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Rising Star Fellows 2020

Rising Star Fellow Maryam Keshavarz

Rising Star Fellow Maryam Keshavarz

Maryam Keshavarz

The biologist Maryam Keshavarz came to Freie Universität Berlin as a Rising Star Fellow in October 2020. She received the fellowship for research focused on understanding the host-pathogen interaction and functional role of innate immune system components, Toll and Imd pathways, in response to bacterial and fungal infections such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Pseudomonas entomophila in the insect model system, Tenebrio molitor.

Since antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been proposed as an alternative for conventional antibiotics to be used in the clinical and veterinary settings, she is interested in elucidating the effect of AMPs silencing on the insect survival and secondly on the bacteria survival.

This kind of research will provide information about the adaptive significance of AMPs cocktails, as an emergent property. This insight will almost certainly allow to inform and study new combined therapeutic approaches, e.g., combining AMPs with traditional antibiotics for medical and agricultural applications.

Maryam Keshavarz studied Marine Biology at the University of Guilan in Iran. For her master’s degree in Animal Biosystematics, she transferred to University of Tehran, Iran. At Chonnam National University, Gwangju, South Korea she got a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Biology.

“Exploring different types of culture and educational system is one of the main reasons that encouraged me to move from Asia to Germany. Doing research in my home country and South Korea was a very pleasant challenge in my career life and I needed to have a new experience working in one of the European countries. After publishing my first paper during my PhD course, I came to know about Prof. Jens Rolff's laboratory and the very interesting aspect of their research towards the model insect that I am studying on. I moved to Berlin in the middle of pandemic crisis, and I have received so much support and warmth welcoming from my colleagues, staff and professors from the Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy. The work environment is extremely friendly, and I have got the opportunities to communicate with students and colleagues.
In general, I am very grateful and happy to work at Freie Universität Berlin and I hope this pandemic to end, so we can all experience the free and face-to-face scientific works and communicate like old days in the conferences and daily workplace.”