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Reem Hakeem earns her PhD! – November 4, 2022

Program: Biochemistry and Biophysics

Advisor: James Bear

Reem Hakeen defense flier see post for all text content photo of Reem speaking


Background & perspective contributed by Reem Hakeem PhD

I obtained my B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in French at UNC Wilmington. My love for the sciences and languages motivated me to pursue an internship at the Curie Institute. This internship enabled me to conduct research whilst simultaneously practicing a foreign language and engaging in a diverse environment. It enhanced both my cultural literacy and my ability to communicate science. My experiences at the Curie inspired me on a long research journey that continued for two years at the NIH and onwards to my doctoral journey at UNC Chapel Hill. My thesis dissertation in Jim Bear’s lab explores durotaxis migration and how the cytoskeleton contributes to this mode of movement.  

Scientifically – I have contributed two publications (as a contributing author from my time at the NIH and as a first author from my time at UNC). I have also served as both a Logistics Director and President for the Triangle Cytoskeleton Meeting. Currently, I am an organizer for the UNC Cytoskeleton Club.  

It is important to note that I am not only a scientist, but a Palestinian-Kashmiri Muslim American female. With that in mind, I am aware that academic success is tied to your experiences as well as to the faculties of support made available to you. The environment can truly shape your trajectory. It is because of that; you will find during my time here at BCBP I have been driven to make sure we live in one that is healthy and inclusive to all. Not only am I a member of the diversity committee in my department, but equally a co-founder of BBSP BIPOC Equity Together (BBSP-BET), a student-led coalition that demands a more unified effort in diversity initiatives across the school. I am hopeful in what the BCBP department has to offer and will end by saying that it is absolutely vital that we reduce the disparity of experiences endured by students and that we allow their voices to be heard.