Meet ReBUILDetroit's Chemistry Post-Doctoral Training Fellow

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Irfana Muqbil received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in India and has worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Muqbil’s primary focus is on the development and pre-clinical testing of new drugs for difficult to treat malignancies including pancreatic cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She works in the translational drug discovery lab. Over the last few years, she has made significant contributions to the discovery of protein transport targeted drugs that can block cancer-causing proteins. This work is positively impacting the development of clinical modalities for patient care. Muqbil’s research projects may lead to the design of clinical trials for hematological malignancies and pancreatic cancer.

Aside from research, Muqbil shares a deep interest in teaching. With the assistance of Wayne State University’s Office of Teaching and Learning and serving as a Graduate Learning Community Advisor (GLCA) with ReBUILDetroit, she has gained knowledge about the American education system. Through this fellowship she looks forward to making a positive impact on society by imparting her knowledge through her teaching and research experiences.

How does your research fit in with the ReBUILDetroit program and the biomedical field?

Being a cancer researcher in the field of translational research, my work is an ideal example of the practical application of work carried out in a lab. We call it 'from bench to bedside.’ My work inspires young students to pursue biomedical research for two reasons: to see the fruits of your labor and to contribute to society. This fits with the idea of ReBUILDetroit's program, to encourage more undergraduate students towards pursuing a career in biomedical research, where they can see the end product and its application in improving human health.

What do you hope to achieve with your appointment as a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow (PTF) in ReBUILDetroit?

My overarching goal is to have a career where I can balance research and teaching and give back to the community through both. Through cancer research, we are working diligently to improve the health of cancer patients and have achieved some success, as well through multiple clinical trials. ReBUILDetroit is committed to work with underrepresented students and encourages them to pursue careers in biomedical research.  I hope to obtain advanced teaching experiences and use this knowledge to teach and mentor young students. This postdoctoral training fellowship will help me strengthen my teaching skills and help improve my core competencies.

What is the best advice that your research mentor gave you?

My mentor has instilled in me hard work, right values and work ethics. His most important advice to me was that I should work hard and it is never too late to pursue my dreams.

As a mentor, what advice would you give to ReBUILDetroit scholars?

I will advise the students to stay focused and work hard to achieve their goals in life. Research like any other field has ups and downs; however, persistence and dedication pays off and the fruits of our labor are always sweet.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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