Safia Shakil confronts challenges in the lab at the IU School of Medicine


Curious. That’s one word Safia Shakil uses to describe herself and is one of the driving forces behind her interest in research. For Shakil, coursework as a biomedical engineering student wasn’t enough. She wanted more out of her undergraduate experience, she wanted to find a research opportunity to prepare her for a future career in regenerative medicine.

Safia Shakil found what she was looking for and has been conducting research at a lab in the IU School of Medicine’s biochemistry/molecular biology department since her sophomore year. Her research has allowed her the opportunity to practice and apply the skills she has learned in her classes, as well as see what her career can look like in the future.

"One of my career goals is to eventually get a Ph.D. somewhere in the realm of regenerative medicine,” Shakil said. “I think it's very fascinating and inspiring what we can do. My research in regard to that just helps me with everything. It also helps me actually see [since I] work in a lab with graduate students and postdocs and the PI (principal investigator) himself, so you see where you can be potentially at all different levels of your career, if I move forward with the path that I'd like to."

While Shakil sought out this research opportunity on her own, she has had many advisors and mentors guiding her through her undergraduate degree, from the principal investigator and the graduate students she works with to mentors in her department.

"Like I mentioned earlier, my research is actually in the IU School of Medicine, but I'm an engineering student, IUPUI, so even though there's a huge connection between what I'm actually doing, there's still a disconnect in the actual application of things," Shakil said. "So, bridging that gap, guiding me along the way, figuring out what I want to do post undergraduate; they play a very pivotal role in everything."

I think part of it is just being a curious individual,” Shakil said. "There’s a reason I chose engineering as my major, that's the reason I like doing research. There's a reason I want to continue to study and investigating these things further. Make curiosity present.