Mohamed Abdelsalam (Egypt) is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow who moved to Barcelona in 2019 to join Jordi Casanova’s Development and Morphogenesis in Drosophila Laboratory at IRB Barcelona. Since 2013, he has been an Assistant Lecturer and a Lecturer of Pharmacognosy (the branch of pharmacy that studies plants or other natural sources as a possible source of drugs) at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Delta University for Science and Technology (Mansoura, Egypt). In 2018, he got a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of São Paulo (Brazil) in a Joint Collaboration with the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Rochester, USA).
Mohamed is passionate about arts and music and is committed to environmental issues. While he appreciates that the COVID-19 outbreak is an urgent issue that needs to be solved, he is also very concerned about some of its environmental impacts, such as the pollution caused by the increased waste created out of the massive use of disposable gloves and masks.
Mohamed plays the piano and paints acrylic abstract art. During a stay at the Mayo Clinic Hospital (Rochester, USA) as part of his doctorate studies, he used to play the piano to patients and the public. There, he also participated in several campaigns and awareness events about health and environment for finding better solutions. As an academic, he used to provide support to his pharmacy students in their activities.
The COVID-19 lockdown inspired Mohamed to do some paintings. What at the start seemed like an “unproductive forced confinement” turned out to be a highly creative period that allowed him to express his feelings in a series of beautiful portraits. Check out Mohamed’s artwork here: https://flic.kr/ps/3SKZ3D.
It was the research performed at IRB Barcelona that made me apply for a postdoc fellowship sponsored by the European Union (under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement). My overarching research interests revolve around the discovery of new biological molecules as potential drug leads/candidates based on natural products.
My research interests include performing biological and pharmacological screenings of bioactive compounds. I use a combination of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Modern Chemical biology techniques to answer the how, where and how fast questions of natural organic molecules as potential entities in drug discovery. More specifically, I am interested in answering biological questions by directly probing living systems at the chemical and biological level.
That is why I have decided to pursue a postdoc to gain some experience in the biological work performed in Prof. Casanova's lab (my Group Leader), where my project revolves mainly around studying the human homolog of the Drosophila headcase (HECA).
I felt immediately at home with the members of the research group, starting from the welcome given to me by IRB Barcelona’s HR Department (especially Maria Rovira, HR Talent & International Mobility Coordinator) and by the members of my lab.
Being confined at home for months was hard at first because I am a very active person who likes to walk and explore nature, but I challenged myself and decided to make use of this time to do things I enjoy, and this drove me to pick up my brush again and start painting.
There are several pianos throughout the many buildings of the Mayo Clinic and anyone can use them. This stirred something inside me and as soon as I saw a piano, I immediately sat down at it and found my fingers playing a piece of music. I remember that day, Professor John Lieske (my PhD co-supervisor) spotted me and took a pic!
I would choose all of them, as each piece means something to me! Most of the work I have painted is abstract so it would also have different meanings and prospective views for everybody!
Despite what we are all experiencing in this pandemic, this tiny virus has inspired me to pick up my paint brush again after many years and I have started painting some abstract acrylic artwork that I am really passionate about! Let's start doing the things we love during this COVID-19 crisis and continue even after it has all ended, let’s mark a new beginning and keep it up as a new lifestyle and never get down! VAMOS!