Sheikh Muhammad Asher Iqbal Success Story

About Sheikh Muhammad :


Sheikh is originally from Pakistan. He started his graduate studies in Electrical Engineering in Fall 2019 with a direct path to Ph.D. after his bachelor's in the same field. He is currently working towards the development of biosensors for the point of care diagnostics as part of his research thesis.

He is actively participating in extracurricular activities and is currently serving as the President of the Pakistani Student Association at FAU. He serves as a board member of the Student Conduct Board, under the Office of the Dean, which holds hearings on the violation of the campus code of conduct. He is also the Graduate Ambassador for the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). His contributions were recognized in the Spring 2022 Annual ECE Awards with an honorable mention for the Graduate Leadership Award along with the Best Teaching Assistant of the year award. As part of his hobbies, cricket and soccer are his favorite sports. He is a professional cricket player in South Florida Cricket League.



Questions about being an International Student:

Why did you choose FAU? What do you like about FAU the most?

I chose FAU because my research interest matches well with the ongoing projects in one of the labs at FAU. I directly got in touch with Dr. Asghar and was encouraged to apply because not only his research was in accordance with my interests but also matches my skill set with an opportunity to build upon them. Moreover, Dr. Asghar holds a name in the field of bioengineering with his work being recognized by the experts in the field. Therefore, working under his supervision was an important factor to pursue my studies at FAU despite admissions from other universities including Rutgers and the University of Central Florida.

FAU’s diversity is what I liked most about FAU. This gives me an opportunity to interact with students from different backgrounds and an opportunity to be an ambassador for my country, a dream, and promise that I always had to accomplish once provided with an opportunity.

What is the most exciting part about being an international student?

The most exciting part of being an international student is that you get to address other students’ questions about your culture. I came across numerous students who were very much interested in knowing about the culture and languages that I speak. I have thoroughly enjoyed their interests and amusement along with the concerns that they get to hear through electronic and social media. As an international student, especially from Pakistan, my interactions, and discussions with other students on media narratives about Pakistan are highlights of my journey at FAU.

What has been your biggest challenge as an international student? How did you respond to orovercome that challenge?

I felt welcomed and got used to the environment very quickly however medical insurance is what I found very ambiguous and complex when I first encountered it. It was not included as part of my assistantship in the initial year and therefore I had to pick one for myself. I never had the experience of having medical insurance growing up therefore I found it hard to understand it. Luckily, I did my research about important factors that need to be considered while buying insurance namely, Co-pay, deductible, etc., and was able to understand it to some extent.

Secondly, there are not so many Halal food options available in the FAU and near FAU. I found it hard initially to find something permissible to eat during my classes. However, I started to cook myself and turn out to be a good cook now. I never had the experience or skills of cooking before but now I enjoy cooking in my free time.

What is your advice for international students who are starting at FAU?

Do your research about the culture and ground realities here in South Florida, especially for accommodation. Start looking for accommodation way ahead of your arrival, at least 2-3 months. There are not so many adequate options available nearby therefore get filled very early.


Questions about your Research:


What is your research focus?

I am currently working on the development of point-of-care biosensors for diagnosing different diseases. My main project is on the development of a wearable biosensor for the diagnosis and prognosis of heart failure. The sensor is under preclinical trial, and I am looking forward to some great results. My second project includes the design and experimentation of a microfluidic chip for the detection of viral diseases such as HIV, Covid, and Hepatitis C.

How did you get involved in research?

I searched for prominent researchers working in the field of biosensors and found Dr. Asghar’s Lab in Micro and Nanotechnology Lab in Medicine to be the best fit for my interests. I contacted him and was interviewed by him. He offered me a position as a Research Assistant along with a full scholarship to pursue my graduate studies at FAU.

What does research mean to you?

Both of my projects have social implications. Heart failure (HF) is the fastest-growing cardiovascular disorder in the United States. There are over 6.2 million adults living with HF (26 million globally) and it is projected that HF prevalence will grow to over 8 million American adults by 2030. The current solution for HF includes an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) an invasive and costly solution. Moreover, almost 50% of HF patients with preserved ejection fraction do not qualify for it. Therefore, making it essential of a need for a noninvasive solution that can be used by all heart failure patients for its better management, diagnosis, and prognosis. My wearable sensor will serve the masses and will be a significant contribution.

Similarly, viral diseases have been around and will continue to be around making it essential for rapid point of care diagnostics for their better management. The point of care chip I am working on can detect viral diseases but is not fully point of care. My current research is towards this goal

where the device can be used by the infected person directly instead of going to the medical provider.

Fun Questions:


What is your favorite spot at FAU campus?

Engineering East lobby and Track and Field Complex are my favorite spots at FAU. I like to go for a run in the Track and Field complex early in the morning before going to the gym and usually play ping pong with my friends during breaks in the Engineering East lobby.

Where do you want to travel in the U.S./ Where have you already travelled to?

I have plans to travel to LA and Chicago in near future and as of now I have been to New York, Orlando, and Miami

Recommend a favorite book?

It’s hard to pick one and therefore will keep it to the following:

A Princely Affair by Yaqoob Bangash

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins

Revolution Twenty 20 by Chetan Bhagat

Quote that motivates you the most.

تندی بادِ مخالف سے نہ گھبرا اے عقاب

یہ تو چلتی ہے تجھے اونچا اْڑانے کے لئے

Translation: “You don’t get

frightened of these furious, violent

winds, Oh Eagle! These blow only to

make you fly higher.”

(Allama Iqbal)