Hesham M.B. Sayed: Plant Physiology First Author

Hesham M.B. Sayed, first author of “Biosynthesis of polyprenylated xanthones in Hypericum perforatum roots involves 4-prenyltransferase”

Current Position: Assistant lecturer (Faculty of Pharmacy, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt)

Education:   PhD from Technical University Braunschweig, Germany; MSc and BSc from Faculty of Pharmacy, Assiut University, Egypt.

Non-scientific Interests: analyzing football games, playing chess, reading

Brief bio:

As a pharmacist by education, I have been always fascinated by the machinery through which medicinal plants biosynthesize an impressive array of specialized metabolites with interesting therapeutic values. Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree of Pharmaceutical Sciences, I obtained my master’s degree from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Assiut University in Egypt.  The master’s research project focused on chemical profiling of pomegranate and the potential use of its extracts for the development of new anti-schistosomal drugs. Subsequently, supported by a DAAD scholarship, I pursued my PhD research at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology of the Technical University Braunschweig in the lab of Prof. Beerhues. I delved into the biosynthesis of plant active constituents, particularly prenylated acyphloroglucinols. These compounds, including the popular antidepressant hyperforin, are known for their beneficial therapeutic properties. My research primarily focused on investigating the enzymes responsible for attaching prenyl groups of different chain lengths to the acylphloroglucinol cores. These enzymes, known as prenyltransferases (PTs), play a crucial role in the biosynthesis of the active constituents of St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum). In the future, the identified enzymes can be used for the biotechnological production of such active compounds and their derivatives.