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QF partner Texas A&M at Qatar receives 11 QNRF grants for research to benefit Qatar

Published Jan 26, 2021

Research ranges from GTL to cancer modeling to quantum computing

Faculty and staff researchers at Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, have received funding from the Qatar National Research Fund’s (QNRF) National Priorities Research Program for 11 projects that will benefit multiple industries in Qatar and its people.

“Texas A&M at Qatar received 11 of the 75 grants awarded by QNRF in this cycle,” said Texas A&M at Qatar dean Dr. César Octavio Malavé. “This is an impressive success rate and a clear reflection of the robust research enterprise built by our faculty. We are a research powerhouse, thanks to outstanding faculty and researchers who demonstrate a commitment to discovery and creative achievement every day. We are grateful to QNRF and encouraged to know that Qatar remains committed to research and advancement of a knowledge-based economy.”

The research projects funded in Cycle 13 cover a broad range of topics, from improving safety and efficiency in the chemical processing and power distribution industries to tumor modeling to the future of data processing and quantum computing. Faculty and researchers who received funding are:

  • Ma'moun Al-Rawashdeh, Chemical Engineering
  • Robert Balog, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Shady Khalil, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Wieslaw Krolikowski, Science (Physics)
  • Sherzod Madrahimov, Science (Chemistry)
  • Bilal Mansoor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Eyad Masad, Mechanical Engineering
  • Hyunchul Nha, Science (Physics)
  • Mohamed Nounou, Chemical Engineering
  • Mohammad Shaqfeh, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Saber Trabelsi, Science (Mathematics)

Trabelsi received funding for his research proposal that aims to assimilate patient data to personalize mathematical models for tumor growths in cancer patients.

“Cancer imposes a heavy societal burden in terms of epidemiology, costs and agony,” Trabelsi said. “Each individual is physiologically unique, the physiological parameters of the individual’s disease are unique, and therefore the response of the patient’s body to any therapy is unique. Our proposal is a step toward the use of a patient’s clinical data to develop individualized models and strategies to predict tumor evolution and response to therapy, and to design patient-specific and adaptative treatments plans to overcome therapy resistance.”

In another project, Mansoor and his team aim to use Industry 4.0 concepts and tools for real-time monitoring and performance optimization of steam methane reformers (SMR), which are some of the most expensive, energy-intensive and difficult-to-maintain assets in a gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant and are critical in producing GTL products in a cost-effective, safe and efficient manner. The project is co-funded by Qatar Shell Research and Tech Center.

“An accidental plant shutdown due to a failure in the reactor tubes can have serious safety and financial implications,” Mansoor said. “This highlights the constant need to diligently manage and improve the reliability, safety and performance of the reactors. We propose to develop an intelligent thermal inspection and assessment framework that could offer significant economic benefits by allowing operators to run reformers more aggressively, schedule shutdowns and minimize the risk of tube failures — thereby enabling proactive management of asset safety and reliability.”