Public Release: 

New round of UREP grants for WCMC-Q students

Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar

Doha, Feb. 21, 2010 - Twenty-eight WCMC-Q students have received grants totaling $280,000 in the latest, seventh, round of funding from the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) to conduct advanced research projects with faculty members.

The students will investigate 11 different topics related to cancer treatment and diagnosis, diabetes care, science learning, purifying drinking water, infectious diseases, the function of specific genes, gene therapy for diseases and the growth and development of children in Qatar.

The grants are part of $1.7 million provided to research institutions in Qatar this year by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The program is designed to support "hands on" learning by students, build knowledge and bolster Qatar's reputation for research.

"Biomedical research is an integral part of the WCMC-Q mission," says Khaled Machaca, PhD, associate dean for research. "Qatar Foundation's support for research through the UREP grants gives our students valuable opportunities to improve their research skills and understand methods for generating new biomedical knowledge."

"Physicians need research skills so they can incorporate evidence-based medicine into their treatment decisions. The UREP projects help them gain skills in scientific method that they will use throughout their careers," says Christopher Ogden, PhD, biology lecturer who will work with three pre-medical students to probe the function of specific genes with a UREP grant.

Student research is a component of WCMC-Q's biomedical research program, which is focused on genetic and molecular medicine and women's and children's health while building the country's research infrastructure.

The latest cycle of approved UREP projects are listed below:

  • Use of novel lipids to carry therapeutic genes directly into cancer cells,
  • Gene silencing as a technique to probe the function of specific genes,
  • Characterizing the potential for HIV transmission beyond injecting drug users in the MENA region,
  • Understanding how students decode graphic representations in order to learn complex processes,
  • Analyzing how reading scientific literature affects students' growth of knowledge,
  • Developing statistics and methodology for identifying emerging HIV epidemics in high risk MENA populations,
  • Comparing measures of growth, development, nutritional habits and physical activity among school children in Qatar,
  • Comparing diabetes care in primary care and hospital settings,
  • Developing membrane-based technique to remove acids from chemically purified drinking water,
  • Developing molecular tools for cancer diagnosis, and
  • Interaction of stem cells and cancer cells in treatment resistant cancer.



Established in partnership with Qatar Foundation, WCMC-Q is part of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, the first American institution to offer its M.D. degree overseas. WCMC-Q offers an innovative educational program comprised of a two-year Pre-medical Program followed by the four-year Medical Program, with teaching by Cornell faculty. There are separate admission processes for each Program, guided by the standards of admission in use at Cornell University in Ithaca and its Medical College in New York City. Website:

About Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development

Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, and chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, Qatar Foundation is a private, non-profit organization committed to the principle that a nation's greatest natural resource is its people. The headquarters of Qatar Foundation are located within its flagship project, Education City, a fourteen million square-meter campus which hosts numerous progressive learning institutions and centers of research, including branch campuses of five of the world's leading universities, plus a cutting-edge research and development center. Qatar Foundation also works to enhance the quality of life in Qatar by investing in community health and development. Website:

About Qatar National Research Fund

Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) was established in 2006 to administer funding for original, competitively selected research in natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences, agricultural sciences, social sciences and humanities. It is a member of Qatar Foundation, established by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar and chaired by Her Highness, Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned.

QNRF seeks to advance knowledge and education at a national, regional and international level by providing financial support to researchers in the private, public and academic spheres. Further, as part of their overall strategy QNRF aim to foster collaborations within academia, and through public/private partnership, inside and outside of Qatar.

QNRF actively seeks internationally recognized researchers to study topics of global importance; however it is primarily dedicated to funding research in the national interest and fostering improvements in the health, environment and security for the people of Qatar and the region.

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