UAB Graduate Catalog

Saman Khaled

Saman Khaled is a doctoral student in the department of pathology. Since coming to UAB in 2004, she has been researching immune cell adhesion in response to heavy ions (galactic cosmic radiation), gamma radiation, and combined cytokine stimulus. Saman chose to come to UAB because “UAB has an outstanding reputation as the place to research biomedical sciences, and it was right in my backyard.”

Saman has had an interesting summer. She was one of 15 students selected internationally to attend the NASA Space Radiation Summer School. When asked what has been her most rewarding experience at UAB she replied, “Hmm... Probably getting to go to Brookhaven National Laboratories to work with a powerful particle accelerator beam which recreates space radiation.” She believes her greatest influence to be her mentor, Dr. Dennis Kucik. “If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be working with NASA right now. Dr. Kucik's advice has kept me on track. The Kucik lab feels like home to me now and every person in it has taught me how to be a better scientist.”

Saman encourages other graduate students to persevere. “Experiments fail, research may lead to no where, and you may literally spend a year perfecting a technique that you never actually use...Through it all, don't give up. Make sure to get as much guidance from your lab colleagues as well as your mentor, and try not to beat yourself up too badly when everything seems to be going down the tubes. One day a light breaks through the clouds and everything will come together (usually this happens in your 5th year, I hear).”

Saman’s plans after graduating include applying for postdoctoral positions in radiobiology at Lawrence Berkeley or Johnson Space Center. When asked what the future holds for her she replied, “I'm not sure exactly. I definitely would like my experiments to go on the next shuttle, but really I live for the present.”