Hayat Sindi

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Hayat bint Suleiman bin Hassan Sindi
Hayat Sindi - PopTech 2012 - Camden Maine USA (8103609979).jpg
CitizenshipSaudi Arabia Saudi Arabian
Alma materKing's College London (BSc)
Newnham College, Cambridge (PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsMedical research
ThesisStudies on a Novel Electromagnetic-Acoustic Sensor

Dr. Hayat bint Sulaiman bin Hassan Sindi (Arabic: حياة سندي‎) is a Saudi Arabian medical scientist and one of the first female members of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia.[1] She is famous for making major contributions to point-of-care medical testing and biotechnology.[2][3] She was ranked by Arabian Business as the 19th most influential Arab in the world and the ninth most influential Arab woman.[4][5]


Hayat Sindi was born in Makkah,Saudi Arabia]. In 1991, she convinced her family to allow her to travel alone to the United Kingdom in order to pursue her higher education.[6] After a year spent learning English and studying for her A-levels, she was accepted to King's College London,[7] where she graduated with a degree in pharmacology in 1995. While at King's College she was a recipient of Princess Anne's Award for her undergraduate work on allergy.

Sindi, who wears the traditional Muslim headscarf, was pressured to abandon her religious and cultural beliefs while at university; she persisted, holding the view that a person's religion, color or gender has no bearing on scientific contributions.[8] Sindi went on to get a Ph.D. in biotechnology from Newnham College, Cambridge in 2001; she was the first Saudi woman to be accepted at Cambridge University in the field of biotechnology,[9][10] and the first woman from any of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf to complete a doctoral degree in the field.[3][7]


Sindi is a visiting scholar at Harvard University;[11][12] as such, she travels often between Jeddah, Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.[3] Sindi's laboratory work at Harvard earned her a spot with four other scientists in a documentary film supported by the Executive Office of the President of the United States in order to promote science education among young people.[13] 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,[7] and was an invited speaker at the Jeddah Economic Forum 2005.

In 2010, Sindi was the winner of the Mekkah Al Mukaramah prize for scientific innovation, given by HRH Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud. She was also named a 2011 Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic Society.[10]

On October 1, 2012, Sindi was appointed by UNESCO head Irina Bokova as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for her efforts in promoting science education in the Middle East, especially for girls.[2][7][14][15][16][17] She was also on Newsweek's list of 150 women who shook the world for that year.[9]

In January 2013, Sindi again broke new ground by becoming part of the first group of women to serve in Saudi Arabia's Consultative Council.[12][18][19]

In the annual meeting of Clinton Global Initiative held on September 21–24, 2014, Dr. Sindi was awarded with 'Leadership in Civil Society' prize.


  1. ^ Irfan Muhammad and Afshan Aziz, Hayat Sindi to women: Opt for a career in science. Arab News, Thursday, January 17, 2013.
  2. ^ a b UNESCO Media Services, Saudi Arabian woman researcher Hayat Sindi to be appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. UNESCOPRESS, October 1st, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Laura Bashraheel, Hayat Sindi – The Saudi global icon. Saudi Gazette, Monday, December 24, 2012.
  4. ^ Arabian Business, 19: Hayat Sindi. The World's Most Influential Arabs, 2012.
  5. ^ Arabian Business, 9: Hayat Sindi, Revealed: 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012.
  6. ^ Women in the world: Saudi innovator Hayat Sindi's science breakthrough at The Daily Beast.
  7. ^ a b c d UNESCO, Inspiring youth: Hayat Sindi.
  8. ^ Elizabeth Broomhall, Hayat Sindi interview: A passion for science. Arabian Business, Sunday, April 15, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Hayat Sindi to women: Opt for a career in science. Coastaldigest.com, Thursday, January 17th, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Hayat Sindi at National Geographic.
  11. ^ Alaa Al-Twaireb, Hayat Sindi to narrate her experiences today. Saudi Gazette, Wednesday, June 16, 2010.
  12. ^ a b Hamida Ghafour, Saudi women join king’s advisory council for first time. Toronto Star, Friday, January 11th, 2013.
  13. ^ Ahmad Al-Kinani, White House chooses Hayat Sindi for ‘Million Minds’. Saudi Gazette, Wednesday, March 24, 2010.
  14. ^ United Nations official site, Saudi Arabian female researcher Hayat Sindi to be appointed UNESCO advocate. October 1st, 2012.
  15. ^ Editor's Choice, Here's to you Mrs. Sindi! Saudi researcher is UN 'Goodwill Ambassador', albawaba.com. October 3rd, 2012.
  16. ^ UNESCO's official site, Dr Hayat Sindi, Saudi medical researcher, to be named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
  17. ^ Saudi woman researcher chosen UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Arab News, Wednesday, October 3, 2012.
  18. ^ David Ignatius, Newfound status for Saudi women. The Washington Post, January 18, 2013.
  19. ^ David Ignatius, Reforms may be too slow to save Saudi king from revolt. The Australian, January 23, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

National Geographic Education Staff (September 10, 2011). "Biotechnologist and Entrepreneur: Dr. Hayat Sindi".

External links[edit]