Fall Featured Scholar 2011

An accomplished researcher in the field of human genetics, this Iraqi scholar has dedicated her career to contributing to scientific advancement in Iraq. She earned her Ph.D. in Europe and returned to Iraq to lecture and establish a genetics laboratory at a university in Baghdad. Much of her research has focused on topics that hold significance for Iraqi populations, for example, examining and understanding beta-thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder common in the Middle East and Mediterranean. She has been a consistent presence at international conferences and has published her extensive work in numerous international human genetics journals.

Her work in the field drew interest and equal criticism from individuals who disseminated misinformation about her work. For years, the scholar endured threats and slander, eventually leading her to flee the country.

A Scholar Rescue Fund fellowship in 2010 enabled the scholar to resume her work full-time as a visiting research fellow in a human population genetics laboratory in a safe location. Among other outstanding accomplishments while on the fellowship she completed a project on the genetic makeup of the Iraqi population and submitted the research findings at major international scientific conferences and in journals of genetics.

In an effort to increase Iraq’s capacity for research in her field, the scholar has been working with an international scientific organization to bolster research and methods in Iraq focused on fauna and flora genetic resources conservation. While security concerns continue in Iraq, she remains committed to collaborative efforts with colleagues to organize scientific workshops and courses throughout Iraq’s public universities.

To read the International Crisis Group report on Iraq, please click here.

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