishing with nets—trawling,” he said.
leading universities also spoke at the conference.
A recent paper by Prof. Irigoien’s colleague Dr. Stein Kaartvedt, Professor
“We assembled the world’s leading researchers
of Marine Sciences at KAUST, demonstrated that mesopelagic fish are
and creative young scholars from academia
adept at dodging nets, and thus deep sea trawling efforts could drastically
and industry to exchange ideas and foster a
underestimate true fish populations.
collaborative framework for fundamental and
The team’s findings support this idea. Using a kind of echo-location
applied research in this area,” said event program
to estimate the density of biomass at different depths, they gathered nine
chair Dr. Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, KAUST
months of data from across the world’s oceans.
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering. During his opening remarks for the conference, KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau noted that presentations given during the event covered “very important topics as to how we can use materials, processes, and systems to do better
“We found that to have just 1000 million tonnes was almost impossible,” Prof. Irigoien said. “There must be about ten times more mesopelagic fish on the planet than we previously thought.”
Energy- and nutrient-efficient open oceans
when it comes to the very important issues that
Conventional wisdom in marine science suggests that deep, open ocean
the world faces. I am very excited about what you
ecosystems are less efficient than coastal regions at moving nutrients and
are doing here, and believe that meetings like this
energy generated by primary producers—in this case phytoplankton—up to
with people from all over the world help advance
its mid and top-tier predators. But using a computer model paired with the
King Abdullah’s vision for this university.”
acoustic results, the team’s findings suggest the opposite.
KAUST-NSF | Continued on p2
Hidden Fish | Continued on p3
.قد يكون هناك العديد من األسماك في محيطات العالم أكثر مما كنا نتوقع مدير، قام فريق من الباحثين الدوليين بقيادة الدكتور اكزابيير ايريغوين ،مركز أبحاث البحر األحمر في جامعة الملك عبد اهلل للعلوم والتقنية باستخدام البيانات المستنبطة من القراءات الصوتية خالل رحلته البحرية حول العالم إلعادة النظر في التقديرات القديمة لعدد األسماك التي في منطقة تعرف بالبحار، م1000 و200 تعيش تحت عمق يتراوح بين .متوسطة العمق وأشارت هذه النتائج إلى أن التقديرات الحالية لكميات األسماك التي تعيش وأن النظم البيئية للمحيطات،ًفي منطقة البحار متوسطة العمق مختلفة جدا المفتوحة فعالة مثل المناطق الساحلية من ناحية تدوير ونقل المغذيات في ومكنت هذه االستنتاجات من إضافة دور جديد ألسماك.السلسلة الغذائية .البحار متوسطة العمق في دورة الكربون في العالم ألنها ترمز الى،"يطلق على منطقة البحار متوسطة العمق اسم "نطاق الشفق االنتقال من المياه السطحية المضاءة بنور الشمس إلى أعماق البحر السحيقة حيث ال تصل أشعة الشمس وبالتالي ال يمكن للنباتات في القاع القيام بعملية إال أن النتائج أثبت أن منطقة، وعلى الرغم من عتامة مياهها.التمثيل الضوئي .البحار متوسطة العمق تحوي العديد من الكائنات الحية
األسماك المختبئة قد تكون سبب تضارب البيانات
يقول الدكتور إيريجوين "تشير التقديرات الحالية الموجودة إلى أن هناك ،" مليون طن من األسماك في منطقة البحار متوسطة العمق1000 حوالي وهذا العدد يقارب من نصف مجموع كتلة األسماك في محيطات العالم وأضاف "لكن هذه التقديرات مبنية على بيانات.ًحسب ما كان يعتقد سابقا وأظهرت دراسة نشرت مؤخرًا في ورقة بحثية بواسطة."الصيد بالشباك فقط أستاذ علوم البحار في جامعة الملك عبداهلل،الدكتور شتاين كارتفيدت أن األسماك التي تعيش في البحار متوسطة، وأحد زمالء الدكتور إيريجوين وهذا بالتالي يؤثر كثيرًا على دقة،العمق بارعة في الهروب من شباك الصيد .بيانات الصيد بالشباك التي تستخدم لتحديد أعداد األسماك حيث قاموا بجمع،ودعمت النتائج التي توصل إليها الفريق هذه الفكرة بيانات من أعماق محيطات العالم المختلفة في فترة تسعة أشهر باستخدام .تقنية تحديد الموقع بالصدى يقول الدكتور إيريجوين "تقترح القراءات التي تحصلنا عليها أن كتلة أسماك البحار متوسطة العمق على كوكب األرض قد تتجاوز ما كنا نعتقد سابقًا ."بعشرة أضعاف
مدى فاعلية المحيطات المفتوحة-الطاقة والغذاء
االعتقاد السائد في مجال علوم البحار هو أن النظم البيئية في المحيطات المفتوحة والعميقة هي أقل فاعلية من المناطق الساحلية من ناحية انتقال سواء األولية منها المواد الغذائية والطاقة التي تنتجها الكائنات البحرية ً
2 تتمه صفحة
February - March 2014
The past month brought many exciting events and achievements to the KAUST community
the University: the first KAUST-NSF Conference on Electronic Materials, Devices, and Systems
and the University. From discoveries made in the world’s oceans and in the Red Sea by scientists
for a Sustainable Future, and the completion of the 2014 edition of the KAUST/UC Berkeley
from the Red Sea Research Center, to a fish auction in Discovery Square, to the publishing
of innovative and collaborative research from the Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials
On page 4, join us in our coverage of the wrap up of the 2014 Winter Enrichment Program, as the Office of Enrichment Programs announces its plans to offer similar, shorter
Research Center, the University has been abuzz with activity. Successful collaborations with high-profile organizations, including the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of California, Berkeley, resulted in two achievements for
programs throughout the year. These will bring even more vibrancy to our already busy and lively community. —THE BEACON Editorial
The Beacon, Volume 4, Issue 6, February - March 2014. Published by The Communications Department, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia. Contact Salah Sindi firstname.lastname@example.org, or Michelle D'Antoni email@example.com © King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Printed on partially recycled paper.
