My UAE: Najat Rashid’s scientific passion

A profile of Najat Rashid, an Emirati who pursued her passion for molecular biology and clinical chemistry over mainstream science.
Najat Rashid helps scientists across the region to set up laboratories. Reem Mohammed / The National
Najat Rashid helps scientists across the region to set up laboratories. Reem Mohammed / The National

Two gifts changed a young Najat Rashid’s life – a chemistry set and a microscope. “I fell in love with science,” says the senior consultant in clinical biochemistry and molecular biology and director at the Health Ministry’s federal medical laboratories and blood banks department.

Now in her 40s, the Emirati is a leading authority in laboratory design and protocol. Scientists from across the Middle East call Rashid for her insight in setting up research labs. “Whoever wants advice, I will give it to them,” says the scientist.

While her father hoped she would become a medical doctor, she stayed true to her passion for chemical pathology and molecular biology. “It’s not an easy speciality, you need to be strong. But if you really want it, that strength will come from within you,” says Rashid, who has a PhD in clinical chemistry and molecular biology from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom.

Rashid has also published four textbooks – another aspect of her job that gives her great joy – Manual of Laboratory Safety, Electrophoresis and Immunofixation, Review of Laboratory Medicine and HealthCare-associated Infection Control and Biocides. She is working on her fifth, about lab biosecurity. “It’s in reaction to the issues that have been coming up about biological warfare.”

One of her goals is to improve medical care here by expanding the reach and capacities of the UAE’s labs. She hopes to establish a UAE certificate for laboratory quality control and accreditation. “The lab is not only about testing urine or blood,” says Rashid. “It’s the first line of diagnosis and the backbone of the hospital.”

Rashid was one of the 60 Emiratis featured in Those Who Inspire: UAE, a book that portrays people who, through their actions, words and beliefs, set a positive example for young Emiratis.

My favourite brand

Louis Vuitton handbags.

My dream job

Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health.

My favourite book

The Holy Quran.

My favourite quote/motto

Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.

My favourite pastime

To spend time with my family. I also love to write and cook.

My favourite movie

Titanic.

My favourite actor

The Kuwaiti actor Abdulhussain Abdulreda.

My favourite actress

The Kuwaiti actress Hayat Al Fahed.

My favourite television show

Friends.

My childhood inspiration

My father, who came from a very educated family where the most important thing was not how much money you make but your personality, values and the impressions you leave on people.

My favourite dish

Fried fish and white rice.

My advice to young Emiratis

Do it yourself and don’t wait for anyone.

My favourite music

The legendary Egyptian singer, Umm Kalthoum.

rghazal@thenational.ae

Published: December 11, 2014 04:00 AM

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