(Posted April 26, 2022)

Dr. Parisha Pradip Shah '01

Photo by Sarah Ann Wharton '06

Dr. Parisha Pradip Shah '01

Photo by Sarah Ann Wharton '06

HUNTINGDON, Pa.–Dr. Parisha Pradip Shah, a senior research investigator with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a 2001 graduate of Juniata College, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and deliver the commencement address at Juniata’s 144th commencement at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 14, on campus. 

“This is the most incredible honor— one that few people receive,” said Shah. “It is deeply humbling to be recognized by the very institution that has played such an instrumental role in who I am and what I do each day.”

Shah earned her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and health communication at Juniata and then served as a research fellow with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. She completed her Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics and cell biology at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago in 2008.

Shah began her career as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Pennsylvania, studying epigenetics of age and age-related disease. Her research continues with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a senior research investigator studying epigenetics and nuclear organization of cardiac differentiation. Shah’s work focuses on learning how DNA is organized within cells and how this organization affects cellular memory.

Shah is a passionate advocate for the pursuit of public science literacy and the expansion of access to science education. She works to increase opportunities for women and underserved student communities in science and engineering through her efforts in public speaking, participating in writing workshops for scientists, consulting, and building professional connections with others in her field.

Her commitment to sharing her passion for lifelong learning is evidenced in her volunteer work, including her work since 2012 with BioEYES K-12, a public science education partnership, and the Chicago Youth Program from 2004 to 2008. Shah co-founded Save Our Science, a public science outreach through the University of Chicago, and served there from 2005 through 2008. She has been a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society since 2001 and is a member of the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps.

She was recognized with the Outstanding Thesis and Achievement Award by the University of Chicago in 2008 and with the Cell and Developmental Biology Training Award by the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. She is the co-author of 23 research publications in biology and medicine.

Shah credits her time at Juniata as one of the most formative periods in her life. She and her husband, Dimitri Islam, have two children, Naveen and Neela. Shah has volunteered her time and talents to support her alma mater. She served on the Juniata College Alumni Council from 2006 to 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she served one-year terms as vice president, president, and past-president of the Alumni Council. She began her tenure as a member of the Juniata College Board of Trustees in 2020.

Commencement will be viewable by live stream at www.juniata.edu/commencement.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.