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From Digital Signature and Cryptography to DNA Repair - Top Muslims in Scientific Research

Monday November 6, 2017 10:02 PM, Staff Reporter

Aziz Sancar
[Aziz Sancar was co-awarded (along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich) the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for work on DNA repair. ]

From Digital Signature and Cryptography to DNA Repair, The Muslim 500 in its latest edition of the Most Influential Muslims in the world, has also profiled the top names from the community who are contributing in the field of scientific research and technology. brings for its readers the profile of some of them.

Elgamal, Taher

Taher Elgamal, widely known as the “father of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)”, is a world-renowned Egyptian-American cryptographer. In addition to being the driving force behind SSL, the technology used to secure web browsing online, his work is also used as the basis for Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the Digital Signature Standard (DSS).

He is a recipient of the RSA Conference 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr Salim Al-Hassani

Dr Salim Al-Hassani is a former professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, and the celebrated author of 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World, a best-selling account of scientific and technological developments in Islamic history.

Dr Al-Hassani also serves as the Chairman and Founder of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation. The Foundation partners with the Abdul Latif Jameel Foundation, a British charity which showcased the 1001 Inventions Global Touring Exhibition across the UK, United States, and Turkey in 2010.

Al-Namankany, Abeer

Dr Al-Namankany made history when she developed a new standard for measuring patient anxiety and treating it with drug-free psychotherapy, thereby protecting patients from the risks of general anesthesia and the side-effects of sedatives.

She is the winner of six distinguished clinical and research awards from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Emirates Medical Association, and others. In addition to her brilliant medical career, Dr Abeer is also a social activist and a defender of women’s and children’s rights.

Prof. Atta-Ur Rahman

Atta-Ur Rahman is the Coordinator-General of the OIC’s COMSTECH, the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation for the promotion and cooperation of science and technology activities among the OIC member states. In 1999 he became the first Muslim scientist to win the UNESCO Science Prize.

In 2013, in recognition of his work in the field of science, the largest Malaysian university, Universiti Teknologi Mara, named its Research Institute of Natural Products after Professor Atta-ur-Rahman. He was given the International Cooperation Award, the highest award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 2014.

In 2016, he was elected as Emeritus Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, thereby becoming the first scientist from the Islamic world to be bestowed this honour. The same year, Prof Rahman was appointed Co-Chairman of a United Nations Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation covering the member countries of UNESCAP.

Prof. Dr Winai Dahlan

Prof Dr Winai Dahlan is the Director of the Halal Science Centre (HASCI) in Thailand, named the Best Innovation in the Halal Industry by Malaysia’s The Halal Journal. HASCI promotes halal manufacturing and service through exhibitions and regional cooperation with halal centres in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Dr Winai Dahlan is involved in scientific training and has written more than 30 original research articles published internationally and locally. He has also produced more than 2000 articles on science and nutrition, writing weekly in three magazines since 1989.

Prof Rana Dajani

Dr Rana Dajani
[Rana Dajani is a professor of molecular biology, and completed her studies at the University of Iowa through the Fulbright Program. (Photo: McGill Centre for Islam and Science)]

Rana Dajani is a professor of molecular biology, and completed her studies at the University of Iowa through the Fulbright Program. Her initiative, “We Love Reading”, earned her the Synergos Arab World Social Innovator Award 2009.

Her other distinctions include: membership in the Clinton Global Initiative 2010, a mention in the book Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers Around the World, and appearin in’s list of the 20 most influential women scientists in the Muslim world.

Farouk El-Baz

Farouk El-Baz is a geologist who worked with NASA on the selection of landing sites on the moon and the training of Apollo astronauts in visual observations and photography. He is well-known for applying satellite images to groundwater exploration in arid lands.

The Geological Society of America established two awards in his honour: the Farouk El-Baz Award for Desert Research (1999) and the Farouk El-Baz Student Research Award (2007). He has received numerous honours and awards, including Egypt’s Order of Merit (First Class). El-Baz ranked no. 51 in the Power 100 of Arabian Business.

Zaghloul El Naggar

El-Naggar is an Egyptian geologist and scholar who writes and speaks on science and the Qur’an. He is a fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences, and is well-respected by the global scientific community for his work in geology. He has published close to 200 academic articles and scientific studies.

He also works for the Arab Development Institute.

