Woman Scientist From Makkah Steals the Limelight at IDB Event

JEDDAH, 6 June 2008 — Dr. Hayat Sindi stole the limelight during an award ceremony organized by the Islamic Development Bank Group on the occasion of its governors’ conference at Jeddah Hilton on Tuesday night. IDB President Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali had invited her to speak on “The value of science and innovation in the developing world.” It was a distinguished gathering of ministers, business leaders, bankers and senior executives from 56 IDB member countries.

The young scientist, who hails from Makkah, impressed the audience when she said, “A true scientist should focus on affordable simple solutions to reach everyone in the world.” She has started a new company called Paper Diagnostics Inc (PDI) with professor George Whitesides and others. PDI is a for-profit company with non-profit objectives to create a better quality of life for the deprived sections of society.

Sindi referred to her background that contributed to the marvelous progress in her life. She was born and brought up in a family of eight children with a traditional upbringing and enormous love for knowledge. She admired characters like Ibn Sina, Al-Khwarizmi, Einstein and Marie Curie, who have made outstanding contributions for the welfare of humanity in different areas.

“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.

Written by: P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News

Contest is the Capstone of School's MBA Entrepreneurship Curriculum

BOSTON - April 29, 2008 - Harvard Business School (HBS) held the final round of its 12th annual Business Plan Contest yesterday in the School's Burden Auditorium, the culmination of a process that began last January with a total of some 70 student teams. Eleven made it through the various stages of judging to Monday's final round of presentations.

"It's a thrill to hear about these interesting ideas and the development of these ideas into a business," said Harvard Business School Dean Jay Light. "Events like this are an important part of the education HBS offers. There are lots of ways to learn - both inside and outside the classroom. I know of no better demonstration than this of the kinds of things our students can do beyond the classroom to help them develop all sorts of important skills - from putting together a team to creating an innovative plan for a new venture."

Photo:Evgenia EliseevaTal Riesenfeld of EyeViewDigital.com

Second-year Harvard MBA student Tal Riesenfeld was part of a five-person team that won first place in the traditional for-profit track with their business plan for EyeViewDigital.com. The team included Yaniv Fain, a student at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and EyeViewDigital.com colleagues Oren Harnevo, Yaniv Nitzan, and Gal Barnea. Already a going concern, the startup enables communication between businesses and customers through cutting-edge video technology. HBS Professor Paul Gompers served as the team's faculty advisor.

In the social enterprise track, the winning team was Diagnostics-For-All, a not-for-profit diagnostics company that will provide health care agencies and commercial organizations with a new generation of point-of-care tools to address the diagnostic and clinical management needs of the global medical community. Advised by HBS Professor Vicki Sato, the seven-member team included HBS second-year students Jon Puz and Gilbert Tang; HBS first-year student Krishna Yeshwant; Harvard School of Public Health student Kyra Bobinet; Roozbeh Ghaffari, a recent Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology graduate and currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Freeman Lab at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics; and their colleagues Hayat Sindi, a Visiting Scholar in Professor George Whiteside's lab in Harvard University's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology; and Carol Waghorne, a participant in Harvard Medical School's Scholar in Clinical Sciences Program and a Research Fellow in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Photo:Evgenia EliseevaDiagnostics-For-All Team

Each first-place team received $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in in-kind legal and accounting services. As winners of the traditional track, the EyeViewDigital.com team also received the Dubilier Prize, which honors the late Martin Dubilier (MBA '52), cofounder of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, one of the premier leveraged buyout firms in the United States. The Peter M. Sacerdote Prize went to the Diagnostics-For-All team. Established by Peter Sacerdote (MBA '64) in honor of his 40th Reunion at Harvard Business School, the prize fund is meant to encourage HBS students to apply their skills to develop and launch social-purpose ventures.

The Contest's judges, who represented a wide array of prominent professional services firms in fields such as venture capital, law, and consulting, also named a total of five runner-up teams.

In the traditional track:
Good Start Genetics is a pre-conception genetic risk diagnostic company led by Paris Wallace (HBS '08).
MyHappyPlanet.com provides a fun way to learn languages through peer-to-peer learning and user-generated language lessons. Members of the team were Karen Ong, Steve David, and Ethan Laub, all of the HBS Class of 2008, and their MyHappyPlanet colleagues Francois Gagnon and Todd Pinkerton.

Physica Solutions aims to start and operate office-based medical practices that provide minimally-invasive treatment for varicose veins. The team was made up of HBS second-year students Carlos Jaramillo and Jeremy Friese.

Supply Solutions provides a new business model for supply chain efficiency between the United States and China under the direction of second-year students Kevin Sousa and Jun Wang.

