Women in Science Hall of Fame – 2014

U.S. Embassy Amman’s Environment, Science, Technology and Health Office for the Middle East and North Africa launched the “Women in Science Hall of Fame” initiative in 2010 to honor outstanding women in science throughout the region. Women from a variety of scientific disciplines are recognized for their accomplishments and efforts to serve as role models for women and girls pursuing science education and careers. This year’s honorees are inspiring leaders in diverse fields, ranging from medicine, biotechnology, nanotechnology, chemistry, and genetics. We applaud them and all of the extraordinary achievements of women across the Middle East and North Africa.


February 2014, Algiers
Dr. Halima Benbouza, Director of the Biotechnology Research Center
Dr. Benbouza received her PhD in 2004 from the Gembloux Agro Bio-Tech University in Belgium, where she received the prestigious Eric Daugimont et Dominique Van der Rest Award. She is a lecturer at Batna University. In 2011, she was appointed by the Algerian government to be President of the Intersectoral Commission of Health and Life Science. Dr. Benbouza is a member of the Algerian National Council for Research Evaluation and of the Sectorial Permanent Board of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. In 2013, the Prime Minister appointed Dr. Benbouza to be the President of the steering committee of the Biotech Pharma Project in Algeria.

March 2014, Riyadh
H.E. Dr. Hayat Suliman Sindi, Founder and CEO of i2 and member of Shura Council
Dr. Sindi is one of the world’s leading biotechnologists and a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council. She is the founder of the i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity, a non-profit organization that seeks to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and social innovation for scientists, technologists and engineers in the Middle East. She earned her PhD in biotechnology, studying at King’s College London, Cambridge, MIT, and Harvard University. She is a co-founder of Diagnostics For All, which offers cost-effective point-of-care diagnostic tools to treat patients living beyond the reach of traditional medical infrastructure. She has been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a Global Ambassador for Vital Voices, one of the world’s “150 Fearless Women” by Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and one of the Most Powerful and Influential Arab Women by CEO magazine.

April 2014, Amman
H.E. Dr. Hayat Suliman Sindi, Founder and CEO of i2 and member of Shura Council
Dr. AbuHassan earned her PhD in physics from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom in 1987. She taught at the University of Jordan from1970 until she was appointed a Senator in 2011. Dr. AbuHassan pioneered the field of nanotechnology in Jordan and the Arab world through national, regional and international cooperation. She has focused on popularizing nanotechnology and helped organize a 2008 International Conference on Nanotechnology in Amman in collaboration with the U.S. National Science Foundation and the University of Illinois. Dr. AbuHassan holds three patents. In both her scientific and political careers, she has promoted high-technology research.

May 2014, Baghdad
Professor Dhuha Saad Saleh,Professor in Immunology & Pathogenic Bacteria, Department of Biology, University of Baghdad
Dr. Saleh earned her Masters and PhD from the University of Baghdad, after which she became the Head of the Biology Department from 2006 – 2009. She now sits on the administrative board of Laser institute for post-graduate studies. Dr. Saleh has published 39 papers and two books. Among her research is the first study on ozone application for microbial infection therapy in Iraq, studies on the effect of radiation pollution on immunity of Iraqi population, and studies on HPV virus and cervical histopathological changes in Iraqi women.

June 2014, Manama
Dr. Shaikha Al Arrayed, Head of the Genetic Department at Salmaniya Medical Complex
For almost 30 years, Dr. Al Arrayed has been working to fulfill her dream of both reducing the number of children suffering from genetic diseases, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia, and improving the standard of care for patients with these diseases. After earning a PhD in genetics from Aberdeen University, she began a campaign in 1984 to screen antenatal mothers, premarital couples, newborns, and students, followed by family counseling. As a result of her courageous efforts, the incidence of sickle cell disease in Bahrain has plummeted by 70 percent, thus saving thousands of lives.

