Qatar Precision Health Institute's 'Genome Heroes' App Takes Center Stage At National Science Research And Innovation Week (NSRIW)


December 14, 2023


Empowering Tomorrow’s Scientists: QPHI’s Educational App Inspires Young Minds at NSRIW 2023

The Qatar Precision Health Institute (QPHI), a national center for research and implementation under Qatar Foundation, showcased its innovative mobile game application, ‘Genome Heroes,’ at the National Science Research and Innovation Week 2023 (NSRIW), held by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education under the theme “Promising Researchers for Qatar”, in collaboration with the Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation (QRDI) Council. Developed by QPHI’s Qatar Genome Programme and Qatar Biobank in collaboration with students from Qatar Foundation schools, the app captivated participants with its unique approach to teaching genomics.

The Genome Heroes app gained significant attention and recognition at the National Science Research and Innovation Week, inaugurated by the Minister of Education and Higher Education, HE Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi. The event, themed “Promising Researchers for Qatar,” provided a platform for QPHI to present its engaging educational tool designed to introduce children to the world of cells, DNA, and heredity.

The week, spanning from November 20 to November 23, aimed to encourage and develop Qatari student talents in research and innovation across various educational stages. Attended by students from schools across Qatar, it served as an effective platform to introduce young scientific minds to the Genome Heroes app and instill knowledge about the human body’s genetic makeup, introducing them to advanced topics like precision medicine in an informative, engaging, and interactive manner.

During the week, students actively engaged with the ‘Genome Heroes’ app. They participated in hands-on learning opportunities, exploring the app, extracting DNA from bananas, playing matching games related to heredity and genes, and providing valuable feedback based on their experiences.

The game, stemming from a glocalized approach, introduces children to the world of genomics. The app is tailored for two age groups: children aged between 6 to 9 years and those above 9 years of age. Keeping in mind their target audience, the developers of the app made school students in Qatar an integral part of the app development process, with over 120 students actively involved in the development process.

Dima Darwish, Genomics Education expert at the Qatar Genome and the creator of the game, emphasized the importance of gamification in education, citing research and experimental psychology. She said: “Watching our students interact with ‘Genome Heroes’ at NSRIW was a truly remarkable and rewarding experience. The exceptional level of enthusiasm from the students and their genuine interest in the app and the concepts it imparts reflects not only a hunger for knowledge but also a passion for exploring the wonders of genomics.

“We are planning further events across schools in Qatar to showcase our application and the commitment of QPHI and Qatar Foundation to advancing genomic education and fostering the next generation of scientific thinkers,” she further said.

Genome Heroes is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play in both Arabic and English.