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One of The 100 Most Influential Arabs In The World: Penelope Shihab

Penelope Shihab was born and raised in Palestine during a political instability phase where it was hard for most of people to stay, live or even dream there. However, for Penelope, it was different. It was a motivation for her to find another better place to achieve her goals and see her dreams coming true with the support of her family. She moved to Jordan where she had her bachelor degree in Laboratory Medicine from the University of Applied Sciences. After that, she completed her higher education in Hematology, Biotechnology and Immunology at the Jordan University of Science and Technology and for her infinite love and passion for science overseas she determined on going further with an MBA at the London Institute in 2004. Till now she is still pursuing her PHD in chemical Engineering and Biotechnology under the supervision and guidance of Professor Chris Lowe, director of the biotechnology Institute in Cambridge University with whom she managed to establish a partnership with in the first biotechnology kind of companies in Jordan and in the Middle East; Monojo.

The aim behind “Monojo” was to research and develop in the field of immunized camel whey antibodies after a conversation she had with a Jordanian Bedouin she once met who opened her eyes to the importance of the natural resources in the region that people use to prevent and treat some diseases such as diabetes and cancer. That inspired and aroused Penelope's curiosity to find out the secret behind that and especially after Prof. Chris’  encouragement to benefit from the region and surrounding that Europeans have not reached yet in their discoveries so she really did start studying and researching about the Bedouins lifestyle and nutrition to find out that their high intake of Camel milk is actually correlated with the enhancement of their lifestyles and prevention against many diseases and after many studies she discovered that the reason behind all of these were that camels have antibodies with a “nano” size which are also able to survive extreme conditions such as high temperature and acidity unlike other antibodies, which makes the transportation of any drug made up of them smooth & perfect through tissues and blood stream.

After several studies that she has done on the skin conditions of these Bedouins, she has found out that despite the harsh desert conditions that they live in, but their skin is really pure and healthy so she invested in this line as well to discover what she called later the “Camel Technology” that followed her invention of “Skinue” a camel’s milk based-cosmeceutical to treat skin problems like acne. Skinue is today being sold in 15 countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and some Gulf countries through UK-based digital marketing company - Royal Therapeutics- that develops and sells naturally sourced cosmeceutical and nutraceutical products for the treatment and relief of unmet medical needs.

 

As Penelope believes in Arabs’ potential in general and in youth’s in specific in achieving great things whenever they get the chance, she worked on founding the “Applied Scientific Research Fund (ASRF)” with her partner Samih Darwazih in 2011. That is a non-governmental organization that supports innovative and entrepreneur scientists and businessmen and women in the Arab region specifically in the health sector. It also focuses on providing these people with the guidance, skills development and Entrepreneurship Financing Programs. Her aim was to be part of more achievements, developments and youths support as she previously did with three women whom she helped in starting up their own businesses and still aiming to help more and more. She, as an Arab woman, a mother and a scientist has gone through a lot of obstacles throughout her journey till she achieved what she desired and who has enough ambition and motivation to support others to also achieve what they dream about to prove to that the Arab world still has more “Penelope Shihab”s who only need some support and encouragement to be discovered.

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