In the social enterprise track:
Ghonsla will sell straw-based insulation products designed especially for corrugated galvanized iron roofs in the earthquake-affected areas of Pakistan and beyond. The four-person team included HBS/Harvard Kennedy School cross-registrant student Emmanuel Arnaud, MIT student Zehra Ali, Harvard School of Public Health student Monica Hau Le, and Mubarik Imam of Bain & Co.

The runners-up all received $5,000 in cash and $5,000 in services, plus the Satchu-Burgstone Entrepreneurship Award, endowed by Jon Burstone (MBA '99), Asif Satchu (MBA '99), and Reza Satchu (MBA '96). Named runners up in the 1999 Contest, these alumni went on to achieve great commercial success with their plan for SupplierMarket.com, an online marketplace for buying and selling manufactured direct materials.

This year, Harvard University's Office of Technology Development (OTD) is providing a one-to-one "match" of the cash component of any prize for business plans that plan to commercialize Harvard University technologies. Two winners of the 2008 HBS Business Plan Contest qualified for this match: Diagnostics-For-All Is based on technologies developed in Professor George Whiteside's lab in Harvard's Department of Chemistry, and Good Start Genetics contemplates using technologies developed in Professor George Church's lab at Harvard Medical School. The OTD match is one example of efforts to establish closer links between HBS and OTD in order to involve HBS students and faculty in the process of commercializing Harvard technologies and provide students with more entrepreneurial opportunities. Both Diagnostics-For-All and Good Start Genetics are examples of startups based on Harvard innovations and part of a portfolio of 20 Harvard technology startups that OTD has helped catalyze in the past two years.

Past participants in the HBS Business Plan Contest have gone on to create successful enterprises such as Bang Networks, a leading provider of technologies and services for using the Internet; Magellan Distribution Corp., an independent distributor of electronic components; Finale, a restaurant in Boston and Cambridge specializing in upscale desserts; and New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit organization devoted to improving education for all children by attracting and preparing the next generation of outstanding leaders for urban public schools.

The HBS Business Plan Contest is a student-run event. Cosponsored this year by the HBS Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise Clubs, it provides an integrative learning experience for participants, draItalicwing on all facets of the Harvard MBA curriculum. It is one of several special programs funded by the Rock Center, which was created through the generosity of pioneering venture capitalist Arthur Rock (MBA '51).

In 2003, Rock donated $25 million to Harvard Business School to support the entrepreneurship faculty and their research, fellowships for MBA and doctoral students, symposia and conferences, and new outreach efforts to extend the impact of the School's extensive work in this field. To further contribute to its research and course development efforts, Harvard Business School also established the California Research Center in Silicon Valley in 1997.

Harvard Business School offered the country's first business school course in entrepreneurship in 1947. Today, members of the HBS Entrepreneurial Management Unit, which numbers more than 30 faculty, teach a required course to some 900 students in the first year of the MBA program as well as a broad selection of electives to second-year students. The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship has recognized the Harvard Business School entrepreneurship program as the best in the country.

About Harvard Business School:
Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 230 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 40 Executive Education programs. For a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who have shaped the practice of business around the globe.

Written by: http://www.hbs.edu/

Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Dr Hayat Sindi is currently a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; where she works with Professor George Whitesides at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Dr. Sindi earned her BS from King’s College University in Pharmacology, and Ph.D from Cambridge University “Studies on a Novel Electromagnetic-Acoustic Sensor” where she was appointed as Senior Lecturer at the International school of Medicine, specialising in Pre-clinical education and public affairs of Cambridge Overseas Medical Programme. For her contributions she was invited by HRH Prince Philip to become a member of the Royal College of Teachers.
Hayat is the first Female in Gulf to gain a PhD in biotechnology. Dr. Sindi founded Sonoptix Technology, Cambridge, UK with Saudi Arabian seed funding, she led the development of a cost effective measurement technology for application in clinical diagnostics. Later she became Senior Research Scientist for Biotechnology at Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Biological and Chemical Science, Exeter University.

Hayat has been an inspirational figure for many young female students to pursue science majors in the Middle East and abroad, and especially in her home country Saudi Arabia. She presented a new image of Saudi Female Scientist where she spoke at Berkeley University, USA., Gulf Women Conference in London, and as a spokeswoman to International and National TV and radio interviews ,including BBC, Al Arabia, and The Times.

For her contributions, Dr. Sindi has received First award for an elite scholarship for the academically gifted presented by King Abdul Allah Ben Abdul Aziz. Hayat awarded for most talented Female entrepreneur of the year by Jeddah’s regulatory committee. She became a member of British Top Young Researcher at House of Commons. She was awarded Young professional award by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s- Arab Student Organization (MIT-ASO). She was also chosen to address King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz at the National Dialogue Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Today Hayat is starting a new company with Professor George Whitesides and others. The new company is called Paper Diagnostics Inc (PDI). PDI is a for-profit company, with non-profit objectives, to take the technology to developing areas to create a better quality of life for those who are deprived.

