Name: Hager Koraym Hager
Undergraduate School: Georgetown University
Undergraduate Major: Biology of Global Health
MS Program/Concentration: Pharmacology/ Neuropharmacology
Hometown and/or Current City: Baltimore, MD

Why did you apply to Georgetown University?
As an aspiring physician, I am fascinated by the effects of drugs on the brain and behavior. Having taken psychopharmacology as an undergrad, I sought to enter a program that emphasized neuropharmacology. Georgetown’s Pharmacology program perfectly tailored to my intellectual interests.

After taking biophysics as an undergraduate student in Georgetown, I began to appreciate how integrated the physical and biological sciences really are. Whether deriving Ohm’s law from neuronal cell membranes acting as capacitors, or understanding the Boltzmann distribution of enzyme-substrate binding, I began to recognize how deeply physics and biology go hand-in-hand. I wanted to continue my studies at Georgetown because of professors like Dr. Dzakpasu, Dr. Elmendorf, and Dr. Rosenwald who motivate their students to build interdisciplinary connections between core scientific principles.

Now, I want to explore how pharmacology and medicine interrelate. Georgetown’s Pharmacology MS program bridges my academic and professional interests as I prepare for a career in medicine.

As a DMV Hoyas Biomedical Academic Scholarship recipient, you were selected because your application to Georgetown “demonstrated a commitment to biomedical research and graduate studies at the Masters’ level.” What do you hope to accomplish here at Georgetown and/or what is your interest in biomedical research or graduate studies?

I hope to better understand the pharmacological concepts integral to medicine here at Georgetown. I believe strong physicians have extensive knowledge of the drug interventions they utilize, beyond referencing their PDR. Knowing which patients should or should not be administered certain drugs, and identifying symptoms of drug side effects or poisoning saves lives.

The pharmaceutical industry is inextricably linked to medicine. Studying biology of global health as an undergrad allowed me to explore the vital role that pharmaceuticals play in treating preventable diseases. For instance, albendazole functions as a literal panacea for roundworm diseases like toxocariasis, ascariasis, and filariasis, which afflict millions globally. In fact, my mother, who grew up in Egypt, remembers being treated for a parasitic worm as a child.

I am interested in neuropharmacology and antibiotic resistance because they are exceedingly germane to modern medicine. Psychoactive drugs continue to shape medicine. Anesthetics have advanced surgery, analgesics have taken our pain away, and various other psychotropics have treated even the most esoteric psychiatric disorders. Though neuropharmacology continues to evolve, antibiotic efficacy has met challenges. Antibiotic resistance now threatens our medicinal defenses against pathogenic microbiota. During my graduate studies, I seek to understand how pharmacology is used to innovate novel treatments and address contemporary challenges in medicine.

What is something interesting or unique about you that very few people know?

I started teaching myself to play the guitar a couple years ago. I don’t believe I sound too awful when playing La Pared by Shakira or Zombie by The Cranberries. I can also recite the poem “Rita and the Rifle” from memory. Despite its intense title, it is a beautiful poem written by Mahmoud Darwish about the power of love and tolerance in political discourse.