Beyond the Classroom


In October 2018, three KGSP students furthered their academic and professional experiences by presenting recent research work at competitive conferences in the United States. Shaden Albahrani, Dana Alburi, and Hassan AlRamadhan were each selected from a pool of applicants to present at the 2018 BMES Annual Meeting, Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin XXV Conference, and AIChE Conference respectively.


Value of Presenting at Conferences

Shaden Albahrani, a sophomore studying chemical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, participated at Cornell University’s REU program over Summer 2018. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) are competitive research programs that allow undergraduates to engage in specialized researches in their field of study.

Shaden’s research, “Stribeck Curve Analysis of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMI) Disc”, focused on examining if the stribeck curve can be used as a framework to understand the frictional behavior of the TMJ disc. Although the stribeck curve has been used before for hard material and soft materials such as cartilage, it has never been used for TMJ cartilage until now. Shaden presented her work at 2018 BMES Annual Meeting in Atlanta. 

“The attendees were engaged in my presentation and asked me several follow-up questions,” said Shaden. “I learned best practices in crafting and delivering narrative presentation that conveys the importance of the research. I encourage other KGSP students to present at conferences because the experience adds value to your research work; it is also very fun.” 


KGSP Student Shaden Albahrani at the 2018 BMES Annual Meeting

Building Networks

During Summer 2018, Dana Alburi, a senior studying bioscience at Boston University, completed her research at her home university. Her research, “Chemokines and their Role in Skeletal patterning”, observed to characterize a chemokine signaling molecule, chemokine-like factor 4 (Cklf4), as a potential skeletal patterning cue. Dana’s research was one of the 27 research topics accepted to present at Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin XXV conference in Wood Hole, Mass.

“My PI was one of the conference organizers and she encouraged me to attend and present at the conference,” said Dana. In addition to my research focus in developmental biology, I have taken a developmental biology class and the authors of many of the papers I read in class were at the conference. I gained experience in presenting at a large conference and expanded my network.”

KGSP Student Dana Alburi at the Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin XXV Conference 

KGSP Student Dana Alburi at the Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin XXV Conference

Unique Opportunities

Hassan AlRamadhan, a senior studying materials science engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison, completed his research, “Sustainability Analysis of Future Air Travel”, at KAUST while working with Prof. Subram Mani Sarathy over Summer 2018. His poster was one of 300 posters selected for the 2018 Undergraduate Student Poster Competition at the AIChE Conference in Pittsburgh.

“I have gained new experiences by presenting my work to industry leading scientists and engineers from all over the world,” said Hassan. “Throughout the presentation, I was challenged by the questions and received great feedback which I will use as a basis of improvement to further my research.”

 KGSP Student Hassan AlRamadhan at the AIChE Conference 

KGSP Student Hassan AlRamadhan at the AIChE Conference


Hassan’s research goal was to estimate the amount of GHGs emitted from SpaceX new developing rocket, the Big Falcon, which is proposed to transport people around the globe, and compared it with emissions of conventional air travel used in long trips such as the BOEING 777 and 787 to identify which mean of traveling is cleaner.

“My summer research at KAUST gave me the opportunity to work on an innovative and different topic. It was challenging at some points, but I have enjoyed every part of the process because it helped me gain new knowledge. It also gave me the chance to work with one of the best professors in the field, professor Subram Mani Sarathy. The unique opportunities provided by KGSP prepares its students for a successful future,” Hassan concluded.


KGSP’s enrichment opportunities provide an optimal environment for students to build theoretical knowledge and practical skills associated with their academic disciplines. It prepares KGSP students for the practice of science application and their future contributions to KAUST, Saudi Arabia, and the World.