The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Trailblazing biotechnologist and medical entrepreneur Dr Hayat Sindi has spent her career improving health care in developing countries through cutting-edge technologies. “Science is a tool to create positive change in the world,” says Sindi, who, as a Saudi-born woman, has continuously worked against the odds. Leaving Mecca in her teens to study in England, she earned a degree in pharmacology from King’s College London in 1995 and five years later became the first woman from the Gulf to obtain a Ph.D in biotechnology from Cambridge, where she also taught at the International School of Medicine. As a visiting scholar at Harvard (2006–2011), Sindi was part of a team that in 2007 founded Diagnostics For All, an organization – of which she is currently a director – that creates innovative, inexpensive, point-of-care diagnostic devices for people in impoverished regions. A successful inventor, Sindi has developed a diagnostic tool used for the early detection of breast cancer and the Magnetic Acoustic Resonance Sensor (MARS), among other innovations. Her main focus today is on empowering the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs in the Middle East through her i2 Institute for imagination and ingenuity. In recognition of her numerous groundbreaking achievements, Sindi has recently garnered a succession of accolades: she was appointed a 2011 Emerging Explorer by National Geographic, and, in 2012, was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World”, the ninth most influential Arab woman by Arabian Business and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for science education. In 2013, Sindi won the Arabian Business Award for Medicine and has recently been invited to serve on the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board. She is also one of the first group of women on Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly, the Shura Council, an advisory body to King Abdullah.
Published in 2014