Scientifically Twins

NYUAD researchers, Nadeem Asad, left, and Naeem Asad, right.

Meet the twin scientists who do almost everything together

Do twins really do everything together? NYU Abu Dhabi postdoctoral associates Naeem and Nadeem Asad wouldn’t have it any other way.

Both studied in the same school and college in Pakistan, and were two of 49 people awarded a scholarship to study for their PhD.

Naeem got married on December 19, and Nadeem on December 20 — in the same year. To my disappointment, they did not marry another pair of twins.

Nadeem Asad, left, and Naeem Asad, right, at Naeem’s wedding day in December 2004.

Naeem, said to be the hardworking one, is the older twin, born in Lahore six minutes before Nadeem. “Whenever we were in the same class, Naeem always outperforms me by a bit,” Nadeem lamented. So when the decision came to pick a science field, Nadeem chose molecular bioscience — while Naeem decided to pursue chemistry.

The Dore Laboratory at NYUAD is what drew Naeem to Abu Dhabi in 2015. The lab’s research interests lie at the interface of chemistry and biology, creating new technology to study complex biological systems. 

At NYUAD, Naeem works with small molecules that act as useful probes, which  may become a useful drug in the future. When working with these active compounds within biological systems such as our own, side effects are common. To address this in the laboratory, Naeem puts molecules in chemical cages, effectively making them inactive, and hence without any side effects.

Nadeem who joined The Dore Laboratory this year, is studying the physiological effects compounds have within cells. Essentially, Nadeem studies and tests the compounds his older brother makes.   

The twins are enjoying their early careers as researchers and hope that one day their work will lead to medical advancements that can help save lives.