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2022 Carle Hospital – Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow announced

Dema Abdelkarim is the 2022 recipient of the Carle Foundation Hospital – Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Published on Nov. 1, 2022

Dema Abdelkarim has joined the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology as the 2022 recipient of the Carle Foundation Hospital – Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Funded by Carle Foundation Hospital, the fellowship offers up to three years of interdisciplinary research at the Beckman Institute and provides an annual salary and stipend for research-related expenses like lab equipment and conference travel. The 2022 fellowship program will focus on neurocardiology.

Abdelkarim earned her Ph.D. in cognition and neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2022. Her doctoral research assessed physiological mechanisms underlying cognitive decline in both aging populations and those with multiple sclerosis, and the reduced processing speed common between the two. She compares changes in cerebrovascular reactivity, cerebral blood flow, oxidative metabolism, and neurovascular coupling using dual-echo fMRI along with hypercapnia gas challenge calibration.

Dema Abdelkarim, a smiling woman with brown hair and a mauve headscarf.Dema Abdelkarim, the 2022 recipient of the Carle Foundation Hospital-Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship

“My primary goal is to deepen my understanding of neuro-vascular interactions in the brain, in the heart, and in the body,” Abdelkarim said. “The project that we’re gearing toward right now is a broader investigation of things I’ve looked at before — the kind of vascular complications that come along with health aging and pathological aging — and really expand it from just neuro-vascular to peripheral-vascular and specifically the heart. When we talk about vasculature in the brain, it’s not a complete story without considering the heart.”

For Abdelkarim, the initial allure of the fellowship was the opportunity to work with Monica Fabiani, a professor of psychology and one of the most influential figures in Abdelkarim’s graduate research.

“[Fabiani] was the impetus for me wanting to come here. Her work was one of the first things I saw as a graduate student and has informed my research throughout my career. That was the big draw for me, the people. I just kept hearing that Beckman has this very collaborative environment, which I was drawn to,” Abdelkarim said.

Fabiani introduced Abdelkarim to Gabriele Gratton, a professor of psychology, and Dr. Issam Moussa, the associate dean for research at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and a Carle physician. The group will work together throughout Abdelkarim's fellowship.

“I really like working with people. I like talking to people,” she said. “I think the best kind of work gets done when there are more people in the room than less. I benefit from being surrounded by really smart people. I love being around people and doing research with people, and that’s why I’m excited to join this collaborative community at Beckman.”

In this article

  • Dema Abdelkarim
    Dema Abdelkarim's directory photo.

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