Scientific & Technological Achievements of Iranians

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*Iran is world’s 15th leading scientific nation: Scopus ranking

Iran’s scientific community has been placed in the 15th place in the Scopus ranking to date, which represents a breakthrough for the country’s scientific establishment.

Islamic World Science Citation Database (ISC) Director Jafar Mehrad made the announcement in Shiraz on Sunday, the Mehr News agency reported.

Scopus, officially named SciVerse Scopus, is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 20,500 titles from over 5,000 international publishers, of which 19,500 are peer-reviewed journals in the scientific, technical, medical, and social sciences.

Iran’s highest previous ranking was 17th in 2012, Mehrad said, expressing hope that Iranian scientists would continue to make progress.

He also said that Iranian researchers have contributed a 6.1% share to the world scientific output, adding that the Islamic Republic stands above many Western countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Norway, Finland and Greece in this regard.

The Iranian government has committed to a comprehensive plan for science including boosting R&D investment to 4 percent of GDP by 2030, compared with just 0.59 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006.

*Iranian students rank 4th in International biology Olympiad

Iranian students managed to stood 4th in the 24th International Biology Olympiad, wining two gold and two silver medals.

The competitions were held on July 14-21 in Bern, Switzerland. Amir Ashraf Ganjouei and Amin Arasteh won gold medals and Bahar Saberzadeh and Neda Nilforoushan won silver medals.

The Iranian team grabbed three silver and one bronze medals in the 23th International Biology Olympiad last year.

*Iran conducts first facial reconstruction surgery successfully

The first and most important facial reconstruction surgery in Iran which lasted for nearly 5 hours ended with successful results. Mousa Sheikh has undergone the surgery at Golestan Hospital after his face was badly damaged following hitting a guardrail.

The first and most important facial reconstruction surgery in Iran which lasted for nearly 5 hours ended with successful results. Mousa Sheikh has undergone the surgery at Golestan Hospital after his face was badly damaged following hitting a guardrail.

"The free surgery on Mousa Sheikh has been accomplished. I'm satisfied with the operation results," said Farzad Fazilat, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery specialist.

He further added removing the brain membranes skin was the most difficult section of the surgery conducted successfully.

Fazilat reiterated that he has carried out his most difficult operation, and added that the results of the surgery had been unpredictable, but the first phase ended with promising outcomes.

The Iranian physician added Sheikh has a long way to treatment, but the first section of the surgery which includes installation of the forehead and right cheek was done successfully.

Sheikh's face was deformed and terribly damaged after his motorcycle hit a guardrail 9 years ago.

*Iran ranks 6th in Austrian International Informatics Olympiad

Iranian students stood 6th in the 2013 International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), wining 4 gold, silver and bronze medals.

The competitions were held in Brisbane City on July 6-13 where four Iranian students Denial Mehrjerdi, Farzad Abdolhosseini, Keiwan Alizadeh, Vahid Valizadeh and Hamed Valizadeh represented Iran in the competitions.

299 participants from 77 countries had joined the event. Iran grabbed one gold, two silver and one bronze medals.

*Iran scores 5 medals in International Physics Olympiad

Iranian students won several medals in the 44th International Physics Olympiad in Copenhagen, Denmark capital city, including 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals.

Several teams from 88 countries had joined the event. Amir Zareh, Mohammad Reza Lotfinamin and Kousha Rezaeizadeh won gold medals. Nader Mosta'an grabbed silver medal and Amirparsa Zivari scored bronze medal in the event.

It is expected that the Iranian team would be ranked 3rd or 4th in the event which ran on July 8-14.

Iran won 2 silver and 3 bronze medals in the 43rd International Physics Olympiad.

The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an annual physics competition for high school students. It is one of the International Science Olympiads. The first IPhO was held in Warsaw, Poland in 1967.

Each national delegation is made up of at most five student competitors plus two leaders, selected on a national level. Observers may also accompany a national team. The students compete as individuals, and must sit for intensive theoretical and laboratory examinations. For their efforts the students can be awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals or an honorable mention.

The theoretical examination lasts 5 hours and consists of three questions. Usually these questions involve more than one part. The practical examination may consist of one laboratory examination of five hours, or two, which together take up the full five hours.

*Iran developes new method raising cloning speed by 100 times

Iranian researchers at Royan Research Institute in the central Isfahan Province, have managed to increase cloning process speed by as much as 100 times through developing a method for producing transgenic animals, said Head of the research institute Mohammad Hossein Nasr Esfahani.

