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5 minutes with Leila Mouhib

Leila Mouhib recently became a Research Assistant in the School of Basic & Medical Biosciences. We spent five minutes with her to hear about her research, her experiences of the pandemic and her favourite scientist.

Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I studied Biotechnologies at the University of Perugia and afterwards I moved to Padova for my master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies. My master thesis project was focused on the characterization of zebrafish models for Sarcoglycanopathies. These are autosomal recessive muscle-wasting disorders that result from genetic defects of four trans-membranes glycoproteins of the sarcolemma (the cell membrane of muscles cells), α-, β-, γ- and δ-sarcoglycan.

Now I am working at the Randall Centre as a Research Assistant, and I am going to start my PhD this October in mechanobiology. My research is focused on skeletal muscles and how force is transmitted to the muscle cells. My work involves the analysis of the molecular genetic mechanisms controlling muscle growth in the zebrafish larva exposed to different levels of activity.

Looking back, what has the pandemic and resulting lockdowns taught you?

During the lockdown, I was in Italy and I had a hard time because we were not allowed to go outside even for a walk! I spent three months alone in my room. I learnt how important and precious time with my friends and family is to me, and how lucky we are to be able to travel. Today, I feel blessed for every experience that in the past would have been considered normal.

What is the best thing about the return to ‘normality’ we are now experiencing?

From my point of view, the best thing about the return to normality is travelling back home and visiting my parent’s house without restrictions.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Keep holding on, you are doing great, and everything will be fine.

What is something positive that has happened to you in 2021?

Last year, I graduated in Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies with a full mark, and I started my internship at the Randall Centre. What a great year!


Favourite scientist: Marie Curie

Favourite cuisine: Italian

Describe yourself in three words: impulsive, friendly and enthusiastic

Most-used emoji: 🤣

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