Dina Al-Qatabi... a Syrian scientist who develops wireless technology

Dina Al-Qatabi, a distinguished Syrian scholar was honored by former President Barak Obama in a special ceremony held for her. She was recently elected as a member of the American National Academy of Engineering NAE.

She graduated from Damascus University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in 1995. Then she went to America to begin her scientific career , where  she got her master's and Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 1998 and 2003 respectively.

She currently holds the title of Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is the co-director of the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing and a principal researcher in computer science and an artificial intelligence laboratory.


Al-Qatabi managed to  develop a wireless device that is able to track motion using radio signals reflected off the human body, even through walls . It is a technology that has great potential for medical use. the device can help doctors monitor a patient’s gait, breathing, and heartbeat  at home and without hooking them up to sensors.

Martin Renard, who works in the same department where Dina works but does not collaborate directly with her, expressed  his admiration for Dina's ability to maximize the benefit of any engineering practice. He says, “We have an extraordinary human being. She uses fundamental technology and re-applies it in a completely new and innovative way.”

During her scientific career, Dina has held several important positions, including: the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, she is the director of the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing, a member of the National Academy of Engineering .

Al-Qatabi won the Grace Murray Hopper Award , recognizing her as the outstanding young computer science professional In 2013. Her work on Sparse Fourier Transforms was chosen as one of the top 10 breakthroughs of the year by Technology Review In 2012. In September 2013, Al-Qatabi was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work. In 2013 she also became a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

In 2014, her work on X-ray vision was chosen as one the "50 ways that MIT has transformed computer science. In 2017, Al-Qatabi was awarded with the ACM Prize in Computing, recognizing her as one of the most innovative researchers in the field of networking.

The American-Syrian computer scientist, Dina Al-Qatabi was born 1971 in Damascus.

Amal Farhat