KAUST SPE Student Chapter Visits Marjan Oilfield
Fishing Economics 101 Following a week-long course on basic economics such as supply and demand, pricing, and marketing, several students from The KAUST Schools (TKS) showcased their newly learned skills at a community fish auction on February
KAUST students from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) student chapter visit the Saudi Aramco Marjan offshore oilfield.
18. Emad Al-Sharif, Payroll & Off Cycle Team Lead in the KAUST Finance Department and president of the Thuwal-
On January 28, six students from the KAUST student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers
based Anglers Club, shares, “This idea
(SPE) visited the Saudi Aramco-operated offshore Marjan oilfield for a tour of Aramco’s facilities there.
came from wanting to teach students about local fishing culture, basic business principals, and
The Marjan facilities, which are located in the Arabian Gulf, were completed in 1993. Once complete, Marjan’s facilities became some of the largest in the world, and include two 250,000 barrels per day (BPD) gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs) and an offshore gas-compression plant.
building self-confidence in a fun activity that the community could enjoy.” Along with fellow Anglers Club members Maaz Khawaji, Nehal Nassar, and Shereen Bawazeer, Al-Sharif relied heavily on the support of TKS Assistant Principal of the Secondary Schools Cabby
The SPE chapter traveled from Jeddah to Tanajib, and then from Tanajib by helicopter to the
Tennis, who ensured the course aligned with the TKS curriculum and, the students were well
Marjan-3 platform. There they were briefed about safety procedures at the facility and watched a
prepared for the auction. The short course, which also included a field trip to the daily Thuwal
presentation about the platform’s operations. Later they visited the ARB-3 repair barge, one of the
fish auction, culminated with KAUST’s first fish auction at Discovery Square, where hundreds of
largest in the Gulf, also located at Marjan-3.
kilograms of fish were auctioned by the students to community members. Coastline and Recreation
“For all of the SPE students, this trip was a memorable event and an unforgettable learning experience,” said SPE member Klemens Katterbauer, a PhD student in Earth Science and Engineering. “It was a wonderful opportunity for us, especially considering the close links between KAUST and Saudi Aramco.”
Global Collaborative Research Symposium
teams were on hand at the event to clean and grill fish upon request so buyers could enjoy their fresh fish on site.
Calling All Artists of KAUST The KAUST community is invited to submit their original works of visual art for display as part of the annual Artists of KAUST exhibit in the University Library. ZZZZZEntries must be submitted by March 19.
KAUST is celebrating the major accomplishments of the Global Collaborative Research (GCR) programs by hosting a two-day symposium from March 26-27, 2014.
All forms of art media are welcome, including paintings, photographs, textiles, jewelry, sculpture, and ceramics, and you may submit more than one piece. Work shown in previous Artists of KAUST
The GCR programs were launched in 2008, engaging over 30 world-class institutions from Asia,
exhibits is ineligible for inclusion.
Europe, and North America. These programs were instrumental in the institutional development of
To submit your work, please visit http://libguides.kaust.edu.sa/artexhibit. Note that submissions
KAUST during its start-up period, and the symposium will highlight key science and innovation
must be ready to hang or display (the library cannot arrange printing or framing). A committee
accomplishments produced in partnership with KAUST. It will also be an occasion for GCR partners
made up of community members will review all exhibition material. Final acceptance for the
to engage with the wider research and academic community on-campus, seeing first-hand how
exhibit is contingent upon the review of the committee.
KAUST has evolved during its first few years. All members of the KAUST research and academic community are invited to attend the symposium.
The art exhibition will open with a reception on April 20 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and will run until April 30.
Spatial Statistics for Environmental and Energy Challenges Conference March 8 - 12 This upcoming conference aims to gather international leading
Challenges” by Prof. D. Nychka (NCAR) and “Spatial Statistics for
experts in spatial statistics research to discuss recent progress and
Energy Challenges” by Prof. T. Gneiting (University of Heidelberg).
applications in environmental and energy challenges with leading
This conference is organized by Prof. Marc G. Genton (KAUST,
experts in spatial statistics research. The conference includes two
Spatio-Temporal Statistics and Data Analysis); Prof. Raul Tempone
short courses, invited talks, and a poster session.
(KAUST, Stochastic Numerics Research and SRI-UQ); and Dr.
The short courses include “Spatial Statistics for Environmental
Fabrizio Ruggeri (CNR-IMATI).
