People | Postdoctoral Research Associates

Rania obtained her BSc Degree in Biological Analyses and MSc Degree in Environmental Microbiology from the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan. Following her graduation, Rania joined a Human Reproductive Biology team carrying out in vitro fertilization procedures under the supervision of Dr. Zeid Keilani and Dr. Fuad Hashwa. She then moved into a teaching career where she taught Biology and Theory of Knowledge as part of the International Baccalaureate Program at the Amman Baccalaureate School.  At the same time, she managed and ran a retail business.  In 2004, following a rewarding teaching career, Rania re-entered the research world when she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Wayne State University in Michigan, USA. She spent the first three years in the lab of Dr. Philip Cunningham where she worked on the development of a novel RNA-based in vivo assay system for structural and functional studies of eukaryotic ribosomes. She then joined the lab of Prof. Miriam Greenberg. Rania’s doctoral studies focused on two projects, the regulation of inositol biosynthesis, and elucidating the mechanism underlying the therapeutic effect of the anticonvulsant drug valproate (VPA) in relation to inositol depletion.

For her postdoctoral studies, Rania joined the lab of Dr. Ricardo Feldman at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and was trained at the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Her studies focused on the development of a human disease model to study Parkinson’s and Gaucher’s disease. This involved the use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to generate dopaminergic neurons and to study factors that affect their differentiation. In 2016, she joined the Hussman Institute for Autism in Baltimore, Maryland, where she worked on the development of 2D cultures and 3D cortical organoid systems using human iPSC-derived neuronal cells to study autism.

Rania joined the nanomedicine lab in May 2019 where she is currently working on developing advanced in vitro models, including human brain organoids and brain cancer spheroids to explore interactions of different nanomaterials with human cells in the advanced cell culture models for potential applications in drug delivery and theranostics.