Mohd Shahid Research Grant Recipient

Dr. Mohd Shahid, PharmB, PharmM, PhD, FPGEE 

Congratulations to Dr. Mohd Shahid of Chicago.

Mohd ShahidDr. Mohd Shahid was recently awarded the prestigious American Heart Association (AHA) AIREA grant and National Institute of Health (NIH) of the USA SC3 grant for a total amount of approximately half a million dollars. These awards were bestowed upon him to conduct research to investigate for novel drug targets for the treatment and diagnosis of atherosclerosis and coronary heart diseases-The major cause of heart attack and stroke in the world. Atherosclerosis is a disease of the blood vessels (arteries) characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty material on their inner walls, blocking the blood supply to the heart and brain. In March 202, he was invited by the American Association of Immunologist (AAI) to present his research work at their annual meeting in Hawaii, Honolulu, in the USA. He was also awarded AAI Early Career Faculty Travel Award to attend the conference. Considering his important scientific contributions, the Chicago State University awarded him with the Presidential Faculty Excellence Award in Research for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020.

Dr. Shahid had a humble origin and came from New Delhi, India. He was born and brought up there and obtained his entire education in India. He is the first in several generations in his family to graduate from a college and went on to complete a doctorate in Medical Pharmacology. Currently, he is a young pharmacologist / cardiovascular physiologist and an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Chicago State University College of Pharmacy (CSU-COP). He earned his Ph.D., in cardiovascular pharmacology from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at University of Delhi. Prior to coming to CSU, Dr. Shahid was an Instructor and an Assistant in Pharmacology at the ivy league, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, where he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cardiovascular and metabolic disorders in 2012. In 2015 at Massachusetts General Hospital, he secured KO1 grant, another prestigious research grant for approximately $500,000, from National Institute of Health to pursue his research goals. Previously, he completed a pre-doctoral fellowship in renal hypertension at the Tulane University in New Orleans. 

Dr. Shahid’s research interests consist of understanding the role of immune cells especially macrophages in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and exploring the translational significance of his findings. The current research in his laboratory at the CSU is focused on investigating the role of macrophage in the development of atherosclerosis, osteoporosis and obesity. He has more than 30 national and international research papers under his name in various disease areas. He has made many ground-breaking discoveries in the field of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases such as heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetes and obesity. These innovations were published in top peer-reviewed and highly reputed scientific journals such as Nature Publication, and American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has worked with renowned companies including Torrent Pharmaceutical Ltd. and top academic institutions such as Harvard University in the past. 

Dr. Shahid strongly believes that it is critical to invest resources in training and preparing the next generation of scientists to urgently address the various life-threatening challenges such as cancer, covid-19, heart diseases that the human race is currently facing and falling victim of. He likes to spend hours and hours in his lab with his students talking about innovative ideas to tackle the current medical challenges. He mentored and trained more than 50 students in a short span of 3 years.

He has successfully ignited a passion for basic research in many of his students. He was able to recruit many young undergraduates and pharmacy students in the cutting-edge research he has been pursuing. As a result of his collaborative effort, he made many groundbreaking discoveries and published pioneer papers. His students are also recognized for their work they conducted in his lab. In 2019 and March 2020, many of his students were awarded the outstanding research award and travel awards from the prestigious scientific organizations such as Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

Defining moments/incidences as a scientist: 

Though I began my research journey in my graduate school at the University of Delhi, I never felt passionate about it. I never had any long-term goal with my research until I lost someone very close to my heart. My father who had lived his life with no major illness and maintained a healthy lifestyle suddenly had a major brain hemorrhage in 2007. He succumbed to it within 3 days. Ironically, nobody was able to diagnose him correctly for a full 24 hours. I saw my father suffering paralyzed for 3 days, it hit me deep within. At that moment, a deep realization that how valuable and critical medical research is, gleamed in my mind. For the next 10 years, I spent my time in understanding how kidney dysfunction and vascular abnormality can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) that can directly cause brain hemorrhage. I could not save my father, however, after having revealed an important cause of hypertension by my research, I feel and hope that my discoveries one day will help save many precious lives. My journey has just begun and whatever I have achieved has not been on rosy roads. I clearly recall that I was under severe depression in my beginning years after arriving in the USA. Even on the day of Eid, I had nobody to talk to or extend or receive Eid greeting. It was very lonely and painful time. When I look back now, I feel, it was worth it. every single moment of it! I feel it is important to look retrospectively once in a while to evaluate how far you have come and how have you done. One can feel proud of the achievements, but it is important to never forget your past. 

The required intellectual ingredients for success:

Intellectual Ingredients for SuccessResearch is hardly easy. I don't believe there is a special set of traits that will equip a researcher to successfully solve the problems. The one of the most important things that I inherited from my mother is that nothing can replace hard work. Another vital ingredient to be successful is focus. I do not believe in multitasking. The old saying "Jack of all, master of none" is absolutely correct, I believe. Whatever you do, treating a patient as a neurosurgeon or cleaning the bathroom as a janitor, do it wholeheartedly, with full dedication. Go at the top in your field.  This is what I call "success". Curiosity, accepting failures, discipline, persistence, open mind, and overall empathy for others' pain are some of the qualities that one should possess to be a well-rounded and successful (content) person.

Words of inspiration:

As it is said “Planning is the capital, enterprise is the way and hard work is the solution”. If we start believing in our goals, our dreams will become reality and results will begin to follow. Scarcity of resources is not the cause of problem. Rather our problems originate in our approach towards them. Our potential has gone untapped because we have become used to being subjugated and docile. We can look for the positive when presented with the negative in every situation or circumstances. As we communicate, speak to people, give them something to feel, something to remember and something to do. If we are able to do that, our ability to lead others will go to the new level. 

Three life goals in life:

  1. Strive and engage myself in socio-economic upliftment of the underserved communities.
  2. To lead healthy, happy and spend quality time with family and friends.
  3. Working with young minds with the ultimate goal to create future scientists with leadership qualities.