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Three Egyptian women win the 2018 L’Oréal UNESCO Award for Science

Muslim excellence comes in many, many different guises. That guise might involve painfully trendy modest fashion… or a lab coat. Whether it’s fashion or sport, beauty or education, all who accomplish great things in their industry of choice deserve recognition and commendation. Last week, three Egyptian women were presented with the 2018 L’Oréal UNESCO Award for Women in Science. The award, which is in its 19th year, celebrates women who have achieved great things in the field of scientific research, with the ultimate hope of encouraging more women to enter the profession.

One of this year’s winners Marwa Balaha was motivated by the passing of her father and is on a mission to eradicate cancer. Having joined the University of Tanta in Egypt, Balaha started investing her time in molecular docking (binding one molecule to another), specifically looking at the prediction of the effect of novel anticancer drugs against lung cancer. Balaha is currently working in collaboration with a medicinal chemistry lab in Italy focusing her energy on the design of anticancer drugs.

Another one of this year’s winners Dr. Noha Mostafa Ahmed is an assistant lecturer of Pharmaceutical and Analytical Chemistry at the Assuit University in Egypt. Her study is currently based on analysis of wastewater by using a specialised process to see the number of pharmaceutical drugs being used by people.

Last but certainly not least, Dr. Amira El-Yazbi is the third winner of the coveted award. El-Yazbi works at the renowned Alexandria University in Egypt as a researcher and an assistant professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy. The focus of El-Yazbi’s research is on searching for and detecting DNA damage, which leads to mutations that can cause cancer and many other diseases. Whilst current available methods for DNA screening are very expensive the research aims to identify over the counter drugs and cosmetics which don’t receive the adequate screening of their DNA damaging effect. The research will result in a cheaper way of examining the DNA damaging effect that products and pollutants have…we’d say that’s a very worthy cause!

With Muslim women such as these dominating the world of scientific research, we are reminded that Muslim excellence knows no bounds.

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