Page 1

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

mesopelagic zone.

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


News 1-3

WEP 4-5

.‫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

Research 6-7

Community 8



February - March 2014

The Beacon

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

Entrepreneurship Program.

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, or Michelle D'Antoni © 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 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

Arabian environment.

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

Sohail Malik

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

Irigoien said.

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

the surface.

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

nature conservation. 

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:

Postdoctoral 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

Flow System. 

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.

with customers.” 

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), 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


The Beacon

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.

( 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.”

petrochemical applications.”

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

The Beacon

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  Email your photos to

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! 

Yaarub Hashim

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

2014 Feb Mar Beacon  

The Beacon Newspaper

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