When Zaina Nael Numan and Reem Salah AlAnsari signed up for LabQ, the first-of-its-kind inter-college quiz competition hosted by Medlab Middle East 2023, little did they know that their scientific knowledge and experience would lead them to victory. The students represented the Medical Laboratory Sciences department at the University of Sharjah and competed against some of the top young minds in the UAE in the subjects of pathology and laboratory medicine.
“I can honestly say that it was one of the most taxing yet most fulfilling challenges I have taken on in my college years,” said AlAnsari, who is currently in her final year of Medical Laboratory Sciences. “The hours of studying and staying up late at night on campus revising all paid off when we saw our winning score.”
Zaina Nael Numan and Reem Salah AlAnsari
According to Numan, participating in the LabQ competition was an unforgettable experience. “The competition allowed us to showcase our knowledge and skills in medical laboratory sciences, and to learn from others as well. It was rewarding to see how our hard work paid off in the end. LabQ competition was a great experience that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I am grateful for this opportunity,” she said. Numan is also in her last year of university as a medical laboratory scientist.
When asked about what inspired the duo to join the first edition of LabQ, Dr. Mohamed Madkour, Ph.D., Clinical & Molecular Biochemistry, Assistant Professor of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health Sciences at the University of Sharjah, said that it was the genuine intention behind the competition, which is to foster connections between colleges and programmes and create an interface for ‘the exchange of science, for the betterment of science’.
“Meeting our colleagues in a setting built for medical laboratory scientists and getting to see the knowledge that the next generation possesses raised our curiosities and motivated us to participate,” he added.
Dr. Madkour played a crucial role in preparing the students for the competition. Aside from holding different academic positions at Qatar University and the University of Sharjah in the last 15 years, he possesses training experience in clinical medical laboratories — specifically in molecular genetics techniques and their application in different types of diseases — as well as a clinical biochemistry lab. He was also part of the infectious disease lab in the WHO Reference Laboratories and serves as an editorial board member and reviewer for several Molecular Biochemistry journals.
Dr. Mohamed Madkour with the award
Dr. Madkour not only lent his knowledge and expertise in the field to help the students gain confidence but also helped them obtain the right resources to explore various topics during their study sessions. The team also took part in bi-weekly meetings to evaluate their progress and clear doubts.
“The minute the results were revealed after the final round, I was overwhelmed by a combination of happiness, delight, relief, and pride in my students and their accomplishment. This win proves that the oldest programme of Medical Laboratory Sciences in the UAE – which is the one at the University of Sharjah – has a strong curriculum and produces students that can compete with their peers in the global market,” he added.
As part of the prize, the young champions and Dr. Madkour will embark on an all-expenses-paid educational trip to Medlab Asia 2023, which is set to take place from August 16 to 18 in Bangkok, Thailand. There, they will have the opportunity to interact with fellow scientists from across the globe, expand their network, and discover the latest innovations in the medical laboratory field.
“I hope that I can carry all the knowledge I have gained with me through my next challenge, whether that be serving my community in a hospital laboratory or continuing my studies in the future,” said Al Ansari.
Speaking about her future goals, Numan is excited to pursue a master’s degree in medical laboratory sciences after graduation. “My passion for the field has grown tremendously over the years, and I am eager to deepen my knowledge and skills by delving further into the field. This decision was largely influenced by my professor Dr. Madkour, who has been a great mentor and guide throughout my academic journey. I am confident that pursuing a master’s degree will help me achieve my long-term goals, as my ultimate aspiration is to use my education and research to make a positive impact on the field of medical laboratory sciences.”
This article appears in Omnia Health magazine. Read the full issue online today.