Fellows Spotlight: Mahnum Shahzad

Mahnum joined the Center for Regulatory Science as a Research Fellow in August 2023.
Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Research focus: Pharmaceutical policy

What has been your favorite past experience in research or academia? This could be anything from a favorite program, most interesting area you have studied, or individual moment you really enjoyed. 

My dissertation research focused on the FDA's accelerated approval pathway. What was most exciting about that whole project was how much I got to learn about a sliver of the world by trying out many different research questions and strategies. My interest in that pathway started when I read an economics paper by a professor I was an RA for that used surrogate endpoints. I then tried a machine learning type project aimed at improving the pathway before abandoning that whole area only to have my dissertation adviser bring me back with other questions he found interesting about the pathway. And then that work just continued!  It's a fascinating area where I can not only think like an economist (which is what I am trained as) but also think about issues of statistics and ethics and government!

What made you consider coming to the Center for Regulatory Science? What are you hoping to learn or achieve in your time here?

CRS is the perfect combination of the type of interdisciplinary work that excites me and its robust focus on how to regulate the pharmaceutical and medical device space. Ever since I have been here, I have had the chance to learn so much from faculty and fellows whose expertise is different from my own but their key motivating questions are the same. I am really hoping to learn more about pharmaceutical policy issues that I haven't had the chance to think about before and at least begin to understand how experts in different fields view these issues.

What are some goals you are going to continue to work towards, both in your time at the CRS and beyond?

I'm interested in understanding the intersection between regulation, policy and innovation as it pertains to pharmaceutical products. A personal goal is to connect with individuals in all these spaces to be able to better understand how each of these pieces actually works in practice.