Hayat Sindi First Muslim Women in Middle East Gulf to obtain a PhD in Biotechnology Hayat Sindi is a Saudi medical researcher who was born in Mecca. She has invented a machine combining the effects of light and ultra-sound for use in biotechnology. Her major project is being carried out in partnership with the universities of Exeter and Cambridge. Sindi’s major invention is called MARS (Magnetic Acoustic Resonance Sensor), patented during her PhD work at the Institute of Biotechnology at Cambridge University. Sindi’s first degree was in Pharmacology from King’s College, London where she was a recipient of Princess Anne’s Award for her undergraduate work on allergy.
Along with her scientific activities, Sindi participated in numerous events aimed at raising the awareness of science amongst females, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim World in general. She is also interested in the problem of brain drain and was an invited speaker at the Jeddah Economic Forum 2005. She said “I dreamt to be like them to make a difference to the world and become a scientist,” she told the delegates. Sindi now holds a BS in pharmacology from King’s College, London, a Ph.D. in biotechnology from Cambridge University. When she earned her Ph.D., she wanted to use her knowledge and expertise for the benefit of mankind.
She also has plans to build a world-class biotechnology center of excellence in Saudi Arabia with the support of Harvard and MIT. She gave the delegates an insight into her academic progress. Two years ago when she visited Harvard, she was offered the job of a visiting scholar at a very special scientific lab, which has been making great discoveries and bringing real products to societies in need, with extremely low-cost products. “I was more than thrilled to be invited to work there, especially among scientists from 27 countries,” said Sindi, who was the first Muslim to work in that lab. Sindi urged Muslims to excel in the area of scientific innovations and use them for the welfare of humanity. “Being smart and having resources is not enough for true breakthrough innovation to change people’s lives. We need to aim science at these issues in order to make the impact.” Sindi sounded extra confident and inspiring when she said: “We have the power to make breakthroughs.” She called upon Muslim countries to focus more on science and technology and increase their spending to develop the sector. “I believe that we can put science and society hand in hand and we should customize science for the benefit of the developing world. Small people can achieve big dreams,” Sindi said to continuous applause from the audience.