The winner of the Saïd Foundation’s 2024 Alumni Achievement Prize is announced.

Dr Rasha Saïd, Deputy Chair of the Saïd Foundation, presenting the prize medal to Dr Nouar Qutob at the Saïd Foundation annual lunch (Photo credit: Greg Hammond)

The Saïd Foundation is delighted to announce that Palestinian alumna Dr Nouar Qutob has won the Foundation’s 2024 alumni achievement prize. The prize is awarded to an individual judged to have contributed significantly to the development of the Levant region and to have made a positive impact in their field.

Dr Qutob is a genetics researcher, associate professor, and senior university administrator. She is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the Arab American University in Palestine, overseeing eight academic departments with a diverse range of specialties. Under her deanship, the faculty has introduced new innovative academic programs and has invested heavily in digitising and streamlining internal processes, as well as recruiting renowned lecturers from aboard to teach and supervise students.

Dr Qutob joined the Arab American University in 2019 and has held several academic roles there including Head of the Health Sciences Department at the university for three years. During her tenure, she led projects in conjunction with the Palestinian Ministry of Health aimed at studying the genomic epidemiology of the virus in Palestine. She previously held various teaching and research positions at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Al Quds Bard College in Palestine.

Alongside her administrative duties, Dr Qutob has a longstanding research interest in the molecular genetics of cancer and genetic diseases. During her post-doctoral research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, she used both genetic and functional studies to identify and understand new drivers of melanoma. She has numerous publications and research papers in the field and was granted a patent in the US for a prognostic and therapeutic marker for cancer.

Dr Qutob believes in using genomic tools to study biology and tailoring treatments to each patient’s unique genetic makeup. Her current research is focused on how genetics and the study of mutations can help understand cancer and other diseases in Palestine. She initiated the establishment of a database detailing the genetic composition of Palestinians. There are currently several projects underway aimed at deciphering the genetic makeup of Palestinian cancer patients which will provide a unique opportunity to deposit genetic mutations on a global database to include Palestine on the worldwide genomic map.

Dr Qutob also serves as the Vice President of the Palestinian Forum for Medical Research, a nonprofit organization she helped establish in 2010. Its mission is to provide support to Palestinians engaged in clinical and scientific research across various medical fields.

Dr Qutob was supported by the Saïd Foundation to pursue an MPhil in Biological Science at the University of Cambridge in 2007/08. She holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge, a Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from Brigham Young University in the United States, and a higher diploma in Negotiations and Leadership from the Harvard Programme on Negotiations.

Watch this video in which Dr Qutob talks about her remarkable achievements in advancing medical education and research in Palestine.

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