Sabia Abidi’s technical background in stem cell differentiation, microfluidics, parasitological and microbiological techniques brings valuable knowledge and experience to undergraduate bioengineering education. These experiences combine advanced applications in regenerative medicine and microfluidic-based strategies for immunological and blood-related disease treatment and detection.
Incorporating the techniques learned in the MIT Kaufman and EdTech teaching certificate programs, Abidi implements a variety of teaching methods and student centered problem-based learning strategies to personalize undergraduate bioengineering education and laboratory instruction at Rice. Her academic experience has focused on teaching courses in bioengineering fundamentals, quantitative physiology, engineering design, and emerging diseases and global health.
Prior to her appointment at Rice, Abidi worked as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT where she conducted research in Principal Investigator Ming Dao’s Nanomechanics Laboratory. Abidi’s studies focused on using microfluidics for diagnosis and treatment of red blood cells. Her studies uncovered novel mechanistic insights detailing the adhesion and polymerization processes leading to vaso-occlusive painful crisis in sickle cell disease. Abidi’s work also shed light on the critical roles of geometric constraints and cell subpopulation types in the treatment of sickle cell disease.
Abidi has a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. Her investigations in Professor Krishnendu Roy’s lab utilized in vitro 3-D polymer scaffolds and notch ligand functionalized microbeads to scale up the production of cells of hematopoietic lineage. Optimization of scaffold and microbead properties resulted in enhanced commitment to hematopoiesis and T cell lineage, respectively, demonstrating promise for cell substitutes in diseases of immunological origin. Abidi also completed postdoctoral research at NYU School of Medicine utilizing microbiological techniques to characterize a unique Plasmodium phenotype – a triggering of parasite death at high densities. The insights have implications for drug development in malaria.
Abidi’s strong record of published work as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT and NY School of Medicine, and as a graduate student at the University of Texas, Austin has been detailed in 10 journal publications. She has three patent applications.
She is committed to mentorship and STEM outreach through her active involvement in IEEE WIE, Big Brother/Big Sister program, mentoring freshman in engineering design and serving in judge and mentor roles for Rice related and local Future City competitions.