Mohamed Ghilan

Mohamed Ghilan is a Canadian Muslim who has managed to combine a high degree of learning of modern science and traditional islam. Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to parents from Sudanese and Yemeni backgrounds, he attended high school and university after immigrating to Canada. In 2007 Mohamed began his full time studies in the Islamic Tradition after having made connections with several Muslim scholars.

In May 2015, Mohamed earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Victoria, where he studied synaptic plasticity in Huntington’s disease, as well as the effects and molecular mechanisms of stress on the brain in Fragile X syndrome. He hopes his research can eventually be used to develop new therapies which can be used to assist individuals with movement disorders or intellectual disabilities.

Dr Bruno Abd al Haqq Guiderdoni

Dr Guiderdoni is an astrophysicist and French convert to Islam. A specialist in galaxy formation and evolution, he has published more than 140 papers and organized several conferences on these subjects. Guiderdoni serves as Director of the Observatory of Lyon.

Besides his extensive writings on science, he has also published around 60 papers on Islamic theology and mysticism and is now Director of the Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies.

Ataç İmamoğlu

İmamoğlu is an award winning physicist whose alma mater include the Middle East Technical University in Istanbul and Stanford. He was a professor at the University of California and then the University of Stuttgart before moving to this current position as head of the research group on Quantum Photonics, at ETHZ (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Switzerland.

His academic interests are quantum optics, semiconductor physics, and nonlinear optics.

Jackie Ying

Jackie Y Ying received her PhD from Princeton University and was Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT before becoming the Executive Director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), Singapore. Her interdisciplinary research is focused on nanostructured materials and systems for catalytic and biomedical applications.

She has authored over 310 articles and has over 120 patents issued or pending. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Nano Today. She was elected as a Materials Research Society Fellow in 2013, and has been selected as an Inaugural Inductee for The Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2017, she was awarded the Abdeali Taybali Lifetime Achievement Award by Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob.

Sindi, Hayat

Hayat Sindi is a pioneer in the field of medical science with a number of significant groundbreaking scientific contributions. She was chosen among a delegation of 15 of the best scientists in the world to explore the trends and the future of science.

She was the first female member of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, the first Saudi to complete her studies at Cambridge University in the field of biotechnology, and the first Arab to complete a doctoral degree in the field.

She was ranked by Arabian Business as the 20th most influential Arab in the world and the ninth most influential Arab woman in 2012. Sindi has been appointed by UNESCO as a Goodwill Ambassador in recognition of her efforts in promoting science education in the Middle East. Her other distinctions include membership at the Clinton Global Initiative 2014 and receiving the Leadership in Civil Society prize.

Irfan Siddiqui

Irfan Siddiqi is an award-winning pioneering scientist who is best-known for the development of the Josephson bifurcation amplifier. He was born in Karachi and moved to the USA where he studied at Columbia, Harvard and Yale universities.

He is currently Professor of Physics at the Quantum Nanoscience Laboratory (established by him) and the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Siddique, Prof Teepu

Prof Siddique is a neurologist and scientist known for his groundbreaking discoveries concerning genetic and molecular abnormalities. He was head of the team that discovered the cause behind the mysterious and deadly disorder known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

He studied at Dow Medical College in Karachi, where he earned his medical degree in 1973 before moving to the USA. He was a professor of neurology and cell and molecular biology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine before becoming director of the university’s division of neuromuscular medicine.

Aziz Sancar

Dr. Aziz Sancar was co-awarded (along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich) the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for work on DNA repair. His contributions over the years have shed light on the processes of aging, causes of cancer and how cells work. Sancar studied at Istanbul University before moving to the USA where is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina.

He is also a co-founder of a foundation which promotes Turkish culture and supports Turkish students in the USA (the Aziz & Gwen Sancar Foundation).

Dr. Saif, Umar

An award-winning scientist, entrepreneur, innovator, and a tech tycoon, Dr Saif studied at Cambridge and was a core member of the $50 million Project Oxygen at MIT. He created the first startup incubators in Pakistan: the Saif Center of Innovation.

He is also the founding Vice Chancellor of the Information Technology University in Punjab and is one of the main forces behind the IT ecosystem in Pakistan. The MIT Technology Review named Saif in its list of the “World’s Top Young Innovators for the year 2011”, and he was named “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in 2010.

In recognition of his services to the country, in 2014 the Government of Pakistan conferred on him the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), one of the highest civilian awards in Pakistan. In 2017, he received the British Council Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.

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