Women in Science Hall of Fame – 2015

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.


Embassy Abu Dhabi honors Dr. Maryam Matar Founder and Chairperson at UAE Genetic Diseases Association
Dr. Matar founded the UAE Genetic Diseases Association in 2006 and she is the Deputy Chairperson of Dubai Cares, an organization that works to improve children’s access to quality primary education in developing countries.  In 2014, Dr. Matar was named one of the most influential women scientists in the Islamic World by UK based Muslim Science magazine, and she ranked 41st  in CEO Middle East magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Arab Women.  In 2012, she was selected by the Arab League’s Scientific and Humanitarian Development Program of the Arab Women Organization as Ambassador of Goodwill for Women and Children.

Embassy Amman honors Dr. Rana Dajani Associate Professor Molecular Cell Biology at the Hashemite University
An advocate for the theory of biological evolution and Islam, Dr. Dajani’s research focuses on genome-wide association studies concerning diabetes, cancer and stem cells.  She advocated the establishment of the law for stem cell research and therapy in Jordan, which is the first such regulation in the Arab and Islamic region.  She is a 2014 Eisenhower Fellow, and in 2014 Dr. Dajani was named one of the most influential women scientists in the Islamic World by UK based Muslim Science magazine and ranked 13 in CEO Middle East magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Arab Women. Dr. Dajani is also founder and President of “We Love Reading”, an initiative to create a library in every neighborhood at Mosques to encourage both parents and children to enjoy reading together.

Embassy Beirut honors Dr. Nisrine Machaka-Houri Plant Researcher
Dr. Machaka-Houri is not only an environmentalist at heart but a very accomplished plant researcher with over 14 years of experience.  She received her PhD in ecology from the University of Reading, United Kingdom while a mother of three.  She did her Postdoctoral studies at U.C. Berkeley where she received the Heckard Endowment Fund, which allowed her to conduct research on plants.  Dr. Machaka-Houri has served as a consultant for many international organizations and has recently received a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to publish a new flower photographic guide for Wild Flowers of Lebanon.  She continues to be a mentor and role model to numerous students aspiring for quality higher education.

Embassy Cairo honors Dr. Azza AbdelFattah Shehab Professor of Ophthalmology at Minia University
Dr. Shehab is one of Egypt’s leading ophthalmologists and researchers in the vision sciences.  She is a prolific writer on hereditary disorders of the eye, having authored and co-authored more than 20 publications on the subject.  Currently, Dr. Shehab is a professor of Ophthalmology at Minia University’s Medical School in Egypt, a position she has held since 2007.  Dr. Shehab has been invited to conduct research at several prestigious institutions as a visiting fellow, including the Jules Stein Eye Institute (JSEI), Ottawa University in Canada, and the University of California, Los Angeles.  Dr. Shehab holds an MD from Minia University and Ottawa University, along with an MSc and MBScCH from Cairo University.  She has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar since 2001.

Embassy Abu Dhabi honors Dr. Fatma Al Jasmi Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UAE University
Dr. Al Jasmi is the Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the College of Medicine & Health Science, at the UAE University, Al Ain, and the Head of Genetic Metabolic Division at Tawam Hospital.  She is conducting research on oxygen analyzers as a screening tool for disorders of impaired cellular bioenergetics.  She is also interested in Genetic Disease Registry design and development for Hunter e-Clinic teaching software. Dr. Al Jasmi finished her undergraduate studies at the UAE University in 2000 with a degree in medicine and health science.  She pursued her postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto. In 2006, and after completing the Pediatric residency program, she joined the Canadian Board of Pediatrics.  Subsequently, Dr. Al Jasmi did her fellowship in biochemical genetics.

