Graduate Student Profile

Fatima Bianca Dessouki

Fatima Bianca Dessouki blurred shadow drop
Fatima Bianca Dessouki
Fatima Bianca Dessouki

Cairo, Egypt

College:

College of Medicine

Degree Program:

Biotechnology MS

Research Focus:

Therapeutic effects of embryonic stem cell-derived exosomes on attenuating chemotherapeutic drug, Doxorubicin-induced muscle toxicity


Ten years ago, Fatima Bianca Dessouki found herself in the middle of a political revolution in Egypt. Living amid unrest, she was surrounded by violence, looting, gunshots, homes broken into, and no police. “As soon as airports opened back up and were operational, I packed my things and moved to the United States to start my education and become a biomedical researcher,” she says. Dessouki first moved to New York, where she attended community college, earned her associate’s degree, and adapted to living in a new nation.

Determined to continue her education as a scientist, Dessouki made her way to UCF where she received her bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences. To Dessouki, the programs offered at UCF pave the way for many opportunities after graduation, leaving her with many avenues to choose from as a career path (medical school, dental school, pharmacy, research, and more). “I’ve always loved science and wanted the option to choose once I became more educated in the subject,” she says. “Of course, I chose to research, to become a scientist, and joined the master’s program in Biotechnology.”

While earning her master’s degree, Dessouki is also focused on cancer research. Although chemotherapy has been an effective treatment for patients, there are great side effects including the toxicity of vital organs and systems in the body. She studies one chemotherapeutic drug, Doxorubicin (Dox), and its side effects on muscle toxicity to develop a therapeutic approach to lower muscle toxicity after Dox administration. Her research titled Stem Cell-Derived Exosomes Ameliorate Doxorubicin-Induced Muscle Toxicity through Counteracting Pyroptosis is published in the Pharmaceuticals MDPI journal.

Dessouki has also received other recognitions while at UCF including the Dean’s Academic Fellowship award for outstanding application (2018), a graduate presentation fellowship (2020) to present her work at Experimental Biology in San Diego, and has served as the vice president for the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Association (2019-2020). After graduation, she would like to move on to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Reflecting on the scientists who are the reason and inspiration for her pursuit of research, Dessouki says, “Especially during this pandemic, scientists working together to develop a vaccine is the entire reason why I wanted to become a scientist.”

Highlights:

  • Accepted into the Pharmaceuticals MDPI journal
  • 2018 Dean's Academic Fellowship award
  • 2020 Graduate presentation fellowship
  • Vice president of Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Association
  • 2021 Order of Pegasus nominee
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