CAIRO – In recognition of their distinguished accomplishments in the field of pharmaceutics, three Egyptian female Muslim scientists have won the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award, Women of Egypt Mag reported.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science, which began 19 years ago, recognizes accomplished women researchers, to encourage more young women to enter the profession.
“My father passed away from cancer, something which pushed me to do all what I can to prevent cancer from claiming more lives. This goal propelled me to join the Faculty of Pharmacy, at the University of Tanta in Egypt,” said Marwa Balaha, one of the winners of this year’s award.
With her academic excellence in the field of Pharmaceutical Design and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Balaha managed to design, synthesize, and evaluate novel compounds as cytotoxic agents against non-small cell lung cancer.
She performed molecular docking study to interpret 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 anticancer drugs against lung carcinoma.
She currently works in a project for design and synthesis of anti-cancer drugs in collaboration with a medicinal chemistry lab in Italy.
Breakdown of Drugs
Another winner is Dr. Noha Mostafa Ahmed who is a Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry and Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Assiut University, Egypt.
Based on the critical need for pharmaceutical analytical chemistry and its applications in quality control and pharmacological, biological and environmental analysis, Ahmed’s research interests focus on the development of innovative and proven analytical methods to identify and break down some drugs.
Her goal is 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.
Presently, her current proposal is focusing 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.
Dr. Amira El-Yazbi, the third winner, works as a researcher in Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Alexandria University in Egypt.
El Yazbi’s research project focuses on the detection of DNA damage, which leads to mutations that cause 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 permit large-scale examination of the DNA damaging effect of many products and pollutants in the local environment.