Science was always one of my biggest interests since I was a kid. I can still remember going to the well-known library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) and spending most of the day reading in different fields of science and trying to participate in different scientific activities there. After finishing high school, I decided to study Biology in the Faculty of Science at the Alexandria University in Egypt. I chose to study Microbiology to know more about this fascinating world of microorganisms, how these miniature creatures can become super-friendly or super-harmful or even super-beneficial technological tool. I continued following my scientific passion by obtaining my master’s degree from Alexandria University on “Biohydrogen production from biodegradable organic wastes”. At the same time I was working as a teaching assistant of Microbiology in Damanhour University (Egypt).
I joined the research group of microbiology (MICR) at the VUB as a PhD student on a scholarship from the Egyptian government in 2018 and I am working on a project focusing on the microbial production of the biologically produced plastic polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). This bioplastic is an ecofriendly, biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based plastics which could be produced by different microorganisms from renewable substrates. The challenge is still in the beginning: we need to know more about the pathways of PHA production and manipulate them to maximize the yield and achieve a cost-efficient production.