Rana Dajani Ph.D. in molecular cell biology, University of Iowa, USA; a Fulbright alumnus twice, an Associate Professor and former Director of the center of studies at the Hashemite University, Jordan, former Yale visiting professor at the Yale stem cell center. Her research focuses on genome-wide association studies concerning diabetes and cancer in ethnic populations in Jordan. Her focus on diabetes is because the rise in type II diabetes in Jordan has surpassed other developing countries and is one of the health priorities. Other research of hers includes signaling transduction, stem cells and bioinformatics in collaboration with Yale and University of Chicago.
Dr. Dajani has been able to obtain grants worth a quarter of a million from local and international organizations to establish her molecular biology lab at the university which is open to students to do research. She has initiated a committee to study the ethics of stem cell research in Jordan since no regulations are in place for stem cell research in Jordan which is very important to set the guidelines for researchers and physicians so that patients are not in jeopardy to be exploited as what is happening in other areas of the world. She has presented her work at the 4th conference for scientific research in Jordan 2009. She has been invited to speak on the topic of stem cell research on more than one occasion for medical students in a conference the students of IFMSA organized and to the students of the Hashemite University. In collaboration with Professor Gerald Schatten, an expert in stem cell research at the Pittsburgh Development Center and the Farah hospital the number one hospital in IVF in Jordan, She also coordinated a stem cell workshop in April 2011 for physicians and scientists from the MENA region to encourage stem cell research in the area. Stem cell research is new and has much promise in the basic and clinical fields.
Dr. Dajani is a consultant to the higher council for science and technology in Jordan She has written in Science and Nature about Science and women in the Arab world. She is on the UN women Jordan advisory council. She has established a network for women mentors and mentees in the Arab world. She has been named one of the 20 most influential women scientists in the Islamic world 2014 by the UK based Muslim-Science magazine. She is a strong advocate for the theory of biological evolution and of its compatibility with Islam. As such, She was a speaker at the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship symposium at the University of Cambridge and at the British Council ‘belief in dialogue’ conference.
In terms of education, she has been appointed a Higher Education Reform Expert by the EU-TEMPUS office, Jordan and an Education expert consultant to the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia, founder of the first center in the Middle East for service learning at the Hashemite University, advocate of teaching using problem based learning, novel reading, drama, social media and recycled art, speaker at TEDxDeadsea and at the World Islamic Economic Forum 2012.
In terms of bridging the gap between academia and industry. As a higher education reform expert, Dr. Dajani has been involved in developing the pharmacy program for the Zarqa University by bringing together all stakeholders from industry, academia and the community to change the education mindset from teacher centered to student centered as well as encouraging entrepreneurship to create jobs in the face of the rise in unemployment in Jordan.
Dr. Dajani has coached and inspired thousands of students to go beyond themselves to reach their maximum potential by encouraging the students to have confidence in themselves and to always be curious and never to take no for an answer.
On the broader horizon, Dr. Dajani has developed a community-based model and philosophy “We love reading (WLR)” to encourage children to read for pleasure which received the Synergos award for Arab world social innovators 2009, a membership to the Clinton Global Initiative 2010, and a place in the book “Innovation in education”, funded by Qatar foundation 2012. WLR has spread throughout Jordan, the Arab world and internationally reaching Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, Uganda and Azerbaijan.
Most recently she was selected as one of CEO Middle East magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2014. She was ranked number 13 in the list. She was also selected as one of the 100 most powerful Arabs in the World in the category “geniuses” by Arabian Business magazine 2014.
Dr. Dajani in the media: Huffington post, USA Today, Washington post, Al Jazeera, VOA, Chronicles of higher education, the Guardian, The Economist and Reuters.