Student Focus: Ainur Sharip

KAUST Ph.D. student Ainur Sharip came to the University from Kazakhstan in 2017 to first pursue her master's degree in bioscience. She is currently completing her Ph.D. studies in Professor Stefan Arold’s research group. Photo by Meres J. Weche.

By David Murphy, KAUST News

Ainur Sharip, who is originally from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, joined KAUST in August 2017 to pursue her M.S. and then her Ph.D. in bioscience. Sharip's research interests at KAUST focus on bioengineering, molecular and synthetic biology.

She obtained her master's degree under the supervision of Associate Professor Jürgen Kosel in the University's Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science & Engineering division. As a member of Kosel's Sensing, Magnetism and Microsystems (SMM) research group, Sharip and her colleagues investigated the behavior of stem cells upon culturing on magnetic iron nanowire substrate, with a specific focus on cytoskeleton rearrangement and the differentiation of cells.

KAUST Associate Professor Jürgen Kosel, Ph.D. student Ainur Sharip's master's degree supervisor at the University, is pictured here (standing) working with two of his students in the KAUST lab. Photo by Sarah Munshi.

"Our work in the SMM required expertise in biology and engineering," she explained. "Our ultimate goal is to produce bone cells from stem cells and use them to treat many bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis. I think that applying engineering techniques to biology is a fascinating and rewarding endeavor with many potential benefits for healthcare."

Sharip has recently joined Professor Stefan Arold's Structural Biology and Engineering research group for the continuation of her Ph.D. studies. She is currently developing a technology platform for the rapid biosynthesis of high-value natural products and enzymes.

An opportunity for high-quality research

Sharip first discovered the potential of life at KAUST when she visited the University as a student in August 2016 as part of the KAUST Visiting Student Research Internship Program. For four months, she worked as a research intern in the Laboratory for Nanomedicine under the supervision of Professor Charlotte Hauser and Dr. Sakandar Rauf, gaining insight into life on campus.

Ph.D. student Ainur Sharip is currently completing her doctoral degree in the lab group of Professor Professor Stefan Arold. Arold is pictured here on the KAUST campus. File photo.

On a professional level, Sharip noted she believes KAUST has provided her with the necessary tools to realize her potential as a researcher. She has also enjoyed expanding her knowledge of biology and other scientific areas through attending international conferences.

"KAUST provides its researchers and students with plenty of opportunities to attend world-class conferences, [and these] allow them to learn more about their ongoing research," she said. "So far, I have attended and presented my research at the 4th Italian school on Magnetism in May 2018 and [at] the 2019 Joint MMM-Intermag Conference in Washington D.C. this January."

"I decided to come to KAUST because KAUST has excellent faculty and advisors," she continued. "The University also has state-of-the-art facilities [that] provide a great opportunity to perform high-quality research."

Life outside of the laboratory

When outside of the lab, Sharip thoroughly enjoys the recreational and community side of KAUST. Through the University's ongoing recreational and social events, she has gained a better understanding of KAUST's multicultural community.

KAUST Ph.D. student Ainur Sharip noted she enjoys on campus events like the annual Parade of Nations, which showcases the diversity of the University's community. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.

"I really appreciate that the University organizes events such as the 'Flavors Food Festival,' the 'Parade of Nations' and [others]. Not only are [these] well-organized, but they also give us the chance to have a great time with our family and friends," she said. "The events help remind me of the cultural diversity within KAUST, and it is always fascinating to meet people from different countries and learn about their cultures."

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