UWinnipeg international student earns American pharmacognosy award
Dynamic and diverse, Mohamed Abo Aoun is a Palestinian international student at UWinnipeg in the Faculty of Science. He chose UWinnipeg for its affordability and class sizes. He is working towards a 4-year Science Honours degree in biopsychology, and a 3-year in chemistry, and has and has a fondness for endocrinology in addition to a passion for cancer research.
“I wanted something in the sciences and UWinnipeg has awesome research facilities and the research opportunities here are great,” shared Abo Aoun.
These research opportunities have paid off for Abo Aoun. He is a the recipient of the 2017 American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) Research Award. This scholarship, valued at USD $2,500, will allow him to work with Dr. Athar Ata, (chemistry). Abo Aoun will be involved in discovering new bioactive natural products from Sphaeranthus indicus, a medicinally important plant in cancer care.
“Mohamed won this award based on his research proposal and academic performance,” said Ata. “This prestigious award will allow Mohamed to carry out his research for discovering novel bioactive natural products and then he will present his data during next year’s ASP meeting at Lexington, Kentucky in 2018.”
Abo Aoun is also working with Dr. Bruce Bolster, (biopsychology). They are working on the contribution that the temporal lobes make to cognitive function in the brain with particular interest in the hippocampus, which is a structure that is critical to memory and navigational abilities. Using virtual environments, they will test patients in navigation tasks that mimic everyday life, with a view to predicting their ability to cope following brain surgery. They also use magnetic resonance imaging to examine brain structure and function before and after surgery.
“Mohamed will be involved in this research, in collaboration with a neurosurgeon, as his thesis project,” explained Bolster. “Mohamed is a distinguished student and brings exceptional skill to this project by virtue of his medical school training in Saudi Arabia. We are very excited to have him involved in this research.”
When asked on why he wants to do research he declares a love for the natural sciences, “I would like to contribute to the existing body of knowledge that we have,” shared Abo Aoun. “There is still so much more to learn!”
Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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