Center for Biotechnology (BTC)

Expo Live Awards 3 KU Student Teams for Innovative Projects

December 21, 2018

GenoMatch, Karbooj, and Thyroid on a ChiP Selected for Potential to Address Global Challenges

Three student teams from Khalifa University were among the 28 teams from 16 universities that secured funding and support through Expo 2020 University Innovation Program (UIP) Expo Live.

The teams – GenoMatch, Karbooj, and Thyroid on a ChiP – submitted their innovative ideas on Expo 2020’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. Expo Live’s UIP seeks to incentivize creative thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration between university students to address important global challenges. It awards grants to promising concepts that are relevant to the UAE and region so they can be accelerated, validated and prototyped.

GenoMatch, which was developed by Hasan Alattas and Halima Alnaqbi under the mentorshp of KU faculty Dr. Habiba Alsafar, is focused on developing a method to more easily identify compatible organ donors for transplant patients in the UAE. Karbooj — which has among its members Hanin Abu Alrub, Shaza Karaman, and Wafa Alyammahi, and was guided by KU faculty Dr. Hadi Otrok and Dr. Rabeb Mizouni — is a mobile game designed to reduce childhood obesity. Thyroid on a ChiP is a test to help people make decisions that prevent and/or treat thyroid cancer, and was developed by Fatima Yousif Alshamsi, Sarah Ismail Alali, Tamader Omar Alhouqani, and Amna Nasser Ahli, with guidance by Dr. Habiba Alsafar.

The three KU teams, along with the other selected teams, will receive a receive grant of up to AED50,000 to advance their ideas after participating in the second cycle of the UIP, which was conducted by Expo Live with the support of the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. They will also receive guidance from Expo Live to advance research and development, create a business model, grow their team and potentially partner with other entities. Grantees may even have the chance to showcase their innovations to millions of people at Expo 2020 Dubai.

His Excellency Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, said: “The creative solutions submitted to Expo Live as part of the University Innovation Program are a testament to the pioneering capabilities of UAE youth. It is young people with enterprising minds and an innovative outlook who will be responsible for leading the country’s transformation into a knowledge economy and in meeting the aspirations of the leadership towards UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial 2071.

“The caliber of projects selected during the program’s second cycle reflects the high standard of tertiary education in the UAE and I sincerely congratulate each and every awardee for their hard work and achievements. My colleagues and I are extremely keen to see how their innovations will progress on the journey to Expo 2020 and beyond.”

Yousuf Caires, Vice President of Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This program epitomizes Expo 2020’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and it is truly exciting to witness first-hand the levels of innovation that are being cultivated among university students here in the UAE. Young innovators who secured Expo Live’s support as part of the UIP’s first cycle are already advanced in developing creative solutions to global challenges that impact our region. We look forward to working closely with grantees from the second cycle as they take their projects to
the next level, and we cannot wait to see how they turn their ideas and prototypes into reality.”

More than 500 student groups from 57 universities across the UAE submitted applications as part of the UIP’s second cycle, with proposed solutions addressing at least one of Expo 2020’s three key subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. Finalists pitched their projects to a panel of judges at the Expo 2020 Dubai Visitor Center.

The GenoMatch team said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive Expo Live’s support as it will help us bring our solution to life. It is so exciting to have an idea with the potential to save lives, and we have now secured the funding and guidance necessary to advance our vision.”

Applications were evaluated by a panel of judges from Expo 2020, its commercial partners and other stakeholders. Representatives from DP World, Emirates Airline, Emirates NBD, PepsiCo, SAP and Siemens offered feedback to each of the finalists on how they could improve and advance their proposed solutions.

The 28 projects selected join the 19 groups that secured support during the UIP’s first cycle, meaning that Expo Live has now committed grants, guidance and exposure to 47 student teams from across the UAE. Expo Live is a USD100 million innovation and partnership program launched by Expo 2020 Dubai to make a lasting social impact by funding, accelerating and promoting creative solutions that improve lives or preserve the
planet, or both.

Based on the belief that innovation can come from anywhere to everyone, Expo Live will continue to deploy a combination of grants, challenges, university programmes and knowledge-sharing events on the journey to 2020.

To learn more about the University Innovation Programme, or to find out about Expo Live’s other initiatives, visit

20 December 2018

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