Hiba Al-Ashtal, PhD

Marketing and Communications Associate

Responsible for managing publications that highlight commercial translation outcomes developed by sciVelo and collaborators

Medical Writer

Clinical Thinking
Responsible for the procurement and management of medical communications for various cancer therapies

Education and Experience

Hiba earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied how protein-RNA interactions regulate protein synthesis in healthy and cancerous cells. For her postdoctoral research, Hiba joined Pitt’s Microbiology and Molecular Genetics department and investigated how non-coding RNAs promote Epstein-Barr virus infection. In addition to sciVelo, she works as a medical writer for Clinical Thinking, a subsidiary of Nucleus Global, where she supports medical communications for a variety of cancer therapies.


Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 2020
B.S. Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013

Research Experience

Graduate Student Researcher, Berman Lab, Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
Advisor: Andrea J. Berman, PhD
  • Al-Ashtal, H.A., Rubottom, C., Berman, A.J. “The LARP1 La-Module recognizes both ends of TOP mRNAs” RNA Biology (2019).
  • Lahr, R.M., Fonseca, B.D., Ciotti, G.E., Al-Ashtal, H.A., Jian-Ju, J., Niklaus, M.R., Alain, T., Berman, A.J. “La-Related Protein 1 (LARP1) binds the mRNA cap, blocking eIF4F assembly on TOP mRNAs.” eLife (2017)
  • Manos-Turvey, A., Al-Ashtal, H.A., Needham, P.G., Hartline, C.B., Prichard, M.N., Wipf, P., Brodsky, J.L., “Dihydropyrimidinones and –thiones with improved activity against human polyomavirus family members.” Bioorganic & Medicinal chemistry Letters (2016)
  • Hopkins, T.G., Mura, M., Al-Ashtal, H.A., Lahr, R.M., Abd-Latip, N., Sweeney, K., Lu, H., Weir, J., El-Bahrawy, M., Ghaem-Maghami, S., Aboagye, E.O, Berman, A.J., Blagden, S.P. “The RNA-binding protein LARP1 is a post-transcriptional regulator of survival and tumorigenesis in ovarian cancer.” Nucleic Acids Research (2015).
  • Investigated interactions between proteins and non-coding RNAs regulate translation in healthy and cancerous cells using biochemical, biophysical, and structural techniques.

    Postdoctoral Researcher, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department, University of Pittsburgh
    Advisor: Nara Lee, PhD
  • Investigated the mechanisms by which Epstein-Barr virus non-coding RNAs facilitate viral life cycle and infection.
  • Commercial Translation Experience


    Consultant, Grant, and Manuscript Writer
    Worked as a grant and manuscript writer for the local Pittsburgh startup; helped write their NIH Phase II SBIR commercialization plan and publish research.

    Fourth River Solutions

  • Surveyed the Pittsburgh biotechnology landscape to identify future clients and partnerships for Fourth River Solutions
  • Analyzed market entry feasibility, competitive landscape, as well as potential acquirers and exit strategies for various Pittsburgh startups
  • Below are the three areas you need to edit in order to place a new staff profile on the homepage, in the staff profile landing page, and the full staff bio page. These instructions are hidden and will not show up on the public profile page. You can, however, delete this box when you no longer need these instructions. I - Create a new Staff Profile page 1. Go to Posts and click "Add New" 2. Enter the person’s full name and degrees in the “Enter Title Here” field 3. Scroll down to the Muffin Builder section 4. Click on "Templates" 5. Select: "New Staff Profile Template" 6. Select: "REPLACE current builder content" 7. Click: "Use Template" 8. Update content within each Item accordingly. Anything within (parenthesizes) should be updated. 9. Scroll to the LAYOUT section and choose the following options to maintain the appearance of the page and navigation: a. Switch "Hide The Content" button to ON b. For Layout, choose "Right Sidebar" c. For Sidebar, select "Meet Our Translators" 10. Under Categories, choose the appropriate staff role. 11. Click Publish when finished. II - Add new Offer to appear on "Meet the Team" on homepage 1. Under "Offer", click "Add New" 2. Enter the person’s full name in the “Enter Title Here” field. 3. Copy/paste the content from the Body Copy area of another offer into this offer and update accordingly. This will guarantee you get the same look and feel. 4. Choose the appropriate category based on job title. 5. Add the person’s headshot under “Featured Image” and make sure the background is transparent (.png) 6. Update the Post Attribute Order field to keep with the alphabetical order. You will need to view the list of offers to determine the appropriate Order attribute to assign. You will then need to update all the subsequent offers so they continue with the appropriate order. 7. Hit Publish. III - Add new profile to Meet the Team landing page This content will need to be added manually and does not pull from other areas on the site, like the homepage or staff profile pages. You'll need to copy/paste the following code into the appropriate area and update it with the new staff member's information. Stage location: http://stage.scivelo.pitt.edu/meet-our-translators/ Production location: http://scivelo.pitt.edu/meet-our-translators/

    Megan Breski, MS

    Clinical and Translational Science Institute Program Manager

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