Sarah Daakour

Postdoctoral Associate Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Email: sd145@nyu.edu
Education: PhD University of Liege - Belgium

Research Areas: genetics; synthetic biology; interactomics; genetic engineering; molecular biology; algal systems; cancer research; biotechnology.


Sarah Daakour is a biochemist and molecular biologist, a Ph.D. holder from the University of Liege in Belgium in molecular and cellular Biology. She obtained a master’s degree in biochemistry from the Lebanese University (faculty of sciences), and a master’s degree in 'Structure - Interaction of Macromolecules and Functional Genomics' from the faculty of science - Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

Her research interests focus on interactomic studies and systems biology approaches in different biological fields ranging from human biology and diseases to algal systems.

During her Ph.D. (Protein Signaling and Interactions Lab PSI – University of Liege Belgium), her research project focused on studying interactomic perturbations related to acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The first part consisted of collecting available information about mutated genes in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Validated human protein interactions (PPI) were collected from IntAct, HPRD, and BioGRID interactomics databases, or obtained using yeast two-hybrid screening assay. She mapped interconnections between 116 cancer census gene products associated with ALL. Combining protein-protein interactions data and cancer-specific gene mutations information, found that 63 ALL-gene products are interconnected and identified 37 human proteins interacting with at least 2 ALL-gene products. This project highlighted exclusive and coexistence genetic alterations in key signaling pathways including the PI3K/AKT and the NOTCH pathways and validated the involvement of EXT1 in the Notch pathway. 

Her current project at the Laboratory of Algal Systems, Synthetic and Systems Biology (LASSB, NYUAD) aims to build biological resources to characterize Prochlorococcus marinus MED4 and NATL1A, as representative high-light (HL) and low-light (LL) adapted strains of the cyanobacteria P. marinus. As clone resources are not available currently for these strains, this project initiated de novo  constructions of the MED4 and NATL1A ORFeomes synthetically. The complete ORFeomes of both MED4 and NATL1A strains were generated in collaboration with Twist Bioscience (San Francisco, CA, USA) and Beijing Genome Institute’s Genome Synthesis and Editing Platform (Shenzhen, Guangdong, China). The availability of gene annotation and sequencing data has helped to define a set of ~ 1000 conserved core genes shared between the two clades and a large set of distinct genes that can play a role in adaptation to environmental conditions; her goal is to provide a systems-level investigation to better define their functional associations, as well as any rewiring of interactions that may have occurred as part of their adaptive evolution to low- and high-light conditions.