Sindi is a medical scientist who was the first Saudi Muslim woman in the Middle East to get a PhD in biotechnology, was one of the first female members of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, and is the co-founder of Diagnostics For All; an NGO that works to provide medical care in remote impoverished areas.
According to her, “a true scientist should focus on affordable simple solutions to reach everyone in the world.”
She has called on countries in the Middle East to focus on science education, calling for an increase in spending on this field in education. Sindi has been appointed as a UNESCO goodwill ambassador due to her work in promoting education, specifically for girls in the Middle East.
Hayat Sindi is founder and President of the Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity (i2institute), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a co-founder and director of ‘Diagnostics for All’, a nonprofit institution fusing biotechnology and microfluidics, dedicated to creating low-cost, easy-to-use, point-of-care diagnostics designed specifically for the 60 percent of the developing world that lives beyond the reach of urban hospitals and medical infrastructures.
She graduated with a degree in pharmacology in 1995 at King’s College, UK and earned a PhD in biotechnology from Cambridge University in 2001. She has invented a machine combining the effects of light and ultra-sound for use in biotechnology. Along with her scientific activities, she participated in numerous events aimed at raising the awareness of science amongst women, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim World. She is also interested in the problem of brain drain.
In 2010, Sindi was the winner of the ‘Mekkah Al Mukaram’ Prize for Scientific Innovation, given by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal. She was also named a 2011 Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic Society. In 2012, she was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World”. She became UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2012 “in recognition of her work to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and social innovation for scientists, technologists and engineers in the Middle East and beyond, her efforts to bring the youth closer to innovators and her dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization.”