Radwa Hanafy is currently a PhD student in the Microbiology department of Oklahoma State University, under the supervision of Prof. Noha Youssef.
After Radwa received her bachelor degree in Microbiology and Chemistry in her home country of Egypt, she first worked as a Medical Lab Technologist in a governmental hospital. During this time she learned different analytical and lab techniques and developed a passion for academic research. In 2015, she realized her ambition to move into academic research when she started her PhD.
Radwa’s PhD focuses on the taxonomy and phylogenetic diversity of the anaerobic gut fungi (AGF). More specifically, she is exploring the AGF communities from three main perspectives:
- Investigating the overall AGF phylogenetic diversities using culture dependent and culture independent approaches.
- Examining the factors affecting AGF diversity and community structure.
- Exploring the global AGF distribution pattern outside known hosts.
Radwa’s culturing efforts have yielded more than 200 different AGF isolates that broadly capture both inter- and intra-genus level diversity. Also, these isolates have reshaped current understanding of anaerobic fungal taxonomy and have led to the discovery of nine novel genera (Pecoramyces, Feramyces, Agriosomyces, Aklioshbomyces, Capellomyces, Ghazallomyces, Joblinomyces, Tahromyces and Khoyollomyces).
Radwa is currently using her anaerobic fungal culture collection as a reference database to design new PCR based tools for the further study of anaeorbic fungal taxonomy and phylogeny using larger regions of the ribosomal RNA locus.
Radwa is currently in the last year of her PhD, and plans to graduate this autumn. You can find out more about Radwa’s research via her Research Gate page and by following her on Twitter (@Radwa_A_Hanafy).