July 2014, Kuwait
Dr. Huda Al-Duwaisan, Head of the Yarmouk Primary Health Care Clinic and Head of the Primary Health Care Faculty at the Kuwait Institution for Medical Specialization
The first physician in Kuwait to receive a fellowship in family medicine from the United Kingdom’s Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr. Al-Duwaisan is a graduate of Kuwait University’s College of Medicine and is currently the head of the Yarmouk Primary Health Care Clinic. A leader in efforts to promote public health throughout Kuwait, she initiated a novel childhood obesity prevention program in Yarmouk’s public schools, which was inspired and modeled after First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. She is also working to pilot the World Health Organization “Healthy City” model in Yarmouk. In addition to her duties at the Yarmouk Clinic, Dr. Al-Duwaisan is head of the Primary Health Care Faculty at the Kuwait Institute for Medical Specialization and also serves as a clinical tutor at Kuwait University. Her scholarly work has been published in local and regional journals.

August 2014, Amman
Professor Abeer Al Bawwab, Director of Hamdi Mango Center for Scientific Research and Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Jordan
Dr. Al Bawwab earned her Masters and PhD in applied physical chemistry from Clarkson University in 1997. She has published approximately 50 scientific articles in her field, and won several awards for her research. In 2011, she was honored with the Arab Women Award in Science and Technology for Development and distinguished researcher at the University of Jordan. In 2011, the Scientific Research Center Dr. Al Bawwab manages won the HRH Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal Award for Scientific Excellence.

September 2014, Rabat
Dr. Hassna Chennaoui, Professor of Geology and Geochemistry in the Hassan II University, Casablanca
Dr. Chennaoui obtained her PhD from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, and Hassan II University, Casablanca. Her research focuses on meteorites and impact craters. She has published and lectured extensively on these topics and promoted preservation of geologically important sites in Morocco. She is an active member of the council of the Meteoritical Society and other scientific societies. Dr. Chennaoui is currently organizing the “77th Meteoritical Society Meeting,” to be held in Casablanca in 2014.

October 2014, Muscat
Rayan Al-Kalbani, Co-Founder of Mazoon Environmental & Technological Services LLC
As a female scientific entrepreneur, Al-Kalbani’s passion for providing high-quality services to the Omani public and building capacity among young Omani graduates led her to establish her company, Mazoon Environmental & Technological Services LLC (METS). METS continues to be a successful emerging R&D and knowledge-based company in Oman that provides environmental biotechnological solutions and high-standard chemical and biological analytical services. Al-Kalbani, as co-founder and Executive Director, is an excellent example for all scientific entrepreneurs in Oman. METS received first place in Oman’s “Big Business Idea Competition” in 2008, and first place in “Intilaaqah’s Best Entrepreneur” in 2010. Rayan received her BSc in Chemistry in 2003 from Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, and MSc in Chemistry in 2005 from Freie Universitäte Berlin, Germany.

November 2014, Jerusalem
Dr. Wafa Hasan, Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering at Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron
Dr. Hasan obtained a BSc degree at An Najah University in Nablus in civil engineering, an MSc degree in Geo-Technical Engineering at the University of Durham in the U.K., and her PhD in Environment and Resources Management from Utah State University in 2007, where she helped develop tools to improve management of natural water resources. Dr. Hasan teaches courses at Palestinian Polytechnic University (PPU) on, water-resource systems, water-resources management, hydrology, water quality and geographical information systems. She is the only female Palestinian assistant professor at PPU, and encourages female students to seek professional and personal opportunities on par with their male counterparts. Dr. Hasan is working on a project in the Hebron region that uses solar energy to treat waste water for irrigation to enhance the agricultural capabilities of Palestinian women engaged in small-scale farming.

December 2014, Tel Aviv
Dr. Sara Abu Kaf, Clinical Psychology Researcher, Lecturer, And Mental Health Practitioner At Ben-Gurion University
Dr. Abu Kaf was the first woman in her Arab Bedouin village to attend university. She and her sister were the first women in their village to obtain doctoral degrees. Dr. Abu Kaf recently returned from a Fulbright scholarship for post-doctorate work at Harvard University in the United States. Based on her research with Bedouin women, Dr. Abu Kaf developed a mental health services model to better prevent and treat depression among vulnerable populations. She initiated an intervention program to address dropout rates within Bedouin society and is an active lecturer in the Conflict Resolution Program at Ben Gurion University.