Dr. Rasheeda Hawk is a biophysicist who works at the intersection of science, education, and well-being. Though most scientists look at the causes for the pathogenesis of diseases, Dr. Hawk’s research includes preventative and restorative measures towards health. Her research focus includes environmental factors that affect health, the well-being of people from the physical down to the molecular levels, and the interface of the two.
As a scientist, Dr. Hawk’s research applications have been used to address health issues such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and child and maternal health in developing countries. Her findings have caught international attention through the interest of the First Lady of Mali and the U.S. Ambassador from Niger. Notably, Dr. Hawk’s research has identified epigenetic changes on the breast cancer gene “braca.” Her research findings are promising as they will allow for diagnostic breast cancer screenings to detect the possibility of cancer a decade before breast cancer markers appear in the blood.
As an educator, Dr. Hawk’s focus is to lessen achievement and opportunity gaps by working with African American, Latinx, and first generation college students. With an understanding of how K-12 schools with limited resources leave students vastly under-prepared for college, Dr. Hawk assists other educators in developing relevant STEM curriculum and instruction. She also teaches biology, anatomy, physiology and scientific research courses in affordable educational institutions like community colleges. To further integrate academia with community-centered practices, Dr. Hawk recently created a “Living Lab,” a real-life innovative space in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, where community members can address current community problems by developing and testing possible solutions.
Dr. Hawk holds her doctorate in Biophysics and Physiology from the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).