Hayat Sindi’s astonishing medical career started with a lie; worried that her family would not let her study abroad, she told her father that she had already been accepted into a prestigious university in the UK.
When she landed in London as a teenager in 1991, she had no university place, no money, and didn’t speak English. Hard work and determination got her a place at King’s College, Cambridge. In 2001, she won a PhD in biotechnology from the top university and has been credited with the invention of MARS (Magnetic Acoustic Resonance Sensor), which combines the effects of light and sound for use in biotechnology. After a stint as a visiting scholar at Harvard, she co-founded Diagnostics for All, an organisation developing a disease-diagnosing paper that changes colours when dabbed with the bodily fluids of someone who is ill. Sindi is also a fellow at PopTech, a US-based non-profit organisation that offers fellowships to scientists promoting innovation. Last year, she launched the Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity, a Middle East focused foundation that will help scientists create business plans and find investors for their ideas.