Iranian researchers at Royan Research Institute in the central Isfahan Province, have managed to increase cloning process speed by as much as 100 times through developing a method for producing transgenic animals, said Head of the research institute Mohammad Hossein Nasr Esfahani.

The method has been patented and known as Rouyan, he said, adding, "Earlier, we could raise cloning speed by 10 times jointly with researchers from Australia and New Zealand. We designed the simplified method which can remove a large number of egg nucleus for cloning in 10 minutes."

He further added cloning is one of the best methods for producing transgenic cells by which genetics engineering can be fully conducted.

According to Esfahani, many of methods used before failed to do well for recombinant animals. Transfer of mice gene to the cell nucleus among livestock such as cow and goat is not possible because of their pigments and it works well only in cases of mice.

He also said the institute has produced Factor 9 Protein and tissue plasminogen activator in the milk of transgenic goats and it will go ahead with the project to boost its efficiency.

He added there are a large number of second and third generations of transgenic goats with Factor 9 Protein which can be used for drug production.

According to Esfahani, Rouyan now is in possession of all proteins required by Iranian biotechnologists.

*Iranians Develop New Parkinson’s Treatment

Iranian researchers at Amirkabir Polytechnic University have developed a new method to treat Parkinson’s through deep stimulation of brain.

Behzad Iravani, the project manager, said, “No definite treatment has been presented for the disease. Its neural damage is irreversible and the available drugs do not prove so efficient and only decrease the symptoms,” ISNA reported.

Iravani noted that the deep mind stimulation is one of the efficient methods to treat the disease, adding that many research projects have been conducted on animals, mainly mice, using this method.

Elaborating on the research process, Iravani said electrodes were planted in the brains of mice and their behaviors were studied.

Their path was recorded using video preprocessing. The time, frequency and other properties of the path were extracted as indicators for investigating the behavior.

According to Iravani, the new method is aimed at curing Parkinson’s without any drug and only through deep stimulation of the brain.

Reception of medicines by people with Parkinson’s increases dopamine unnaturally, which decreases the natural release of the material inside the body and makes the patient’s body resistant again treatment.

Iranian scientists and researchers have made great progress over recent years in the production of new medicines as well as designing and developing new methods and systems to treat different types of diseases.

*Iranian Helps Develop Surgery Simulation Tool

Hamed Azarnoush, an Iranian researcher, has designed a new surgery simulation tool that allows brain surgeons to develop their skills without risking the life of a real patient.

Azarnoush and other researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University, in Canada, are using the NeuroTouch Cranio, which is believed to be one of the most advanced brain surgery tools in the world, ISNA reported.

The device allows doctors to work out how to carry out complex procedures without the need to involve a patient. The technology allows doctors to feel sensations similar to those felt during real brain surgery while they hold the surgical tools.

The device also includes a screen that shows a high-definition simulation of a brain tumor and the effect that the tools and surgery are having on the tumor and the surrounding brain.

“Our main goal is to improve the resident training. Previously, they were receiving that directly from the operating room,” Daily Mail quoted Azarnoush as saying.

The simulator is currently being used in training and it will be several years before it can be used to train career neurosurgeons. The developers believe it could eventually allow much earlier detection of which trainee surgeons will succeed and which will not. This would mean that less time would be spent training people who were not cut out for surgery.

During the next trial, students will operate on a simulation of a brain tumor that is bleeding uncontrollably.

The patient will die as the students work but they will be able to track the patient’s brain activity and heart rate.

This will allow the students to learn what stresses are involved in carrying out operations such as this, and how to deal with them.

*Iran ranked 2nd in US CanSat 2013 competitions 

Iranian students at Amirkabir University of Technology ranked 2nd in the US CanSat 2013 competitions attended by 25 countries.

The competitions were held on June 7-9 in Texas during which the teams were judged 4 times. In the first phase, 40 participating teams sent the documentations of their satellite initial design. Later, 25 countries were selected out of 40 for the final phase. Finally, the US, Canada, the UK, the UAE, Turkey, India, Colombia, Guatemala and Iran went to the final.

The teams launched their satellites 700 meters above the earth by a rocket. The teams also presented a report about their operations after return of the satellites. Three teams were selected in the last phase.

Iran was followed by the US in the competitions. Canada stood 3rd in the races. Also two Indian teams ranked 4th and 5th.

CanSat was sponsored by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

*New Iranian Method to Treat Children With ADHD

Iranian scientists at the University of Tehran have designed a software for children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is able to boost their auditory attention.

