My parents, inveterate multilingual punsters that they were, named me Shaad. And thus was I stuck with a name that conjured up various peculiar connotations in several different tongues: happiness/satisfaction, union, desire, taste, white/purity, holy man, etc. Being a relatively sane and modest young man, however, and being naturally inclined towards indolence, I have quite successfully avoided making any attempts to live up to them.
I was born in Dhaka in what was eventually to become Bangladesh, lived through the war that was responsible, lost my father at the age of three, and was raised single-handedly by my mother (thus ensuring my recruitment as a staunch ally of feminism). I enjoyed an adolescence typical (well, perhaps with a few little variations) of lads from reasonably well-to-do families in Bangladesh, and managed to emerge from it without either being much the worse for wear or carrying much in the way of angst-ridden baggage.
Somewhere among the twelve years of my life spent in the bowels of the Maple Leaf International School (in Bangladesh one tends to go to the same school all the way from kindergarten to the equivalent of high school), I managed to develop an interest in Biology (and, to a lesser extent, in Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, and Philosophy). Since medicine would basically be the only vocation left open to me were I to study biology in Bangladesh, and since medical practice had always struck me as being necessary, worthwhile, and terribly monotonous, I decided to venture abroad.
And thus an autumn still too recent for nostalgia saw me ensconced in Princeton University -- a rather charming little school in the United States that offered me a strong program in Molecular Biology without skimping on the basics. After my initial surprise upon actually encountering stereotypes that I had naively considered to exist only amidst the pages of fiction, I settled down to entertain myself with all that the University had to offer.
Well, four years passed by all too swiftly, and there I was, looking forward to graduation. I was still enamoured of Biology, and had also gradually come to realize that I suffered from the Peter Pan Syndrome -- I truly did not want to leave academia to face the big bad world. The solution was simple: graduate school in (what else?) Biology. Where? Well, I had been on the East Coast for four years; I figured it was now time to bestow my presence upon the West Coast (snow and slush, awfully exciting though they are when one first experiences them, tend to pall rather rapidly). CalTech had too much smog and Berkeley appeared to be a little too exciting for one with such staid and modest sensibilities; so I chose Stanford University.
I received my Ph.D. from Stanford's Department of Developmental Biology for unravelling some of the genetic aspects of sex determination and sexual differentiation in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster in Dr. Bruce Baker's laboratory.
Then, beginning to feel a little nostalgic for cynicism and stress, I moved back to the East Coast, got married, and begun doing genetics, genomics, and molecular biology in the field of heart and muscle development as a Research Fellow in Dr. Alan Michelson's laboratory at the Genetics Division of Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard Medical School. At present, I am employed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).