STEMM Profile: Zain Akram | School of Medical Science | Menzies Health Institute Queensland | Griffith University | Gold Coast | Queensland

Zain Akram [photo: Griffith University]

“Better communication about science would give people an understanding so that they can hopefully appreciate the benefits of vaccines and other important interventions. I communicate my PhD journey through social media”

Zain Akram is from Sargodha, Punjab Pakistan. She did her undergraduate from Air Base Inter College Sargodha (it’s a Pakistan Air Force School And College). She did her graduation from the University of Punjab Lahore with Chemistry. She completed her both Master’s and Master of Philosophy in Chemistry (Biochemistry) from the University of Sargodha.

Interestingly, she completed her M.Phil with distinction (Top in her discipline i.e., Biochemistry). In 2017, she was awarded an Australian Government Scholarship for international students to start her PhD in molecular genetics.

Currently, she is working on her PhD research project in the School of Medical Science, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University (Gold Coast Campus), publishing papers, and writing research grants. Currently, she is open for collaborations and looking for a research-related job in industry.

What inspired you to do science/technology/engineering/mathematics/medicine? Have you always liked STEMM?

At the age of five, I had a natural interest in learning new things and solving problems, to the point that I was obsessed with encyclopaedias and my parents were worried I wouldn’t read anything else. But I had extremely good teachers throughout my studies but one chemistry teacher, who had a PhD inspired me a lot and she believed in me and thought that pursuing a career in STEM was the right choice for me.

What are your favourite past‐times or hobbies?

Since my childhood, my favourite past time is playing badminton. However, I also do scuba diving and paragliding.

Are you a science communicator? Why and how do you communicate?

Yes, I am a science communicator and nowadays there seem to be more misconceptions around science that can lead to dangerous ideas, such as the anti-vaccine crusade. Better communication about science would give people an understanding so that they can hopefully appreciate the benefits of vaccines and other important interventions. I communicate my PhD journey through social media I recently started my Instagram page “microcoffeewithZaini” where I talk about my PhD experiences and give my opinion on the trending issues in science that helps the public to quickly understand the problem. 

What is the most important advice you have ever been given? 

My best friend once said that “Whatever is meant for you will not miss you” and this piece of advice has helped me in each step of life so far. 

What is one thing you would change to improve the gender balance and diversity in senior ranks of the STEMM sector?

I believe that the gender pay gap and attrition from the STEMM workforce, and secondly, a lack of strategies and management accountability are the main issues in the present STEMM sector. If we sort out these things which then allowed a workplace culture to override the policy intent and will bring diversity in the STEMM sector.

LinkedIn: Zain Akram

Twitter: @ZainiBiochemist

Facebook: Zain Akram

Instagram: @microcoffeewithZaini

ResearchGate: Zain Akram