Rimsha Afzal

Clinical Research Specialist

In her work as a Clinical Research Specialist at the Duke Center for Autism, Rimsha assists with the laboratory preparation for clinical assessments and helps maintain study materials for the DukeACT study. She hopes to ensure families have a fun and positive experience during their visits at the Autism Center.

Rimsha received her B.S in Biological Sciences and B.A in Theatre Arts (with a concentration in performance) from Meredith College in 2015. During her collegiate career, she participated in two research internships at the University of Maryland Marlene and Greenbaum Cancer Center. During the summer of 2013, she was a stem cell research intern under the Department of Pediatric Oncology studying the tumor suppressing properties of MicroRNAs in various types of blood born cancers. The following summer, she worked under the department of Radiation Oncology studying how erroneous DNA repair mechanisms can induce genomic instability, leading to triple negative breast cancer. With this inspiration, she completed her Honors Thesis in understanding the mutagenic DNA repair properties that result in glioblastomas; her first time exploring the field of neuroscience. After completing her bachelors in 2015, Rimsha went on to London to complete a Hematology research internship at King’s College, London. One morning, while she was in line to get her morning tea, she happened to make conversation with the Dean of Clinical Psychology doctorate program at King’s College who invited her to tour the program. It was her first time having conversation in regards to what exactly the field was, and she was very much intrigued. Since then, she has switched her research interests from tumor biology to clinical psychology. Rimsha now aspires to continue her education by pursing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and hopes to study the contingencies of self-worth in individuals diagnosed with autism, as well as those with other maladaptive disorders (ie: chronic depression, anxiety).

Along with working at Duke University, Rimsha is also a professional stage actor in the Triangle area. She has previously been employed by Burning Coal Theatre Company (based in Raleigh, NC). Local professional credits include: Monumental (Stillwater Theatre Company), Blue Sky (Burning Coal Theatre Company), and Written on the Heart (Burning Coal Theatre Company).