Dr. Sherif Elsayed returns to the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology in frame of the StayConnected@HHU Programme

Dr. Sherif Elsayed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Mu’tah University, Al-Karak, Jordan and the Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry at the Ain-Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.

In 2010, he obtained his doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in Pharmaceutical Biology at HHU under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Peter Proksch at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology where he also did a postdoc from August 2015 until January 2016.

In frame of the of the StayConnected@HHU Researcher Alumni Programme Prof. Elsayed spent a three months research stay at HHU from June to August 2018.

Dr. Sherif Elsayed, Foto: © Susana Mogollón

This is not your first time working and researching at HHU: What motivated you to apply for the Researcher Alumni Programme in order to come back to Düsseldorf again?

I’ve been at HHU a couple of times before and I have always had a very good experience with the team at HHU. This motivated me to try to come back one way or another. On my previous visits, my stays were very fruitful; I got a lot of results. The HHU and I have collaborated in so many ways so many times, that this is like a second home for me.

What it the most exciting thing about working and researching at HHU?

I think the most exciting thing about working at HHU is probably how effective everything is here. It’s like a machine running, everything happens at a great speed: not too slow, so that one can actually achieve good quality results, but not too fast that there won’t be any surprises on the way. The work atmosphere is very good, the protocols the department runs are according to the results and the feedback. Here they are very interested in getting feedback from the researchers working here in order to correct and avoid negative eventualities, which assures high-quality research.

Could you please tell us a little bit more about this research project?

The research project I’m working on right now started back in 2010 when I got my Ph.D. here at HHU. My doctoral thesis focused on the isolation and elucidation of bioactive metabolites from marine invertebrates. After that, I moved to a more specific topic, which is the endosymbiosis phenomenon between fungi and the host organism, for example, a plant or a marine invertebrate. We are trying to isolate the fungal metabolites because of their diverse chemical structures. A lot of antibiotics come from fungal metabolites. Many compounds that are used to cure serious diseases like cancer were proven to be from a fungal source and not from the plant itself, as we used to believe in the past. But this is one step in a long project that will continue probably until the end of my career.

How exactly does your research project benefit from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology here at HHU and vice versa?

When I finished my Ph.D., I returned to my home country and recreated the facilities that Prof. Proksch had here to work: a microbiology lab handling the fungal culturing and the isolation from the host organism. But still, here there are some specific technics and procedures that I cannot emulate well there.  Prof. Proksch has so many contacts and good work relations with different countries and facilities, which I don’t. Prof. Proksch is a great scientist with a remarkable reputation and has the connections to get different samples that enrich our research.

HHU benefits from my work here through our joint publications. We have already collaborated on papers, research articles, and book chapters and there are already three new publications on the making for this summer.

Are there already plans for a future cooperation with Prof. Proksch and the HHU? 

After I finished my Ph.D., Prof. Proksch and I never stopped communicating. I want this connection to continue. I believe I will apply next year for this research grant again to continue what I started this time.

What could we do to make the research cooperation with HHU even better?

The whole process was very easy for me because I’m familiar with the way everything works here. For somebody who comes for the first time, I think the visa application is difficult and help is needed. In my specific case, everything went really well, as in all my other visits.

Interview by Susana Mogollón in June 2018.

Personal Details

Dr. Sherif Elsayed


- Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacognosy), Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

05/2006 - Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry), Ain-Shams
University, Cairo, Egypt.

12/2010 - Dr. rer. nat in Pharmaceutical Biology at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany.

Joint Publications with the hosting department at HHU:

Ebada SS, de Voogd N, Kalscheuer R, Mueller WEG, Chaidir, Proksch P (2017). Cytotoxic drimane meroterpenoids from the Indonesian marine sponge Dactylospongia elegans. Phytochemistry Letters 22: 154-158.

Elissawy AM, Ebada SS, Ashour ML, Özkaya FC, Ebrahim W, Singab ANB, Proksch P (2017). Spiroarthrinols a and B, two novel meroterpenoids isolated from the sponge-derived fungus Arthrinium sp. Phytochemistry Letters 20: 246-251.

Ebada SS, Talaat AN, Labib RM, Mandi A, Kurtan T, Mueller WEG, Singab AN, Proksch P (2017). Cytotoxic labdane diterpenes and bisflavonoid atropisomers from leaves of Araucaria bidwillii. Tetrahedron 73: 3048-3055.

Elnaggar MS, Ebada SS, Ashour ML, Ebrahim W, Singab A, Lin WH, Liu Z, Proksch P (2017). Two new triterpenoids and a new naphthoquinone derivative isolated from a hard coral-derived fungus Scopulariopsis sp. Fitoterapia 116: 126-130.

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Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center