Nahin Khan is graduating with a degree in biological sciences in CMU-Q's Class of 2020
Nahin Khan is graduating with a degree in biological sciences in CMU-Q's Class of 2020

Nahin Khan’s career path brings together two very different fields of study

As we recognize the Class of 2020, we are looking at just a few of the 86 graduating seniors who are beginning careers in business, science and technology. Today we profile Nahin Khan, who was selected as an Andrew Carnegie Society Scholar for the Class of 2020. Nahin will graduate with a degree in biological sciences.

Nahin Khan has spent his undergraduate education pulled in two directions. Although he has enjoyed his biological sciences major, he has felt an undeniable draw to computer science. “My whole four years, I have been debating between computer science and bio. I took a lot of CS courses because I was so interested.”

Nahin in the biology lab at CMU-Q

Nahin in the biology lab at CMU-Q

Khan has found ways to bring these two areas of interest together. His interest in research began as a molecular biology project, but it has morphed into a computational approach to RNA analysis. He has also seized extracurricular opportunities. As a rising sophomore, he and several other CMU-Q students won the Carnegie Mellon NeuroHackathon competition, by analyzing neurological datasets. In the fall of his senior year, he was on the student team that received the Bronze Achievement award at the 2019 International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition held in Boston.

However, it was during his junior year that Nahin was presented with an opportunity to explore computer science, and more specifically computational biology, in depth. Annette Vincent, the director of the Biological Sciences Program at CMU-Q, suggested that Nahin apply for the Fifth Year Scholar Program.

“When I first heard about the program, I honestly didn’t give it much thought,” said Nahin. “But then Dr. Vincent suggested that I could do a fifth year and learn more about computational biology.”

Based at Carnegie Mellon’s main campus in Pittsburgh, the program provides a small number of exceptional students the opportunity to take an extra year to enhance their undergraduate education. As a Fifth Year Scholar, Nahin could complete an additional major in computer science, which would prepare him for graduate work in computational biology.

Nahin learned he was selected for the program in the spring of his junior year. The timing was fortunate, as he was scheduled to spend the fall 2019 semester on main campus. “It was very good timing, because I could meet and spend some time with the other Fifth Year Scholars. They’re really nice people with very interesting projects.”

A community service project is part of the Fifth Year Scholar experience. For his project, Nahin will create a workshop so high school students in Qatar can explore the field of computational biology. “It was something that would have helped me when I started university,” said Nahin. “It’s something I can give back to the campus.”

Nahin Khan with the Fifth Year Scholars at CMU's main campus

Nahin Khan with the Fifth Year Scholars at CMU’s main campus

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