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Lecturer of Biology Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: PhD KAUST
Research Areas: Cellular plasticity,Biophysical properties of cells,Stem cell engineering and organoid technologies
Bakiza earned a master degree in human physiology (faculty of medicine) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where she later joined the Pharmacogenomics and Neurogenetics lab to work on different projects related to Juvenile neuronal lipofuscinosis (JNCL) disease and cytochrome P4502E1 genetic polymorphisms. During this period, Bakiza also mentored several graduate students and gave them extensive training on animal surgery and lab protocols. Bakiza then carried her PhD studies in laboratories from different disciplines; laboratory of Florescence Dynamics (LFD), Laboratory of Cellular Imaging and Energetics (LCIE) and Nano-biophysics lab. Her multidisciplinary work involves collaboration between different institutions mainly King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and University of California Irvine (UCI). Her major research is focused on understanding the correlation between neuronal plasticity and biophysical properties of the cell membrane. She also studied the possible biophysical and molecular mechanisms that are activated during the development of stem cells. Driven by scientific curiosity to understand membrane properties at the biophysical level, she conceived another project in collaboration with her colleagues from the physics department at Kaust to unravel the mechanism of cholesterol depletion from cholesterol/ceramide monolayers using Methyl-beta-cyclo dextrin (MBCD). Her elegant studies in the field of biophysics, immunology, pharmacogenomics, and physiology were published in well-known journals such as Scientific reports, Cytokine and Plos One.
Bakiza also joined Beirut Arab University where she was appointed to teach various laboratory-based courses such as Human Physiology, Plant Physiology, Medical Entomology, Mycology, Histology, Parasitology and Zoology in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Biology.
Bakiza is interested to study the biochemical and biophysical aspects that control cellular plasticity in case of health and disease. She aims to use various approaches for stem cell modification and map these changes to the cell differentiation potential. Bakiza is also interested to study the cross-talk between stem cells and tumor metastasis. She believes that multidisciplinary approaches will provide a new set of control tools to understand the formation mechanisms of various diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, auto-immune diseases, and cancer.