||I am an Egyptian-American who grew up in Southern California. I identify with people of North African and Middle Eastern descent. I also identify with those who are too challenging to categorize, as I spent the better part of my childhood being mistreated by many different groups from lack of easily fitting into one category.
Today, I am a Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. My research focuses on the animals and microbes that live in the deep sea, and their role in keeping our planet healthy and habitable. We build novel instruments and samplers –such as underwater mass spectrometers and microbial samplers– for use on human-occupied, robotic, and autonomous vehicles in the deep sea.
I earned my B.Sc. from U.C.L.A. and my Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbara. I did postdoctoral research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute before going to Harvard University.
I've been fortuante to have been honored 5 years in a row for distinguished teaching, as well as the 2007 and 2011 Lindbergh Foundation Award for Science & Sustainability, and Discover Magazine’s “10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change the World”. My colleagues and I have authored or co-authored over 85 publications in journals such as Nature, Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Proceedings of the Royal Society. I have served as chair of the National Deep Submergence Science Committee (DeSSC) from 2010-2016, and is now on several notable ocean advisory boards.
Most important, I work to promote the inclusion of people from all walks of life within Harvard, from running high school internship programs to engaging with community college students from diverse backgrounds.