At an early age, I developed my interest in marine life and decided to be a biology scholar. Over ten years, as a hobbyist, I have cultured cold-water species, and tropical water species. Through this, I was able to maintain fish under adequate water condition and observed their behavior under different stress factors. Furthermore, I acquaint myself with their biology and this has enhanced my knowledge about aquatic life.
During outbreaks, I gained a strong interest in diseases as I monitored behavioral interactions between fish and their pathogen agents. This offered me essential information about how should assess the clinical signs observed in an animal and diagnose the problem. Afterwards, I would often read up on how different pathogens interact with animals, how immune system response to disease and how possibly the pathogen can occurred again. Additionally, I kept myself updated with new inventions about different kinds of treatments to cure diseases. As an undergraduate student, I majored in microbiology at Umm-al Qura University at Saudi Arabia. Through lectures and practical work, my interest towards aquatic pathobiology grew significantly. I learned a lot about different kinds of pathogens and how they react depending on the condition of the water quality, nutrients level, suspended solids, oxygen level, temperature, salinity and pH. At this point, I focused to specialize in marine microbiology and wanted to further my knowledge by learning molecular techniques that would maintain the health of an animal.
I decided to further my education at the University of Miami, majoring in aquaculture. In University of Miami Experimental Hatchery (UMEH), I was honored to work under dr. Daniel Benetti supervision and my experience and knowledge has been enriched ever since. I gained massive knowledge about high market value species such as Cobia, Mahi-mahi, Florida pompano, Nassau grouper and Japanese flounder. Working on my project, I learned the advantages and disadvantages of multiple systems, including RAS and flow-through. I observed all portions of the life cycle from spawning, larval rearing, weaning and broodstock. In all life stages, disease is a constant factor. It is able to infiltrate any system and must be addressed accordingly. I did my thesis on Vibriosis and how they transmitted by live feeds prior to feed larval rearing where huge mortalities occurred. I tested two antibiotics namely Tobramycin and Minocycline on vibrio species. Sadly, different strains of the bacteria have the potential to break down the antibiotics and gained resistance. At this point, I realized the importance of using molecular techniques and using recombinant plasmids for bacteria and recombinant vaccines for viruses.
My coursework and research experience at University of Miami, my strong interest in science, and my dedication to my work have been valuable assets which have fully prepared me to be a highly qualified graduate school applicant and will help me to obtain a Ph.D. in Marine Biotechnology. As the University of Maryland comes highly recommended by both my professors and peers and will prepare me well for my goals: leading my own research program at an academic institution in order to make significant contributions to the field of aquaculture and sharing my knowledge with the next generation of students.
I feel that previous experiences have provided me the skills and abilities necessary for postgraduate study. I am very dedicated and prepared to put time into the research work as well as my project. I am confident I can express such commitment and time management in this project as I do in everyday life. In my previous work, I have found I can work equally well in both team and individual environments. I am also responsible and can work in a leadership role, which I feel is advantageous for postgraduate study. I am happy to take initiative and get work done without avoiding my responsibilities.
In terms of my aspirations, I am interested in developing virology vaccines and would eventually like to work on diagnosing disease and preventing outbreaks for both wild and captive populations. I feel that, in the future, I would most like to work as an academic doctor for King Abdulziz University (KAU). It is my goal to improve the health of aquatic animals for both aquaculture and natural systems. It is my hope that this program will help me to achieve this goal.