NASA has appointed its membership to a Saudi academic Dr. Majdah Aburass, making her the first Arab woman to join its research team of scientists and Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Rashid, was appointed as a member of the regional research team. Abura holds a doctorate degree from the University of Surrey in environmental studies and biotechnology from UK University and specializing in oil pollutions.
“I chose to focus my research on petroleum since it is one of the most important sources of energy in the Kingdom,” she said.
But it was actually a dead bird that caused her to become interested in the environment. “In 2003 the bird flu virus was spreading around the world, and one day I found a dead bird in my garden. I felt that I wanted to know the cause of the bird’s death and whether it posed a danger to humans, so I decided to take it to a scientific laboratory.”
Muhammad Ibrahim al-Rashid, president of NASA affiliate the Gulf American Foundation for Space said that ”it was the result of her continuous work for the environment to solve its problems”.
As for her new role, she said her appointment came as a result of a collaboration with NASA on a project that she hopes will be implemented in the near future. She was the first Saudi lady selected to be an environmental ambassador.
She is also member of many social organizations such as Women’s Committee, King Research Center, Jeddah Governorate Higher, Governorate Urban Observatory Council and National Research Center in Egypt.