By Mahrokh Gholamhosseinpour
April 14, 2020
Professor Farnoush Faridbod, a lecturer and member of the board of Tehran University’s chemistry department and one of Iran’s youngest research chemists, was named as one of the world’s top one percent of scientists in 2018 by Clarivate Analytics.
Clairvate Analytics annually publishes the names of more than 1,000 researchers from all over the world, in 21 scientific categories, who have the highest number of citations in peer-reviewed journals over the course of 10 years.
Faridbod is also among the scientists who have the highest number of articles published in the international journal of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) as well as on the Thomson Reuters website.
Faridbod, who was born on March 21, 1980, studied pure chemistry at Al-Zahra University and went to Tehran University for postgraduate studies in analytical chemistry. She obtained her PhD in 2009.
In praising her teaching style, a chemistry student at the University of Tehran tells IranWire: “Faridbod is one of the most peaceful and proficient professors in the Chemistry Department, and although there is little age difference between her and her students, she can manage her classes well. In fact, her classes have the highest number of participants in the Chemistry Department of Tehran University.”
Faridbod has told her students that she dreamt about becoming a researcher since early childhood. She always thought that she would become a research physician and work in the field of human diseases.
In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Faridbod spoke of the favorable conditions her family provided for her to reach her aspirations.
“Our family environment was very peaceful,” Faridbord said in the Tasnim interview. “My parents sacrificed their enjoyments and trips for me and my other two sisters. Their main priority was for their children to have peace of mind and to be successful. My mother was a hygienist and my father loved sports. Paying attention to all these details provided a favorable environment for us. I began taking gymnastics lessons when I was five and practiced swimming since fifth grade. I always participated in physical strength competitions and won the top medal in this field in Tehran Province. I also won several medals in swimming.”
By inventing a small, but advanced, diagnostic tool for measuring the blood sugar of diabetes patients using their saliva, Faridbod helped diabetes patients by offering a non-invasive too to measure blood sugar without taking blood.
In a documentary produced by Mehdi Bakhshi-Moqadam, titled I am an Iranian, Faridbod says that she received proposals from other countries asking permission to produce this small blood glucose monitoring device, but she preferred to produce it in her own country.
Faridbod says her parents had diabetes and she always empathized with the pain felt by patients who had to use a glucometer. That is why she sought to create this new non-invasive diagnostic tool, with the support of her teachers, Mohammad Reza Ganjali and Kambiz Larijani.
She tells Iranian domestic news agencies that mass production of the device seems necessary, as it has no domestic or international parallel.
“This diagnostic tool for diabetes was first designed and manufactured in the Center of Excellence in Electrochemistry of Tehran University. It measures the amount of glucose in saliva, further tested and analyzed for precision and compared with the final specimen. It is a painless and cheap method, without any need for complicated operations, making it easy to use by even uneducated and disabled patients.”
Faridbod has won numerous awards prizes inside Iran – including being ranked the country’s top scientist in the 12th Ibn Sina [Avicenna] Festival.
In an interview about how she began her research work, Faridbod explains: “In fact I began my research work while still studying for my Master’s degree, while working as a typist for my teachers and their articles. At that time computers were just getting popular and I was very much fond of using them. In my second trimester, a seminar was held at the university and they were looking for a typist. I was very good at English too. I would read the articles, edit, and type them. In other words, I have seen the research work and the writings of other researchers. After the third year, I began to pursue research work by taking a course in practical research. At that time, we were making solvents in the laboratory … It was in those years that the spark of research appeared in me. I loved and still love games, particularly strategic games. Writing articles was like a new game for me. At that time, I did not write many articles, but those which I wrote were cited widely.”
Faridbod is also highly-placed in the Thomson Reuters Institute for Scientific Information database. She was previously also the head of Iran’s Diabetes Research Center.
In 2004, as part of the student exchange program of Tehran University, Faridbod went to Germany to attend additional research courses. The trip was a new opportunity to learn, but she has never imagined living anywhere outside Iran.
In the documentary I am an Iranian, she says that the trip to Germany, and seeing the country’s advanced scientific community and infrastructure, was a precious experience for her; not only did she become acquainted with German scientific circles, but also with German culture.
Faridbod regards order, planning, and having a clear goal, as the reasons of her success, and wishes to bring these scientific good practices closer to reality in Iran.
Today Faridbod is teaching the same class she took as a student. She took over the chemistry laboratory of Tehran University, working to upgrade it for her students, while still remembering her chair in the corner of the lab during her student years.
Farnoush Faridbod loves cultivating flowers and plants. She wants to spend her retirement on horticulture and flowers – but she still has a long way to go. She is just 39 years old.