With multiple publications in cancer research and her debut novel, Where Will My Heart Beat, this accomplished Lebanese woman is proof of why education and hard work is the key to unlocking a world of success.
She is a scientist, a mother of two, and a published author, who grew up in the heart of Beirut until she was 20 years old.
“It wasn’t easy to part from that heroic and authentic city, despite all its dichotomies. I have carried its spirit within me ever since,” said Dr. Loubna Hassanieh while reflecting on the journey that brought her to where she is today.
After attending high school at the Saint Joseph de l’Apparition in Beirut, she graduated from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BS in Biology.
She continued her studies at the University of Southern California (USC) and obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Her inspiration to delve into the realm of cancer research came from a personal event in her past.
“I was fourteen years old when I learned my aunt came down with “that disease.” Soon after, I learned she had terminal cancer. I watched her wane in pain and vowed to become a healer and not turn a blind eye to the suffering of thousands from this vicious disease,” she told The961.
“My focus in cancer research was on the field of Angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels grow from pre-existing ones, and the role it plays in pathological processes such as tumor growth and metastasis,” she explained.
“Regulating Angiogenesis is one of the approaches in the fight against cancer. I specifically helped in the development of monoclonal antibodies targeting enzymes associated with this aberrant neovascularization.”
She has several publications on the subjects of Cancer and Angiogenesis and shared that she holds a patent for a novel antibody “based on MMP-9 and β-1 integrin”.
In November 2018, Dr. Hassanieh published her first novel, a story of the human experience, including loss, love, struggle, and family dysfunctions. It is set in a Lebanese village as she pulls influence from the values of the culture she grew up in.
“Where Will My Heart Beat? is a reminder of the universality of love and an invitation to look beyond ourselves. We are not only physical bodies occupying space in a physical universe but mind and spirit that are irreducible to matter,” she said.
According to Dr. Hassanieh, it was received with excellent editorial reviews since its release and was featured in Condé Nast Traveler as a “Book of Choice.”
Talking about the switch from science research to writing lifechanging stories, she expressed, “I believe there is more to the human experience than what could be explained with science alone, that our consciousness transcends the physical activity of the brain, and that intuition and creativity do not succumb to classical physics. I wrote Where Will My Heart Beat? to provoke thoughts and encourage the reader to raise questions.”
“I also believe in the power of a story and that storytelling is an art. A compelling story invokes both emotions and intellect, draws on creativity, and arouses the imagination. It also has the power to deliver information much faster and more effectively than newspapers and textbooks.”
Being able to gracefully balance her personal life and her career, Dr. Hassanieh told us, “I am a mother first. I make sure to give my children all the time and attention they need and was adamant to take years off my career to grant them undivided attention.”
She stresses the importance that women acknowledge their power. “We are not only responsible around the house but also accountable for the education and the full health, mind and body, of our future generations.
“Education gives us the power to drive change. We need to ingrain the love of education in the minds and hearts of our girls and see them flourish.
“Also, it is our responsibility as mothers to teach our sons to respect our daughters and take them for their equals,” she said.
For those who would like to meet her, Dr. Hassanieh is speaking in a book signing event online organized by The Alliance Française of Washington, D.C. (AFDC).
The event is scheduled for June 26th under the patronage of the Embassy of Lebanon in DC. For more information, visit here.