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Queen Mary graduate finalist in British Council’s Entrepreneurial Awards

Dr Sakher AlQahtani, who graduated from Queen Mary University of London with an MClinDent in Paediatric Dentistry in 2008 and a PhD in 2012, was an Entrepreneurial Award Finalist in the British Council’s Alumni Awards 2018.

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Dr Sakher AlQahtani at the Study UK Alumni Awards
Dr Sakher AlQahtani at the Study UK Alumni Awards

The Study UK Alumni Awards ceremony was held on Monday 26 February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The evening aimed to honour the outstanding achievements made by UK alumni who are now business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders across the globe.

The first Forensic Odontologist in Saudi Arabia

Dr AlQahtani is the first Forensic Odontologist in Saudi Arabia and is currently Head of the Forensic Odontology Unit at King Saud University, where Queen Mary recently signed an MOU to jointly supervise female PhD students.

During his time at Queen Mary, Dr AlQahtani developed a new method to estimate dental age, called the ‘Atlas of Tooth Development and Eruption’. The tool has been translated into 22 languages and used by immigration control, forensic scientists, anthropologists and museums around the world.

Training of the 'highest standard'

Commenting on the development of Atlas and his time at Queen Mary, Dr AlQahtani said: “The initial idea came from my supervisor Dr Helen Liversidge, a world-renowned expert in dental age estimation, with the support of my second supervisor, Professor Mark Hector, who was also the Head of Department for Oral Growth and Development. The guidance they provided was essential for helping me to develop the Atlas to where it is today.

“The type and style of training I received at Queen Mary was of the highest standard. When my work started to receive international recognition, Queen Mary supported me in promoting the Atlas through international meetings and workshops, as well as creating a dedicated website for the Atlas and funding a software version that I designed during my PhD.”

'Embrace the diversity'

He added: “Queen Mary offers a new angle to the London experience, especially for an international student. My advice to current students would be to embrace the diversity of the university. The beautiful mix of east and west and the diversity in the community was palpable from the beginning. Respect for others, whomever they may be, was extremely evident. This really changed my view of the world and helped me adopt a new philosophy to life.”

Dr AlQahtani’s work has influenced young Saudis to study in his field, as well as in the UK, and he strives to increase that influence as he speaks worldwide and supervises Masters degrees internationally in his field.

Queen Mary currently has 107 students from Saudi Arabia; staff will be visiting the country in April and July for offer holder meetings and a potential alumni gathering.

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