She moved to Germany two years later to study for a Ph.D. Two years ago she was awarded her doctorate for her research on controlling microglia, the first immune defence in the central nervous system, which are meant to destroy foreign bodies and tumorous cells in the brain.
Elmadany has received fellowships and research grants throughout her career from institutions including Italy’s International Centre for Theoretical Physics and Harvard Medical School in the United States. In the Harvard fellowship, she ranked first a programme that involved 84 researchers and physicians from 33 countries.
Frustration and Perseverance
Elmadany, who is now a researcher at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, told Al-Fanar Media: “I was disappointed not to study medicine at university, but I knew I needed to strive in research where there are few women from Arab societies.”
“Life requires courage, and success requires risk and perseverance,” she said. “I learnt this from living in Palestine.” Elmadany is continuing her cancer research now investigating a protein that inhibits immune cells in cancerous tissue in the brain.
Rana Abu Dahab, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Jordan, was Elmadany’s supervisor during her master’s degree studies. She told Al-Fanar Media that Elmadany’s excellence in science was not a coincidence.
“She is known for her ambition, confidence, and not being satisfied with little,” Abu Dahab said. “Nirmeen is serious and distinguished in her search for creative ideas. There is no room for the word ‘impossible’ in her life.”
Abu Dahab also spoke about the effect of the siege of Gaza on Elmadany. “That added a lot to her character because she had to withstand the hardship of alienation from her family and homeland.”
Elmadany said the experience made her realise one needed to be influential in life as one of God’s successors on earth, and that that idea had always encouraged her to continue working and face any difficulties.
Difficulties Studying in Europe