Conference Spotlight: Manal Alshamrani


Image 1: Manal Alshamrani, Senior, Boston University (Biomedical Engineering).

Manal Alshamrani, a senior at Boston University majoring in Biomedical Engineering, was invited to present her research project at the 2024 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR24) held in Long Beach, California on April 8th to April 10th. NCUR promotes undergraduate research and scholarship in all fields of study and provides an opportunity to celebrate and promote undergraduate student achievements, while offering career development opportunities.

Image 2: Manal Alshamrani (left) at NCUR24.

Manal has spent the past year engaged in research focused on identifying a biomarker for heart failure patients who experience complications from Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs). “While these devices effectively aid in blood circulation, they can also lead to issues such as strokes, thrombosis, and bleeding,” Manal said. She and her research partners investigated the protein Hemopexin as a potential biomarker for predicting patient outcomes following LVAD implantation. At NCUR, Manal co-presented an abstract titled, “A Longitudinal Study of Hemopexin in Patients with Left Ventricular Assist Devices” to a diverse audience of students and educators in both STEM and non-STEM backgrounds from across the United States. “This platform provided an opportunity to share my findings and engage in discussions with individuals interested in cardiovascular health and medical advancements,” she added.

Image 3: Manal presenting her abstract titled “A Longitudinal Study of Hemopexin in Patients with Left Ventricular Assist Devices.”

Manal’s interest in cardiovascular research grew from her time as a research intern at Bloodworks Northwest as part of a KGSP customized summer enrichment research program at the University of Washington during the summer of her sophomore year in 2022. There, she was able to connect her background in engineering to human body functions at the cellular level. “I became captivated by the idea of using engineering principles to discover ways to address health concerns, particularly in the cardiovascular system. This blend of engineering and biology drives my passion to contribute to creative solutions for health challenges.” Manal sought to attend NCUR to stay engaged and informed about scientific advancements, especially in the rapidly evolving field of biotechnology. On her biggest takeaways from the conference, she said she learned how to effectively explain her research to individuals from diverse majors and backgrounds in simplified terms, adding that, “This ability to bridge disciplines will prove invaluable in my future academic endeavors, enabling me to communicate effectively across various fields of study.” Manal also had the opportunity to moderate a student oral presentation session, where she connected with fellow undergraduate student researchers on their work in literature and human equality.

Events like NCUR foster communities catered to empowering students from all academic backgrounds. The KGSP supports its students as they showcase their achievements and engage with peers in environments that promote intellectual curiosity. The Program eagerly looks forward to supporting its student community as they continue to work towards their academic and professional goals, while contributing to the advancement of Saudi Arabia and the world.