The College of Science was among the first Colleges to be established since the inception of United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in 1976.
The College has five academic departments: Department of Biology, Department of Chemistry, Department of Geosciences, Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Physics.
Welcome to the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) College of Science (COS) website.
We, at the College of Science, strive to be a vibrant and creative scientific community that nurtures its students with the best education and impart in them the curiosity and eagerness to learn, help them thrive to become the next generation of scientists that positively contribute to the making of a brighter future.
College of Science
Professor Sabir Bin Muzaffar is interested in the ecology and conservation of wildlife. His lab has been examining a variety of aspects of animal ecology, including breeding ecology, foraging strategies and migration of birds, mammals, and fish. He has been studying the regionally endemic Socotra cormorants for over 12 years at multiple study sites in UAE, Bahrain and Oman. More recently, his lab has been taking a closer look at the fish diet of cormorants to characterize the pollutants that occur in them. His work has detected high levels of cadmium, chromium and mercury in many fish species from UAE including sardines, anchovies, hamour and shark species. Through his research, he hopes to influence decision making so that marine protected areas can be created as well as the discharge of pollutants into coastal waters may be minimized.
Professor, Department of Physics
Dr. Salah Nasri is a theoretical physicist who is primarily interested in the interplay between particle physics and cosmology. Since joining UAEU in 2007, he established his own line of research in particle physics and astrophysics. He developed particle physics models to help understand the origin and the nature of two of the most mysterious forms of matter: neutrinos and dark matter, that are essential to the formation of galaxies, stars, and the evolution of the universe in general.
Dr. Nasri’s effort in understanding the nature of neutrinos and dark matter has led to the several outstanding publications in world-class journals. In 2015, two of his papers published in the journal Physics Letters B were selected by Elsevier as Top Research Papers, and were featured on the webpage of the International Center for Theoretical Physics, in Italy. In addition, one of his book chapters, published in the book "Open questions in cosmology", has achieved impressive readership. The results of his latest paper, published this year in the journal of Physical Review D, were featured on the official website of this prestigious journal.
He has been awarded the UAEU award for publishing in top journals in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016, the "College of Science Excellence Award in Scholarship” in 2016, and just recently (October 2017) he received the ICTP Associate Award (2017) from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy. The latter award is highly competitive and given only to scholars who made significant achievement in the field of particle physics and cosmology.
Beside his excellent research record, Dr. Nasri is highly dedicated to writing professional lecture notes, available on his webpage at UAEU, on topics related to physics, astrophysics and mathematics with the aim to enhance student learning at both undergraduate and graduate levels. One of these lecture notes, entitled "Sky Falling: Asteroids and Meteorites", had been accessed by very high number of visitors from different universities over the world. Recently, was posted on the online learning platform "Course Hero" to make it more easier for students to access it.
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
To make a positive impact on someone's life; values, dedication, opinion and productivity are the key! With these words, Dr. Synan AbuQamar climbed the academic ladder to become an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology in the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) since 2014. Dr. AbuQamar completed his Ph.D. from Department of Botany & Plant Pathology/Purdue University in 2007. Following his Ph.D., Synan pursued as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Tesfaye Mengiste at Purdue University. In 2008, he joined the Department of Biology at UAEU as an Assistant Professor.
Since then at UAEU, Synan has established a Plant Molecular Genetics/Plant Biotechnology laboratory at the Department of Biology. His current research area is Molecular Genetics of Plant Immunity. His research focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular factors that control plant defense mechanisms against necrotrophic pathogens – pathogens that kill host tissues/cells to complete their life cycle- using “model” and “crop” host plants. As a translational scientist, Dr. AbuQamar has been able to take forward his basic research using genomics, transcriptomics and gene functional approaches to agricultural and field applications, and back to the lab to know more about basic science. The ultimate goal is to substantially reduce the devastating impact of diseases on plants.
In the UAE, as in other countries in the world, plants fight to survive harsh environmental stresses, including plant pathogens. Synan is striving to improve plant resistance to pathogens/diseases. Traditional horticultural and chemical practices have proven their limitations, or even negative impacts on the environment and human health. Therefore, genetic engineering and biological control can limit the increases of pathogen populations, and often suppress the plant tissue destroying activities of pathogens. In his lab, Synan has extensively been concerned about the plant-microbe interaction, including Arabidopsis thaliana-Botrytis cinerea, date palm-Thielaviopsis punctulata and mango-Lasiodiplodia theobromae pathosystems. For example, B. cinerea is considered the second most important fungal pathogen worldwide that causes diseases in a wide range of crops. T. punctulata and L. theobromae causing black scorch disease (locally known as Medjnoon) on date palm and dieback disease on mango; respectively, negatively affect the agribusiness in the UAE.
Dr. AbuQamar’s lab has efficiently limit chemicals use on plants. So far, the lab has generated several mutations in genes and discovered many biocontrol agents for a highly effective solution against these “nasty” fungi. All research findings are the result of research projects carried out by Dr. AbuQamar’s team including M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. Synan has published over 50 publications in highly impact international journals. This is evident that American Society of Plant Biologist (ASPB) has recognized Synan being one of the most highly cited author in “Plant Cell” and “Plant Physiology” journals published between 2009-2013 in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, he has been recognized in several occasions by UAEU as a “distinguished researcher” with publication in top ranked journals. In 2017, he was awarded the College of Science Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
Synan is married and has one son, Hamzeh, and one daughter, Juwan. Synan enjoys reading, football and traveling.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Changing the way we look at our planet
Think of climate change, and you may immediately think of melting ice caps or vanishing rainforests – but the high-impact research that Dr David Thomson leads on the issue at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has a very different, and equally important, geographical focus.
