Dr. Karolina Mukhtar is the OUTPACE Course Master. She received her PhD degree in Plant Genetics in 2005 from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. Then, she completed post-doctoral training at Duke University Dept. of Biology (2006-2010), where she studied molecular regulation of plant immune responses. She is an Associate Professor of Biology at UAB since 2010. She teaches Genetics and Plant Biology and enjoys training students in both lab and field settings.

Dr. Karolina Mukhtar was awarded a NSF-CAREER grant in the spring of 2014. The award, totaling $1.1 million, is among the Foundation’s most prestigious ones. Through the NSF grant, the Mukhtar lab will be supporting additional research activities, as well as fund the five-year Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Plant Pathology OUTPACE.


Teaching Assistants

team 2018

Taiaba Afrin


Hello! I am Taiaba Afrin from Bangladesh. I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Bangladesh and my Master’s degree in Biology from Missouri State University. I am working on plant defense responses against pathogenic bacteria in Dr. Karolina Mukhtar’s lab for my PhD and will explore plant immunity in her lab.


Thomas Detchemendy


I am Thomas Detchemendy, a graduate student in the Department of Biology, UAB under the mentorship of Dr. Shahid Mukhtar. I began my graduate studies at UAB in the spring semester of 2018. Currently, my research focuses on elucidating the interactions between pathogen effectors and plant cell transmembrane receptors in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Prior to joining the Shahid Mukhtar lab at UAB, I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. During my last few years there, I participated in research under the mentorship of Dr. Jose Barbosa. While working in Dr. Barbosa’s lab, I examined the effects of exogenous ß-alanine on primary root growth, and polyamine biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Throughout this project, I gained a passion for plant biology, and pursued my research endeavors.

In my free time I love to play guitar, golf, fish, hike/camp, and anything else outdoorsy!


Katrina Sahawneh


I am currently getting a MS in Biology and a MA in Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I currently do research on ER stress and pathogen immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana under my advisor Dr. Karolina Mukhtar. In my spare time I enjoy incorporating my love of nature and plants into my drawings, paintings, and crafts.


Danish Diwan


Hi! I am Danish Diwan, I have joined UAB department of biology in Spring 2018 as a graduate student. I have done my Bachelors degree from RTMN University and Masters in Genetic Engineering from SRM University, India. My current research in Dr. Karolina Mukhtar’s lab focuses on understanding the role of a key Arabidopsis stress sensor in plant immunity.