KAUST-NSF | Continued from p1 Yves Gnanou, Dean of KAUST’s PSE Division, stated that he hoped the event “enabled interaction
CEMSE Division. “We brought people from different areas together to share, interact, and discuss
between engineers and scientists, senior and junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and PhD students,”
potential future research. This is extremely important for a young and growing institution like KAUST.”
and that this interaction would lead to further collaborations with KAUST in the future. “We want to have more of this kind of collaboration to enable fresh results,” he said. Professor Sumio Iijima from the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Meijo University, who spoke about nano-carbon and related materials at the conference, said he was very impressed by his visit to KAUST. “There is the latest science going on here, and I can really see a lot of future for top-line research here,” he noted. “Through institutions like KAUST and through conferences like this, Saudi Arabia is really supporting the development of science and technology.” “This conference had a very multidisciplinary nature,” added Mootaz Elnozahy, Dean of KAUST’s
Winners of the conference’s poster presentation session were: Systems theme winner: Mohamed Abdelkader (PhD student; supervisor: Prof. Christian Claudel, Electrical Engineering program) Materials theme winner: Rami Tarek El Afandy (PhD student; supervisor: Prof. Boon Ooi, Electrical Engineering program) Device theme winner: Hossain Mohammed Fahad (PhD student; supervisor: Prof. Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, Electrical Engineering Program)
February - March 2014
Georg Eitelhuber Named a 2014 Solar Pioneer On January 21, 2014 at the World Future
completed field trials at KAUST and is now
Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, MESIA and
ready for commercialization. NOMADD uses
PWC recognized ten Solar Pioneers who have
no water and requires no human labor. It is
distinguished themselves as young leaders in the
simple, reliable, cost effective, and scalable.
Middle East. Georg Eitelhuber, the founder and
NOMADD will not scratch the panel surface
Chief Executive Officer of NOMADD Desert Solar,
and it is designed and built "desert tough" to
was among the selected solar leaders who will be
survive the unique challenges of the Saudi
provided a platform to network together, share
best practices through tailor-made workshops,
Eitelhuber is an Energy Conservation Engineer
and support each other as they work towards
with KAUST’s Facilities & Community Department,
expanding the role of solar in the Middle East.
and was previously a high school physics teacher
NOMADD (No Water Mechanical Automated
at The KAUST Schools. The NOMADD project has
Dusting Device) is a patents pending waterless
been supported by the Seed Fund and is currently
solar panel cleaning device that has successfully
seeking Series A investors.
Timothy Paul, Solar Pioneers Project Manager, MESIA with Georg Eitelhuber, Founder and CEO of NOMADD
Science of Startups: UCLA’s Dr. Aydogan Ozcan uses cell phones as optical microscopes
around 2000. Smartphones are working now as supercomputers,” said Dr. Ozcan. Holomic manufactures lightweight, compact, and cost-effective advanced microscopes and sensors using algorithms to detect
The New Ventures group recently hosted Prof. Aydogan Ozcan,
“I’ll be wearing two different hats - an entrepreneur’s hat and
E. coli in food or to count red blood cells. “Measurements that
who leads the Bio- and Nano-Photonics Laboratory group, within
academician’s hat,” he said, as he explained the groundbreaking
normally would be done in a laboratory now can be done with a
the Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering Departments, at the
technology his research group has developed using computational
mobile phone. In addition, the data can be transmitted back and
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Ozcan came to
imaging methods to create new cellphone-based microscopes and
forth wherever you are using the cell phone and that’s a great
KAUST to give a talk entitled “Science of Startups: How Academician
sensors offering telemedicine and point-of-care diagnosis devices
opportunity,” he further explains.
Scientists Build Innovative Companies.”
through a spinoff company, Holomic.
The New Ventures program at KAUST facilitates the flow
As a holder of 22 issued patents and the author of over 350 peer-
Seven billion cellphones are currently used worldwide and over
of research-based technological innovation from idea and
reviewed research articles, Dr. Ozcan offered the attending audience a
70% of these mobile phones are in developing countries. Thanks
discovery to market. Anyone who has a promising idea with
valuable mix of business and academic insights around the process of
to the exponential growth of technology, “the megapixel count of
the potential for commercialization is invited to contact
taking lab research to the marketplace.
our cell phone cameras has been doubling every two years since
New Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation
Georgia. Most recently, he was the Director of Business Development at the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (UGARF) where he supported activities focused on assisting state and regional economic development initiatives. Prior to this, he was the Director and Chief Licensing
Dr. Sohail Malik has joined KAUST as the new Director of
Officer of their Technology Commercialization Office, where he ran one of the most successful
Technology Transfer and Innovation. Coming from Athens,
technology transfer and licensing programs in the United States.
Georgia, USA, Dr. Malik brings over 20 years of experience
“I look forward to serving and leading KAUST into the position of being an international model
in multidimensional management in the areas of research and
in all matters related with intellectual property management to promote economic development
development. His wealth of experience includes new business
and the advancement of knowledge for the common good,” said Dr. Malik. “We have an excellent
ventures, technology commercialization, and intellectual
technology licensing portfolio and I look forward to creating new commercialization opportunities,
enhancing our capabilities, and develop new partnerships to create innovation driven economic
“KAUST has brought together the brightest minds and the
Before accepting his position at KAUST, Dr. Malik held two senior positions at the University of
impact in the Kingdom.”
best facilities to discover and develop the next generation of
Over the years, Dr. Malik has played many roles, from Technical Lead in Kimberly-Clark
technologies and innovations,” said Dr. Malik. “What excites me
Corporation’s New Business and Technology Department to co-founding BioFrontiers Inc., a
most about this opportunity is how technology advancement and
biopharmaceutical company. He has a PhD in chemistry from the International Center for Chemical
transfer can be utilized to create a lasting impact on the Saudi
and Biological Sciences and completed his postdoctoral research at Stanford University. He has also
economy. It is a very ambitious endeavor and one I am very
published over 40 research articles, has 20 issued patents, and is currently a member of the editorial
pleased to be a part of.”
board of Current Medicinal Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry.
