Our Team Leader: Dr. Tojan Rahhal
Dr. Rahhal was born and raised in North Carolina. She attended NC State University and graduated with a Biomedical Engineering degree with a focus on tissue engineering and biotechnology. She went on to pursue a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Ch), working in the lab of Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone. Her research focused on nanotechnology and translational medicine. She developed micro- and nanoparticle therapeutics for pulmonary delivery using the PRINT® fabrication technique. Outside of her research efforts, Rahhal demonstrated commitment to service and leadership in the academic community, constantly promoting awareness of issues regarding equality in science.
Rahhal currently serves as the Director of Diversity and Outreach Initiatives and as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Bioengineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She was was recently recognized as a National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) Women of Color History Maker in Diversity for her leadership in efforts to “catalyze change to help [engineering] students from underrepresented populations overcome historic barriers”. Furthermore, Dr. Rahhal was chosen for the Shirley Chisholm Outspoken Advocate Award, the Outstanding Staff award by the College and again by the Engineering Student Council this year.
Earlier in her career, Rahhal developed the NCSU IMSD Ambassadors program which provided fifth graders the opportunity to meet a scientist over lunch. She also served as co-chair and then chair of UNC’s Women in Science group and was also a part of developing Science in the Stacks, an outreach program for children that enables hands-on science related activities at the local library.
Dr. Rahhal was inducted into Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC’s highest and oldest honor society; and the Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Student Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding service provided to the University and community, as well as chosen as the most outstanding graduate student in Pharmaceutical Sciences due to her commitment to higher education and service.
Amongst several programs, Rahhal developed a Cross-Cultural Leadership Development Curriculum to advance leadership skills as they relate to the diversity and understanding of cultural differences in our global workforce as a student at UNC- Chapel Hill. This workshop has been performed by Rahhal in front of numerous audiences at UNC, including the Eshelman School of Pharmacy students and faculty, and has now become part of the graduate program orientation and TA training sessions at UNC.