Biological Engineering or Bioengineering, established only recently as a fundamental profession, serves as an interdisciplinary area that utilizes analytical and synthetic methodologies of engineering to solve real problems related to science.
Bioengineers, thereof, often drive creative solutions that contribute to advancing scientific knowledge for public welfare. Being always interested in science coupled with having the honor to be awarded a full-tuition support from King Abdullah scholarship program has motivated me to pursue undergraduate studies in Bioengineering at Oregon State University in the United States. I have graduated with honors on September 2nd, 2016. The Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering program at Oregon State University was vastly beneficial and assisted me in gaining comprehensive knowledge and conceptual understanding of the core principles in the field. I was exposed to courses such as transport phenomena — fluid, heat, and mass transfers, thermodynamics, bioprocesses, bioseparations, bioreactors, and biochemistry. Additionally, studying at Oregon State University with its rich diversity offered great opportunities to interact and collaborate with students from different backgrounds on various research projects. In my senior year of college, I participated in a nine-week guided research project titled “Meta-analysis of Unnatural Amino Acids UAAs Incorporation at Site Tyrosine 415 of Catalase HPII of Escherichia coli,” for my advanced level biochemistry laboratory.
In this project, tools of site-directed mutagenesis were employed to substantially understand the intimate relationship between the structure and function of the enzyme. The project was profoundly dependent on literature reviews and the resources that were available in the laboratory, including a limited selection of UAAs. My team members and I investigated the effect of incorporating the opted UAAs into the protein at site Tyrosine 415 using an orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was utilized afterward to validate proper protein expression and UAAs incorporation. The activity of the native enzyme was assessed using an oxygen sensor that measures the rate of oxygen production coupled to hydrogen peroxide degradation.
The team concluded that mutations at sit Tyrosine 415 of the enzyme were found to highly alter the protein stability and activity, confirming the results in the literature. Unfortunately, the project timeline was relatively tight to investigate different UAA selections and cell growth conditions. At this point in my academic career, I realize that my undergraduate education has provided me with fundamentals of Chemical and Biological Engineering, yet there is much more to be explored. Therefore, I am strongly aspired to opt for higher studies to acquire in-depth competence and broaden my horizon in this stream of engineering.
Additionally, the endless opportunities for innovations and discoveries that are available in the field of Biological Engineering have inspired me to contribute to the field through extensive and practical research. After carefully browsing through the information provided on the website of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), I am convinced that the master’s program offered by the Chemical and Biological Engineering division with a focus on Advance Biological Engineering will enrich my career and allow me to perform research in my area of interest and excel at it. I am impressed by the outstanding accomplishment of the faculty members, learning environment, and unparalleled laboratory facilities that the university offers to its student. I am particularly interested in the research conducted at the Advanced Membranes and Porous Material center. The research interests of the Associate Professor in Chemical Science, Dr. Niveen Khashab, that focused on design, synthesis, and application of functionalized nanomaterials with emphasis on controlled release and drug delivery has increased my curiosity, and being given a possibility to join her team would make my experience at KAUST more challenging and enjoyable.I would like to say in conclusion that pursuing a master’s degree specialized in Advanced Biological Engineering at KAUST will be most beneficial for my academic pursuit and a major step toward achieving my career objectives.
I envision myself as research professional in either academia or industry. I would be grateful if I am given the opportunity to pursue my graduate study at your prestigious university.