Hidden Fish | Continued from p1 “The open ocean is as efficient, if not more, than
“By doing that migration,” Irigoien said, “they
the coastal seas in terms of its trophic chain,” Prof.
are accelerating the CO2 pump.” Given previous
mesopelagic biomass estimates, this contribution
Discovering carbon cycles of the deep
to global biogeochemical cycles was deemed insignificant, but this thinking may have to be revised. “With the new estimate, we calculate that
The mesopelagic zone is home to a genus of
mesopelagic fish are respiring between one and ten
translucent fish called Cyclothone, which measure
percent of the primary production produced at the
just a few centimeters in length. But what they
surface,” he said.
lack in size they make up for in number. Even the
Unfortunately, this abundance of fish doesn’t
early, low estimates of mesopelagic biomass make
translate directly to an abundance of food for
Cyclothone the most abundant vertebrate on Earth.
humans. Mesopelagic fish are generally small,
Like tiny monsters of the deep, legions of
fatty, and too deep and dispersed through the
mesopelagic fish ascend through the darkness
world’s oceans to be of commercial interest. They
each night to hunt zooplankton drifting in the
are, however, an important part of the diet of the
surface waters of the open ocean. At dawn
tuna we eat.
they descend again to wait out the day, carrying
The team’s findings were published in Nature
bellies full of organic material—essentially
Communications on February ("Large Mesopelagic
carbon—some 500 meters or more down from
Fishes Biomass and Trophic Efficiency in the Open
Ocean” doi: 10.1038/ncomms4271)
ويقول الدكتور إيريجوين. متر أو أكثر500 عمق "هذه الهجرة تساهم في سرعة ضخ ثاني أكسيد وبالنظر لتقديرات الكتلة الحيوية في."الكربون البحار متوسطة العمق السابق ذكرها يتبين أن هذه الهجرة تساهم بشكل كبير في الدورات البيولوجية الكيميائية في العالم وهي مسألة تحتاج إلى المزيد ويوضح إيريجوين ذلك "مع التقديرات.من الدراسة الجديدة يتبين لنا أن أسماك البحار متوسطة العمق من الناتج األولي لدورة%10 الى1 تساهم بمعدل ."الكربون على السطح فإن وفرة هذه األسماك ال تعني،ولسوء الحظ فهذه.بالضرورة وفرتها كمصدر غذائي لإلنسان وتعيش،األسماك في عمومها كائنات صغيرة ودهنية في أعماق سحيقة جدًا ومتناثرة عبر محيطات العالم تعتبر جزءًا، ومع ذلك.وال تجذب أي اهتمام تجاري .مهمًا من النظام الغذائي لسمك التونة الذي نتناوله ونشرت النتائج التي توصل إليها الفريق في مجلة Nature Communications 2014 فبراير7 بتاريخ "Large Mesopelagic Fishes Biomass and Trophic Efficiency in the Open Ocean"
:تتمة الصفحة األولى ولكن.كالعوالق النباتية أو الكائنات البحرية المفترسة النتائج التي توصل إليها الفريق عن طريق معالجة البيانات الصوتية بواسطة الكمبيوتر أثبتت عكس ويوضح الدكتور إيريجوين ذلك "المحيطات.ذلك المفتوحة مثل البحار الساحلية أو قد تزيد عنها من ."حيث كفاءة سلسلتها الغذائية
اكتشاف دورات الكربون في األعماق
تعد المياه متوسطة العمق موطنا لنوع من األسماك التي يبلغ طولها بصورة،Cyclothone الشفافة تسمى ورغم صغرها إال أن.عامة مجرد بضعة سنتيمترات حتى أن التقديرات المبدئية تؤكد.ًعددها كبير جدا في منطقةCyclothone أن الكتلة الحيوية ألسماك البحار متوسطة العمق تجعلها أكثر الفقاريات عددًا .على األرض تصعد مجموعات من،كوحوش األعماق الصغيرة أسماك البحار متوسطة العمق كل ليلة لتصطاد العوالق الحيوانية الطافية على أسطح المحيطات ثم تعود إلى األعماق خالل الفجر وبطونها.المفتوحة تحت- ممتلئة بالمواد العضوية – خصوصًا الكربون
February - March 2014
WEP 2014 A Success
Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the Construction
The 2014 Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) celebrated all its
as well as Lufthansa, WEP’s official airline sponsor.
Products Holding Company (CPC), and the National Water Company,
The Beacon the Poster Competition, and the various WEP 2014 sporting events. The 2014 program was the fifth edition of WEP and included over 200 lectures, courses, events, and workshops led by international
successes with a Closing Ceremony and Gala Dinner on January
“In addition to the corporate sponsors, WEP’s success wouldn’t have
experts, in-Kingdom leaders, and KAUST speakers. Looking into the
29. WEP 2014 Chair William Roberts, Professor of Mechanical
been possible without the tireless efforts and support of the hundreds
future the WEP team plans to provide even more opportunities for the
Engineering at KAUST, took the occasion to offer warm thanks to
of individuals from across the University and community,” shared
KAUST community to expand its horizons, by offering smaller, similar
this year’s sponsors: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture,
Marie-Laure Boulot, Enrichment Program Manager. At the closing
programs throughout the year. Look for forthcoming details from the
the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining (YASREF) Company, the Saudi
ceremony, awards were handed out to winners of the Science Fun Fair,
Office of Enrichment Programs in the coming months.
For the third year, WEP held an Alumni Lecture Series to
at KAUST to launch a company to conduct imaging and
showcase the achievements of a select group, giving them the
conservation work on archaeological sites and other structures.
opportunity to share their stories of their continuing journeys
Felipe Villa, a master’s graduate in Marine Science, has
- whether at KAUST or elsewhere. In addition to the lecture
launched his own sustainability and green infrastructure
series, this year’s speakers - Luca Passone, Felipe Villa, and
company in his native Columbia. Having studied the negative
Matthew Debont, also spoke at an alumni reception for local
effects of human impacts on coral reefs while at KAUST, he
and regional alumni.
felt inspired by current world conditions to take concrete and
2014 Annual Alumni Luncheon
Having joined KAUST as a founding student in Computer
KAUST Alumni Luca Passone, Matthew Debont, and Felipe Villa.
practical steps to promote environmental sustainability.
