Naemeh Pourshafie

Postdoctoral scientist, (National Institutes of Health)

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If I did it, you can do it too.

What do you do?

I study neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases are debilitating conditions that result in impairment and progressive death of nerve cells. My work focuses on identifying the cause of these diseases and understanding how never cells die, with the ultimate goal of developing therapies for affected patients.

Why did you choose this field?

The first time I thought about becoming a scientist was in the fall of my undergraduate junior year. I sat in a Panera Bread restaurant with a close friend who had just received the results of a genetic test for Huntington’s disease (HD). It was positive! I saw her mother suffer from this disease and knew what awaited her. At that time, I was unaware of the challenges involved in understanding the mechanism behind such a rare neurological disorder. I only knew that science was not yet able to identify a treatment for HD and the medical community was unable to improve the quality of life of HD patients. That evening, I listened to her fears and uncertainties about her future. This is what planted the idea to join the world of research.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I wish younger me would have known to surround herself with successful, intellectual, and capable people. Just as my interests change, so did my ultimate goals. Only with surrounding myself in the right environment then one's priority will shift, and standards of themself will rise. I wished I would have placed myself among a more intellectual and purposeful group, so my potentials grow to their perfection earlier and faster.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I look forward to helping a younger woman figure out her place in this society and to believe that she is capable of reaching the highest level of her potentials. I look forward to paving the way for the next generation of female scientists and leaders.

Best advice for next generation?

Do not be afraid to pursue STEM and do not let others tell you that you can't do it! If I did it, you can do it too.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe"

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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