I studied agricultural sciences, particularly plant protection, at Suez Canal University. During BSc, I have always been passionate about insects and their behaviour. My graduation project focused on the population ecology of anthocorid predators feed on Thrips. I joined the same department as a Teaching Assistant where I conduced my MSc studies on the factors affecting mass production of Anthocorid predators. During my pre-doctoral, I worked on applying several biological control techniques to control piercing and sucking pests in sweet paper greenhouses (SEKEM® group).
In 2009, I joined Neuchâtel University (Switzerland) as a PhD Student to undertake my doctoral work on enhancing corn attractiveness to three braconid parasitoids using two plant elicitors.
In 2012, I was appointed to a lectureship of entomology at Suez Canal University. Afterwards, I joined Rothamsted Research (UK) as a postdoctoral fellow, I investigated the basis of natural stress-related induction of defence in potato against aphid using the plant activator cis-Jasmone.
In 2013, I awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) where I joined the Institute of Plant Science and Resources (IPSR) at Okayama University working on the inducible defences of rice and sorghum against chewing lepidopteran herbivores.
In 2016, I was appointed as a postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium) to undertake studies on the potential role of nectar yeast in enhancing the aphid parasitoid (i.e.: Aphidius ervi) foraging to localize natural sugar sources.
More recently, I joined Toby Bruce’s group (Insect Chemical Ecology Lab) at Keele University on BBSRC/SASSA project (BB/R020795/1) in which we aim to enhance crop diversity and ecosystem services to promote biological control of fall armyworm, one of the most devastating invasive pests in Africa, in smallholder cropping systems.
Research and scholarship
My main interests are in the field of entomology, chemical ecology, plant-insect interactions and biological control. I am particularly interested in the defensive functions of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are plant secondary metabolites emitted by plants after herbivory.
Combining analytical chemistry, behavioural ecology, molecular biology and multivariate statistics, I attempt to characterize the VOC profiles of various crop plants (e.g. maize, sorghum, rice, potato, cotton and cowpea) and the factors that affect or regulate the emission of these defence signals upon herbivory and thereby impact the attraction of natural enemies.
I aim to increase the plant attractiveness to natural enemies via manipulating the indirect plant defence (i.e. VOCs emission) with the use of certain chemical elicitors as a sustainable and environment-friendly tactic for crop protection.
In collaboration with icipe in Kenya, I am currently working on enhancing crop diversity and ecosystem services to promote biological control of fall armyworm in smallholder cropping systems. Using very advanced state-of-the-art facilities such as GC-MS and GC-EAG, I am performing the chemical and electrophysiological analysis of secondary metabolites (i.e. VOCs) collected from main crops such as maize, millet and sorghum varieties and candidate companion crops in Kenya to identify bioactive compounds.
My full publication list is available via Google Scholar: