Sultan Qaboos University
  • Muscat, Muscat, Oman
Recent publications
Plastic and biomass waste pose a serious environmental risk; thus, herein, we mixed biomass waste with plastic bottle waste (PET) to produce char composite materials for producing a magnetic char composite for better separation when used in water treatment applications. This study also calculated the life cycle environmental impacts of the preparation of adsorbent material for 11 different indicator categories. For 1 functional unit (1 kg of pomace leaves as feedstock), abiotic depletion of fossil fuels and global warming potential were quantified as 7.17 MJ and 0.63 kg CO2 equiv for production of magnetic char composite materials. The magnetic char composite material (MPBC) was then used to remove crystal violet dye from its aqueous solution under various operational parameters. The kinetics and isotherm statistical theories showed that the sorption of CV dye onto MPBC was governed by pseudo-second-order, and Langmuir models, respectively. The quantitative assessment of sorption capacity clarifies that the produced MPBC exhibited an admirable ability of 256.41 mg g-1. Meanwhile, the recyclability of 92.4% of MPBC was demonstrated after 5 adsorption/desorption cycles. Findings from this study will inspire more sustainable and cost-effective production of magnetic sorbents, including those derived from combined plastic and biomass waste streams.
Using PMU data, the fault location algorithm has gradually been trended in the literature. Besides the optimality of the algorithm, the fault location application should directly receive the data of the faulty line from the PMU devices to have the best performance; using state estimation to create the input data of fault location algorithm not only wastes the golden time, but it also decreases the reliability. Given, it is not possible to install PMU devices in all buses of the system, it is better to install them for the lengthy lines having the most probability of the failure. Although various approaches have been presented in the literature to solve optimal PMU placement (OPP), the fault location observability has less been considered in OPP formulation Accordingly, this paper considers a new index, named fault location observability (FLO), as a second objective function in its OPP formulation. Using this index, in addition to minimizing PMU installation cost, the number of lengthy lines being directly observable are also maximized. Using the ɛ-constraint method, the multi-objective problem has been solved several times as single-objective optimizations. Given the constraints and objective functions are linear, the work presents a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) formulation for the placement problem. Using the GAMS under CPLEX solver, the global optimal solutions of MILP model corresponding to the various ɛ-constraints yields to a Pareto optimal front. The simulation results, next, implements the proposed method on the IEEE 300 bus test system as well as the practical OMAN grid to prove the effectiveness of the proposed method.
In modern agriculture, weed problems are predicted to worsen and become more complicated as a result of increasing invasiveness, herbicide resistance, and increased emphasis on high-input methods. Weeds cause huge economic yield losses that range from $100 million to $26 billion globally. The knowledge of weed science has offered success in the past through effective, reasonably priced, and secure technologies; specifically synthetic herbicides to effectively control weeds in agroecosystems. Weed science is accepted and adopted by most universities with teaching, research, and/or extension programs in agriculture. Globally, approximately 7% of all the universities offering agriculture education have specified weed science departments focusing on weed biology, ecology and weed management. Some universities also offer weed science degree programs or at least certain courses in their degrees related to associated disciplines such as plant protection, agronomy and ecology. Although substantial advancements have been made in weed science, such as a separate weed science discipline, specialized journals and specific weed science societies and conferences in weed science discipline worldwide, still, there are lots of constraints (for example, lack of trained weed scientists) and barriers to adoption of new weed-science technologies. Slow modernization in weed science research and low funding has slowed the progress of weed science. New curricula in the weed science discipline should focus on the role of biochemistry, evolutionary biology, molecular biology and genetics in weed science research.
Purpose: Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) has been associated with male infertility and poor outcomes of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The purpose of this study was to investigate global practices related to the management of elevated SDF in infertile men, summarize the relevant professional society recommendations, and provide expert recommendations for managing this condition. Materials and methods: An online global survey on clinical practices related to SDF was disseminated to reproductive clinicians, according to the CHERRIES checklist criteria. Management protocols for various conditions associated with SDF were captured and compared to the relevant recommendations in professional society guidelines and the appropriate available evidence. Expert recommendations and consensus on the management of infertile men with elevated SDF were then formulated and adapted using the Delphi method. Results: A total of 436 experts from 55 different countries submitted responses. As an initial approach, 79.1% of reproductive experts recommend lifestyle modifications for infertile men with elevated SDF, and 76.9% prescribe empiric antioxidants. Regarding antioxidant duration, 39.3% recommend 4-6 months and 38.1% recommend 3 months. For men with unexplained or idiopathic infertility, and couples experiencing recurrent miscarriages associated with elevated SDF, most respondents refer to ART 6 months after failure of conservative and empiric medical management. Infertile men with clinical varicocele, normal conventional semen parameters, and elevated SDF are offered varicocele repair immediately after diagnosis by 31.4%, and after failure of antioxidants and conservative measures by 40.9%. Sperm selection techniques and testicular sperm extraction are also management options for couples undergoing ART. For most questions, heterogenous practices were demonstrated. Conclusions: This paper presents the results of a large global survey on the management of infertile men with elevated SDF and reveals a lack of consensus among clinicians. Furthermore, it demonstrates the scarcity of professional society guidelines in this regard and attempts to highlight the relevant evidence. Expert recommendations are proposed to help guide clinicians.
  • Abdulrahman Essa Al Lily
    Abdulrahman Essa Al Lily
  • Abdelrahim Fathy Ismail
    Abdelrahim Fathy Ismail
  • Fathi Abunaser
    Fathi Abunaser
  • [...]
  • Ali Khalifa Atwa Abdullatif
    Ali Khalifa Atwa Abdullatif
This article explores the research question: ‘What are ChatGPT’s human-like traits as perceived by society?’ Thematic analyses of insights from 452 individuals worldwide yielded two categories of traits. Category 1 entails social traits, where ChatGPT embodies the social roles of ‘author’ (imitating human phrasing and paraphrasing practices) and ‘interactor’ (simulating human collaboration and emotion). Category 2 encompasses political traits, with ChatGPT assuming the political roles of ‘agent’ (emulating human cognition and identity) and ‘influencer’ (mimicking human diplomacy and consultation). When asked, ChatGPT confirmed the possession of these human-like traits (except for one trait). Thus, ChatGPT displays human-like qualities, humanising itself through the ‘game of algorithms’. It transcends its inherent technical essence and machine-based origins to manifest as a ‘semi-human’ living actor within human society, showcasing the emergence of semi-humans. Therefore, researchers should redirect their attention towards the ‘sociology of semi-humans’ (studying their socio-political traits) beyond the ‘biology of semi-humans’ (examining their technical traits). While medieval society was captivated by mythical semi-human beings (e.g. mermaids), modern society finds itself increasingly captivated by computational semi-human beings like ChatGPT. Ethical concerns arise as semi-humans impersonate human traits without consent or genuine human existence, blurring the boundaries between what is authentically and artificially ‘human’.
The purpose of this study is to utilize a Machine Learning-based methodology for predicting the key parameters contributing to severe COVID-19 cases among patients in Oman. To carry out the investigation, a comprehensive dataset of patient information, encompassing a range of blood parameters, was acquired from major government hospitals in Oman. Diverse machine learning algorithms were deployed to uncover underlying trends within the acquired dataset. The outcomes of this research delineated the determinants of severe cases into two categories: non-blood-related parameters and blood-related parameters. Among non-blood-related factors, advanced age, gender, and the presence of chronic kidney disease emerged as risk factors contributing to unfavorable prognoses, particularly in elderly patients. In the realm of blood parameters, male patients with blood types O-positive and A-positive exhibited heightened susceptibility to severe illness compared to their female counterparts. Additionally, deviations in Hemoglobin levels, Mean Cell Volume, and Eosinophil counts were identified as drivers of poor prognoses among elderly patients. The implications of these research findings extend to aiding healthcare decision-makers in quantifying the associated risks, health benefits, and cost-effectiveness pertaining to COVID-19. Furthermore, the acquired insights can empower decision-makers to refine the management of COVID-19, expediting treatment protocols and minimizing the risk of mortality. Interestingly, the study unveiled a correlation linking blood type to disease progression. A notable finding indicated that a staggering 96.5% of patients succumbed to the disease even when their blood sodium levels remained in the standard range of 136–145 mmol/L. These insights hold immense value for healthcare institution decision-makers, allowing a more in-depth evaluation of the risks, health benefits, and the cost-effectiveness related to COVID-19. Consequently, the findings offer a guiding light for implementing pivotal measures, optimizing treatment protocols, and substantially reducing mortality risks associated with the virus.
This research presents findings from a study focused on the Lower Triassic (Induan) Lower Mahil KS-1 Formation, situated on a homoclinal carbonate platform in Northern Oman. The sequence stratigraphy of this formation is characterized by a considerable thickness variation, slumps, and breccia deposits related to active normal faults coupled with intra-basin growth faults. The main objective was to establish a reliable stratigraphic framework for the Lower Mahil KS-1 Formation by integrating high-resolution carbon isotope data along with high-resolution spectral and total gamma-ray data. To achieve this, whole-rock samples were analyzed for δ13C and δ18O isotopes. Spectral and total gamma-ray records were obtained for the formation. Isotope sampling is conducted every 0.5 m in the Saiq Plateau and Wadi Sahtan sections. Furthermore, spectral gamma-ray measurements were taken at intervals of 10 cm from the logged sections. Within the third-order sequence, the spectral gamma-ray data revealed a distinct sea-level trend, leading to the division of KS1 into two different parts. Five fourth-order depositional sequences were identified by analyzing stable carbon isotopes, uranium, and total gamma-ray profiles. Four of these sequences displayed complete patterns, reflecting transgression and regression phases, while the fifth sequence was incomplete and solely comprised a transgressive phase. An essential outcome of the study is the correlation of the δ13C curve of the Lower Mahil KS-1 Formation with other similar formations around the Tethys region. This correlation indicates that the Lower Mahil KS-1 Formation captures the near-primary signal of carbon isotope variations in coeval seawater. As a result, it holds promise as a reference section for future investigations and studies in this field. Compared to the prior investigation, this study utilizes data with higher precision, capturing spectral gamma-ray measurements at 10 cm intervals and isotope measurements at 50 cm intervals. Furthermore, the study’s focus is confined explicitly to KS1.
Sediment contamination jeopardizes wetlands by harming aquatic organisms, disrupting food webs, and reducing biodiversity. Carcinogenic substances like heavy metals bioaccumulate in sediments and expose consumers to a greater risk of cancer. This study reports Pb, Cr, Cu, and Zn levels in sediments from eight wetlands in India. The Pb (51.25 ± 4.46 µg/g) and Cr (266 ± 6.95 µg/g) concentrations were highest in Hirakud, Cu (34.27 ± 2.2 µg/g) in Bhadrak, and Zn (55.45 ± 2.93 µg/g) in Koraput. The mean Pb, Cr, and Cu values in sediments exceeded the toxicity reference value. The contamination factor for Cr was the highest of the four metals studied at Hirakud (CF= 7.60) and Talcher (CF = 6.97). Furthermore, high and moderate positive correlations were observed between Cu and Zn (r= 0.77) and Pb and Cr (r = 0.36), respectively, across all sites. Cancer patients were found to be more concentrated in areas with higher concentrations of Pb and Cr, which are more carcinogenic. The link between heavy metals in wetland sediments and human cancer could be used to make policies that limit people’s exposure to heavy metals and protect their health.