Science in 2009, Luca Passone earned an MS in High Performance
Matthew Debont said that he immediately had the sense,
Computing, and is now completing a PhD in Earth Sciences. He
even before coming to KAUST, that this was a place where
told the luncheon audience that he considers KAUST to be his
there was almost no limit to what he could do. A master’s
extended family. Matching his love for flying mini-copters and
graduate in Computer Science, he now works in the UK in
photography, he joined efforts with a computational archaeologist
2014 WEP Poster Competitions The Research Poster Competitions are an ideal opportunity for
A prestigious Award Ceremony is held for both competitions, where
students and postdocs to share the results of their hard work and
trophies and prize money are awarded to the winners and runners-up.
present their research to visitors and the community at KAUST. Each
KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau and James Calvin, VP for
year two competitions take place during WEP: the International
Academic Affairs, presented the awards.
Undergraduate Poster Competition and the KAUST Graduate Student
LiJuan Wang, Mobile Imaging System for Early Diagnosis of Skin Cancer, Singapore University of Technology and Design Graduate and PhD Winners:
Prof. Calvin thanked the students for their commitment in presenting
First Place: Karmen AbuZineh, BESE, Toward Super-Resolution
their posters and revealed that he had "undeniably spent the best six
Fluorescence Imaging of Nanoscale Architecture of Membrane
Every year hundreds of international undergraduates from world
and half hours of the year so far" looking at them. President Chameau
Proteins and Their Ligands
renowned universities submit abstracts for their research. From
also addressed the gathering of students, encouraging them to go on
these entries, 50 students are selected and invited to come to KAUST
and accomplish something of importance. "Don't let your life run
Second Place: Ahmed Ben Slimane, EMSE, Selective Electro-Chemical
to present in the competition. For WEP 2014, the undergraduate
you, run your life, do exciting things and do them with passion. Good
Etching Process for Flexible Solid State Light Emitting Devices
competition received over 600 submissions. Selected students spend
luck," he said.
and Postdoc Poster Competition.
Third Place: Furrukh Sana, EMSE, Low-Cost UWB Sensor for Non-
a week at KAUST taking part in WEP activities, visiting the labs,
The winners for 2014 were:
Contact Monitoring of Respiratory Movements
International Undergraduate Winners:
First Place: Tara Sowrirajan, Inverse Opal Hydrogel Sensors for the
First Place: Stefano Castruccio, EMSE, A Distributed Computing
Detection of Endospore Viability, California Institute of Technology
Approach to Model 1 Billion data points
at KAUST. This year’s poster competition was organized by WEP
Second Place: Hussah Albehaijan, Well-Defined Polymers for
Second Place: Ahmed Elwardani, PSE, Unimolecular Decomposition
Co-Chair Prof. Enzo Di Fabrizio.
Virotherapy, The University of Nottingham
of Formic and Acetic Acids Using Shock Tube and Laser Diagnostics
selected from professors and faculty members of different research
Joint Third Place: Jarvis Li, Nanoelectromechanical Membrane
Third Place: Jun Pan, PSE, Photovoltaic-Quality Colloidal PbS
centers. Judging is based on quality, completeness, and impact of the
Mass Sensing Using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization,
Quantum Dots Using Separate Nucleation and Growth Stages
work, as well as on the visual clarity of the posters.
California Institute of Technology
and meeting with faculty members. They also take part in recreation activities, including snorkeling and a field trip to the historical region of Jeddah, Al-Balad. The KAUST Graduate Student and Postdoc competition is also a competitive research poster event, allowing KAUST students to showcase their ideas and highlight the research that is taking place
A single judging committee for both competitions is carefully
February - March 2014
Learning the Roadmap to Business Success
The 2014 KAUST-UC Berkeley Entrepreneurship program participants, instructors, and New Ventures team.
The KAUST/UC Berkeley Entrepreneurship program offered during
entrepreneurship present at KAUST, Searle added: “When we teach
Tariq Malas, a KAUST PhD student, said: “After talking to
WEP recently recognized its 2014 edition participants at a gala
entrepreneurship at engineering schools, we always have the concern
customers we made a lot of changes. Had we gone to customers
concluding the annual ten-day fast track course as part of WEP
that the teams will be all engineers and scientists and that they won’t
at the end, we would have made a big mistake. However, meeting
2014. The diverse group of KAUST master’s and PhD students,
have an affinity for, understanding of, or even an appreciation for
customers at the beginning really helped us modify the product as
researchers, and staff learned about the entrepreneurship journey
business and human factor considerations. But we’ve been really
much as possible to meet customer demand.” His teammate Othman
through a hands-on and customer-focused methodology. Some of
surprised by the balance and the attitudes of the teams at KAUST.”