Consulate Jerusalem honors Dr. Rola I. Jadallah Assistant Professor in Biology at the Arab-American University of Jenin
Dr. Jadallah is an assistant professor in biology at the Arab-American University of Jenin.  Her research has focused primarily on high-risk diseases in the northern West Bank, including HPV, Hepatitis B, and other viruses.  She founded the first Palestinian forensics lab in 1998.  Dr. Jadallah earned her PhD in Medical Microbiology in 2009 from Ein Shams University, Egypt.   She also completed a master’s degree in microbiology from An-Najah University, and bachelors in applied biology from Jordan University of Science and Technology.  In addition to teaching, Dr. Jadallah was invited in 2013 to serve as the Assistant to the Vice President for Planning and Development and Director of Projects in AAUJ, a position that she continues to hold.  She was elected Deputy Mayor of the Arrabeh Municipality in 2012, and is involved in numerous community education projects and serves as Director of the Deep Democracy Institute, Palestine, which seeks to promote leadership and expertise in democracy facilitation, personal development, conflict resolution, and other topics.

Embassy Kuwait honors Dr. Majeda Alqattan Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health
As the first female Assistant Undersecretary in the history of the Ministry of Health in Kuwait, Dr. Alqattan has been a tireless advocate in her mission to promote public health and awareness throughout the country.  She joined Kuwait University College of Medicine in 1988 out of her true belief that patients derive their ability to fight their pain from the strength of their physician.  With developed core values and a sense of commitment to her patients and their families, she initiated and managed the first breast clinic for women, raising awareness in Kuwait about self-breast examination and screening programs.  In 2010, Dr. Alqattan was appointed as the Director for technical Affairs. Her administrative responsibilities didn’t stop her from her avid pursuit of clinical excellence.  She worked hand-in-hand with the ministry’s Medical Emergency Department to start the first campaign at the international level to train 10 percent of the Kuwaiti citizens on Basic Life Support (BLS) and accredit the department as a Center for Emergency from the American Heart Association.  Dr. Alqattan has been an active advocate on breast cancer and anti-obesity campaigns.

Embassy Amman honors Dr. Lubna Tahtamouni Associate professor at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Hashemite University
In 2005, Lubna Tahtamouni completed her Ph.D. at Colorado State University and serves as an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at the Hashemite University.  Her research focuses on genetics and cell migration and cancer metastasis, as well as male infertility.  In 2013 Lubna was awarded the Colorado State University Distinguished International Alumni Award, and she was recognized in the2011 L’OREAL-UNESCO for Women in Science Pan-Arab Regional Fellowship.  Dr. Tahtamouni has always been and continues to be a strong voice calling for the support and empowerment of Arab female students and scientists.  Among her accomplishments, she was the keynote speaker for “Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program” at the National Science Foundation Colorado State University in August 2012.  Her talk was entitled “Arab Women in Science: Progress and Achievements.”

Embassy Riyadh honors Prof. Fatma A. K. Al-Mulhim Professor of radiology and Vice Dean University Studies female campus in Dammam University
Dr. Al-Mulhim was the first woman to champion breast cancer awareness in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.  Being the only female radiologist in the King Fahad Hospital of the University, she was tasked with treating all breast cancer patients. In 2008, Dr. Al-Mulhim, established the Breast Cancer Early Diagnosis committee as part of the Saudi Cancer Foundation and launched the “Al Sharqia Wardiah (Pink Eastern Province)” campaign in October 2009.  This campaign included a mobile mammogram and has screened more than 10,000 females. The campaign has since expanded to include an annual conference, three mobile units, educational materials (also in braille), and a breast cancer support group.

Embassy Tunis honors Prof. Nadia Fenina Director General of Ministry of Health’s Department of Pharmacy and Medicine, and Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Tunisia
Professor Nadia Fenina has taught at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Tunisia since 1992, with many achievements including the supervision of prominent scientific research, the creation of a pharmaceutical research unit, and the mentorship of many students.  Through her position as Director General of the Department of Pharmacy and Medicine and as a founding president of the Association for Persons with Handicaps, she has also acquired the art of communication and a desire to help others.  Professor Fenina has also published a significant amount of research nationally and internationally.