Researcher biography

I received my Bachelor's in Biology (2001) from Yarmouk University in Jordan, followed by postgraduate degrees from the University of Houston in Houston-Texas (2002-2007). My studies are integrative in nature, joining the best of both the Neuroscience world and Circadian Biology (the study of biological clocks). In the laboratory of Prof. Arnold Eskin, I investigated how processes as complex as learning and memory are modulated by biological clocks i.e. the circadian (about 24 hours) system, using Aplysia californica as the experimental model. After completing my Master's in Science in 2005, my research focused on the mechanism by which biological clocks modulate learning and memory. This work was performed in the laboratories of Prof. Gregg Cahill and Prof. Greg Roman, experts in chronobiology and behavioral neuroscience, respectively. Using Zebrafish as a model system, I investigated the role of melatonin, a night-time restricted hormonal signal, in modulating long-term memory consolidation. My findings, published in Science in 2007, shows that the circadian system via the cyclic night-time confined synthesis/release of melatonin "the hormone of darkness" functions as a modulator, shaping daily variations in the efficiency by which memories are processed. After receiving my Ph.D. in 2007, I joined as a postdoctoral fellow the laboratory of the pharmacologist and melatonin researcher Prof. Margarita Dubocovich. My postdoctoral work engaged in elucidating the role of melatonin in circadian physiology and pharmacology during development and ageing in rodents (Mus musculus) and non-human primates (Macaca mulatta) at the Feinberg School of Medicine (Northwestern University-Chicago) and the State University of New York (SUNY). From 2010-2015, I held a teaching/research position in the Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomy and the Dept. of Neurology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt-Germany. During this time, I was involved in teaching gross human anatomy while continuing my endeavor in understanding the mechanistics involved in shaping memory processes (acquisition, consolidation and retrieval) by the circadian system.