Soufan, also a KAUST PhD student, concurred saying: “A product
program's participants were also from Effat University, PepsiCo, SEDCO, Abdul Latif Jameel Company, and JGC Corporation in
The Customer Discovery Process
that doesn't answer customers’ needs is actually a waste of time.” Kinda Dahlan, one of the program’s participants and a member of
Japan. The co-branded program was led by two experienced Silicon
“The number one reason why startups fail is because they don’t
KAUST’s IT Department, said that her team enjoyed going through the
Valley serial entrepreneurs: Andre Marquis, Executive Director of
have enough paying customers. So there really must be a match
program because the customer discovery process opened their eyes to
the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley; and Mark
between an entrepreneur's vision and what customers really
the fact their business idea did not fit with the market. Equipped with
Searle, a technology startup senior executive.
want,” said Marquis. This could be manifested in the form of a
this knowledge and the experience gained from attempting to launch
“We’ve been very impressed by the students,” said Marquis. The
novel technology offered, a new business opportunity created
the product, she is now convinced their future entrepreneurship
UC Berkeley program, which normally runs for seven weeks, was
by changes in regulations, or changes in existing technology.
endeavors promise to start on a stronger footing.
adapted to fit the ten-day version of the program at KAUST. During
So the program is about learning the process of seeking out and
Marquis believes that KAUST students, faculty,
the regular program, students are required to go out and interview
identifying those needs and opportunities. “A common mistake
and staff are particularly well suited for
100 customers. But during the recent KAUST/ UC Berkeley program,
that startups make is that they take a lot of time and energy
the process of discovery approach: “Being
Marquis was pleased to report that the KAUST teams had already
building a product that nobody wants,” Searle warned.
at KAUST, which after all is an institution
The framework for the class comes from Steve Blank’s Lean
interviewed “over 40 people in the first week of the program.”
around science and technology, and is also
The Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were equally impressed
LaunchPad methodology, which he developed at UC/Berkeley.
an institution of discovery and learning, I think
with KAUST’s New Ventures group’s “level of organization and
The teams were also taught to use Alexander Osterwalder’s
explains why they take so well to the process.
commitment to entrepreneurship.” Searle said that much like MIT in
Business Model Canvas approach. These combined business
It’s much like the scientific process so they’re
the United States, KAUST stands out in Saudi Arabia and the region
start-up practices place a strong emphasis on what’s called the
comfortable at the bottom level
as a leading institution successfully marrying the focus on science
customer discovery process. The basic idea is to actively learn
with how this works. We’re just
and technology research and entrepreneurship.
about customers and their problems, and find feasible ways to
teaching them how to do that
respond to those key needs. It’s a process of inquiry and discovery.
Defining this nexus between scientific innovation and
The 2014 WEP course was offered by Dr. Nick Hale, who is now a postdoctoral scientist at the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics (OCCAM), and Alex Townsend, an Oxford PhD student at the university’s Mathematics Institute.
As part of WEP 2014, a weeklong short course on Chebfun (http://www.
OCCAM is linked with KAUST through its KAUST Visiting Fellows Scheme (KVF),
chebfun.org) was offered. Chebfun is an extension of the pervasive engineering
which has allowed Dr. Hale to carry out three extended visits to KAUST.
and scientific computational toolkit MATLAB to continuous functions. It extends
Both Dr. Hale and Townsend have worked on developing updated versions
familiar methods of numerical computation involving numbers and vectors to
of Chebfun. In developing Chebfun’s performance and its functionality,
continuous or piecewise-continuous functions. It also implements continuous
Dr. Hale and Townsend have obtained breakthroughs in algorithms for
analogs of linear algebra notions like the QR decomposition and the SVD, and
orthogonal polynomials, including a new algorithm that enables
it solves ordinary differential equations.
Chebfun to compute a million Gauss quadrature nodes and weights
“Chebfun is great for pedagogy, but also for so much more,” says Dr. David Keyes, KAUST Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computational Science. “It offers guaranteed accuracy solutions to a variety of operator equation problems posed on finite intervals or in tensor product domains. All KAUST researchers have access to Chebfun on top of the site-wide support of MATLAB.” “Chebfun’s history overlaps with the history of KAUST,” Prof. Keyes explains. “The first WEP weeklong short course in January 2010 was also the first Chebfun weeklong short course. It was given by Professor Nick Trefethen from the University of Oxford (UK), Chebfun’s proponent at Oxford, where the first version of the software was created, and then-Oxford PhD candidate Nick Hale to a large number of KAUST students from several disciplines.”
to machine precision in seconds, and algorithms for converting between Legendre and Chebyshev expansions.
February - March 2014
Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Team Synthesizes Highly Mesoporous Zeolites KAUST postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yihan Zhu and Associate Professor of Chemical Science Yu Han from the Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Research Center and a team of researchers from other international universities recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society examining the synthesis of mesoporous aluminosilicate zeolite Beta from a commercial cationic polymer
KAUST postdoctoral fellow Yihan Zhu works in the lab to examine the properties of the research team’s synthesized highly mesoporous zeolite.
(http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja411117y). Zeolites are microporous crystalline solids that contain silicon, aluminum, and oxygen in their framework structure. Within their pores, they contain cations, water, and other molecules. Some zeolites are synthetic, and others occur naturally as minerals. Because of their porous nature, they have many different uses in industry, and are widely used for various applications. “Zeolites have special size and shape selectivity, but their small pore size of less than 1 nanometer
work is “the first demonstration of a single non-surfactant polymer acting as such a template,” he says.
restricts their catalytic application to the conversion of small molecules, and also diminishes their long-
The mesoporous zeolite produced by the team’s work has a large pore volume and higher catalytic
term catalytic activity,” says Dr. Zhu. “Integrating mesopores with a diameter of 2-50 nanometers into
activities than conventional bulk zeolite in several model reactions they examined. “More interestingly,”
microporous zeolites would circumvent the limitations imposed by their small pore sizes, and would make
says Dr. Zhu, “despite being highly mesoporous, the material is single crystalline, which in turn brings
them applicable to catalysis involving large molecules. Mesopores would also allow for the support of
excellent hydrothermal stability that is an important criterion for catalysts with potential uses in
additional catalytic active sites to produce multi-functional catalysts.”
