In the marine ecosystem diatoms and viruses inhabit a unique role. Diatoms belong to a group made up of widely diverse microorganisms. This group (Bacillariophyceae) is the most abundant unicellular eukaryotic phytoplankton group in the marine environment. With an estimated 200,000 different species, it is responsible for around 40% of the total primary biological production in the ocean. On the other hand, marine viruses are the most abundant entity in the ocean; their number is estimated at around 1030 viruses (or 109 –1010 virus particles L−1). These viruses play a key role in the marine biogeochemical cycle and are an integral part of the microbial loop. From these widely diverse marine viruses, I’m interested in diatom viruses.
I'm an international student from a small coastal country called Kuwait. I grew up in a culture highly intertwined with marine life, and spent the majority of my childhood vacation hours by the sea. As an undergrad at Kuwait University I had the privilege of learning from professors who come from diverse backgrounds. Many of whom made me love environmental microbiology. After graduation I received a full scholarship from Kuwait University to do my master's at McGill University, where I had the opportunity to work and learn from the kind, and generous people there. My research there was on an oil contaminated marine sediment in Nova Scotia. I love learning and teaching science, which was what I was doing in Kuwait before starting grad school here at Rutgers.
2000 BSc. Microbiology, College of Science, Kuwait University
2004 MSc. Microbiology, McGill University
2013-Present PhD Candidate in Microbial Biology, Rutgers University