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NSAC Member Spotlight

Mourad Sadqi

Department: 

School of Engineering, NSF-CREST Center for Cellular & Biomolecular Machines (CCBM)

Job Title: 

Project Scientist, Mass Spectrometry Facility Director CCBM

Academic Background: 

B.S.

1989-1993

University of Abdelmalek Essaâdi, Tetouan, Morocco

M.S.

1993-1996

University of Granada, Spain

PhD

1996-2000

University of Granada, Spain

Postdoctoral

2000-2007

University of Maryland

Research Scientist

2007-2015

Spanish National Research Council, Spain

Time at UC Merced: 

6 years

Your Role at UC Merced: 

I am a Project Scientist and the Director of the Mass Spectrometry Facility for the NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM). My research includes the development of biomolecular engineering tools for building high performance biosensors using designer proteins as molecular scaffolds and our pioneering principle of downhill protein folding-unfolding coupled to binding. The main goal behind these efforts is to develop biosensors that can be miniaturized to the level of single molecule devices. In my role with the center, I also teach and mentor graduate students, postdocs, undergraduates, and high-school students as part of our outreach activities.

Proudest Academic Accomplishment: 

During my 20 years as a scientist in the field I have been trained in the fields of experimental and computational structural biology, as well as experimental physical chemistry. Such multidisciplinary training has given me the opportunity to combine approaches synergistically and investigate protein folding, dynamics, structure and function in ways that have been both innovative and seminal. One such contributions was the paradigm shifting discovery of downhill folding by developing a novel atom-by-atom thermodynamic analysis of protein folding transitions and the formulation of the conformational rheostat mechanism for protein function, which exploits the gradual ordering transitions of downhill folding to elicit analog responses at the single molecule level. This work was published in top-tier peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science and PNAS.

Favorite Part of Being an Academic:

Being a scientist at UC Merced has given me the opportunity to apply my skillset as well as give back to my community. I am able to mentor students and see their development, increased interest, and enthusiasm about their work.

When I'm not working:

Outside of my professional life, I enjoy gardening, running, traveling, and of course, I try to keep my life in balance and remember the most important things come first by spending as much time as possible with my wife and my son.

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