Dr. Sonia Abdelhak Principal Biologist, Institut Pasteur de Tunis

Dr. Abdelhak is principal biologist at the Institut Pasteur de Tunis, head of a research unit on orphan genetic diseases, and is mainly involved in the study of the molecular basis of monogenic rare disorders (genodermatosis, DNA repair diseases, etc.) and multifactorial disorders (cancer and type II diabetes). Dr. Abdelhak contributed to the mapping of the spinal muscular atrophy gene, positional cloning of a syndromic deafness gene and the molecular characterization of several genetic diseases in the Tunisian population (over 30 publications on this subject), thus providing tools for the diagnosis of genetic diseases in North Africa. Dr. Abdelhak is also the supervisor of 20 Ph.D. students and has tutored several undergraduate students. She is coordinating a NEPAD/NABNet project on type II diabetes in five North African countries.

Dr. Abdelhak received a Masters in Immunology, a Ph.D. in Human Molecular Genetics from Université Paris VII and a State Doctorate in Science (D.Sc.) from Faculté des Sciences de Tunis. She is currently an elected member of the Council of Scientific Advisers of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB). In 2009, she was awarded the second Sanofi-Aventis price for Medical Research and in 2010, she was awarded the Medal of Knight of the National Order of Merit of Tunisia in the sector of education and sciences.