Fatema Tuz Zahra

Fatema is a PhD candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC, Amarillo, Texas). She received her bachelor of pharmacy (B.Pharm) and masters of clinical pharmacy and pharmacology (M.Pharm) from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. During her master’s thesis, she investigated the significance of Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) gene polymorphism in methotrexate toxicities in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) patients. At TTUHSC, her research is focused on physiological and pathological angiogenesis. While a balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic growth factors maintain physiological angiogenesis, dysregulation is often associated with several disease conditions including tumor growth and cancer progression. Pharmacological interventions for targeting angiogenesis have become a significant addition to the therapeutic repertoire for the treatment of solid tumors in various cancers. To date, most anti-angiogenic therapies focus on the blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathways. However, upon blockade of VEGF signaling, over-activation of alternative pro-angiogenic signaling pathways occur- known as ‘evasive resistance’. Her research is aimed to address these limitations of current “anti-angiogenics” in cancer therapeutics by investigating a converging downstream molecule of multiple growth factor-induced angiogenesis as a potential therapeutic target.

Fatema has been a pre-doctoral trainee member of American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) since 2018 and has received several awards and recognitions from various societies and organizations. She was the recipient of the GALL Trainee Scholar Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Research for PISA2020 and was the recipient of the 2021 Experimental Pathologist-in-Graduate Training (EPIGT) Award for Experimental Biology 2021. She was selected to be one of 25 participants of National Cancer Institute Graduate Student Recruiting Program aimed at recruiting postdoctoral scientists. Fatema participates in leadership positions in multiple student organizations and scientific societies. She is proud to be a woman researcher and actively involved in Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) initiative to encourage more women to pursue career in STEM field.