March 19, 2007
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Biology Program Blooms Under Dedicated Professor

Suher Zada’s passion for science colors every decision she has made since transferring from St. Claire’s College to the English School in Heliopolis as a young girl to study biology.

Initially a part-time professor when she arrived at AUC in 1991, the former department chair divided her time between Cairo University and AUC until 1998 when she was asked to help develop a biology major here and come aboard as a full-time professor. Under her close supervision, the program has flourished. Its first class of three students graduated in 2000, but there are currently 59 students majoring in the subject.

As the daughter and wife of a diplomat, Zada left Cairo often, but she never let her involvement in research projects lapse. Honored by the French government for strengthening the scientific relationship between France and Egypt, Zada offers to her students the perspective of a seasoned researcher who has worked within many academic circles. “Moving around often did present challenges, but it also offered a wonderful opportunity to tap into various biology research networks. Among other things, it exposed me to new techniques and technologies,” said Zada. “It wasn’t always easy, but it wasn’t difficult either. If you love something, you find a way to keep studying and working and publishing.”

In addition to teaching classes, the tenured professor is working to develop a biotechnology graduate program and steadily researching developmental and comparative immunology. Off campus, Zada is actively involved in a number of service projects that include working with AUC alumni to protect Wadi Degla natural reserve; serving as a board member of Suzanne Mubarak’s Children’s Museum, where she helped develop the Science Pavilion; and participating in a task force that increases awareness about hepatitis C.

“Biological fields need a lot of work in Egypt,” said Zada, specifically mentioning hepatitis C infection rates, the Bilharzia parasite and global warming. “You can’t just sit back, and say ‘it’s not my business.’ These things are everybody’s problem, and this seems like a good place to do something about them.”

March 11, 2007
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