Afiyeh Sareli, an MS student in physical education, has designed and presented the method in the form of software, increasing the efficiency and accessibility of the method, ISNA reported.

“These children are suffering from hyperactivity and attention deficit simultaneously and this issue weakens their skills for learning,” Sarli said.

The system can be easily used by parents and occupational therapists by giving a cellphone to these children and asking them to do their homework.

The process has been conducted on 10 children of about 8-12 years in 10 one-hour sessions and showed the auditory skills of the children were on the rise, encouraging the parents and occupational therapists to use the software.

The software based on Attention Process Training (APT) and nerve-cognition theory. The theory argues that it is possible to strengthen attention skills through stimulation process.

The software consists of three parts: in the first part, it helps children improve their auditory skills by working on animal names. In the second part, they will listen to names of fruits and take multiple-choice test and find the correct answer for each question. In the last part, according to the children’s age-groups, they can listen to stories and take multiple-choice tests.

The specific causes of ADHD are not known. There are, however, a number of factors that may contribute to, or exacerbate ADHD. They include genetics, diet and the social and physical environments.

Exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy impairs normal development of the fetus, including the central nervous system and can increase the risk of the child developing ADHD.

*Iranian doctor greatest world woman inventor in 2013

An Iranian doctor from Mashad Medical Science University received the award of the greatest world woman inventor in Geneva International Festival for Inventions in year 2013.

Dr. Zahra Alizadeh Thani, who is a specialist in radiology of heart and coroners, also received gold medal and special award of 41st Geneva Festival in addition to her award as the world inventor.

Dr. Alizadeh Thani has invented a device to determine level of tightness of heart coroners.

The device also makes it possible to determine if the patient needs angioplasty.

*Iranian Wins Top Prize For Underwater Photograph

The Best Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition unveiled a plethora of breathtakingly spectacular images, with thousands of entries submitted from over 15 countries.

Aspiring winners slipped into their underwater suits to capture moments when nature was at its best, facing extreme danger in the process, iTech Post reported.

Over a thousand passionate photographers captured anything and everything from an open-mouthed shark to a fish-eye view of the sky.

The photos were to be submitted in seven different categories- reefscapes, surfs and sharks, compact cameras, divers, animal portraits and animal behavior.

Being in its seventh year, this competition has donated 15 percent of the proceeds from its entries to aid marine conservation, and more than £50,000 worth of prizes were distributed to the finalists and winners.

Of the thousands of entries, it was Hamid Rad who managed to bag the prize, with his innovative thinking for his “fish eye view of the world” photograph.

Sam Cahir, who won the Best of Show for his open-mouthed shark photo in the Wide Angle Unrestricted category, bagged $40,000 in prizes.

With a panel of celebrity judges, including Vincent Laforet, Mary Lynn Prince, Steve Douglas, Keri Wilk, Alex Mustard, Berkley White and Eric Hanauer, the winners were awarded at the Our World Underwater Film Festival in Chicago.

Other honorable mentions include a picture depicting a trio of pelicans that dunk their heads in the water, the picture taken in the water off the Central Coast, New South Wales, a snap showing a guitar shark, taken in Sao Tome in Central Africa.

*UCLA live-tweets surgery to implant brain pacemaker while patient strums guitar

A team of UCLA Health System brain specialists implanted a brain pacemaker in a 39-year-old man on Thursday. It was the 500th such procedure the team had completed, but the first time the group had invited followers to observe the procedure on Twitter.

The procedure stimulates an area of the brain and implants a brain pacemaker to treat Parkinson's disease and essential tremors.

During Thursday's operation, which was overseen by Dr. Nader Pouratian, the patient was awakened and asked to play a guitar to assist the team in placing electrodes into position. Dr. Pouratian is director of the UCLA Functional and Movement Disorder Program.

Brad Carter, the patient, is a Los Angeles-based actor, musician and stand-up comedian who developed hand tremors in 2006. He had lost the ability to perform, but after the brain stimulation portion of the surgery, his detxerity on the guitar was much improved. Carter gave his authorization for the surgery to be shared via Twitter and the social media outlet's Vine video application.

UCLA live-tweeted the surgery with the hope that it would help alleviate future patients' fear of the procedure. About 10 million Americans live with essential tremors and more than 1 million suffer from Parkinson's disease. Many UCLA patients have found deep brain stimulation beneficial in stopping the tremors and helpful in enabling them to lead normal lives.

