Mahmoud M. Zakaria: The Plant Cell First Author

Mahmoud M. Zakaria, co-first author of “Insights into polyamine metabolism: homospermidine is double-oxidized in two discrete steps by a single copper-containing amine oxidase in pyrrolizidine alkaloid biosynthesis”

Current Position: Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Chemical Ecology and Molecular Evolution at the Botanical Institute and Botanic Gardens, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy, Master’s degree in Pharmacognosy and Natural Products at Faculty of Pharmacy, Zagazig University, Egypt.

Non-scientific Interests: playing football, table tennis, jogging and reading.

Brief bio: During my undergraduate studies, I learned various techniques for chemical synthesis, analyses and structure elucidation for various medicinal and natural substances. This knowledge was developed in my master’s program through the practical application of these skills in the field of pharmacognosy and natural products. Along my PhD, this knowledge combined with additional experience in the field of molecular biology was implicated to develop different approaches to elucidate the elusive biosynthetic pathway of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in various medicinal plants. This has led to the success of gaining new aspects and new insights into the biosynthesis of these toxic metabolites. Based on these findings, I am already conducting analyses with related plant species to draw conclusions about the evolution of PA biosynthesis. I look forward to investigating other enzymes involved in this pathway as well as the molecular basis of the activities catalyzed by these enzymes.