Rima Zein-Eddine

Postdoctoral Fellow, École Polytechnique

My name is Rima Zein-Eddine, I am originally from Lebanon and I currently live in France. I hold a Ph.D. degree in Evolutionary biology from the University of Limoges, France.

I was always fascinated by the genetic mechanisms of infectious disease evolution. During my Ph.D. study, I worked on the role of Bulinus evolution in the emergence/transmission of the infectious disease caused by the pathogen Schistosoma. So I wanted to go on studying pathogen evolution, thus I applied for the EuroTechPostdoc2 programme, and currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory for Optics and Biosciences (LOB), École Polytechnique (host institution), in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark DTU (co-host institution).

My research project focuses on studying the mechanisms/pathways that result in the emergence of resistant strains in the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) as resistant tuberculosis represents a growing threat, likely to be worsened by the current COVID pandemic. Our overall goal is to provide novel information on the development of genetic diversity in MTB, especially in DNA repair system genes, and link it to the frequent emergence of epidemic multi-resistant strains.

3 questions to Rima Zein-Eddine

What do you appreciate most about working at your university and/or your department?

Working as a postdoctoral fellow at the École Polytechnique was an absolute dream given the fact that it allows me 1) to re-enter the research field again after a research career break of five years and 2) to work on a subject that has always fascinated me. Also, I am appreciating the fact that I will receive world-class training (1) in novel microbiology and biochemistry techniques and (2) in advanced bioinformatic tools. This position will expand my scientific knowledge and allow me to gain additional specific expertise and will provide me with a highly relevant toolbox for my future career.

What is your goal in the (short, mid, or long) term?

Over the next two years, I am looking forward (1) to reintegrating the research field again and (2) to exploring and developing new skills in molecular/bioengineering, and (3) to taking on small leadership roles during this programme, eventually five years later, working my way into a position as a team-leader where I can build a solid career and become a mentor for others like me within this field. Finally, I hope to make a small contribution to improving scientific knowledge on factors that drive the emergence and success of infectious diseases.

What one thing makes you most proud?

I am most proud of the fact that I won the EuroTechPostdoctoral2 programme fellowship after a research career break of five years and that I writing this text for the “Faces behind EuroTech”. One other thing that I am proud of is that I am the first university graduate in my family. When I completed my PhD degree, it felt amazing and is still one of my biggest achievements. My father and mother worked two jobs to give me decent education, and I plan to be the best I can be in my career, to make them proud of me.

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