Interdisciplinary PhD in Molecular Biosciences

Dr. Mohamed (Moh) Salem - Research Interests

Omics approaches to study/enhance muscle growth in fish

I am interested in studying the complex interactions between various components of the muscle as a biological system, and how these interactions work under various biological and environmental conditions to give rise to variations in phenotypes. I am particularly interested in exploring the causative connections between genotypic and phenotypic variation in muscle under degenerative/regenerative conditions. I use various genome-wide omics approaches including; transcriptomics, post-transcriptomics, genomics and proteomics, to obtain, integrate and analyze complex data from various experimental sources. I use the bioinformatics to simultaneously analyze complex biological networks and integrate rigorous data from high-throughput functional omics experiments. The ultimate goal of my research is to maximize the synthesis of high-quality muscle fibers. Control of protein turnover is one of my research objectives to make progress toward this goal.

In my recent research, I used state-of-the-art "omics" technologies to study "system biology" in the context of muscle growth and quality. The particular focus of this work was transcriptional/post-transcriptional networks that regulate muscle degradation. As a component of the comparative "omics" approach, I used rainbow trout as a model of lower vertebrates and ectothermic animals to compare to the well-studied muscle of mammalian species. My studies include functional genomics and biochemistry of protein turnover, especially the proteolytic enzyme systems; cathepsins, caspases, proteasome and calpains.

Omics approaches to enhance the aquaculture production

Biotechnology can be used to make or change agriculture products. Recently, biotechnologyapplications have expanded exponentially, in particular due to the modern tool of "Omics" technologies. One major constraint to increasing the production efficiency of the aquaculture industry is the lack of genetically improved strains of fish for aquaculture. In terrestrial farm animals there is no terrestrial farm production based on genetically unimproved and undomesticated populations, whereas, the majority of aquaculture production is based on genetically unimproved stocks. The benefits of selective breeding and domestication in aquaculture were only appreciated recently. There is only limited genetic information on traits that could enhance production efficiency and yield a better quality fish. Identification and characterization of the genetics and fish physiology affecting aquaculture production traits will facilitate the development of genetically improved strains and science-based recommendations to farmers and hatchery managers to increase aquaculture production efficiency. Aquaculture biotechnology can help in developing germplasm, and farm management guidelines for improved growth, stress tolerance, fillet quality, disease resistance and feed conversion efficiency as well as control of reproduction cycle and age at sexual maturation. I believe that bringing together people with diverse backgrounds through interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to make progress toward achieving and sustaining a competitive aquaculture industry. For more than ten years, I have been involved in successful interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists from national, international and private entities including the USDA.