However, Dr. Zhu notes, it has proven challenging to synthesize highly mesoporous zeolites. In their
The team’s work shows that high-quality mesoporous zeolites can be easily synthesized from low-
paper, he and the research team developed an efficient synthetic process to fabricate a mesoporous zeolite.
cost processes, which will enable their large-scale production. “By a proper design of the synthesis, it is
Additionally, they characterized its microscopic structure and evaluated its catalytic performance for
possible to integrate micropores and mesopores into one material in the form of a single crystal,” notes
several different reactions.
Dr. Zhu. “Using a non-surfactant polymer as a dual-function template is essential to producing such a
“The novelty of our method lies in the use of a cationic polymer that acts as a dual-function template to generate zeolitic micropores and mesopores simultaneously,” explains Dr. Zhu. His and the team’s
material. We also hope our study shows that advanced electron microscopy techniques are powerful for characterizing complicated 3D structures at the scale of the nanometer and below,” he adds.
Accolade Prof. Hadjichristidis named POLY Fellow Prof. NikTos Hadjichristidis was recently selected as a
2014 awardees will be honored during a ceremony at the
Japan (2007), the ACS PMSE Cooperative Research
2014 POLY Fellow. This award was established in 2009 by
Spring ACS Meeting in Texas, US.
Award (2010), and the Chemistry of Thermoplastic
the Polymer Chemistry Division of the American Chemical
Prof. Hadjichristidis, Professor of Chemical Science
Elastomers Award of ACS, Rubber Division, US (2011).
Society (ACS) and recognizes excellence in advancing
in the KAUST Catalysis Center, has previously been
He was elected as a PMSE Fellow for 2004 and was the
the field of polymer science, either through scientific
awarded the ACS PMSE A. K. Doolittle Award (2003), the
“Ralph Milkovich” Memorial Lecturer for 2006 at the
accomplishments, service to the profession, or both. The
International Award of the Society of Polymer Science,
University of Akron.
Hamidou Tembine Receives IEEE ComSoc EMEA Regional Young Researcher of the Year Award Dr. Hamidou Tembine, KAUST Senior Research Scientist
through ComSoc publication and conference activities
games, mean field stochastic games, distributed strategic
from the SRI Center for Uncertainty Quantification, won
over the past three years.
learning, and the applications of these areas. He has
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Dr. Tembine graduated with highest honors in Applied
received five best paper awards for his research in the
Communications Society (ComSoc) Europe, Middle East,
Mathematics from École Polytechnique (Palaiseau,
applications of game theory, and has published over 130
and Africa region (EMEA) Young Researcher of the Year
France) in 2006 and received his PhD degree with highest
journal and conference papers.
award for his innovative research activities.
honors in Computer Science from the French Institute
“I am extremely honored to receive this award,
The IEEE Young Researcher of the Year Award is
for Research in Computer Science and Automation
and the credit also goes to all those on our research
sponsored by the IEEE EMEA region. The award honors
(INRIA) and the University of Avignon (France) in 2009.
team, including our collaborators and co-authors,”
researchers under 35 who have been active in the IEEE
Dr. Tembine’s main research interests are evolutionary
said Dr. Tembine.
Prof. Peter Markowich Awarded Medal by Paris Foundation of Mathematics The Paris Foundation of Mathematics recently honored KAUST Professor of Applied
my research area. I’ve been working with French mathematicians
Mathematics Peter A. Markowich, with the presentation of a medal in recognition of
throughout my career from very early on. My top ten papers
his life’s work. The event, held on January 24 in Paris, also marked the closure of Prof.
were probably joint with Paris-area mathematicians,” Prof.
Markowich’s top-level designation as Chair of the institution.
Markowich further details.
The task of the foundation is to interlink Paris mathematicians with the rest of
The event took the form of a workshop featuring five
the world. “Paris is one of the international top centers of mathematics,” said Prof.
lecturers (including one from KAUST, Dr. Marie-Therese
Markowich. “Probably no other place in the world has the same combination of
Wolfram) and focusing on partial differential equations
high density and high quality of mathematics going on as in Paris” . The award also
in the social sciences. As Prof. Markowich explained,
recognizes Prof. Markowich’s contribution and long-established collaborations with
specific applications in the social sciences include
French and Parisian mathematics in particular.
human crowd motion modeling and control, which
“If I count my collaborators and divide them by geography, certainly the Paris area
is of particular interest to Saudi Arabia in relation to
would take probably 50% of my in international collaborations. It’s an incredible
the large number of pilgrims visiting Makkah and the
center of mathematics and particularly of partial differential equations, which is
confined spaces there.
February - March 2014
KAUST Marine Scientists Measure First Red Sea Deep-Sea Corals Marine scientists from KAUST’s Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
In colder temperatures, the food corals need to survive decays at
robot to monitor promising locations and were successful in
have operated the first measurements of deep-sea coral from the
a slower rate, while warm water accelerates turnover. As the Red
retrieving specimens from three different species at depths of 300-
Red Sea. The continuing research, which was first reported in the
Sea is very warm, it has long been a question as to whether or not
750 meters and at temperatures exceeding 20 ºc.
October 2013 edition of Nature Scientific Reports (DOI: 10. 1038/
deep-sea corals were present.
srep02802), represents a major shift in the current understanding of temperature and salinity resilience of deep-sea corals.
