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Grand Challenges Scholar, Spring 2024

Nabhan Fakrudin

Nabhan Fakrudin began his academic career as an aerospace engineer with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. However, he chose to study molecular biosciences and biotechnology after witnessing multiple people in his life get diagnosed with debilitating chronic illnesses and observing the impact it had on them.

“Their difficult path to diagnoses and limited treatment options led me to change my path and dedicate my life to patient-personalized medicine,” he says. 

Fakrudin changed his major but was committed to the values of engineering and is graduating as a Grand Challenges Scholar from the Fulton Schools Grand Challenges Scholars Program, or GCSP. 

“I am a molecular biologist by profession but an engineer by passion,” he says. “GCSP offered me a mission that resonated deeply with my newfound purpose. It was within this nurturing environment that I found the synergy between my engineering acumen and a passion for molecular biology.”

During his time as an undergraduate student, Fakrudin was president of the Amateur Radio Club, where he fundraised nearly $50,000 in grant funding and industry collaborations and guided more than 50 participants to obtain technician licenses. He uncovered his passion for teaching through his involvement with the club and while serving as a teaching assistant for a variety of genetics and engineering courses.

“This experience has not only enriched my understanding of the academic curriculum but has also instilled in me practical skills in teaching, content development and community engagement — skills that I am eager to carry forward in my future endeavors,” he says.

Fakrudin interned at TGen with Jian Gu, an associate research professor of medical sciences at the University of Arizona, and helped make a protocol to develop experimental cells to advance drug delivery system models. He received an Outstanding Poster Presentation award at the TGen 2023 Annual Intern Symposium. 

He extends his gratitude to ASU School of Life Sciences Associate Professor Hugh Mason, saying Mason played an influential role in discovering his love of teaching and his decision to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical translational sciences.

“Long term,” he says, “I want to make clinically translatable solutions and patient-personalized medicine accessible to all.”

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