Before the procedure began, the patient explained what notes he would be playing on the guitar.

*Three Iranian-Americans among the 30 Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech

Women are (relatively) few and far between in the tech industry. They make up less than 10% of venture capitalists, and they leave the industry at twice the rate of men, according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation.

So it is quite an achievement for three Iranian-American women (Soraya Darabi, Parisa Tabriz and Roxanne Varza), to have made it to the list of the most important women 30 years old or under in tech compiled by the Business Insider.


Soraya Darabi is a two-time entrepreneur working on her latest venture, Zady. Zady is still in stealth mode, but has already raised a $1.35 million round led by NEA. Prior to starting Zady, Darabi founded Foodspotting, a geo-local guide for finding quality eats around you. Earlier this year, OpenTable acquired the startup for $10 million.

Parisa Tabriz manages Google's information security engineering team at Google, which is responsible for improving Google's product security. This team of "hired hackers" conducts security design and code reviews, builds and enhances Google technology to make secure development possible and easy, conducts security engineering training, and does vulnerability response. Parisa received her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and was advised by Nikita Borisov.

Roxanne Varza currently runs some of Microsoft's startup-related initiatives in Europe, specifically its BizSpark and Spark programs. Prior to joining Microsoft, Varza worked as the editor of TechCrunch France. She is also VP of Business Development and Partnerships for Girls in Tech Global and started and leads the French and British chapters of the organization.

*Iran scientist wins UNESCO Young Scientist Award

An Iranian scientist has been named as one of the winners of 2013 UNESCO Young Scientist Awards for her outstanding contribution to the management of biosphere reserves.

The International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program made the announcement after meeting at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris from May 27 to 30.

Atieh Kazemi Mojarad received the prestigious prize for her study on sustainable development of biosphere reserves through the protection of key ecosystem services.

The MAB Program has been granting awards of up to USD 5,000 to young researchers since 1989 in order to encourage young scientists to undertake studies on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity.

Five other young researchers were also awarded in the MAB Program. They are Julio Blas Garcia from Spain, Angela Camargo from Mexico, Bilal Habib from India, Hilaire Kouakou from Ivory Coast and Claudia Munera from Nicaragua.

The program also awarded two other young researchers as part of its Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management. Marisa Coetzee and Harry Biggs from South Africa received the USD 6,000 award for their contribution to the management of biosphere reserves.

A biosphere reserve is a cooperative and conservation reserve created to protect the cultural and biological diversity of a region, while encouraging sustainable financial development. It also is a center for monitoring, education and research on natural and managed ecosystems.

*Iran produced over 4000 chemistry articles in 2012

An Iranian academic says the Islamic Republic produced more than 4,000 articles in the field of chemistry in 2012.

Ja’far Mehrad, the director of the Islamic World Science Citation Center (ISC), made the remarks based on a report by Thomson Reuters, Mehr News Agency reported.

“Thomson Reuters has put the number of articles written by Iranian chemistry specialists at 4,473 in 2012, which is 2.325 percent of science production in this field in the world,” Mehrad said.

The ISC director stated that in the field of chemistry, Iran has been ranked 13th in the world in terms of science production in the world in 2012.

SClamgo Journal and Country Rank (SJR) -- a measure of scientific influence of scholarly journals -- has confirmed the figures, demonstrating that Iran’s standing has never been below four in the past two decades.

The Islamic Republic also stands high in other scientific fields. In 2012, it ranked 17th in terms of science production in the world and produced 34,155 articles, according to the latest statistics released by the Scopus database.

According to the statistics published in the journal Nature, Iran ranked first in scientific growth in the world in 2011.

In 2000, the Islamic Republic ranked 53rd in the world in terms of highly cited medical articles, but improved to the 23rd rank in 2011.

According to the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Iranian researchers and scientists published a total of 60,979 scientific articles in major international journals from 1999 to 2008.

*Iranian Academic Among Top Int’l Mathematicians

Iranian university professor, Majid Es’haqi Gorji, who teaches in Semnan University in central Iran, has been included in the list of the world’s top mathematicians, said the university president, Ali Kheiroddin.

Studying mathematics and computer sciences, the university professor has been added to the list of top international mathematicians, according to the latest tally by the Essential Science Indicator (ESI), ISNA reported.

Es’haqi has written over 150 articles over seven years and an English reference book.

Working with 10 international journals as editor-in-chief or as an editorial board member and establishing the international Journal of Nonlinear Analysis and Applications with some of the world’s prominent mathematicians on analysis are some of the professor’s activities.