Hayat’s wish is to build a world class biotechnology centre of excellence in Saudi Arabia, through effective collaboration with Harvard University and MIT.

Saudi Woman Pioneer to Pedal for Peace

JEDDAH, 16 September 2005 — Fed up with the painfully slow pace of the Middle East peace process, about 250 women from 25 countries will be riding bicycles to pedal for peace. One bicycle will sport the flag of Saudi Arabia, and it will be ridden by one of the Kingdom’s most remarkable women.

The 288-km ride, which starts in Beirut today and winds through Syria and Jordan before concluding at Ramallah in Palestine, is called “Follow the Women” and is meant to send a message to world leaders to get on with it and stop the suffering that continuous conflict brings.

Dr. Hayat Sindi’s participation is appropriate, as her leadership and pioneering spirit already serves as a model for the Saudi women of the future. A leading Saudi medical researcher who graduated from Cambridge University with a doctorate degree in biotechnology, Dr. Sindi is taking part in the ride with the encouragement of several members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States, and Princess Seetah bint Abdul Aziz, who gave Dr. Sindi a pendant with the likeness of King Abdullah, the princess’ brother, to wear during the bikeathon.

Dr. Sindi spoke with Arab News during a telephone interview from France, enthusiastic and resolute in her belief that women working together can help bring peace to the Middle East. “The ride is aimed at raising awareness of how the spiral of violence in the Middle East is blighting the lives of women and children who often suffer the worst consequences of the painfully slow pace of the peace process,” she said.

The Follow the Women bike ride, which concludes Sept. 26, is sponsored by the UK’s Centre for High Performance Development. Well known international youth worker, Detta Regan, is the organizer of the event. Regan won the “UK Woman of Europe” award for 2001. “Women do not traditionally cycle in the Middle East,” Regan said. “So the sight of a large female-only group will attract huge interest.”

For part of the journey where the terrain is too difficult the women will travel by coach with their bikes going by truck. They get back on their bicycles near the Syrian border, then cycle to Damascus and on the desert road to Yarmouk University, Jordan and finally into the West Bank.
“We will visit the Sabra and Shatilla camps and share the pain of the Palestinian people,” Dr. Sindi said. “They have gone through the worst in life. We want to see firsthand how they are coping and share their grief and to express our solidarity with them.”

She said this might seem like a small exercise and to some it may be an exercise in futility but there has to be a beginning for peace. “My advice to my countrymen in Saudi Arabia is to take that small step. Let us not just sit tight and do nothing. We all can make a difference.”
Prince Turki Al-Faisal has called Dr. Sindi the model Arab woman; this latest effort attests to that endorsement.

Dr. Sindi was born in Makkah to a modest family. She is one of eight children. From an early age, she admired scientists, such as Al-Kindi, Khwarizmi, Ibn Sina, Newton and Einstein.
In her 20s, Dr. Sindi invented a device combining light and ultrasound for use in the field of biotechnology. She dreams of one day establishing a center of excellence in Saudi Arabia.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi women and I want to dispel them. If I can make a small difference in the way Saudi woman are perceived outside, then all this will be very good,” Dr. Sindi said. “By taking part in this ride, I want to convey to the larger world that Saudi women are second to none. We have our traditions, and we are proud of them. But we live in a global village, and we should contribute to the peace effort worldwide.”

The ride will be challenging but Dr. Sindi regularly goes to the gym, believing that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. As a Saudi woman she has a point to prove and, trusts in Allah to see her through the test.

Dr. Sindi remarked that Prince Turki encouraged her to take part in the ride when he was the ambassador to the United Kingdom and she thanked him for his inspiration.

“It gives me a great thrill to ride a bike that will have the Saudi green fluttering proudly at the back. Plus, I am carrying a picture of our beloved King Abdullah on my necklace. Also, I have a pin that says ‘No to Terrorism,’” she said. “We need to learn from each other, respect others and hold onto our dreams and work to realize them. It is time for all the good people of the world to come together and work for peace.”
Written by: Siraj Wahab

The Scientist Way

STILL only in her 20’s, Dr. Hayat Sindi has invented a machine combining the effects of light and ultra-sound for use in the esoteric field of biotechnology. Despite offers of $350 million for research and development from prospective manufactures and commercial partners, including the UK aviation industry and NASA, she wants the development costs and subsequent benefits to involve the Arab world.