“This discovery basically extends known ecosystem boundaries
As Prof. Christian Voolstra from RSRC explains, the last known
for deep-sea corals, and we can no longer use the term ‘deep-
study of deep-sea corals in the Red Sea dates back to about a
water corals’ as synonymous to cold-water corals,” explained
The existing body of knowledge around deep-sea corals focuses
hundred years ago. A study was first published by Austrian
Prof. Voolstra. When the KAUST group presented these findings
almost exclusively on cold-water environments. Deep-sea corals
researcher E. Marenzeller, but biological measurements were not
at a conference in the Netherlands in April 2012, people were
look different from the shallow water corals found in colorful
available at that time. “So we basically followed the discovery a
excited about the results because they came from outside where
reefs typically explored during snorkeling or diving trips. Deep-
hundred years later with new instruments,” Prof. Voolstra said.
it’s believed that corals can live.
sea corals grow at a slower rate. Because corals need nutrients
In December 2011, a team from KAUST set out on a ship for
“We learn that nature always finds its way,” said Prof. Voolstra.
to develop, distinct ecosystems and environmental changes
seven days to find deep-sea corals in the Red Sea. After generating
“According to theoretical expectations, these corals are not allowed
determine their attributes.
a topographic map of the seabed, they employed an underwater
to exist, yet you find them.”
February - March 2014
Photo Credit: Victoria McKeown © VICI Mckeown photography
to Phothe of nth mo
WEP SCIENCE FUN FAIR At the annual WEP (Winter Enrichment Program) Science Fun Fair, KAUST scientists bring experiments out of their labs to share with the KAUST community and local schools. Elementary and Secondary school students from The KAUST Schools also share science projects, resulting in a showcase of experiments and demonstrations spanning different age groups. This year there were a total of 90 different exhibits and experiments in the categories of physics, chemistry, biology, and “All About the Mind.”
WEP 2014 Science Fun Fair Winners: Grades 3-5 First Prize: Seeing DNA by Uzayr Abusamah, Umairah Abusamah, and Barbie Inocencio Second Prize: Hydraulic Power by Hussien Abdelhadi Third Prize: Hydrophobic Sand by Victoria Ketcheson and Elena Ketcheson Grades 6-9
Painting Workshop by the Art Self Directed Group (SDG)
First Prize: Music and the Brain/Body Electric by Gladys Douglass-Usov and Malak Fayad Second Prize: Can-Crush by Andrew Norseth, Nic Johnstone, and AbdulMalek Alsalim Third Prize: How to Detect a Lie by Cara Black Over 18
Thirty people attended the first weekly acrylic painting workshop organized by the Art SDG in the
First Prize: Homemade Radar by Seif Allah Jardak
multipurpose room in Discovery Square on February 12. The enthusiastic and talented beginners and
Second Prize: How to Clean Water by Mohanned Al-Ghamdi, Mohammed Namazi,
advanced painters first sketched the King Abdullah Mosque, and then came inside to complete their drawings, in readiness to produce a painting on canvas. Instruction on how to sketch and paint was
Abdullah Dahwah, and Khaled Bin Bandar Third Prize: High-Speed Camera by Jiaming Zhang and Mohamad Alchalabi
given by KAUST's very own artists, Tamara Jones and Lucy Ashdown. The Art SDG aims to create a community hub for art related events, classes, and workshops. Activities include painting, drawing, mosaics, textiles, jewelry making, and ceramics. If you are interested in the weekly art workshop or would like to know more about the Art SDG, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Email your photos to email@example.com.
My University Janet Dubiel
“I was attracted to KAUST because of the idea of
Before moving to KAUST in
being part of a team that would start a brand new
2009 as one of the University’s
school with King Abdullah’s vision in mind,” she
Founders, Harbor Elementary
says. She began by teaching in the school’s girls-
School English Language
only section, moved to English Language Support,
teacher Janet Dubiel had
and now spends her days teaching in the classroom.
already worked as a teacher in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, and Budapest, Hungary.
Describing her KAUST experience as “fabulous,” Janet says she has enjoyed meeting and socializing
“I decided I wanted to travel,” Janet explains. “I
with the many international members of the
was born in Racine, Wisconsin, US, and lived in the
University’s community. “It has been interesting
same house for 17 years. Then I taught in Arizona
to learn about new cultures and different ways
for 15 years, but teachers in the US rarely make
of thinking about the same things,” she notes.
enough money to get to experience the world, so I
She has also enjoyed Saudi Arabia’s warm
decided to teach internationally.”
weather, as in Brazil, her house had no central
Janet arrived at KAUST with her dog, Pepper, who also accompanied her to Brazil and Hungary.
heating – something she doesn’t have to worry about in Thuwal!
environment. “I need to be in an environment where
You may not personally
I feel comfortable and can produce,” he said.
know Yaarub Hashim, but
Coming from the dynamic industry of advertising,
you may have seen his work
Yaarub was worried the change wouldn’t suit him.
around campus. As the Head
But within two weeks, he realized that with his 13
of Marketing Services, he’s
years of experience, there was a lot he could offer
responsible for branding, visits
the University. Plus the environment was unbeatable.
and protocol, in the university's Communication
“You have a president who came from Caltech,
Department corporate giveaways, and the campus
the best university in the world, you are exposed
gift shop, Matjar.
to scientists and world-class facilities, and KAUST
Yaarub joined KAUST a few months ago, in November 2013. “Coming to KAUST was a big change and I wasn’t really planning on leaving the advertising industry or leaving DDB in particular,” said Yaarub.
is a dream of a king,” said Yaarub. Three months later, Yaarub is glad he made the leap from advertising. “When a king dreams, he dreams big. I have known about KAUST since 2009 and thought
For ten years, Yaarub worked in Jeddah at DDB,
this was just a motto. But after being here, I
the largest advertising agency in the world. He
feel KAUST is a true expression of what the
says what matters most to him is the right work
king envisioned,” he said.
Winners from The KAUST Schools