Outstanding GCC Women Scientists feted by L’Oréal-UNESCO for fourth year running at “For Women in Science” Middle East Fellowship 2017’

Outstanding GCC Women Scientists feted by L’Oréal-UNESCO for fourth year running at “For Women in Science” Middle East Fellowship 2017’

  • Six high-achieving GCC postdocs and Ph.D. students selected for groundbreaking research with far-reaching applications

Dubai, November 14th, 2017: Six women can lead the cause of science in the Middle East while also encouraging other young people to follow their footsteps. This is the message that was conveyed at the ceremony of L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Middle East Fellowship 2017 yesterday, November 13th at Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, held in partnership with Zayed University, where innovative female researchers were each awarded EUR 20,000 for the Postdoc Researchers category and EUR 8,000 for the PHD Students category, in recognition of their contribution to science and their outstanding research work.

Now in its 4th year, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Middle East Fellowship is based on the belief that the world needs science, and science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world” The Awards laud the contribution of eminent female scientists, researchers and contributors in the Middle East to the scientific development in the region.

L’Oréal’s and Zayed University’s core values are founded on the idea of empowering women, of nurturing their inner strength and encouraging their full potential. The L’Oréal Foundation’s For Women In Science Program, which was launched in cooperation with Zayed University, is designed to shatter the stereotypes that hinder the aspirations of a younger generation of females. It champions the role of female scientists and shines a spotlight on their discoveries to bridge the gender gap and plough an equal playing field.

At the awards event, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University congratulated the winners. She said: “I commend, support, and believe in the work being done by the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO through the ‘For Women In Science’ Program. It ensures that great scientific ideas don’t fall prey to gender barriers. It also involves women in the Middle East- who are over 50% percent of the population – in meaningful scientific work to benefit the whole society. And as an added benefit, these women then go on to inspire a brand-new generation of minds while simultaneously carving out rewarding careers,” she said.

Speaking at the awards event, Dr. Mouin Hamzé, President of the Jury & Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research – Lebanon (CNRS-L), said: “It has been an honor for me to chair the Jury Committee for the fourth year running I’m delighted to say that the competition gets more intense, the submissions more thought out, and the quality of research presented more robust with every passing year. This year, not only have the number of applicants been very high but the significance of their accomplishments has been exceptional. The winners – who range from across the GCC- have brought spectacular contributions to the table, and have generated ideas and research with the potential to benefit human life worldwide.”

Balanced male-female research teams have a demonstrably made a high impact on the quality of insight and application generated. Diversity enables a multitude of viewpoints to be considered, and introduces varying perspectives that enrich and strengthen findings.

Mr. Thierry Houssin, Managing Director at L’Oréal Middle East said: “L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Middle East Fellowship program continues to build on our firm commitment to women everywhere. We believe in gender diversity, and want to ensure that great ideas are heard. Women are one half of humanity, and to not have their input in global discourse weakens human progress as a species. In fact, we actively work towards ensuring that all women’s voices are heard and acknowledged. We genuinely believe that women in science – and indeed anywhere else – have the power to change the world. Our initiative provides them the amplification to have their valued voices listened to and lauded.”

The L’Oréal Foundation helps women fight prejudice, tear down gender barriers, and conquer new areas in science. It celebrates outstanding women in science as they change the world through their discoveries. Nearly 2,700 women in over 115 countries have been the recipients of Fellowship. With UNESCO, the Foundation has honored almost 100 award laureates for their research achievements- two of whom have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.

The 2017 Fellows Are:

Postdoc Researchers Category:

  • Fatema Alrashed, (Kuwait), Dasman Diabetes Institute, Kuwait: For her research on the effect of lipid metabolites in monocytic lipotoxicity and inflammatory responses.
  • Amal Qattan, (KSA), King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and George Washington University, US: For her research in the development of non-invasive liquid biopsy clinical assays for monitoring breast cancer, and the role that circulating microRNAs play as early detection biomarkers for breast cancer.
  • Fatma Taher, (UAE), Zayed University: For her research into a non-invasive CAD system for early detection of lung cancer.
  • Saba Alheialy, (UAE), Mohammed Bin Rashid Univ. of Medicine & Health Sc.: For her insights on steroid hyporesponsiveness in obese asthmatics, and in particular the role of Th17 cells and GR-beta.

PhD Students Category:

  • Fedah Emaed Mohamed, (UAE), United Arab Emirates University: For her insight into establishing the cellular mechanisms of missense mutations underlying GM1-gangliosidosis, and evaluating several pharmaceutical chaperones and proteostasis regulators as novel therapeutics.
  • Maram Mansoor Abadi, (KSA),King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), Super resolution visualization of polymer motion at molecular level.

About the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Program:

The L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science initiative began 18 years ago. Since that inaugural year, the L’Oréal Foundation and Unesco (the Unites Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) have strived to support and recognize accomplished women researchers, to encourage more young women to enter the profession and to assist them once their careers are in progress.

The solutions to attracting more women to science appear so obvious that few would disagree with them. We should, in particular, instill confidence in girls from an early age by showing them their own potential. More women scientists should also be able to obtain positions of responsibility, just like their male counterparts, so that future generations will have role models to inspire them.

About the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation

Accompany. Value. Communicate. Support. Move boundaries. The convictions, the core values which drive the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation’s commitment to women every day. A commitment divided into two main areas – science and beauty.

Through its’ For Women in Science programme, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation motivates girls in High School to pursue scientific careers, supports women researchers and rewards excellence in a field where women remain underrepresented.

Through its beauty programmes, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation assists women affected by illness, who are economically disadvantaged or isolated, to recover their sense of self-esteem and femininity in order to feel better and to fare better. Its’ actions also include providing training programmes for beauty industry professions.


L’Oréal has devoted itself to beauty for over 100 years. With its unique international portfolio of 34 diverse and complementary brands, the Group generated sales amounting to 25.8 billion euros in 2016 and employs 89,300 people worldwide. As the world’s leading beauty company, L’Oréal is present across all distribution networks: mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail, branded retail and e-commerce.

Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 3,870 people, are at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations all over the world.

L’Oréal’s sustainability commitment for 2020 “Sharing Beauty With All” sets out ambitious sustainable development objectives across the Group’s value chain.


Since its creation in 1945, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization supports international scientific cooperation as a catalyst for sustainable development and for peace between people. UNESCO assists countries in the development of their public policies and in building their capabilities in the fields of science, technology, innovation and scientific education. In addition, UNESCO leads several intergovernmental programmes for the sustainable management of freshwater, ocean and terrestrial resources, for biodiversity protection and to promote science’s role in combating climate change and natural disasters. To meet these goals, UNESCO is committed to ending discrimination of all kinds and to promoting equality between women and men.

About Zayed University

Zayed University is a premier national university in the United Arab Emirates and a regional leader in educational innovation and change. It has created and implemented a skills-rich, outcome-based general education program that systemically develops student skills, knowledge, and values associated with liberal learning and provided a solid foundation for pursuit of disciplinary majors and future careers. Zayed University welcomes national and international students, and provides them with a high-quality education, offered by seasoned teaching scholars to prepare them to shape the future of the United Arab Emirates. Zayed University offers Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in the following Colleges: College of Arts & Creative Enterprises (recognized as substantially equivalent by NASAD), College of Business (Accredited by AACSB), College of Communication & Media Sciences (Accredited by ACEJMC), College of Education (Accredited by NCATE), College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Natural and Health Sciences, and College of Technological Innovation (Accredited by ABET).