RNA Featured Researcher – Maha Hanafi, Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry

Maha Hanafi, Ph.D.
Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy

Alumna, April 2021
Faculty-Mentor: Professor Nouri Neamati

LinkedIn: Maha Zidan

My research involves drug discovery where I focus on identifying novel anticancer agents for the treatment of various cancers especially pancreatic cancer being one of the most aggressive malignancies. I am always excited about my research and about medicinal chemistry as an interdisciplinary science that contributes to understanding complex diseases and to the development of effective therapeutics.

  • How does RNA relate to your research interests, and why?
    Part of my research is performing RNA sequencing experiments to evaluate the response of anticancer agents and identify their mechanistic signature as well as potential target proteins/pathways.
  • How did you become interested in this topic?
    The abundant information that we obtain from RNA sequencing that can guide our research and validate experimental findings.
  • Who/what did bring you to science?
    My mother who is my role model had a huge impact on me, I was always impressed by how successful she is as a professor and a mother. From an early age I have been enthusiastic about science, especially medicine. I studied pharmacy and I was interested in understanding diseases and their targeted therapeutics so, I decided to pursue research in drug discovery hoping to contribute to finding a cure to devastating diseases like cancer.
  • What did bring you to the University of Michigan?
    The interdisciplinary program at the University of Michigan that would allow for collaborative work and exposure to different research areas.
  • What is your favorite hobby?
    I love taking pictures especially of nature. I’m always fascinated by the perfect sunset scenes. I also love food!


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