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Workshop to be held before ‘Genes in Space’ competition

The free workshop will be held at the Emirates College for Advanced Education in Abu Dhabi on the 22nd of August. Registered participants will have the opportunity to perform a DNA experiment in a lab using miniPCR technology

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Nov. 23, 2014:   (R) The National's Editor in Chief Mohammed al Otaiba talks with Barry Bremner the General Manager of Zayed Sports City (left) duirng their interview on Sunday,  Nov. 23, 2014, at the paper's offices in Abu Dhabi. (Silvia Razgova / The National) Usage: RESTRICTED, Section: ADM Reporter: standalone

A one-day workshop for high school teachers and students will be held in advance of the ‘Genes in Space’ competition. The workshop will provide an inside look at the scientific challenges of analysing DNA in space. Contest applications will open at genesinspace.org/UAE on Sept. 1.

The free workshop will be held at the Emirates College for Advanced Education in Abu Dhabi on the 22nd of August. Registered participants will have the opportunity to perform a DNA experiment in a lab using miniPCR™ technology, a highly accessible DNA discovery system.

The workshop will provide students and teachers from across the country with the knowledge to create a winning submission for the ‘Genes in Space’ competition.

Mohammed Al Otaiba, Editor-in-Chief of The National, said: “This workshop and the competition will help encourage the students graduating from UAE schools to explore space sciences, biology and other scientific and technical fields.”

“The National consistently works to support community development and advance social responsibility, and we are therefore committed to supporting national innovation initiatives and increasing awareness about the latest space science and technology. Initiatives, such as the Genes in Space competition, contribute to Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and UAE Vision 2021 by advancing the UAE on the world stage,” added Al Otaiba.

Sheikha Al Maskari, Chief Innovation Officer at the UAE Space Agency, said: “From its very inception the UAE Space Agency has sought to promote a culture of innovation and scientific research among school students throughout the UAE, and what better way to do this than through a competition like ‘Genes in Space’ which inspires students to study space sciences and its applications.”

“This workshop will bring huge benefits to those participating in the competition, contribute to an increase in the number of presentations submitted, and inevitably motivate participants to lead the national space sector in the future,” added Al Maskari.

Peter McGrath, Director of Global Sales and Marketing at Boeing’s Space Exploration Division, said: “We have witnessed teachers and students excel during similar workshops in the United States during the U.S. branch of the contest. We are committed to the competition in the UAE and we want to see potential participants receive the unique knowledge and experience in gene research and space sciences in order to submit strong proposals.”

The National, the UAE Space Agency, and Boeing collaborated to bring the ‘Genes in Space’ competition to the UAE. The winning team will travel to the United States to watch their experiment be rocket-launched into space where astronauts will conduct the experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS).

The competition invites students to design an experiment that addresses real challenges in space exploration by creating a DNA experiment using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The contest is open to students from grades 7 to 12, who are able to work individually or in groups of up to four. They will receive mentoring and advice from scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University as well as Khalifa University.