The YJSTRC was established in 2003 by a generous donation from Mr. Yousef Jameel (’68 AUC Alumnus). At that time there were no research facilities in Egypt capable of developing micro/nanodevices. Mr. Jameel had the vision to create a center of excellence in the field of nanotechnology at AUC. To achieve this goal with the limited resources available, the faculty of the School of Sciences and Engineering formulated an initiative to realize that objective. Research facilities were carefully selected in a way that complements, rather than replicates, what is available at other world-class centers of excellence.
The first collaborative research project was done with the Interuniversity Microelectronics Center (IMEC), one of the biggest microelectronics centers in Europe. The success of the first project was manifested in a patent, which paved the way for several successful collaborative research projects that followed. As time evolved the facilities at the center began to develop gradually to include state-of-the-art fabrication and characterization facilities including a class-100 clean room equipped with full-scale fabrication tools, which is unique in Egypt. Using such a setup, together with the knowledge and expertise of the faculty, it became possible to expand our collaborative research with over twenty research institutions that are highly ranked in the world. Such institutions include Stanford University (USA), Kyoto University (Japan), Virginia Tech (USA), and the Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden).
The continuous success of the center also led to establishing a partnership agreement with King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Within this framework of collaboration, prospective KAUST researchers were trained at AUC and transferred the gained knowledge and know-how to establish similar expertise at KAUST in various fields of science and technology. This process opened channels of collaborative work between the two institutes. The initial success of this partnership was reflected in filing several patents related to the development of high performance miniaturized systems.
Along with another critical venue, the center played a major role in developing the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) research, which has an impact on more than 10 million patients in Egypt and 200 million worldwide. Cost-effective, sensitive diagnostic tests have been developed using the expertise available at the center. The Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) has supported activities related to this program, and several collaborations were established with international institutes and universities such as The National Institute of Material Science (NIMS) in Japan, De Nova Lisboa University in Portugal, VRIJE University in The Netherlands, and Orgen Health and Science University (USA).
The research activities conducted at the center are very diverse in nature, covering marine genomics, diagnostics and therapeutics, nanostructured materials, micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), and environmental engineering. This makes the center unique in the region and has attracted the attention of lots of local and international microelectronics, pharmaceutical and construction industries.
The principal investigators leading the research at YJSTRC have diverse backgrounds, including physicists, chemists, biologists, material scientists and engineers. Such diversity resulted in an interdisciplinary research environment which is the driving thrust of the center towards world-class accomplishments. To date, the research conducted at the center resulted in several patents that have been filed with the US patent office, with high commercial potential, enabling the center to bridge the gap and allowing more industrial engagement.
The center plays a major role in the development of the graduate programs at the School of Sciences and Engineering over the past five years. This includes master programs in Biotechnology, Food Chemistry and Nanotechnology in addition to the newly launched PhD program.
The center has, over the years, extended its activities to include research services, workshops and training for internal AUC researchers as well as external academic institutes and industries.