Posted on June 18, 2015

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), recently hosted two rounds of its acclaimed TECHtalk series. The discussions focused on ICT, and Smart Cities, as well as the impact of Innovative Genomics on personalised medicine in Qatar.

The TECHtalk series is just one example of QSTP’s efforts to promote innovation in key sectors, and are part of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development’s (QF) unique approach to research and development. By helping to deliver economic diversification and home-grown technologies that benefit Qatar and the rest of the world, QSTP is therefore supporting the Qatar National Vision 2030. The healthcare TECHtalk session was held under the title ‘New Genes: How Innovative Genetic-Based Services Can Change Our Lives’. 

The talk kicked off with guest speaker Prof Paolo Gasparini, Head of Experimental Genetics Division at Sidra Medical and Research Center, who gave a unique insight into the endless possibilities of applied genetics from both inside and outside of the laboratory. One of the top ten geneticists in the world, Prof Gasparini talked about the effect our genes can have on our diets and lifestyle. He shared research that showed how genetics can be responsible for our food choices and preferences, suggesting that knowledge arising from these studies will help in fighting diseases such as obesity and diabetes in Qatar.

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A panel discussion followed where Prof Gasparini was joined on stage by Prof Hilal Lashuel, Executive Director at Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), and Prof Pasquale Vito, Senior Scientist at the Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar. Widely-regarded as being at the forefront of innovative genetic based services in healthcare in Qatar, the three panellists contributed to a thought-provoking and insightful discussion.

Prof Lashuel said, "Qatar Science and Technology Park, through its TECHtalk series provides unique opportunities for the exchange of ideas on latest advances in science and medicine and their impact on the quality of our daily life and the healthcare system in the country. Through this talk we explored how advances in genome sequencing and the increasing accessibility of genome-based services are paving the way today for more personalized approaches to wellness, prevention and treatments. The ethical and legal challenges associated with the implementation of genomic-based services in Qatar and the region were also discussed and debated”.

It is clear that with such global experts at the forefront of this industry, leading the work being undertaken here, Qatar is taking a role in this emerging and exciting field, improving the future of healthcare and treatment in Qatar. QSTP’s ICT TECHtalk, entitled ‘Smart Cities: From Dream to Reality’, was also well-received by the audience and industry stakeholders. Bringing together a unique panel, the event emphasised the central role innovative technologies play in better serving individuals and communities, making the daily lives of residents easier.

QSTP TECHtalks A glimpse 3 [].jpgMr Mansoor Al Khater, Chief Strategy Officer at Ooredoo, opened as the keynote speaker and was later joined by a selection of experts for an in-depth panel discussion. The speakers included Engineer Waleed Al-Saadi, Utilities Director at Lusail Real Estate Development Company; Dr Thomas Groegler, Head of Innovation Centre at Siemens in Qatar; and Mr Abdulaziz Al-Khal, Chief Commercial Officer at Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC).

Al Khater said, "Qatar Science and Technology Park, through its TECHtalk, highlights some of the most important and trending topics, seeking to educate and encourage Qatari society to innovate and think about the future. This edition talked about Smart Cities, certainly one of today’s hot topics, as it can change the way we live and better Qatar’s future. In order to make the idea of a Smart City a reality, we must work together as one entity – public and private sectors – only collaboration can bring Smart Cities from being a dream or a vision to tangible reality"

Al-Saadi, Al-Khal, and Groegler echoed Al Khater’s points on the clear benefits of Smart Cities.  Each panellist emphasised the importance of making Smart Cities a national priority and agreed that institutions working together is a key ingredient in the success of Qatar’s Smart City ambitions. TECHtalks are one of QSTP’s free, flagship community initiatives providing the latest insights for members of Qatar’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.