Recent Submissions

  • Improving Communication for the Visually Impaired through an Innovative Arabic Writing System

    Aboalnaja, Talah (2023-07-22) [Poster]
    Visual impairment is a major global health problem. In 2017, WHO estimated that there were 253 million people worldwide with this ailment. According to the journal of the American Medical Association, the prevalence of visual impairment in the Saudi population is 9.3%. Learning braille by families of students with visual impairments remains a major obstacle, which precipitates several communication issues. Moreover, difficulties for the students themselves lie in learning braille with languages that include diacritical marks; consequently, affecting their academic progress. My main objective of this project is to help improving life quality of these individuals, and the focus is to advance their social productivity and adaptation. This was accomplished through creating a new simpler Arabic writing system using geometrical shapes. As a part of this project, fifteen individuals with visual impairments were interviewed and tried this new writing system; two of them were adults between 25 and 40 years old while the rest were students from 9 to 17 years old. Additionally, 100 individuals with visual impairments completed a survey. The data showed that students learned this system in two hours in comparison with students that mastered braille in a few months. This shows that this system is easier to learn and subsequently saves time and effort. The most important value added to this project is that diacritical marks were combined with the alphabet, thereby considerably reducing book sizes compared to braille-written books. This project presents a novel system that helps people with visual impairments to increase their confidence and independence.
  • PLAN-M: Mycobacteriophage endolysins fused to biodegradable nanobeads mitigate mycobacterial growth in liquid and on surfaces

    Davies, Courtney (2023-07-22) [Poster]
    10.4 million people are diagnosed with tuberculosis, worldwide, every year, according to the World Health Organisation. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that can easily be transmitted to health care professionals and people supplying aid in these nations. Fortunately, over the last 100 years, the bacteriophage has gained traction as a suitable therapeutic, antibiotic-alternative against bacterial pathogens, such as M. tuberculosis. Herein I describe my work utilising endolysins the lytic protein that bacteriophages usually employ to burst out of the cell, but instead using these proteins to lyse from without . In order to develop a proof-of-principle product, we used the expansive M. smegmatis bacteriophage collection and chose eight endolysin candidates for testing against M. smegmatis. These endolysins were bioinformatically analysed for active domains before being synthesised and inserted into an expression vector to produce fused biodegradable nanobeads made of polyhydroxyalkanoate. These nanobeads were tested for activity against M. smegmatis, a safe mycobacterium closely related to pathogenic tuberculosis. Four distinct tests were carried out to test the efficiency of these beads in causing cell death in different situations (45 minutes and 5 hours, across concentrations of 10mg/ml, 20mg/ml and 80mg/ml. Ultimately the nanobead fusions of endolysin Inca (lysin B) caused the most cell death at 80mg/ml after exposure to M. smegmatis for 5 hours in a standing culture, at 78.87% cell death ± 5.21. When the nanobeads were applied to filter paper to mimic application to a hospital mask as a proof- of-concept approach before spraying with a bacterial aerosol, we saw that endolysin nanobead Jaws (lysin B) caused the most cell death with 75.54% ± 3.15 at 80mg/ml. These results are promising and present a unique opportunity to take advantage of an existing natural mechanism to use as a prophylactic defense against pathogenic bacteria in hospital settings.
  • Studying Polymer Performance for EOR Process

    Jami, Abdulaziz (2023-07-22) [Poster]
    The oil extraction average worldwide is about 15-35%. Therefore, 45-65% of many reservoirs is residual oil, thus oil companies need efficient enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques to extract more oil. EOR is the process of recovering oil not already extracted from an oil reservoir through certain techniques. In this project we are studying the polymer flooding as an EOR method. In polymer flooding, a water soluble polymer is added to the flood water, which increases the viscosity of the solution to improve the oil displacement.