April 1, 2017

Nabeela Nathoo | Pursuing her teenage dream to become a neurologist

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs.

Divulging a fun fact that a second career would be that of writing mystery novels, Leaders in Medicine student Nabeela Nathoo believes one must follow the path that will make them happy, so Steve Jobs' comment resonates strongly with her. Over the last eight years, Nabeela has been pursuing a dream she has had since her teens – working towards becoming a neurologist. She will graduate this June with her MD and PhD in Neuroscience. 

While pushing boundaries to improve the status quo, she has felt very well supported here at the Cumming School of Medicine. And she is giving back too. In 2016, Nabeela and her sister Safia created the Nathoo Family Graduate Scholarship, something she considers her greatest achievement. “Our parents emigrated from East Africa to create a better life for themselves and wanted us to have the opportunity to get a university education, which they could not do themselves,” she says. “The scholarship is a sort of dedication to our parents for all that they have done for us to make it this far.”

In addition to parents who helped lead her down a great path, Nabeela counts Safia as one of the people she admires the most. The older of the sisters, Safia was a role model for Nabeela during her schooling and was the one who opened her eyes to the world of research. “If not for her, I don’t think doing a PhD would have been on the table for me. Safia continues to inspire me with her intelligence, curiosity and unending wisdom.”

Aside from the many hours spent working towards her degree and on her future in a neurology residency, Nabeela is no stranger to enjoying some down time. She is an avid soccer player, enjoys those mystery novels she wouldn’t mind authouring one day, and spending time with those closest to her. 

As she moves on from her time here, Nabeela will look back on it fondly. From Dr. Phil Barber, whose lab she worked in during her early days to her current supervisors Jeff Dunn, PhD, and Wee Yong, PhD, one of the best things about being a part of the Cumming School, she says, is meeting so many incredible people and having the opportunity to collaborate on projects she never would have dreamt of getting to do so early in her career. 

“It has been a truly incredible eight years, and I am so grateful for all of the amazing people I have met and had the pleasure of working with.”

Tidbits from Nabeela

Fun Fact: Anytime she travels to a city in Europe, she attends a soccer match for the team in that city. So far, she has seen Manchester City, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid.

Passionate about: Nabeela has a passion for advocacy, particularly for the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

What should the Cumming School of Medicine do in the next 50 years? Nabeela sees the Cumming School as an emerging leader in the areas of brain and mental health, inflammation and chronic diseases, and cardiovascular health, and would love to see the faculty continue to build capacity and change the game in these areas, whether that be for diagnosis or treatment.