Tuberculosis (TB) originating from expatriates that hail from high TB-burden countries is hypothesized to play a role in continued TB transmission in Oman. Here, we used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to assess national TB transmission dynamics. The annual incidence per 100,000 population per year was calculated for nationals and expatriates. A convenience sample of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) isolates from 2018 to 2019 was sequenced and analyzed with publicly available TB sequences from Bangladesh, Tanzania, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan. Relatedness was assessed by generating core-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) distances. The incidence of TB was five cases per 100,000 persons in 2018 and seven cases per 100,000 persons in 2020 ( R ² = 0.34, P = 0.60). Incidence among nationals was 3.9 per 100,000 persons in 2018 and 3.5 per 100,000 persons in 2020 ( R ² = 0.20 , P = 0.70), and incidence among expatriates was 7.2 per 100,000 persons in 2018 and 12.7 per 100,000 persons in 2020 ( R ² = 0.74, P = 0.34). Sixty-eight local MTB isolates were sequenced and analyzed with 393 global isolates. Isolates belonged to nine distinct spoligotypes. Two isolates, originating from an expatriate and an Omani national, were grouped into a WGS-based cluster (SNP distance < 12), which was corroborated by an epidemiological investigation. Relatedness of local and global isolates (SNP distance < 100) was also seen. The relatedness between MTB strains in Oman and those in expatriate countries of origin can aid inform TB control policy. Our results provide evidence that WGS can complement epidemiological analysis to achieve the End TB strategy goal in Oman. IMPORTANCE Tuberculosis (TB) incidence in Oman remains above national program control targets. TB transmission originating from expatriates from high TB-burden countries has been hypothesized to play a role. We used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to assess TB transmission dynamics between expatriates and Omani nationals to inform TB control efforts. Available Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from 2018 to 2019 underwent WGS and analysis with publicly available TB sequences from Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan to assess for genetic relatedness. Our analysis revealed evidence of previously unrecognized transmission between an expatriate and an Omani national, which was corroborated by epidemiological investigation. Analysis of local and global isolates revealed evidence of distant relatedness between local and global isolates. Our results provide evidence that WGS can complement classic public health surveillance to inform targeted interventions to achieve the End TB strategy goal in Oman.
Cross-efficiency (CE) evaluation is an extension of the data envelopment analysis approach that allows decision making units (DMUs) to assess their peers by means of their own appreciation weights. As a result, each DMU is presented with a vector of CE scores, which need to undergo an aggregation operation to yield the ultimate ranking score. The aggregation is commonly carried out through an appropriate aggregation operator. In this paper, we propose an induced ordered weighted averaging (IOWA) operator with dual preference setting (2-IOWA) as a new aggregation device. The 2-IOWA aggregation novelty resides in its twined order inducing variables, which are defined by exploiting exclusively the appreciative properties of the CE matrix. The first-order inducing variable is the voting rank order that characterizes the preference voting system embedded within the CE matrix. The corresponding IOWA-level 1 aggregation produces a composite vote for each DMU by employing as arguments the individual votes assigned to it. The second-order inducing variable is represented by these composite votes, which are adopted to induce a common order on the rows of the CE matrix as a part of the IOWA-level 2 aggregation. The 2-IOWA aggregation process is conducted with OWA weights that are generated through different minimax disparity models by using different optimism level values in order to corroborate the influence of subjectivity on the structure of the ranking patterns besides evaluating the robustness of the proposed methodological framework.
The recent pandemic has caused many negative effects on businesses across the world. However, at the same time, it has opened new business opportunity windows leading to accelerated and robust competition. The negative consequences of COVID-19 were observed primarily in service sectors and digital agencies. As agencies use media and technology, they are pushed to fierce competition. In order to sustain their businesses, digital agencies sought better ways for innovation that will lead to sustainable competitive advantage. In this context, the study aims to identify the value proposition design of digital agencies identified as startups in Indonesia by developing a value map and making it fit customer profiles. The research employs qualitative methods using a case study approach. It focuses on one of the cases of a digital agency that failed due to the unclear business model and the difficulty of creating a value map and customer profile. The results of the study reveal that there is a discrepancy between each value created and consumer complaints and expectations. This research contributes to the theory of better understanding the base of the value proposition. At the same time, the study proposes a new value for a startup business to increase business competitiveness.
