Mahmoud Rizk

PhD student in structural biology for drug development

I used to be a high-school teacher in Beirut. This is the most common career path when you study physics in Lebanon. But I wanted to achieve more. So I decided to pursue a career in research and applied for a master’s in Complex Matter - Living Matter at the University Grenoble Alpes in 2019, followed by an internship in protein X-ray crystallography at the ESRF in the Structural Biology group. My traineeship started two weeks before Covid-19 put the world on hold, however my experience was incredibly positive and somehow I felt my project wasn’t quite finished. Then the opportunity of doing a PhD on “Exploiting Serial Crystallography in Structure-based Drug Design” came up.

Today I am looking into the physics and chemistry of biological macromolecules, with the ultimate goal of improving the detection of ligands in drug discovery experiments. I find this a noble cause that can somehow end up benefiting us all. With a physics background, you can imagine that there is a lot for me to learn, like for example crystallization process, but on the other hand, physics has helped me to understand concepts related to the functioning of the beamline. 

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