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AUB professors snap up 2013 national research excellence awards
2/13/2014
   |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
AUB professors snap up 2013 national research excellence awards

[L-R] Beydoun, Masri, Nasri and Farran

Photo courtesy of Assafir newspaper, February 12, 2014; photo taken by Mustapha Jamaleddine

Would you hop on a plane if you knew there were bugs in the software controlling it?
 
Do you enjoy 3-D movies, computer games, or using virtual fitting rooms when you shop online?
 
Wouldn’t you prefer that the price of one kilogram of chicken be lowered enough to feed more people?
 
Don’t you wish that epilepsy were better understood?
 
Well, four professors from AUB have been looking for solutions related to these questions through research they did on software reliability, 3-D computer graphics software, food science and agriculture, and neurology.
 
In fact, their research landed them the 2013 CNRS Annual Research Excellence Award, in three categories: information technology, shared by Wassim Masri from engineering and Ahmad Nasri from computer science; food security, won by Mohammad Farran from agriculture, and neurology, won by Dr. Ahmad Beydoun from AUBMC. The award is administered by the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS).
 
The four professors were among 28 candidates nominated for the award, which recognizes scientists who have excelled in conducting research in various scientific disciplines in Lebanon. The four came with other nominees to the official awards ceremony, which was held at Phoenicia Hotel on February 10, 2014; but they, alone, left with all the prizes.
 
AUB President Peter Dorman congratulated the professors on their achievements, adding: “AUB is working on a master plan to expand its research capacities in the coming years, while focusing on issues that matter to the region.”
 
The ceremony was attended by outgoing Higher Education Minister Hassan Diab, CNRS President Mouin Hamze, Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Morabito as well as other dignitaries.
 
“What is severely lacking in the software industry today are the means to producing safer, more reliable and more secure software for critical environments, in the fields of medicine, avionics, and finance,” said Masri. My research aims to ensure that people are safe when undergoing a CT scan or traveling by plane, for example. It also makes sure that the integrity and privacy of critical systems are not compromised, such as in stock trading applications and ATM machines. This can only be done by making software systems more reliable, safer, and more secure, and my research contributes to that.”
 
Meanwhile, Nasri emphasized that the world is digitally moving from 2D to 3D. Scanners, printers and display devices are becoming 3D. Through his research, Nasri aims to develop simpler 3-D computer graphics software to design 3D models for various applications such as 3-D movies, computer games, computer animation, virtual fitting rooms, digital arts, 3D medical imaging, or flight simulations.
 
“The CNRS award is a beacon of recognition of our research efforts and sacrifices, in a country where resources are limited and priorities are not on research,” said Nasri.

For Farran, his focus was on producing better quality animal feed for poultry, which, in turn, would lead to more nutritious chickens, thus feeding more people.
In particular, he is studying various locally-grown, water-efficient crops, such as barley and safflower, to replace the imported soybean animal meal. By reducing the cost of animal feed and enhancing the nutrient-content of poultry, agricultural production could be increased and poverty and hunger alleviated.
 
“Due to limited and dwindling resources for research, I would hope for more inter-university collaboration among Lebanese and foreign universities,” said Farran.

Dr. Baydoun could not be reached for this article.

Story Highlights
  • The research of four professors from AUB landed them the 2013 CNRS Annual Research Excellence Award, in three categories: information technology, shared by Masri from engineering and Nasri from computer science; food security, won by Farran from agriculture, and neurology, won by Beydoun from AUBMC
  • Dorman congratulated the professors on their achievements, adding: “AUB is working on a master plan to expand its research capacities in the coming years, while focusing on issues that matter to the region”
 
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