Stay-at-home mom gets PhD, has dissertation published

July 13, 2012 | Research, UToday
By Samantha Watson

Dr. Shakila Abdul-Majeed is conducting postdoctoral research on the genetics of pathophysiological conditions such as hypertension.

When Dr. Shakila Abdul-Majeed came to America in 1991, she stayed at home to raise her kids even though she had received her master’s degree in organic chemistry in India and worked there for eight years.

But when her oldest son graduated from Ohio State in 2006, she decided it was time for her to go back to school and get her PhD.

“I told my husband, ‘I have taken care of the kids, now I want to do what I want to do for myself,’” Abdul-Majeed said. She is married to Dr. Abdul-Majeed Azad, professor in the UT Department of Chemical Engineering.

She attended graduate school at The University of Toledo, where she switched her studies from organic chemistry to cell biology.

Five months after receiving her PhD in December, Abdul-Majeed was notified that Lambert Academic Publishing, which publishes dissertations, research projects and theses for free, had seen her dissertation on OhioLINK and wanted to publish it.

“It’s really nice to know that somebody I don’t even know has been able to look at my work and deemed it fit to be published as a book,” she said.

For her dissertation, Abdul-Majeed studied the cilium of endothelial cells, which is a sensory organelle found on the apical surface of mammalian cells. Her research was based on the connection between malfunctioning cilia and different diseases that were connected to it, such as polycystic kidney disease.

Abdul-Majeed is now doing postdoctoral research on the genetics of pathophysiological conditions such as hypertension using various congenic rat models. The group of researchers she is working with are involved identifying various genes and genetic factors that cause hypertension.

“I love my work; I enjoy my work very much,” Abdul-Majeed said. “It’s a pleasure to come to work every day.”

Abdul-Majeed said she is thankful for her supportive husband and children, and especially her PhD adviser, Dr. Surya Nauli, and postdoctoral adviser, Dr. Bina Joe, associate professor and professor of physiology and pharmacology, respectively, who answered all of her questions and guided her through the process of both her PhD and research.

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