Es’haqi is the first Iranian researcher whose article on physics and mathematicians has been published in the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) journal.

He has also evaluated several articles on mathematics analysis in many international journals.

With all the resources they need in one place, Essential Science Indicators can determine the influential individuals, institutions, papers, publications and countries in their fields of study--as well as emerging research areas that could impact their work.

This unique and comprehensive compilation of science performance statistics and science trends data is based on journal article publication counts and citation data from Thomson Scientific databases.

It is an ideal analytical resource for policymakers, administrators, analysts and information specialists in government agencies, universities, corporations, private laboratories, publishing companies and foundations, as well as members of the scientific press.

*Iranian researchers produce clean fuel from water

Iranian researchers at Zanjan Fundamental Sciences University along with researchers from Russia and the US have synthesized a catalyst which has the capability of water oxidation as a clean fuel.

There are efforts underway to analyze water to hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen obtained from the analysis can be used as a clean energy, because in case it is analyzed water is produced.

The scientists have managed to make compounds with high efficiency and lowest level of energy consumption to oxidize water to oxygen. They also synthesized a type of manganese oxide capable of oxidizing water in acidic conditions, acting like expensive platinum. The cheap material is as qualified as platinum in the process of water oxidation.

Any type of energy, including wind, tide and etc can be changed to electricity for hydrogen production. Therefore, hydrogen can work efficiently as energy saver.

The results of the study have been published in Dalton Transactions Journal.

*Iranians Produce Hormone To Cure Breast Cancer

Iranian scientists have produced a hormone to cure breast cancer, which could mark a giant step in cancer treatment.

Researchers at Mashhad Medical University have synthesized and examined inhibitory effects of Aromatase enzyme with potential effects of anti-breast cancer and induction of pregnancy, ISNA reported.

The invention is related to the family of drugs used in the hormones for treatment of breast cancer, especially the third generation of non-steroidal inhibitory Aromatase enzyme.

These drugs are the newest and most efficient drugs inhibiting Aromatase.

Farzin Hadizadeh, one of the researchers on the project, said the invention deals with designing, synthesizing and evaluating four Aromatase inhibitors.

The combinations used in the medicine are of high purity and made easily. They also cost lower compared to the foreign counterpart.

Iran has taken wide strides in science and technology, particularly in medical and medicinal fields, in recent years.

In August, former Iranian Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi boasted the country’s astonishing progress in producing medical equipment and drugs, and said Iran ranks 12th in the world ranking of biomedicine production.

“Iran ranks 1st in the region, 4th in Asia and 12th in the world in producing biological drugs,” Dastjerdi said in a ceremony in Tehran while unveiling 8 new types of hi-tech medicines used for treating various kinds of diseases.

She also announced that the global export of biomedicines amounts to $1,000 billion and Iran can have a large share of this figure.

*Iranian students win grand prize in Malaysian 2013 Chem-E-Car Competition

Iranian students won the grand prize in the 8th round of Malaysian Chem-E-Car Competition 2013 attended by 35 teams.

Hossein Hassan-zadeh, a chemistry engineering student at Poly Technique University of Orumiyeh, northwestern Iran, said the competition was involved of the two sections of poster and performance, and the Iranian team was granted the prize considering its points in the two sections.

The team ranked 3rd in the previous round of competitions held in Singapore.

In Chem-E-Car Competition, the chemistry and chemistry engineering students are competing in building cars whose motive force is supplied by a chemical reaction.

The cars used in the matches should be self-controlled and not to start moving through pushing or tuning. Using dry battery or other batteries, mechanical or chemical braking systems, mechanical or electronic timing tools to end the chemical reaction is banned.

*Iran Develops Lung Cancer Vaccine

Iranian researchers have produced a vaccine, using cationic liposome nano-particles, which could help treat different types of cancers.

The vaccine, which improves people’s immune system against one of the important markers of cancer named “Her2/neu”, could be applied for the treatment of breast, uterus and lung cancers, ISNA reported.

Amir Jalali, lead researcher of Immunology Group of Mashhad Medical University, said immunologic peptides from Her2/neu protein were designed at the beginning of the study.

“They were encapsulated inside cationic nano-particles dubbed ‘LPD’ and later injected to mice with tumors,” he said.

Jalali added that the size of tumor and the immune response of the mice were examined later.

The results of the study demonstrated that using the peptides, there was a good and influential immune response against cancer markers.

The study was published in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.