Talented African women scientists: Hoda Elkenany from Egypt

We welcome Hoda Elkenany. She is one of the beneficiaries of the #Sciecebywomen program. She has a degree in veterinary medicine and is currently a professor at the University of Alexandria (Egypt).

She arrived to Valencia at the height of the coronavirus crisis, in her country and in ours, to carry out her research at the Príncipe Felipe Research Centre. In this prestigious centre she is working on her passion: research on regenerative medicine and on cell transplantation in the treatment of patients with spinal cord disorders. She anticipates that her research will improve the recovery prognosis of those with induced (trauma) or acquired (degenerative) spinal cord disorders.

She says that this fellowship in Spain is a completely new experience from many points of view:  culturally, as a laboratory experience, as a management system and as lifestyle. “I hope to master spinal tissue regeneration techniques in vitro and in vivo. In addition, I look forward to a long-lasting partnership and the building of new friendships,” she says.

She explains with great enthusiasm why she took up science: “From a surgeon’s perspective, I am fascinated by the great potential of regenerative medicine. For example, the regeneration of damaged tissue instead of its removal. Also, the replacement of malfunctioning organs with engineered organs prepared in the laboratory instead of waiting for a donation. As a result, I developed a particular interest in continuing my career in the field of tissue regeneration and engineering. The long-term goal of my career is to get to be a creator in science and technology who seeks innovative solutions to the great problems of regenerative medicine.

To Professor Hoda Elkhenany, Marie Curie is the ideal model of a woman scientist. Not only because she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only one to have won it twice, “but because she was an enthusiastic wife who shared her husband’s long and successful scientific life and was a great role model for her daughter, who also won the Nobel Prize. In addition, Marie Curie was very interested in her community in times of war and peace. She demonstrated that women are capable of being researchers, wives, mothers, active members in their communities. She made this difficult equation seem possible”.

She feels fortunate because she has always been surrounded by people who have believed strongly in her and shown her support, “starting with my family, who encourages my path through education and academic work, and supports my scientific adventures all over the world, even if it means I won’t be able to be with them. I owe a lot to my study supervisors because they believed in me and pushed me to achieve my goals.

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