I want to establish a fund to provide awards for young scientists to participate in the annual conference for the Research Society on Alcoholism. This fund will be earmarked for young scientists from backgrounds that are diverse, under-resourced, marginalized or traditionally under-represented in psychological and neural sciences. Supporting and promoting these individuals at every turn is the best way to ensure that their voices and talents continue to fuel scientific discovery.
Below, you can get to know me and understand why I set up this campaign.
I am a neuroscientist and Associate Professor at Concordia University in Canada. I lead a well-funded research laboratory and team of scientists who study brain processes involved alcohol use disorders. Research in this area is meaningful to me because millions of people worldwide are negatively impacted by alcohol.
In 2020, my research career was cut short by a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer. But I’m only 43, and I had big plans for advancing my research program and continuing to train and mentor future scientists. Because of my disease, I won't be able to bring these plans to life. But through this campaign and with your support I can continue to have a positive impact on the careers of young scientists in my field.
I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistani. When I was 17, I left home to pursue a liberal arts degree at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. It was here that I became fascinated by the interaction between brain and behaviour, specifically in relation to drug addiction. To study this interaction further, I did a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. My doctoral thesis focused on understanding how cues in the environment contribute to cigarette smoking. In 2005, I moved to California to do a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco, and in 2010 I joined Concordia University to start a faculty position and establish a research laboratory.
Throughout my academic training in the United States I faced funding challenges because I was not a U.S. citizen. Luckily, a handful of scientific organizations supported students regardless of their immigration status. I received a competitive fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support my doctoral studies. As a postdoc, I was awarded a grant from the ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research, which allowed me to negotiate a successful faculty position and establish an independent research laboratory. However, at all levels, I benefited from travel awards from scientific societies. These monetary awards allowed me to attend important conferences in my field, where I presented my research and became part of a vast and generous network of researchers who shaped my career.
The annual meeting for the Research Society on Alcoholism is a conference I actively participate in. Scientists in this organization study the impact of alcohol on our brain, our biology, our behaviour, and on society. Being part of this society contributed immeasurably to my scientific growth, and I want to pay it forward.
My campaign will provide awards to young scientists from backgrounds that are diverse, under-resourced, marginalized or traditionally under-represented in psychological and neural sciences, so that they can participate in the annual Research Society on Alcoholism meeting. I am targeting funds to these groups to provide a specific leg up to young scientists who may face hardship due to systemic issues like racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice.
I firmly believe that progress in science needs diversity in the voices and faces that are tackling scientific questions. To achieve this diversity, we must elevate young people who might be overlooked because they don’t fit a particular mold.
This fund will be coordinated with the Research Society on Alcoholism by two friends and colleagues, Dr. Patricia Janak, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University, who is my mentor, along with Dr. David Jentsch, Empire Innovation Professor of Psychology at Binghamton University.
Thank you for reading and for a donation in any amount that you might make to the Nadia Chaudhri Scholar Award fund. Should this campaign exceed its funding goals, all additional funds will be used in the same campaign to increase the opportunities for student support.
From my heart to yours,