Saudi women making their mark in science

Saudi women making their mark in science
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Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel
Immunologist

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi
Physician-scientist

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.

 


Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’
Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions. (Supplied)
Updated 28 February 2021

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’
  • Eye-catching traditional pieces that women wear on key occasions highlight the Kingdom’s diverse heritage

MAKKAH: With Saudi Arabia’s diverse and colorful cultural traditions, fashion serves as a medium where foreigners and citizens can meet.
Fashion has always been an important part of how people define themselves and others, and Saudi Arabia’s traditional clothing is no different.
Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions, while others made sure they showed off traditional fashion items.
For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an “American Saudi,” caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels.
Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land.
“The fashion scene was remarkable at the Saudi Cup. I am going to dub it the ‘Met Gala’ of Saudi Arabia in future. Saudi Arabia has such an old fashion heritage, so it was wonderful to be able to take a trip through history and to tell the world a story,” she said.

Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing.

Brandi Janow

“As a history lover, this is probably one of the best places that I can be to see so many remarkable sights with my own eyes,” she added.
Celebrating Saudi Arabia’s heritage, fashionable guests appeared in pieces that highlighted the Kingdom’s diverse heritage, including intricately embroidered daglahs for men and the heavily embellished zaboon worn by the women of Hijaz.
Janow calls Saudi Arabia her home and is “happy my journey brought me here.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an ‘American Saudi,’ caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels. 

• Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land. She calls Saudi Arabia her home and is ‘happy my journey brought me here.’

The private sector worker is also the program director for art, culture, media and entertainment at the American Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom and also manages Smuug, a small business where she designs and sells products based on her illustrations.
“Before I came to Saudi Arabia I had never traveled outside North America, so I was quite excited to see a new place. I cannot say that I ever experienced culture shock, but I was in awe of how different the country was from my own. It is really beautiful how big the world is, and how different (and the same) we all are,” she said.
“Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing. I really think that humanity cannot prosper without change, growth and evolution.
“This is the natural way of life. As someone who works in the creative industry, it has been such a pleasure to watch the blossoming of talent,” said Janow.


Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche

Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche
The Colorful Corniche initiative will extend over the central island of the southern corniche for 4,500 meters and is due to be carried out in eight phases. (Social media)
Updated 28 February 2021

Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche

Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche
  • The event seeks to improve the appearance of main squares and meeting spots throughout the governorate in line with Vision 2030

JEDDAH: Citizens and creatives of Jeddah have come together for the Colorful Corniche initiative, painting roadways, walkways and squares to beautify the city.
The event, coordinated by the charity organization Oyoun Jeddah alongside Jeddah municipality, seeks to improve the appearance of main squares and meeting spots throughout the governorate in line with Vision 2030.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi, adviser to the governor of the Makkah region, took part in the launch, while also overseeing mock-up paint trials carried out earlier.
Jeddah’s mayor, Saleh Al-Turki, inaugurated the event on Friday, saying that the collaboration between Oyoun Jeddah and the municipality, as well as government and private entities, will encourage the growth of the urban environment.
The corniche makeover has been praised by passers-by.

This is such a great initiative because it will turn this beach area where people hang out, have a picnic or work out into something vibrant and full of life, while encouraging creativity and showing the country’s support for art.

Nourah Al-Nahi

“I was having my lunch break at the corniche yesterday and I wish this had been implemented then so I could have seen it,” said executive assistant Nourah Al-Nahi, 29.
Al-Nahi said she often stopped by the corniche to sit and reflect.
“This is such a great initiative because it will turn this beach area where people hang out, have a picnic or work out into something vibrant and full of life, while encouraging creativity and showing the country’s support for art,” she added.
University student Jana Abdullah, 19, said that the urban makeover will encourage her to take more walks at the corniche.

HIGHLIGHT

The aim is to highlight urban design, and integrate art and architecture in the urban landscape, raising cultural awareness by improving access to contemporary work in daily life.

“I don’t go to the corniche often because of the crowds, but this makes me want to go early on weekends for a quick jog or fast walk.”
Abdullah believes this initiative will add life to the austere asphalt and stone setting of the walkway, and will appeal to both adults and children.
“It also represents the country’s interest in art and its desire to revitalize it and encourage those pursuing it,” she added.
The Colorful Corniche initiative will extend over the central island of the southern corniche for 4,500 meters and is due to be carried out in eight phases.
The aim is to highlight urban design, and integrate art and architecture in the urban landscape, raising cultural awareness by improving access to contemporary work in daily life.


Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University

Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University
Updated 27 February 2021

Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University

Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University

The service of May Mohammed Al-Rashed, who has been dean of the College of Nursing at King Saud University (KSU) since 2018, was recently extended for two more years.

Al-Rashed received a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences from the College of Applied Medical Sciences (CAMS) in 1996 from KSU.

Six years later, she was awarded a master’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences, majoring in biochemistry, from the same college.

In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from University College London (UCL), UK.

Al-Rashed has served as deputy of the clinical laboratory sciences department at CAMS. She has also been an assistant professor at the clinical laboratory sciences department in CAMS. From 2008 to 2009, she was the deputy of the dental health department at CAMS.

Prior to that, Al-Rashed worked as a lecturer in the clinical laboratory sciences department at CAMS, where she taught clinical biochemistry, the inborn error of metabolism, clinical enzymology, scientific writing and research methodology, from 2002 to 208.

For five years beginning in 1997, she served as a medical technologist in the clinical laboratory sciences department at CAMS; teaching practical laboratory skills and techniques, preparing reagents and design experiments for basic and advanced biochemistry courses.

Between 1996 and 1997, she served her internship at the Riyadh-based King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC).

She is an expert in molecular genetics techniques including DNA extraction, PCR, cloning, DNA sequencing, homozygosity mapping and next-generation sequencing.


KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal

KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal
Updated 27 February 2021

KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal

KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal

RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) and the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) have signed a memorandum of cooperation and mutual understanding to support the academic alliance to carry out research and development in the fields of intellectual property, information management, and data exchange so that the research serves as the reference and legal umbrella for all future projects the two parties seek to implement, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

The MoC was co-signed by KSU President Dr. Badran bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar and SAIP CEO Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Suwailem.

The signing of the MoC comes based on the principle of joint and continuous cooperation between KSU and the government sector in the Kingdom. This move also reflects belief in the importance of intellectual property rights for enabling universities and scientific research institutions to protect and enforce these rights.

Under this MoC, the two parties will cooperate in studies and research specialized in intellectual property policies and systems in accordance with the best practices and regional and global methodologies, the scientific and practical applications of the results of these studies, exchanging advice and experiences in the field of emerging technologies and the applications of digital environment and artificial intelligence, training and developing human resources in this promising field, and contributing to the investment in and the employment of intellectual property rights to achieve economic and social development in the Kingdom.

In addition, the two parties, under the MoC, will prepare and design academic and training curricula in the fields of intellectual property in order to enrich the local and Arab knowledge content on intellectual property issues.

KSU is a local and regional pioneer in the field of intellectual property rights, in general, and patents, in particular, owing to the role of the Entrepreneurship Institute, which is supervised by Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Harkan. KSU has over 1,450 patents and is among the best 100 universities in the world for the seventh year in a row, the last of which was 2020, in terms of the number of patents granted.

KSU is the largest depositary of patents – compared with the universities of the world – for the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, with over 450 patents. This highlights the accuracy of the scientific methodology adopted by the KSU administration to care for the fields of intellectual property for the university’s employees and develop it at the scientific and practical levels in accordance with the best international practices.


KSrelief provides medical aid to Yemenis

KSrelief provides medical aid to Yemenis
Saudi aid agency provides medical aid to Yemenis. (SPA)
Updated 28 February 2021

KSrelief provides medical aid to Yemenis

KSrelief provides medical aid to Yemenis
  • Undersecretary for administrative affairs of Marib governorate, praised the center’s team for alleviating the suffering of patients with special needs

MARIB: In the past eight months, Marib Prosthetic Limb Center, with the support of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), has provided 11,000 medical and treatment services to 5,000 people.
The fifth stage of the project ended on Saturday, with services including producing and fitting 314 artificial limbs, fixing and reproducing 100 orthotic limbs, and providing physiotherapy services for 2,832 people.
Abdullah Al-Bakri, undersecretary for administrative affairs of Marib governorate, praised the center’s team for alleviating the suffering of patients with special needs.
He also praised KSrelief’s support for the prosthetic center, which he said had an important role in rehabilitating people, and helping them to reintegrate in society and return to normal life.