Passion for Microbial Genetics Inspires New Fulbright Scholar Alsayed Alfiky

Posted: November 5, 2015

Egyptian Fulbright Scholar Alsayed Alfiky takes another step on his Microbial Genetics career path as a visiting scholar in Penn State’s Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology.

The Fulbright grant affords Visiting Scholar Alsayed Alfiky the opportunity to work in Dr. Seogchan Kang’s lab in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology. Alsayed is currently a Ph.D. student in Genetics at Tanta University, having earned his B.S. in Agricultural Science in 2007 and  M.S. in Microbial Genetics in 2013 from the Faculty of Agriculture, Tanta University, Egypt. He is interested in studying the molecular action of the biocontrol fungi Trichoderma against the plant pathogen Fusarium oxysporum.

Alsayed Alfiky was born and raised in Kafr El Zayat in the state of Gharbia in Egypt.  Three years ago he married his lovely wife Dalia, who practices ophthalmology and ocular surgery in Tanta, Egypt.  They have a rambunctious 2-year-old son Ziad.  Even with the six-hour time difference, Alsayed enjoys connecting with his family and hearing about Ziad’s latest exploits and new preschool friends.

“I was inspired to pursue the field of Microbial Genetics while in my second year of undergraduate work when I heard the stories of two of my professors who taught Microbiology and Genetics. They passionately spoke about their own journeys of discovering how science can be fun and not just a job to do. They described how interesting it is to understand the microbial world and the molecular rules that govern it. I knew I wanted to combine these fields, so I decided on a career in Microbial Genetics."

Despite hardships along his educational journey, Alsayed perseveres in his pursuit of a Microbial Genetics career and remembers Tanta University Dept. Head Medhat El Denary’s encouragement to broaden his view and approach research challenges from different angles. Accordingly, Alsayed collaborates with colleagues who work internationally and ambitiously applies for scholarships, which led to his receiving the Fulbright grant to conduct research in Dr. Kang’s lab until July 2016.

"I would like to thank Dr. Seogchan Kang for providing me with such a great opportunity to work in his laboratory and for his kind support to make my stay here as comfortable and successful as possible. I also would like to extend my thanks to the staff at the Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt and the America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc. (AMIDEAST) in Washington, D.C.”