Background Post-laparoscopic shoulder pain is very common after laparoscopy. One method to reduce postoperative shoulder pain is the pulmonary recruitment maneuver. It is used to reduce post-laparoscopic shoulder pain. This study utilizes a truly experimental, double-blinded, prospective randomized design to assess the effect of pulmonary recruitment maneuvers on post-laparoscopic shoulder pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Methods Sixty patients were allocated randomly into two groups. The intervention group received five manual pulmonary inflations for 5 s at a maximum pressure of 25 cm H2O. The control group included patients whose residual CO2 gas was evacuated from the abdominal cavity using passive exsufflation as the routine method at the end of surgery by abdominal massage. Gentle abdominal pressure was applied to facilitate CO2 gas removal. Results When Ramsay's Sedation Score’s results were compared between the two groups after the operation, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups during the first and (p value = 0.20) second (p value = 0.61) hours. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed that the pulmonary recruitment maneuver is significant (p-value 0.001) and had a high effect size (0.527) in reducing shoulder pain among laparoscopic cholecystectomy patients after controlling the effect of other covariate patient characteristics. Conclusion Utilizing a pulmonary recruitment maneuver at the end of laparoscopic surgery reduces shoulder pain.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic became superimposed on the pre-existing obesity and diabetes mellitus (DM) pandemics. Since COVID-19 infection alters the metabolic equilibrium, it may induce pathophysiologic mechanisms that potentiate new-onset DM, and we evaluated this issue. A systematic review of the literature published from the 1 January 2020 until the 20 July 2023 was performed (PROSPERO registration number CRD42022341638). We included only full-text articles of both human clinical and randomized controlled trials published in English and enrolling adults (age > 18 years old) with ongoing or preceding COVID-19 in whom hyperglycemia was detected. The search was based on the following criteria: “(new-onset diabetes mellitus OR new-onset DM) AND (COVID-19) AND adults”. Articles on MEDLINE (n = 70) and the Web of Science database (n = 16) were included and analyzed by two researchers who selected 20 relevant articles. We found evidence of a bidirectional relationship between COVID-19 and DM. This link operates as a pathophysiological mechanism supported by epidemiological data and also by the clinical and biological findings obtained from the affected individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic raised the incidence of DM through different pathophysiological and psychosocial factors.
The production of biocomposite materials based on recycled plastic polymers and agro-residues has been accelerated since it meets significant ecological and circular economic requirements. However, manufacturers are still facing many challenges related to the preparation, production, and performance of these materials. Improving the performance of the final biocomposites is drastically influenced by the fiber pretreatment and the functionalization of recycled polymers. They enhance the efficient crosslinking and bonding between the two main components of biocomposites. Therefore, we investigate compatibility problems linked to using natural fillers as reinforcement material for recycled plastic polymers. Furthermore, we provide comprehensive analyses related to mechanical, morphological, physical, and thermal properties of several types of recycled-based biocomposites. After that, we conclude the chapter by providing enriched discussions of the present hurdles and potential future approaches that interested researchers may take in order to fill the gap between exploration and application of this class of materials.
Spacecraft (satellite) formation has several applications in space exploration. Synchronization controllers are essential in satellite formation systems. This article proposes a novel robust adaptive synchronization control (RASC) technique for two identical three-dimensional chaotic satellite systems attitude synchronization with an unknown system parameter, unknown bounded model uncertainties, unknown external disturbances, and nonlinear terms. This controller achieves smooth error vector convergence to zero. The closed-loop has a robust performance as the controller avoids plant nonlinear terms cancellation. This controller has two parts. (i) A nonlinear controller for keeping the closed-loop stable; it flourishes robust and faster error vector convergence to zero with reduced fluctuations. (ii) An adaptive nonlinear controller that compensates exogenous disturbances and model uncertainties using online estimations of model uncertainties and bounds. The Lyapunov stability theory assures the closed-loop's global asymptotic robust stability. Computer simulation results-based analysis verifies the theoretical findings. The article includes a comparative study and discusses the control effort saturation effects.
We evaluated the genetic structure and ecological niche segregation of Apis florea Fabricius 1787 (Apidae: Apini) across its native range using genetic and ecological niche data. The bee samples were from 62 colonies representing 40 localities across Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Oman, and Egypt. Ecological niche divergence was estimated based on a principal component analysis of climatic/ecological variables. We confirmed the presence of two distinct lineages (eastern and western) for the species using mtDNA. There was no significant climatic heterogeneity between the lineages and their ecological niches are likely to be somewhat conserved. They were probably separated from each other during the Pleistocene and evolved in isolation. The two lineages of A. florea can be considered separate conservation units and used to develop strategies for effectively conserving this keystone pollinator species in Asia.
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Elnazir Ramadan
  • Department of Geography
Ken Masters
  • Medical Education and Informatics (College of Medicine and Health Sciences)
Rachid Sbiaa
  • Department of Physics
Ftwi Yohaness Hagos
  • Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Daniel Menezes-Blackburn
  • Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering SQU
College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, 123, Muscat, Muscat, Oman
Head of institution
Dean, CAMS Professor Anvar Kacimov
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