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Student Spotlight August 2011

Tareq Al-Maqtari 2“Tareq is a delightful, good-natured guy with a great sense of humor.  As a Fulbright Scholar, he is obviously intelligent, exemplified by outstanding grades in his coursework.  Besides being a thoughtful and conscientious individual, Tareq has a unique perspective on the current situation in Yemen which was a stable country when he left a year ago to pursue graduate work at UofL but has changed dramatically since then.”

Dr. Peter Rowell, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology


Tareq M. Al-Maqtari earned a BSc degree in Pharmacy from the University of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria in 2003. In 2005, he joined Sanaa University in Yemen to work as a teaching assistant at the department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical chemistry. Tareq is about to start his 2nd year as a MSc student in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at UofL.


Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

My research is on stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is the 2nd most common neurodegenerative disorder. So far, no successful therapy is available and stem cells could be the best future therapy approach. I am investigating if stem cells could make people with movement disorders like PD healthy again.

Summer Plans:

I am continuing my research by searching literature to assess the current status of stem cell-therapy in Parkinson’s disease.

Awards, honors, publications:

In 2003, I earned my BSc degree in Pharmacy with a rating of “Distinction”. Both in 1997 and 1998, I received the “Al-Basel Award for Academic Excellence” from Aleppo University.

Long term goals/ aspirations:

My goal is to be a distinguished Pharmacology professor at Sanaa University in Yemen. Another aspiration is to teach English as a second language.

How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

It will enable me to teach at the university level and raise the knowledge of drugs among students of the medical sector in Yemen.

What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

I am most proud of receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to study MSc at UofL.

What made you go into this field of study?

I have always been fascinated by the magical world of drugs. I wanted to know how taking a pill can relieve pain, inflammation or even cure cancers. In addition, I have always wanted to understand how and why doctors prescribe certain medications to certain patients.

What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?

I had the chance to live in America for the first time in my life. I like the American people and their culture. It is an extremely exciting experience for me.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

Time management is central when dealing with stress in graduate school. To achieve that, I had to specify my priorities, putting graduate school first.

Family life:

The good news, I am married to my lovely Hanan Al-maqtari, have two terrific daughters, and an adorable son. The bad news, they are all in Yemen. Thank you Skype!

Fun Facts

A talent you have always wanted: To be the number one soccer player in the world.
Favorite book: I enjoy all sorts of comic books.
Favorite quote: “Think twice before leaving a space in someone's heart, because it's difficult to imagine the pain, when you see someone else filling your space.”
Role Model: My best pharmacology teacher ever- Dr. Mohanad Sehab.
Pet Peeve: Pretending to know everything.
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? I would be playing soccer for Barcelona.
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