The Kingdom is witnessing remarkable achievements of Saudi women in all fields. Women in the Kingdom have essentially become drivers of the change we are seeing today, proving to be great assets to the economic transformation of the country, in line with Vision 2030, which seeks to empower Saudi women.
One such high achiever is the indomitable physician-scientist Dr. Khawla Al-Khuraya. A prominent name in global cancer research, she is a senior cancer specialist at King Faisal Specialized Hospital and Research Centre (KFSHRC) and is currently director of the King Fahd National Center for Children’s Cancer and Research, which operates under the KFHSRC. She is also a professor of pathology at the College of Medicine at King Faisal University in Riyadh.
An internationally recognized translational scientist, Dr. Al-Khuraya’s area of expertise includes identification of the molecular signature of the common tumor utilizing the latest technology in cancer genetic fields. She is perhaps most well known for identifying a gene – the FOSM1 – that prompts the human body to form cancer cells. The groundbreaking research has helped to diagnose and treat various types of cancer.
Dr. Al-Khuraya holds the distinction of being the first Saudi woman to receive the prestigious “First Rank King Abdul Aziz Medal” in 2010, recognizing her contribution to cancer research.
Born in the Al-Jouf region of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Al-Khuraya decided to enter the medical field after her graduation. She studied medicine at the King Saud University School of Riyadh, after which she went to the US for her residency and fellowship in pathology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. She obtained her board certification in clinical pathology and completed her fellowship in molecular diagnostics at the National Cancer Institute in the US.
Dr. Al-Khuraya added one more feather in her cap when she was appointed as a member of the Saudi Shoura Council in 2013. She remained a member until 2017, using her influence to champion women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and to support scientific research.
Dr. Al-Khuraya is seen as a symbol of the progress of Saudi women. Her accomplishments are many and she has done the Kingdom proud on several occasions. The cancer specialist has represented Saudi Arabia in many international scientific forums and has had several of her research papers published in scientific journals in Europe and the US, in addition to those in the Arab world.
In a field where globally, women continue to be underrepresented and struggle for equality with their male counterparts, Dr. Al-Khuraya is a name to be reckoned with. She has not only managed to create a place for herself in the male-dominated scientific field through her pioneering contributions but has also inspired many upcoming generations of women to pursue careers in science and technology.