Described by Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to Britain as “a model Arab woman” in his opening speech for the 8th Businesswomen’s Conference in London, she has adhered to her wish that the fruits of her research be shared by the Arab world.

“I want Arab countries to benefit from this new machine and my research,” she said. I’m still waiting for an offer from a Muslim Arab country. I’m committed to my principles and I believe that a person must leave a mark that benefits the human race however I want to begin this benefit in the lands where my roots are.”

The new device very accurately chooses the suitable medications in dealing with different cancers. It reveals the protein or the signification of cancer, which is difficult to do with the means that are currently available now.

However due to the machine’s sensitivity and accuracy, the protein can be detected in the very early stages of the disease. Consequently the medication can be started earlier and many patients can be saved.

“The lab tests have proved its success,” sys Dr. Sindi, “and I am currently working on producing it at a small size so that any doctor can use it in their clinic.”

The machine also has uses in environmental preservation projects, has applications in research by astronauts — because it is made of glass that resist influence — and is simple to use.

The genesis of the new device was Dr.iven by need. After graduating with BA in pharmacology from Kings College and beginning research in the science of medicine and its compounds, Dr. Sindi I needed an accurate machine to assist in research. “I decided to move from pharmacology to physics and,” she said “I applied for a grant at Cambridge University.”

Initially hampered by lack of scientific background, she managed to convince them of her ability to succeed and so she I began from the bottom of the ladder. “They supported me until I got a Ph.D in biotechnology and I’m still working at Schlumberger lab research center in Cambridge where I produced the device.”

Dr. Sindi attributes her flare for biotechnology to her love of its complexity and its seminal position among other disciplines including engineering, genetics, physics, and chemistry.

“It’s the father of sciences and it covers areas in life such as agriculture, medicine, manufacture, environment.”

She is currently collaborating with scientists in the company she works with to use biotechnology tools with genes, bacteria, and microbes to change the fluidity of oil so that it can be pumped and transported more easily.

“We use the same scientific methodology in a unique project that uses microbes and bacteria to purify sewerage water and change it to pure water suitable for Dr.inking without financial cost,” she said.

The major project is being carried out in partnership with the universities of Exeter and Cambridge. “I feel proud to be taking part in such an important project, especially that there will be the utmost need of water in the world during the next 20 years.”

Dr. Sindi is unique in that she is not the only Arab woman in the field, but the only woman in the world.

“In Britain, in the field of biotechnology does not accept women,” she said, “and when I graduated from Cambridge with honors one of the female professors at the university told me that I deserve recognition because I ‘raised the heads’ of women around the world and not just Arabs.”

As a partner in the company, she has to travel to different places such Harvard, Stanford, Tokyo and Moscow. “When they first see me I see the shock on their faces for I’m young, petite and a Muslim woman who covers (wear ‘hijab’ on my head).”

She is regularly stopped and questioned about how she excelled to this point and how achieved these degrees in such complex fields. “ I’m initially taken lightly but by the time I leave there is total respect, appreciation, acknowledgement and pride in my accomplishments.”

Scientific research is never finished, and after her success in this rare discipline, she Dr.eams that biotechnology develops in our Arab countries. There are only six countries known for this branch of science even though it’s an old science. Simple baking uses the science by involving yeast for fermentation.

“It is a science that controls live cells and bacteria for people’s benefit.”

Dr. Sindi feels that the reason biotechnology hasn’t penetrated the Arab world is partly financial, partly cultural. She says it is just beginning to take off in the Arab world. The main problem is money.

“Investors want to see immediate profit,” she said. “Biotechnology researches are profitable but only after quite some time. We’re dealing with live cells that need time to mature.”

She feels private sector investors have little patience so that government financial support is essential.

“Other countries have been conducting research in biotechnology for 15 years while we haven’t done anything. Such research is essential for medicine and oil.”

To get to where she is, the journey has been tough. Her father, not a wealthy man, was committed that she received the best education.

After she graduated from high school in Saudi Arabia she enrolled in the Medical College. “I have loved research since I was a child but in order to make my Dr.eam come true I needed to travel abroad. That was an unacceptable socially and difficult financially. She was the oldest of 8 siblings — girls don’t get scholarships.

For two years, this restricted her, but when my parents saw how unhappy I was they trusted me and did all that they could to enable me to go.

In Britain, they didn’t recognize her degree so she had to study from secondary level again. For a year she studied long hours in a small unheated room. “Still, I kept my faith and beliefs as a Muslim girl. When I first started at Cambridge a well-known scientist told me that I’d fail unless I let go of my cover ‘hijab’ and changed my ways. He gave me three months to fail.”

And as they say that remark, and the rest, is history!

Written by: Maali Al-Ghamry