Hanadie Yousef Receives the 2008 Judith A. Resnik Award-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hanadie Yousef Receives the 2008 Judith A. Resnik Award

Hanadie Yousef, a 2008 graduate with a B.S. in chemistry with honors and a minor in Hispanic studies, received the 2008 Judith Resnik Award during commencement weekend. The award is presented annually to an outstanding woman graduating in the sciences or engineering who plans to attend graduate school and whose academic performance, creativity and vision illustrates potential for high academic achievement in her field.

“Hanadie Yousef has an infectious intellectual curiosity that drives her, and she is very creative and able to translate her ideas into action,” said Karen Stump, Teaching Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Laboratories, and Yousef’s advisor. “She is uniquely qualified to assume a leadership role within the scientific community due to her broad ranging interests and talents.”

As an undergraduate, Yousef was engaged in many pursuits — conducting research, writing about science, and teaching and mentoring students. During winter and summer breaks, she interned with the Oncology and Angiogenesis Group at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, developing molecular tools for gene transfer and gene silencing. For the past year, Yousef has been conducting research on the role that a specific microRNA called let-7d plays in the molecular development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease in which the lung’s air sacs become replaced with scar tissue. She discovered that, in patients with IPF, let-7d’s expression is down-regulated, which influences other key molecules and results in epithelial cells transitioning into fibrotic cells, similar to the cells found in IPF tissue. She has been working on this research project with Dr. Naftali Kaminski, associate professor of medicine, pathology, human genetics and computational biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Yousef presented her work at the University of Pittsburgh’s SCIENCE 2007, where her poster was selected as an award finalist. Her work was also presented at the 4th Annual RECOMB Satellite on Regulatory Genomics conference and at the “Breakthrough of the Year” session of the American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Yousef also has been deeply involved in numerous projects at Carnegie Mellon and in the community. She was a supplemental instructor, leading sessions for her peers enrolled in Modern Biology and Introduction to Modern Chemistry, and she volunteered at local elementary schools tutoring students in math and English, including students whose first languages are Spanish or Arabic. Yousef has written extensively for the science and technology section of the Tartan, developing a series of weekly features including profiles of faculty research in science and engineering, and the recurring sections “How Things Work” and “Experiment of the Week.” She was the editor of the Sci-Tech section during her sophomore year, a post she thoroughly enjoyed.

During her junior year, she spent the spring semester at Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Qatar. She was employed as a teaching assistant in biological sciences, physics and Spanish, which “speaks to the breadth of her academic expertise and also to her willingness to immerse herself in novel situations that challenge her abilities to both adapt and to grow as an individual,” said Stump.

Yousef has been inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, and she is a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society. She received a Senior Leadership Award from Carnegie Mellon and the 2008 American Institute of Chemists Award. After graduation, she will be joining the Ph.D. program in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California Berkeley.

The Judith A. Resnik Award honors Carnegie Mellon alumna and space shuttle Challenger astronaut Dr. Judith A. Resnik. Recipients receive an award of $1,000, a certificate of recognition, and their names are added to Carnegie Mellon’s Judith A. Resnik Award Recipient plaque in the University Center.


Amy Pavlak