The College of Science at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) approved five MA theses in Biology. The first thesis titled ‘An Assessment of DNA Extraction Protocols for Herbarium Specimen: The Case of UAEU Herbarium’ by Mouza Alshehhi. The study aimed to find the best method to isolate DNA through collecting samples from the university’s herbarium and compare them with fresh samples in term of DNA. The genes ‘matk’ and ‘rbd’ were isolated and edited in order to enhance the plant’s production and growth in high temperature and soil salinity.
Ala’a Abdel Rahim defended the thesis titled ‘Modelling the Microenvironment of Liver Cancer Using 3D Culture System’. The main objective of this thesis is to create an in-vitro model of liver cancer microenvironment that better recapitulates in vivo settings. The proposed model is based on three-dimensional co-culture system of liver cancer cells and non-malignant fibroblasts.
The UAEU student, Asma Alrashdi, presented her thesis addressing ‘Anti-Colon Cancer Effect of Origanum Majorana Essential Oil’. The study showed that O. majorana essential oil inhibited the proliferation of HT-29 and Caco-2 colon cancer cell lines in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Colony formation assay illustrated that O. majorana essential oil reduced the ability of HT-29 to form colonies, and when established colonies were treated with the essential oil, it showed that the treatment was able to reduce colonies’ size at low concentrations while at higher concentrations the oil was able to completely eliminate the already formed colonies.
The fourth thesis titled ‘Transcriptomic Analysis on Hepatocellular Carcinoma Model in Response to Safranal Treatment’ presented by Badriya Baik, who discussed how her study investigates HCC response to safranal’s treatment via transcriptomic approach as Saffron (which is included in Zafaran) and its bioactive phytochemicals possess promising anti-cancer activities.
Mariam Alzaabi defended her thesis titled ‘Screening, Molecular Cloning and Functional Analysis of Salt overly Sensitive Pathway Genes from Native Plants of the United Arab Emirates’. She isolated the SOS pathway genes (SOS1, SOS2, SOS3) from the halophytes, each of which has its unique structure that may give insights into developing new crops via genetic engineering, including gene editing. These genes enhance the plants’ tolerance to difficult weather and high salinity and make them productive plants.
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