By founding the annual Medical Review School Conference series back in 2014, Doha College brought to the students of Qatar the opportunity to fuel their passion for science and medicine.
The conference, which operates in a competitive frame, invites students to present their medical and scientific research and gain invaluable feedback from peers and experts drawn from the Qatar medical community.
While historically bringing together hundreds of teams from across the country and beyond, this year’s pandemic-related restrictions meant that the competition was only open to Doha College students.
Even under these conditions, numerous teams took part in the process, 20 were shortlisted for the main event, and three won a chance to present their research to the external panel of judges.
The topics chosen for this year’s conference listed Technology in Medicine, The Impact of Corona, Therapies in Institutionalised Healthcare, Maxillofacial Care, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutics, and Medical Ethics. Adjudicating the competition was Dr James Laughton from the Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service and Dr Abdulrashid Siddique, senior consultant with the Primary Health Care Corporation.
After presentations, discussions and questions from teachers and students, three entries made it through to the final: one on epilepsy by Fawaz Shaikh and Abhinav Gudavalli; one on the treatment of paralysis by Judy Ahmed and Zainab Shabbir; and, lastly, one about ethics in the use of artificial intelligence by Laiba Qureshi, Ria Gokul and Mahroosh Naqvi.
After much deliberation by the judges, the winners were named as Judy Ahmed and Zainab Shabbir in Year 11. They impressed the panel with their ability to answer high-level medical questions. Their presentation was called ‘Reversing Paralysis: the Use of Dancing Molecules’, and it delved into the fascinating prospect of regaining the use of paralysed muscles – something once thought impossible.
Doha College’s principal, Dr Steffen Sommer, was delighted that the conference could run this year, following a break due to the pandemic: “The Medical Review Conference is one of the many big accolades of Doha College. The conference has gone from strength to strength and, prior to COVID-19, was attracting international teams in association with the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).
“Last week, we saw a return of the event with a vengeance. Sadly it could only be held internally for Doha College this year, but it was still a great success.
“Congratulations to the winning team, Judy and Zainab, from the entire community of Doha College. We look forward to opening up the event externally again in the future as restrictions ease, to set the scene for fine applications to medical courses across the globe.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Rachel Hart, biology teacher and coordinator of the event, commented: “It was with great pleasure we held the eighth annual Doha College Medical Review School Conference after a break last year due to the pandemic. We had a record number of DC students taking part who created some fascinating, well-researched presentations. Our judges were very impressed with the quality and level of detail. Congratulations to Judy and Zainab for winning the event!”
Apart from inspiring interest in a field with such promise and impact on people’s lives, participating in the conference also adds value to students’ applications to medical schools. Many Doha College students go on to study in reputable medical schools from around the world and count many top medical specialists among its alumni.