For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
Dr. Sahar El Aidy has been appointed professor of Microbiome Engineering at the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The appointment came into effect on 1 April 2024.
Sahar El Aidy (foto: Kirsten van Santen)
Sahar El Aidy (foto: Kirsten van Santen)

Drug metabolization in the gut

Driven by a passion for understanding the adaptive responses of bacteria to different stimuli, El Aidy’s lab studies the profound implications of the gut microbiome for human health. Her team investigates microbial metabolism using cutting-edge analytical chemistry and microbiology techniques to identify previously unknown chemical signals generated by gut microbiota. Their recent breakthrough revealed how gut microbes can compromise the effectiveness of medications for Parkinson’s patients. Through innovative ex vivo systems, El Aidy’s team studies how gut microbes influence key aspects of intestinal function, including bowel movement. Their research unveiled the microbiota's ability to metabolize drugs, impacting gut contractility. Moreover, they explore the complex chemical ecology of microbiota, and how this shapes microbial ecology. Their findings shed light on how bacterial chemicals dictate the fate of microbial populations, offering valuable insights into gut health.

Microbiota-based therapies 

As professor of Microbiome Engineering at the UvA Faculty of Science’s Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, El Aidy aims to develop microbiota-based therapies, particularly for conditions where the gut-brain axis is pivotal. Her research will delve into understanding how bacterial cells orchestrate essential processes in response to environmental challenges, such as nutrient scarcity. She will also focus on exploring the collective behaviour and biogeography of bacterial populations within specific ecological niches. With a primary focus on unravelling the dynamics of human gut bacteria and their remarkable adaptability to changes in gut physiology, El Aidy’s investigations aim to enrich our comprehension across diverse fields from fundamental microbiology to human health.

Raising student’s awareness

El Aidy's courses in the bachelor Biology and master Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences programs at the Groningen University have raised student awareness of the microbiome's health impact. By integrating societal perspectives into the curriculum, she has equipped students with a robust understanding of these crucial relationships. She plans to build on these learnings while teaching in the UvA Life Sciences programs.

About El Aidy

El Aidy’s academic journey spans continents, from studying Pharmaceutical Sciences in Alexandria (Egypt) to her MSc and PhD in Microbiology in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Following postdoctoral research at University College Cork (Ireland), she held positions including a Rosalind Franklin Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of Groningen. El Aidy secured various research grants, including from NWO and the Parkinson Fonds, and engaged in multiple industrial collaborations. Recognized for her achievements, she was appointed to the Young Academy Groningen and received the prestigious Athena Award from NWO. Her contributions extend to diverse activities, including regular contributions to newspapers and magazines, participation in health science channels and professional outreach programs, delivering public lectures, and being involved in impactful projects such as a commissioned film exploring the microbiome's impact on mental health. Additionally, her expertise on the gut microbiota's influence on medication efficacy was featured in ‘Gut Health For Dummies’.

Prof. dr. S. (Sahar) El Aidy PhD

Faculty of Science

Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences