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Three Egyptian female Muslim Scientists win 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO Science Award

IMO News Service

Cairo: Three Egyptian female Muslim scientists have recently won the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award in recognition of their distinguished accomplishments in the field of pharmaceutics, according to a report published in Women of Egypt Mag. The three recipients include Balaha, Dr. Noha Mostafa Ahmed and Dr. Amira El-Yazbi.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science began 19 years ago. The award is presented every year to recognize accomplished women researchers and encourage more young women to enter the profession.

Balaha won the award for her academic excellence in the field of Pharmaceutical Design and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She succeeded in designing, synthesizing, and evaluating novel compounds as cytotoxic agents against non-small cell lung cancer.

She also performed molecular docking study for interpreting the comparative differences in the binding interactions of the synthesized novel compounds at the molecular level, as inhibitors of human dihydrofolate reductase enzyme, and to understand the structure-activity relationships.

Balaha performed quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) study for prediction of the biological activity of novel anti-cancer drugs against lung carcinoma.

She is presently working on a project for design and synthesis of anti-cancer drugs in collaboration with a medicinal chemistry lab in Italy.

Break down of Drugs

Dr. Noha Mostafa Ahmed, who is a Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry and Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Egypt’s Assiut University, won the award for the development of innovative and proven analytical methods to identify and break down some drugs.

Ahmed’s research is based on the critical need for pharmaceutical analytical chemistry and its applications in quality control and pharmacological, biological and environmental analysis. She wants to develop new, simple, highly sensitive and economical analytical methods to separate and identify the drugs under study, as well as potential oxidative outcomes in various pharmaceutical preparations and biological and environmental samples.

Her current proposal focuses on the analysis of the trace amounts of pharmaceuticals and their bioactive metabolites in wastewater by using a special catalytic oxidation process of the target compounds.

Genetic Damage

Dr. Amira El-Yazbi s a researcher in Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Alexandria University in Egypt.
El-Yazbi has won the award for her research project focusing on the detection of DNA damage, which leads to mutations causing cancer and many other diseases. As the available methods to screen for DNA damage are too expensive for routine use, many products including over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics, and nutraceuticals, don’t receive proper screening of their DNA damaging effect.

The research will result in a simple inexpensive high throughput method for the generic screening of DNA damaged by various pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

The simplicity and low cost of the methods used would allow large-scale examination of the DNA damaging effect of many products and pollutants in the local environment.

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