Attendees at the first UAE Space Life Sciences meeting in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) hosted the first UAE Space Life Sciences meeting bringing together members of the scientific community. Attended by professors and researchers from local and international universities, the meeting covered a range of topics including a comprehensive overview of the historic longest Arab space mission undertaken by Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, along with a look into the Centre’s Space Life Sciences Programmes, as well as presentations from research collaborators.

Al Neyadi returned to Earth on September 4 after successfully completing the mission which also saw him become the first Arab to perform a spacewalk. Al Neyadi had participated in over 200 experiments during his six-month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The meeting was attended by esteemed institutions such as Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), American University of Sharjah (AUS), Khalifa University (KU), and the University of Malta.

During the event, attendees were introduced to UAE Mission 2, which detailed Al Neyadi’s mission to the ISS. The session provided a thorough overview of his mission, explored the science investigations he undertook, and highlighted the educational significance of his journey.

The researchers present were also made familiar with the research study application form related to this mission.

Diverse future programmes

In another session during the day, the Centre’s dedication to advancing space life sciences was emphasised through insights into their diverse programmes. This included the ambitious UAE Astronaut Program Research (UAEAP) Grants and their collaborative venture with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for the Protein Crystal Growth Program.

Furthermore, the meeting provided a platform for MBRSC’s research collaborators to showcase their contributions. The Maleth Programme, which champions life science research in space, was a noteworthy highlight, MBRSC stated.

The UAEAP Research Grants Programme collaborators presented their innovative projects—the Human Physiology Project and the Oral Health Project, both managed by MBRU. Collaborative efforts in the Protein Crystal Growth Programme were also showcased, featuring studies like the protein molecule GIRK2 by MBRU and research on the seeded crystallszation of Furin spearheaded by KU.