Since joining UAEU’s Biology Department in 2014, Dr Thomson, an Associate Professor at the university, has built on the department's notable strengths in research and teaching by spearheading novel and high-profile interdisciplinary research that allows undergraduate and postgraduate students to analyze the impact of climate change on hot regions – an impact which does not always lead agendas, but which may be more severe than thought.
Having published his first work on climate change in the 1990s, as a PhD student at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, he has since been involved in studies into related topics including climate variability, seasonality, phenology, changing rainfall patterns, and species decline. But since 2009, when he took up a faculty position at the University of Hong Kong, his research focus has primarily been on the vulnerability of the hotter parts of the world to climate change, and whether temperatures may already be too high for many of their species.
Less than one percent of global climate change research has been conducted in the world’s tropical zone – where, as of 2014, 40% of the Earth’s population live – with the emphasis tending to be on regions where temperatures are changing more rapidly, such as in the Northern Hemisphere. However, as Dr Thomson explains: “A small temperature increase in a region which is already too hot could be much more damaging than a large temperature increase in a region which is still too cold.”
His team at UAEU – whose Environmental Sciences Program was the UAE’s first postgraduate Masters program - has found that many species in cooler regions are actually better served by warmer conditions, through research that crystallized data from almost 50 studies on terrestrial birds. In hotter regions, however, they found many species have already reached the ‘optimal’ temperature level – where any increase immediately turns ‘perfect’ into ‘negative’.
In this field of research, Dr Thomson supervises a postgraduate student team, and has also involved 16 undergraduates in the last two years. Their work has featured at numerous conferences, and they have raised its profile and purpose among the UAE community through their outreach efforts.
“In essence, this is a research program,” says Dr Thomson, “but by engaging undergraduate and postgraduate research students, it is also an active experiential education program. The students are studying something real, then taking their work out into the public domain, where they can explain to the public and to decision-makers why it is important.”
The program’s impact, and its success in promoting undergraduate research, led to Dr Thomson being recognized at UAEU’s College of Science awards ceremony in 2017. It was the latest accolade in a career that has seen him run internationally-acclaimed research programs at prestigious institutions - including the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research – win plaudits for the quality of his courses, and see his work graded ‘excellent’ in peer review. He has been published in top journals such as Nature, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Ecology, Biological Reviews, and the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Dr Thomson takes this work beyond the laboratory, too. As a respected thought-leader and influencer on climate change, he participates in climate summits, contributes to media discussions, government working groups, and consultations, and is regularly invited to directly address leaders in the field of climate change.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
In July 2015 Iltaf Shah became an Assistant Professor of the College of Science at the United Arab Emirates University. His research focuses on the development of chemical tools to better understand the role of vitamins and metabolites in the human body. He is particularly interested in vitamin D targets and narrow-spectrum therapeutics. As part of this research, he recently developed an innovative vitamin D test to measure vitamin D deficiency in the Emirati population. In collaboration with Tawam Hospital Medical School, Dr. Shah is also seeking to commercialize this test by implementing it in UAE hospitals. He has also worked with Kingston University to develop a new test that detects kidney disease at an early stage in humans.
His other research interest is the bioanalysis of drugs and steroids in human and animal hair by using enzyme linked immune-sorbent assays, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry instruments. He has recently developed a test used for doping control in camel racing. This is a joint effort between Dr David Cowan’s laboratory at Kings College London and the Camel Forensic Laboratory in Al Ain. After significant news coverage in the UAE, Iltaf has been asked to record an interview with ITV news in London to explain the science behind these innovations in camel racing drug tests.
Iltaf completed a B.Sc. at King Edward’s College and then both an M.Sc and Ph.D with Kingston University, England. He has worked as postdoctoral fellow with Professor Naughton at Kingston and then followed this with a lectureship at the same University. He then moved to UAE to take up a post as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at UAEU. His graduate, Ph.D and postdoctoral work was mainly on the bioanalytical aspects of small molecules in human bodily fluids. He has also investigated the use of specialised bioanalytical techniques for large molecules proteins and peptides.
He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has collaborated on several projects with St Thomas’s Hospital, Brighton, Sussex Medical School, Sheffield University, St George’s University, Aristotle University and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as well as with many private companies. Dr. Shah has received a number of awards for teaching and research, and is the author of more than 50 research articles.
He hold a teaching qualification and is a fellow of HEA. He also has management qualifications from the Chartered Management Institute where he remains a member.
An avid sports fan Iltaf follows Manchester United and enjoys cricket. Other hobbies include singing when he is not relaxing in the company of his wife and kids.
"The Chemistry Department is one of the leading sections not only in the College of Science but in the whole university, with its innovative advancements in different fields of research.”
"My decision to enter the College of Science at UAEU, is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Its state-of-the-art campus, world class research facilities and elite international faculty are contributing to the success of the nation and helping the country achieve its vision for 2030.”
"Science is an ever developing subject where the answer is often not known. This is what excites me most about the course. The professors challenge me but give me an understanding of the subject which I never thought possible. I now have a much greater insight into my field of study, developing both my skills and depth of knowledge.”
"Once I started my major I realized I was on a path of discovery. I found my classes and laboratory work to be fascinating and conducted in a friendly atmosphere with supportive and knowledgeable instructors.”
As a student with an insatiable hunger for knowledge, I felt fulfilled by the multidimensional curriculum. Additionally, I found myself constantly impressed by the diverse research areas represented and how they intertwined to produce new innovations.
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